Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happiness = (work)+(love)+(fun)

Dr. Gordon Livingston reminds us to "Think about it. If we have useful work, sustaining relationships, and the promise of pleasure, it is hard to be unhappy." 

He defines work as "any activity, paid or unpaid, that gives us a feeling of personal significance. If we have a compelling avocation that lends meaning to our lives, that is our work."

Tuxedo Cat and Tulips
original oil painting by Vernita Bridges Hoyt
[This is a low resolution image with a watermark and copyright notice. Text shown above is not on the original painting.]

Last week I told a friend that I want to create a body of work this summer. "Why," she exclaimed, "do you want to work all of the time?" It took a few minutes to explain that the "body of work" refers to a number of artworks that my muse wants to see on canvas before summer's end. 

People sometimes have difficulty understanding the drive that keeps me painting. Rather than laborious work, it feels like something I have been chosen to do -- a vocation, a calling. If I don't paint, I know it. If I don't paint, people around me know it as they notice a mood change, my underlying impatience to get back to the creation of artworks.

Yesterday I continued painting an 11"x14" oil painting that combines three references--the cat, the tulips, and the window on the house behind. This is painted on a gallery-wrap canvas that can be hung with/without frame or set on a shelf. The painting wraps around the side of the canvas. I'll paint the finishing touches on this one today.

The three components of happiness are something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.  --Gordon Livingston, M.D.  Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart.
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