Sunday, March 20, 2011

Learning about happiness

fine marker on bond paper
3 x  5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(A blog friend in California,
David Lobenberg recently wrote
a piece about small sketches and
actually has a book out of
his sketches and technique.
To see this delightful
book visit his site by
clicking on his name above.
He made me reconsider my
small 3 x 5 inch sketchbook
I've had for years, and  I've been 
doing some small sketches 
to show you.)
I am blessed with a job that's all about encouraging
people to do well in school.  In the past few years
I've realized that my art and teaching lives feed one
another and run on the same principles.  In order to
create and feel like creating art, for the most part
it helps to be happy.  Events in the world can conspire
against that feeling of peace and centeredness, but
knowing how to return to joy is a critical skill.
The same is true for students.  Happy students, and
those who cultivate resilience do better in school.

That's why I am always researching how the brain
works, and what makes us happy.  A few interesting
facts have surfaced in my reading over the past
few days.  1. Big things don't make us as happy as
smaller ones.  So getting a big house, taking a lavish
trip, buying a sleek car  will all make us happy, but
the sensation is temporary.  Whereas if we spend our
money on small things more often we can sustain
a feeling of happiness.  For artists this is easy -- brushes,
canvas, tubes of paint.  I feel so delighted when I go
to the art store, and come home with a new colour.
Sunday tea
marker on bond paper
3 x 5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

The second piece of information is that feminists (women
who believe that women are equal to men) have more
satisfying, happy and romantic marriages.  To me this
makes sense -- because it's true in friendship also.
Feeling like equals is much more satisfactory than
feeling not equal, which is probably why we have so
much fun here in the blog world where we are all
(both women and men) working at the same type of work.

Have a buying-something-small-(flowers?)-and-
enjoying-your-relationships day.
P.S. One way to make yourself happy, if you can
afford it, is to give.  Many artists are offering auctions
on their paintings to raise money for the Japanese
Relief efforts. I have made my donation, but if you
have extra cash this is a great way help people in
tremendous need, and to increase your feeling of
well being, knowing that you did what you could
in this crisis.


Anonymous said...

that's for sure about the little things making us happy. Small joys build up and repeated feelings of delight work in a way to influence our epigenes(a buffer of complex proteins that wraps every strand of our DNA) to experience ongoing happiness. ...can you tell that i've been reading Deepak Chopra's latest book? hahaha.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

Wow what great information. Small pleasures today are the sunshine outside, the white rose on the table in a crystal jug which spins the light and colour around, and my mug of hot chocolate. Sounds like I have to read Deepak Chopra's latest book. I've seen him speak in person, and he was phenomenal.


David Lobenberg said...

Never underestimate the power of small, Barbara. Thanks a mil for the plug! Love your radiant paintings (and small sketches!).

Barbara Muir said...

Hi David,

So love your sketches, and when cash flow allows will buy the book. So great. I remain,

Your fan in Toronto,


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!