Why Do You Do What You Do Each Day?

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Kindred Spirits II

“Kindred Spirits” acrylic on canvas

What makes you get up in the morning? Is it a loved one? Is it your children or a mad desire to plan and organize? Is it a purposeful job that gets your creative juices going?

Why do you do what you do? Are your efforts passion driven for the sake of enjoyment and fulfillment or do you dread every moment and wish you were doing something else?

A paycheck drives most of us. Without it none of our dreams can come true. But in spite of that, if you’re born to create, nothing, not money, road blocks, handicaps or problems can keep you from doing what you were born to do.

Some people keep plodding along for the “fringe benefits:” a company car, health care supplements and bonuses.  Entrepreneurs build businesses so they may have more freedom to pursue their personal vision of success. Fringe benefits come through tax breaks, incentives and the “cost of doing business.”

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“Moonlight Magic” 11×14 acrylic on canvas

Human behavior is usually based on “what’s in it for me.” In negotiations, the buyer and seller must agree on what’s mutually beneficial to both. When someone does something nice for us, we feel like reciprocating; it’s a two-way street.

On a more personal level, when someone is kind to us, we are more likely to be kind to someone else. Every action has a reaction. Give a negative remark or a physical rebuff in a moment of impatience and watch the domino affect disperse outward to everyone else; cause and effect.

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“Broken Hearted” 11×14 pastel on Bristol; matted and ready to frame

Don’t confuse loud, obnoxious behavior with strength. There is great power in self-containment. A person who can face the world unafraid without having to dominate every situation is strong and in control. Self-confidence is built on clear, concise choices that build bridges not walls.

Tickles from God

“Tickles from God” acrylic on canvas

There is a Biblical phrase that says: “Cast your bread upon the water and it will come back to you.” We get what we give. If you are always out to “get people” before they get you that’s what you will receive in the end. Life has a way of dealing honestly with us. Even our faces at the end of life can betray what kind of a life we have lived and how much love we have given away.

Note that I didn’t say “how much love we have received.” I made a point of saying “how much love we have given away.” Like the bread (action) that is scattered on the water, our deeds will come back to us in greater measure. The more we shed light and love upon others, the greater the portion that comes back to us.

A Joyful Heart, 11 x 14 pastel

“A Joyful Heart,” 11 x 14 pastel on Bristol; matted and ready to frame

Some people wallow in self pity thinking that they never get enough of life’s goodness and pleasure. They hold on so tightly to what they have that they smother any chances for expansion or growth. In order to receive, we must first be an influence for good. If you don’t believe it, see what happens when you smile at someone in a long line of people.

Some will shy or turn away, after all, you’re a stranger. But don’t give up. Keep a positive attitude. Continue to smile. If someone bumps into you and apologizes, accept their apology. Don’t always be on the defensive. Not everyone is out to get you. Do some apologizing of your own. Thank people for their courtesy.

Now imagine every smile, every positive action radiating outward and repeated by others who pass your goodwill on to someone else. Like waves on the ocean, the tide shifts outward and inward. The ripple effect comes back to you with more positive vibes than you sent out in the first place.

It’s That Time of Year, Begorrah, for the Wearin’ of the Green

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Fuchsia Fantastic

Fuchsia Fantastic, 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

I’ve always dreaded St. Patrick’s Day.  Every kid in school was wearing green but me. My mother fashioned a homemade clover pin out of green felt and crepe paper. But since it wasn’t legitimate clothing, I got pinched anyway. “That doesn’t count,” my peers all agreed as they chased me around the playground.

On Wednesday, We have a St. Patty’s Party at our church. I scanned my closet and discovered I still don’t own anything green. What’s with that? I love green, especially grass green. It’s nature’s color, for heaven’s sake! My clothes hangers are full of beiges, browns, whites and blacks, but not a smidgen of green.

My eyes are a mixture of light brown and green. Hazel I write down on required forms. They turn chameleon whenever I wear lavender or peach, and then people say “My you have lovely green eyes.”

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I had an olive green carpet in the seventies. In fact, my favorite color back then was olive green. I not only had a suit and a dress in this color. I was designated a “Fall” by the latest home-party color technologist. Of course, my hair was still brown when I took that first test.

Incidentally my favorite foods are green. I love spinach, avocadoes, lettuce, edame, kale, endive, romaine, peas, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, okra, etc. I’m surprised my skin hasn’t turned green on me.

My kids favorite dip was made with spinach, cream cheese and mayonnaise. When finished, it looked like the Emerald City ; bright green and luminous. When friends came over, my kids told them convincingly it was “green grasshopper” dip. After that its popularity plummeted. Soon the authors of this trickery became a bit squeamish themselves, and that was the end of that.

Popeye & Olive Oyl Salt 'n Pepper Shakers

JUST SOLD ON MY ETSY SHOP: Popeye & Olive Oyl
Salt ‘n Pepper Shakers

My mother was a fabulous cook. She rarely used a recipe and had an instinctive sense of how she wanted something to taste. I tried to coax her out of a few concoctions, but she was more comfortable with her own methods of a pinch here, a taste there, a squeeze of this, a drop of that. Her potato salad was to die for.

My kids would eat no one else’s scrambled eggs; only hers. Whenever she asked “what do you want to eat?” without preamble, they always said scrambled eggs. Her curry was the hit of her pinochle club. I relished the smell of it simmering on the stove.

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Prayer Circles 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas

Mother cooked the way I paint. I like to try new mixtures for a certain look or sparkle; a dab of this, a swap of that. One of my favorite colors is made by mixing one part alizarin crimson with a little bit of orange as in the painting above. If you add a drop or two of yellow, it creates a tantalizing background especially for white.

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Cafe’ Costa Rica 20 x 20 SOLD; prints and gicle’s available

If you mix a dot of cobalt blue with yellow, you can get the exact color of varied shades of green from new bright growth to mature bluish stems.

Green up your world this St. Patrick’s Day and experiment with color!