Happiness is a Warm Brush

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of painting en plein air outside the studio of N.C. Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, under the guidance of my realism teacher, Randall Graham.

The afternoon was warm, the autumn sunlight lemony.

Initial charcoal sketch

I found that to bathe in that warmth and light and in all those Wyeth-family vibes in the air inspired me to paint freely and loosely—even though the results are highly questionable (another of my teachers found the following day innumerable faults in Pumpkin on Boulder, all clearly on display to a knowing eye like hers).

The painting aside, my memories of Saturday will last me a long, long time, because I was swept up for five hours in the wellspring of happiness, flow.

I recently asked Delaware painter Lena Moaney why she paints and her reply was immediate: “I paint to relax. When I paint, nothing else in the world matters to me. I’m using my full imagination and all my skills in the moment.”

That puts it nicely.

Happiness is a warm brush.

Above: Pumpkin on Boulder. Oil on canvas. 18 x 12 inches.

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