Life in general Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape People

Lake, Little Girl & What Makes You Happy?

Little Girl at Lake Temescal (Revised)
Little Girl at Lake Temescal (Revised)

Updated: I worked on the painting and tried to make the little girl sunnier (ABOVE). When I compared the finished painting to the original photo I discovered that the girl and the ducks were way too big compared to the actual scene. Oh well.

The original is BELOW:

Little Girl at Lake Anza, Oil on Gessobord, 8x8"
(Original) Little Girl at Lake Temescal, Oil on Gessobord, 8x8" from photo

When I woke up this morning I was feeling grumpy because it was my last day of vacation and I’d hoped to accomplish more in the studio than I had. I tried to think of an antidote to grumpiness so I didn’t ruin my day. I decided to write down everything that makes me happy and was surprised that it took three pages in my  journal. When I finished writing I was feeling much more cheery.

I’d be interested to hear what makes you happy.

About the painting: I took the photo when I was painting at Lake Temescal in Oakland last month and cropped it to experiment with a square format. I pretended like the image on my monitor was a plein air scene and tried to paint as if I was outdoors. I must admit I didn’t really fool myself, and knew the light wouldn’t change and the little girl wouldn’t move.

What makes me happy: (in the order it occurred to me this morning):

A nice walk, fun in the studio, a good meal, a beautiful rainy day being cozy indoors, an enjoyable movie, a snuggly cat or dog, comfortable clothes, good art supplies, loving friends and family, a good book, a day to myself, learning something new, a new art magazine in the mail, days off work, a hot bath or shower, unscheduled time, bursts of creativity, being pain free, comfortable shoes.

A warm beach, windows into other peoples’ lives, my guardian angel (don’t ask), great art, beautiful art books, libraries, book stores, art supply stores, wearing colorful bandanas, finding the right shade of lipstick, looking and feeling cute, tall men with strong arms, drawing people, drawing anything, the flow of watercolor on paper, a successful painting.

A clean house, a toasty warm bed on a cold night, doing dishes, scooping the litter box (I know, I’m nuts), a speedy computer, learning to see colors accurately, my framed art hanging on the wall, a good workout, a small garden, smooth stones, shells from the ocean, the scent of the sea, eating fresh oysters.

Remembering my Grandma, seeing my sons happy and healthy, a hug from my sister, a good laugh, a hike and catch up chat with a friend, organizing things, an air conditioner on a hot night, a refreshing drink when I’m thirsty, a latte made with love (and Peets coffee), a smooth road without potholes, competence, a good teacher.

Good news for a change, financial security (someday), walking instead of driving, people who work for common good, generosity, kindness, puppies, kittens, rain, having someone say “God bless you.” My GPS (not getting lost anymore), my spunky little Toyota RAV4, my Soltek easel and plein air cart, my fuzzy slippers and ratty sweatshirt, my closet for storing canvas, my washer and dryer, owning my own little house.

My neighbors, the internet, my iPhone, good healthcare, a nice cup of tea, writing and/or sketching daily in my journal, a fridge full of fresh healthy food, silly kitties, a massage and sauna, my special black-handled cereal spoon (was my mothers from her 1950s kitchen).

What makes you happy?

11 replies on “Lake, Little Girl & What Makes You Happy?”

That water is already gorgeous, Jana–it’s going to be a wonderful painting. Well, my happy list is too long to put here, but you have put many many of mine down. Of course, I
have given up on a clean house–I’m too busy enjoying all those other things you mentioned. A lovely post. There ARE so many things to make us happy, aren’t there?



Iagree with Annie, that water is wonderful. Beautifully painted. And what a thoughtful list of things to be happy about, and oh, by the way…God bless you, Jana! Hugs,


Thank you Nel for the encouragement and the blessing! And thanks for actually reading my ramblings and discovering I like to be blessed. And I needed a blessing just now so thanks! Jana


What a fine list of good things. Lucky girl! Financial security, now that is something when they talk about a recession! A RAV4, that’s a beauty!
I am happy about one thing – the little church history book full of photos etc. I wrote in five weeks is a goer and the printer’s first copy looks great – full colour, 26 pages A4, nice paper and the photos are clear. I was anxious about it.
That’s all. And of course our Oz government guys are giving pensioners a gift each of $1050 next week to help boost the economy. Want us to spend, spend. Way to go!


Thanks Wendy. Financial security is not something I have exactly, but I’m
working towards it. It would definitely make me happy though! That’s
interesting that AU is trying the same consumer approach to the financial
woes. We got little bonuses too. I unpatriotically paid bills with mine.
Congratulations on your book being published and looking good! Jana


Lots of things make me happy. Laughter, little surprises, real mail from friends,generosity of spirit,blogs,cats,wine,music,good food. Life, I suppose.


Diane, What a neat list. I love your “little surprises” and “real mail” and just plain “Life”. It’s great, isn’t it! I’ve never thought about little surprises before but it’s a great concept. I’m going to be watching for them now. Thanks! Jana


Things that make me happy: good books, old friends, a nice warm bath, an afternoon in the studio, autumn, the Pacific ocean, vanilla lattes, live music, the sound of loons, my husband, my kitty, my queen-sized bed with the down comforter on cold winter mornings. I also really enjoy reading other people’s blogs and finding kindred spirits.


Hi Sherry, It’s interesting how many of your happy things are the same as mine (though I don’t think we have loons here, just loonies!). It is wonderful finding kindred spirits! Jana


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