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Abstract Collage painting in yellow and purple tones
**click artwork to enlarge**
(oil & collage painting on canvas, 16X20, 2009)

"In search of happiness"

I'm a strong believer in the pursuit of happiness. I know it's a pretty self-evident statement… We're all big believers, right? Apart from Hitler and some Islamic extremists, perhaps. I could be wrong, of course. A world without Jews or a world without Jews (and Americans) could easily be somebody's definition of happiness.

I realize the definition of happiness is different for everyone and that it changes as we age. While we think that we are happy skipping in the rain at the age of seven or hanging out with our friends at fifteen the same activities don't make us happy in the same way as when we were younger. They are fun, but they are not happiness. Love makes us happy. Feeling fulfilled as a professional makes us happy. Being a parent makes us happy. I've come to realize that having a purpose of any kind is the backbone of happiness. You could be a Wall Street broker or a street musician, and as song as you have goals and a sense of moving in the right direction you can be happy.

I've lost too many friends as of lately. People I grew up with, people I was in love with, people who had a great impact on who I am today have died too young. Accidents that could've been easily avoided, carelessness and/or addiction were the cause. They weren't morons. They were educated, well-read, smart. They were fun and liked having fun. There are many people like them and most are still alive. I had a hard time trying to figure out what it was that was the common denominator in the lives of my friends who passed (apart from knowing me). They had good families who loved them. They had significant others who loved them. What was it then? It took me a bit to get it. One common thing they all lacked was a sense of direction. Lost like ships at sea they wandered from place to place without knowing where to drop their anchors. I remember feeling like that too. I'm lucky. I have my art. It's my destination port. I always know where to go when I'm lost.

"To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."
Gustave Flaubert

"The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum."
Havelock Ellis

"We are never so happy nor so unhappy as we imagine."
François de La Rochefoucauld