Saturday, June 25, 2016

New York -- full of surprises! My friend Franco and Me on the Kristal Hart TV Show!

 With Kristal Hart and Franco Mbilizi
being interviewed for MNN, Manhattan TV
in front of Wonder Water Image #6
at the new Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.

This was the opening of the new ground floor
space for the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived, and
the gallery Director, Ruthie Tucker, had
hung my Wonder Water Image #5, in
full view.  The painting was sold, but not
picked up yet, and she wanted me to feel part
of the new space.
At the opening of the new Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.
I am with Gallery Director Ruthie Tucker, on
my left, and her husband, 
Ambassador Alton Louis Amsterdam III
next to Ruthie.
But even more surprising when my wonderful
friend, Franco Mbilizi arrived from Chicago,
we were told  that we would be interviewed on TV
by Kristal Hart, TV personality, and journalist for
MNN, Manhattan TV.

Kristal Hart interviews Franco Mbilizi about
being a featured artist in the 100th Anniversary
Issue of Vogue Magazine.
Franco and I met one year ago, and are great
friends, via telephone, and texting.  So it was
especially meaningful to me to be interviewed
in front of my painting, with Franco who
supports my work, like I support his.  And it was
so exciting when he showed Kristal Hart,
the 100th Anniversary Issue of British Vogue.
Franco's work featured in Vogue Magazine 
is in the upper right hand corner of the
double page spread.

The write up in the 100th Anniversary issue
of British Vogue on Franco.
All in all it was a wonderful afternoon -- a great
new gallery, meeting some super artists, and
Franco and me on TV.

Have an enjoying your friends' art day.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sold in New York City! An amazing week

 Wonder Water Image #5
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Excitement is mounting for our trip to New York City
later this month for the ground floor opening of
the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.  Our dear friend
Franco Mbilizi is going to meet us there, and we
are all trying to hold down our enthusiasm.  Franco
is a super talented artist, kind, funny and amazing
person, and he is featured in the British Vogue 100th
anniversary issue, and in British GQ, and soon
in British House and Gardens.

I was getting the details of our trip to New York
worked out, preparing my work for teaching
two nights a week for the next seven weeks,
and trying to keep it all together with some
meditating so I could tell my wonderful artist
friend Janet in California that I am keeping up
my meditation practice, when I got the news
that this painting, which I love so much --
for the painting, and the wonderful model,
Emily, my son's girlfriend -- has sold!
Wonderful.  The painting was in the Florence
Biennale as part of an ocean series.

This is such happy news to carry with us
to the gala opening. Thank you Emily for
your wonderful work posing, and for the
inspiration for this piece.

Have a buying art from artists day.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Into the garage and some touching drawings from the past

 Sam sleeping, or Sleeping Sam
black marker on long writing paper
8 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir ©
(This looks like baby Sam, our 
youngest son might have fallen asleep
on the couch with his pet Kangaroo -- Kanga.
He must have been very new because he
was a big baby). No doubt his mother was 
trying to write something while she watched him!

Our garage is in rough shape, and going to be repaired
in a couple of weeks,  so we've slowly and
reluctantly been emptying it out. The last thing you need
in a small house is to bring more stuff in, but the time has
come to sort it.

To my surprise there is some treasure in the creaky
structure.  Old letters -- so thorough and descriptive.
People used to write one another long, long letters.
8 pages hand written in a fine hand is almost
standard in the these letters from friends and relatives.
And the writing is astonishing, fresh, intelligent,
funny and vivid -- bringing back those moments as
dramatically as a video.
The Boys : van Schaik-Moo Moo
(My sons Christopher, on the left, and
Sam, the baby, were called van Schaik Muir,
a combination of my husband's name and mine.
Both now both just use Muir professionally.  My brother,
the writer and I call ourselves Moo Moos, 
black marker on long writing paper
8 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir ©
Another treasure is a stack of drawings of what life
 was like then, being sent back and forth by Fax.  I
know people who still use Fax machines, but they
seem almost historic. And these long drawings on
the kind of paper we used years ago are
interesting.  I'm showing you two tonight.  My brother
in Ottawa and I have been working on writing and
editing assignments together now and then since
we graduated from university.  These drawings of
my children were meant to catch him up on what we
were doing.

Have a finding art memories from the past day.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Art and the beach save the terrible, truly bad, day.

Drawing for a painting I'm thinking about
Work in progress (more as I do more)
Charcoal on bond paper
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
If you are the labeling kind of person, and
I can be, this was a pretty bad day.
My title references a children's book I
read to my kids: Alexander and the Terrible,
Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

1.When I was making my breakfast, and about to serve
it, I knocked the pot off the counter getting my
bowl down from the cupboard, and covered the
kitchen floor with oatmeal.  (Okay the dog
had a go at it, and Steven helped me clean it up,
and I made more oatmeal -- problem solved.) I
An arrangement of stones left close to the water's edge
2. I was trying to make a Facebook photo album,
spent about an hour on it, and was putting the
last photo in, when the computer froze, and no
matter what I tried would not let me do a thing.
I stayed calm, and decided to stop.

3. Unloading the dishwasher while my eggs cooked for
lunch,  I stacked a set of glass containers on the counter
getting ready to put them away when. SMASH!  They fell
on the floor, and exploded sending flying glass all over
the kitchen, plus several of the tiny shards shot into
my legs, and one foot. Freak out.  Yes.  Broken glass is
incredibly upsetting when you have three animals underfoot,
and you have bleeding cuts!  After I cleaned up the bigger
 pieces all over the room (that glass flew easily 10 feet), Steven
helped me clean my wounds, got the vacuum for me, and I soldiered

4.  At this point I could have given up, but Steven
suggested getting out of here (Oh fabulous idea!).
Did I mention that it was incredibly hot today?
Hot, sticky and unpleasant.  So we drove
down to Lake Ontario, and guess what it was
cool enough there that I could wear a jacket.
After my multiple messes I felt so happy seeing people
relaxing, playing ball, and picnicking. Couples
snuggled on blankets, and kissed on the benches under
the trees.
Pieces of brick gathered and arranged  next to a stick
5. But best of all as we walked along the shore
searching for treasure like little children, I saw art
-- little collections of stones arranged in an artistic way.
Those gestures of creativity made me completely happy,
and when we left the beach I felt uplifted.
Steven and I say, "open your hands and close
your eyes," and then put the treasure we've
gathered into each others' hands.  Done.
I even found a piece of the rarest treasure --blue
glass. (Ironically most of our finds are pieces of

Tonight I started this drawing in preparation for
a painting I'm thinking of.  I'll show you more
as I get farther along.  Meanwhile stay happy.

Have a getting through to the art day. 
Check out the links to sites I could have
used in the midst of this saga.

Friday, May 27, 2016

To the people who asked for abstracts -- here's one!

 Broken Line #3
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
At the show I was in in April with Gill Cameron,
at the Wychwood Barns, one couple was struck with
my large abstract pieces and said they'd be interested
in a smaller painting in that style.

That made me think that in the midst of my
other work -- I might create at least one smaller
abstract a week if I was in Toronto.

This week I've been working on this painting --
a continuation of the Broken Line series I started
for a show at the Super Wonder Gallery curated
by the superb curator, Daniel Anaka.

Have an enjoying life in the abstract day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Art group - an hour of plugging in

 Art Group Sketch -- No more sorrow
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18
Barbara Muir © 2016

It's been so long since I could join my art group on
Tuesday night to paint from the model.  Tonight's
gentleman was excellent at giving off a mood --
serious, contemplative, artist/musician -- like
the best art models, stories bounced out of him
as he posed in absolute silence.

Here's what an hour with the group with two
breaks brought out in me.  So wonderful to
see my fellow artists again.  What with shows
out of the country, teaching and the inability
to stand for long, my home studio and
being able to break whenever I needed to has
been my refuge.

But how great to be with the group and hear
their stories.

My title goes with the model's expression.

Have a reconnecting with your friends day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Okay New York -- show us some more!

Lynx Alexander, or Alexander Lynx at the MoMA
(Museum of Modern Art), New York City last Sunday
Our second day started out with an agonizingly long
meeting guaranteeing a better deal in the hotel,
so we went for it.  But whew, afterwards walked out
into the cold May air and straight to Rockefeller
Square for lunch.  We were served by a tall,
handsome young waiter who reminded us of our
son Sam, and sure enough the waiter is an actor
in his other life.  His sense of humour, and kind
manner put us back in the groove.

At the MoMA before we took the elevator to a
spectacular show of Degas monoprints and drawings
we met the man shown above in the lobby.

I was of course delighted by his tie curling
up in sculptural defiance of the rule of ties, so I asked
him how he did it, and he explained his method (wire
and resin). But his art he said with no fanfare
whatsoever was about painting pianos.  That
is perhaps the understatement of the year, as I found
out when I researched him later.  Lynx Alexander,
or Alexander Lynx is the Steinway artist in residence
and has painted some very famous pianos indeed.
Click the link above to see an incredible video of
Lynx painting Steinways. 

The Degas show -- Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty
 is a must see -- with pastel drawings and monoprints I've
 never seen before. This is one of my favorite pieces in the

Two studies for music hall singers, 
(Deux études pour chanteuses de
café-concert) circa 1878 - 80
Pastel and charcoal on gray paper
Edgar Degas

 I love the quote from Degas and the explanation
displayed with this work too.  Something we artists
can no doubt agree with wholeheartedly.

And no matter what's happening I can't leave the MoMA without seeing
the Monet Water Lilies paintings.

  Have a getting out to see some art and artists day.

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!