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: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
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!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Opening at Studio Vogue November 6

 Shown above on the invitation
Wonder Water Image #2
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I do not know the title of
Anette Walther's lovely painting.
Hi Everyone,
Please come out to the opening of Time Passages
on November 6 from 6 - 8 p.m. at Studio Vogue Gallery
in Toronto, at 216 Avenue Road across from the Hare
Krishna Temple.  If you're in the Toronto
area, I would love to see you and meet those of you,
who follow my work, but haven't been to a show yet.

I will be exhibiting the Wonder Water Images series
(part of the ocean series) and a variety of work.
 I know it will be a great evening and it will make it even
more special if you are part of it. 

Have a-marking-November 6-in-your-calendar day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One wonderful woman -- and down the home stretch

 Untitled (work perhaps still in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(The photo is from my phone.  I will take a proper
"photograph" tomorrow.)
Hi dear friends, it's been awhile I know.  Here
is one of the paintings I've been working on
for quite some time.  The subject is the wonderful
Lilou Mace who gave me permission to paint
her as part of my ocean series -- Wonder Water

Lilou Mace is determined to make the world
a better place by conducting television interviews
with people around the world working on
helping people live positive lives through
the power of the mind, the body, the spirit, and
through dynamic connections between positive
people who she calls "co-creators" around
the world.

She has done more than 2,000 video interviews.
I will tell you more tomorrow.  For tonight I
know I can rest easy because my portrait of
Lilou is if not completely finished "as near
as makes no never mind," as my mother used to

I became a big fan of Lilou's when I started
meditating and loved her meditation that
allowed the listener to meet a guide.  She has
a beautiful voice and everytime I listened to
this meditation I got not one guide, but usually
a group of guides.  You can read about one of those
experiences based on her meditation on my blog.
I was not listening to Lilou in this story, but
followed a memory of her voice in my head and
it was a great meditation.

I may say more about this painting tomorrow.
I am more than delighted that it is (almost) complete.

Thank you Lilou, and thank you Mariette
Chatain who works with Lilou, for all of
your wonderful help with this project.

Have a living-with-passion-and-finishing-the-work-of
your-heart's-delight day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My good man and a long day

Outside then please
Acrylic and marker 
on bond paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Okay I sketched again today, after a 17and1/2 hour
working day out of the house. I came home
to a husband who had set the table and made
a delicious dinner and waited until 10:15 p.m.
to eat with me -- knowing that my day today
began at 5:30 a.m.  It was a great day.

Highlights?  A fellow teacher telling me
he was 110% feeling great, and me responding,
150%.  I love positive people -- they transform
the day.

A fast five minute meditation by Lilou Mace 
that energized me for the evening's work.

A quick visit from my son and his girlfriend --
so sweet and funny.

And meeting and talking to wonderful people
all day.

So I decided to draw on another piece of
palette paper over a mix of blue paint again.
This is my good man, persuaded by
my cat Timbah to go outside and sit with him
enjoying the day.  It is based on a photo taken
a few minutes after the inside one I drew
yesterday with Timbah crawling on Steven's
shoulder while Steven was working.

Have a noticing-your-joy day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sketching and the 3Rs

Timbah wants up
Acrylic and black marker on
bond paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I'm working on a portrait that is very slowly
coming together.  Wait!  I keep saying to myself.
Don't worry.  But meanwhile what do I put on
my blog?  Many of my blog friends do challenges.
This seems to be productive.  I volunteered for
a challenge to meditate every day, and am still
going four months after that began.  So tonight
I mused about challenging myself to draw every
day.  I can't make that binding because I am really
busy right now -- but I thought tonight I'd draw on
a piece of paper I'd used as a palette, and let the
awesome blue that was trying out to be a sky set
the tone.

The 3Rs?  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  So I reduced my
challenge  (just tonight for sure ;-) I reused a piece of
paper used as a palette.  And I will eventually recycle
that too.  How about you?  What challenges can you
accept, and which ones do you have to refuse?

Have a loving-the-challenges-you-accept day.
P.S.  Timbah loves my husband Steven's shoulders.
He's a big cat, and one rear leg is a bit weak.
In this picture Steven is both helping Timbah onto
his shoulder and holding him there. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Up to my elbows in peaches, and a peach of an art show

 Peach party
12 x 12 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008
I am still working on the larger work that is taking
time, but I miss blogging so much that I've decided
to use the "throw back Thursday" idea and put up
a work from 2008 which is one of my favorites.

Steven and I are a bit like the squirrels tearing apart
my window box planter (already struggling with the
cold) to hide a few choice nuts and seeds.  In our
case we headed out last weekend looking
for peaches to freeze (me), and can (him).
We went to a great little market on Keele Street north
of York University on Saturday.  The owner farms
35 acres right in the middle of Toronto.  There we
were careful -- just two baskets of gorgeous

Was that enough?  Oh no.  Here we are both working
crazy hard, and we meet a super farmer named Mike
in Vineland, and bring home 6 more quarts!  By
tonight, even though the weather is cool, the time
for slow action is over, and I've just spent an hour
cutting and freezing and bagging my peach friends
in immediate need of attention.
Wonder is infinite
watercolour on watercolour paper
with a superimposed watercolour paper grid
8 x 10 inches (framed)
Courtney Lee © 2014
My dear friend Courtney Lee is part of
No Vacancy Cirque at Village Square in Burlington,
Ontario Canada tomorrow (Friday).  The show runs
from 7 - 12 on September 19 only and sounds incredibly
 cool.  If you're in the area check Courtney's amazing
watercolour and paper abstracts!  It will be a peach of a show!
Courtney Lee
Have a visiting friends' art shows day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thinking about my father and 9/11

Stopping for clouds along the highway
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Today is the anniversary of my father's death,
a day that sticks in my heart year after year.
He died years before 9/11, so the day is
doubly resonant because of all it means.
I remember the day so clearly because my
father managed to say goodbye to all of
us the evening before he died, holding my
hand and calling me "beautiful."
This as he gasped for air under his oxygen
mask.  He was dying of lung cancer --
probably the direct result of being exposed
to radiation in the navy. His bravery inspired
me, and his determination to be strong was
a gift to all of us. 

Thinking about him today I wish he could
see how my life has turned out, how
art is at the center of my days, how his two
grandsons have grown into wonderful,
loving young men, both exhibiting his way
with words, and his artistic leanings.

As for 9/11, I never go to New York
that I don't think of it, of the courage
of that city, and of how valiantly it
has recovered its vitality and moved on.
Speaking of art, creativity and theater,
New York is really where it's at.  How I would
have loved to have gone there with my

The painting tonight is another cloud scene
from Nova Scotia.  Looking at the reference
photos I have, I keep thinking I don't know how
Nova Scotians ever get anything done
when the skies are so achingly beautiful every day
that all I wanted to do was stare.

Have a loving-the-clouds-in-your-life day.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The lessons of older work -- and wonderful friends

 For the lily
Pen and ink and coloured pencil
on art paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir ©
We put our crazy dog in the car today and
headed out to Hamilton.  It was a gorgeous day
and we walked along the waterfront with our
friends Marcia and David.
View of the waterfront in Hamilton
Back at their lovely, spacious house I noticed
a drawing by the front door, and realized it
was mine from long ago.  Woo Hoo I thought.
I sure could draw!  I was a big fan of a number
of botanical artists, and for a while when my
oldest was a baby made my money from
this work -- pen and ink drawings coloured
in coloured pencil.  Looking at this I was
astonished at the detail, pleased even, but
glad that I have moved on from that.
I still like precision, and I am happy with the
movement in this drawing, but it made me
crave a big brush and a big canvas.

Ciment fondu sculpture
Marcia Labelle ©
I asked Marcia if I could include one of her
pieces in my blog.  She pointed to this
superb sculpture of her husband David.
She probably did this at about the same
time as I did the drawing.  It shows off
both her incredible skill as a sculptor,
and the love she felt for David, then and now.
You can check out more of her work here.

Have a learning-from-your-old-work day.