Sunday, July 24, 2016

A favorite painting sells to wonderful collectors -- a joyous occasion!

 In the City
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
I know my blog posts have been sporadic to say the least
this summer, and there has been a lot going on.  So here's
an update, and I hope to tell you more good news as
the week progresses.  One of my favorite paintings of this year has
sold to wonderful people to highlight their happiness about
getting a new home.  I couldn't be more thrilled.

This painting was inspired by a photograph by my friend,
the amazing photographer, and world renowned journalist,
Howard Wolinsky.  Howard and I go back to the time when
he was working on a Skype blog, and I was one of the first
artists to publish drawings and paintings done live from Skype.
Howard's interview with me, and his encouragement got
me first a major job with a New York company doing line
drawings for an event in Las Vegas via Skype, and a second
You Tube interview caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey
and got me on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Howard and I have been friends on social media ever since.
And when I admired a wonderful photo he showed of the park
he and his wife walk in, near his home in Chicago, I asked if
I could do a painting using it as a source, and he agreed.

After that Howard sent me dozens of photos, but most of
the time I like to work from my own reference, and my
imagination. I like to carry the feeling of the place inside me.
That's how powerful Howard's photos are.  You feel like you
 are there.  The painting is not a replica of the photo, but I did
my very best to evoke the wonder I felt when I saw Howard's work.
Thank you so much Howard.

Having a being-grateful-for-artist-friends day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tulips in July -- Gone to a new home

Late evening tulips 
Acrylic on birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
This year is strange in so many ways.  The weather is
one -- hot one minute, cold the next.  But deciding
to stay in the city this month to work has made me
appreciate the cool weather whenever it comes.

So it seems appropriate that this little painting
of tulips was sold today to someone who loves
the spring as much as I do -- one of Toronto's
prominent architects.  That made me so happy!

I'm working on some larger pieces that take more
time right now, so I will show you the work when
it's ready.  Meanwhile these lovely flowers are
delighted to have an appreciative audience.

Have a loving-the-season-day.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day -- I love my country!

Dear friends,

Today is Canada Day.  The weather is doing what it does
best here, having trouble deciding.  It rains like crazy,
then apologizes (Canadians are noted for being apologetic),
says it's sorry, and bright sunlight fills the day with
sparkling beauty, then more rain, and more sunshine.

In that way the day itself is like a love affair -- one minute
all is well, and the next you get a bit wet.  But I feel
filled with pride at this crazy country, populated with so
many kind, talented funny people.  So I'm including
some of the paintings I've done in the past year of this
great land. The left and right are Nova Scotia, and the center
picture is our own street, looking over the schoolyard.

Whether it will keep raining and prevent the fireworks
we traditionally go and see, where people all gather on
the beach, and then clap when the fireworks are over, or
not is anyone's guess.  But fireworks or not.  I love
this place.

Have a happy, peaceful, joyous Canada Day wherever you are.

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.

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!