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, December 16, 2014

I Love my Art Group!

(art group sketch painting)
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I've been working late on Tuesday nights for the past
14 weeks.  No chance to go to my Tuesday night
art group, and I missed them and our time together
so much.

A friend of mine just joined, and I urged her to
come with me tonight and draw.  She did a super
drawing, which I forgot to photograph.  It was a
special night and the place was packed.  We had
a super opera singer as a model!

So fun -- here is my quick 1 hour painting of Ricardo,
I may touch it up a bit tomorrow, but I just
loved painting him with all of my great artist
friends.  Thank you Frank Pasian for organizing
this great event at the DVAC.

Have a-loving-being-with-art-friends day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Staring hard and The Dream -- A visit from the greats

 The Invitation
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
I don't think I'll get to paint this week --
it is filled with other work.  Of course I
want to, and when I let myself have a short
nap today I had one of those momentous
dreams that underscores what I should be
 My Cat Timbah, and the painting
 at the end of the room
We have been camping for nearly a month in
our back (small) bedroom while we wait for
a new bed to arrive.  The room needs attention
because it was my youngest son's nest until
recently.  But it hosts a gallery of my work
mostly featuring Sam, and I've enjoyed
looking at it, and figuring out what I'd do to
each painting if I had the time.

Snuggled in there this afternoon I
suppose I was drifting into a meditative
state, and then before I knew it into full
scale dreaming.

So. I was sleeping on the beach we visit
near Pugwash Nova Scotia. Part of
my mind was seeing Christmas lights, and
then hustling down the beach toward me
came a group of artists.  But not just any artists --
Mary Cassatt, Emily Carr (I don't think
they ever really met), Vincent van Gogh,
Matisse, and Gaugin.

An unlikely group to be walking together I
know. In my dream they were all around
the same age (inaccurate I'm afraid),
their long, dark coats fluttering
in the wind.  The women holding onto
decidedly inappropriate hats.

They treated me to a heated discussion
about the importance of colour, and were
incredibly kind to me, encouraging
me to keep using vivid colour and not to go
quiet or bland.
The wall of Sam paintings
(I took this photo with panorama on my phone
so the room looks as if it bends.  It doesn't.)

Before I fell asleep, I was staring at the painting
on the wall at the end of the room. I've looked at
it every day for almost two months now, and
 I'm planning some changes to it .
 Come back for a visit to see where it goes
 -- nothing major, just small changes I need
to make.

Does this happen to you when you look at
your older work?  Do you see things you love,
and places on some work that you'd change?

Have a happy day enjoying your work.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy December

Breakfast in the hotel
Petit-déjeuner à l'hôtel
Acrylic on canvas
4 canvasses
36 x 48 inches
6 feet x 8 feet total
Barbara Muir © 2012
I don't have a new painting tonight, but I wanted to
wish you Happy December.  Alyson Stanfield wrote a
Thanksgiving weekend piece called A Feast for 
the eyes: Food in Art this past weekend.  She asked
artists to share their food paintings and I posted my
painting of Breakfast at the Skylight Diner NYC there.

Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs,
December's a lovely month.  Lights are starting to
show up in the dark.  Fantasy and fun is in the cold air.
The decorations in store windows are astounding
and inspiring.  It's a beautiful month -- and
at the end the inspiration of a whole new
fresh 12 months, stretching out full of promise.

I am a fan of Christmas, even though I'm not
religious.  I love the music, the presents, the
food, the parties and seeing friends.  Plus a short
break from work for all of us is a treat.

Have a getting-ready-for fun day.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

More on clouds and wanting lights

 Untitled (second and third stage)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(I'll try taking a new shot tomorrow
in daylight.  It will be better.)
One of my friends with a birthday near the beginning
of December, decorates with strings of tiny, white lights
around the inside doorways in her house at Christmas.
It's a sensational touch, and makes her house look
fabulously upbeat even in a snowstorm.  I unpacked a
new bunch of little, clear lights today, circled them around me
after I plugged them in and sang a very corny version
of You light up my life to Steven as he came into the
kitchen.  Time to decorate!  I hold off until December
first, but it's hard because I love the smell of pine,
and the look of the lights on the porch shining
in the front window of the studio.

Our flower store friends have told me what kind of
wreathe I like (pine) and have ordered one for me
without asking me. I can check that off the list.

A few years ago my daughter-in-law decorated
with white star lights from Ikea -- beautiful.
I bought some too and I plugged those in in
the studio today, because they are
there as decoration year round.
So we're off to the races. The holiday feeling
is creeping in.

Tonight I'm showing you the next stage
on my cloud painting, and here are some guests
visiting my work at Studio Vogue Gallery
Guests check out my cloudscapes
at Studio Vogue on Friday.
Have an enjoying-the-moment-day

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 Untitled (first stage)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Happy Thanksgiving to my American family,
and to all of you, my wonderful American friends.

Thank you for your support

Thank you for your kindness

Thank you for this community

Thank you for the inspiration

Thank you for your determination 
to keep on making art

Thank you for all that I've learned from you

Thank you for your humour

Thank you for your successes

Thank you for your beautiful and 
magnificent art

Thank you!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Snow helps -- but wind is harsh

The backyard celebrates winter 
(work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

Tonight we lost power for awhile, and it's
messing up my posts.  Sorry for that.  Here's
a little painting I started a couple of years
ago.  It's amazing how much an artist's
approach can change in that short time.
For that whole time I've looked at this
painting, and looked at it, and not even been
sure what I was seeing, although it's loosely
based on the view out my back window in winter.

So a few days ago I picked up the canvas again.
We had snow on the ground and the rooftops.
I snapped some pictures on my phone and
went back to work.  There's still more to do,
but the wind keeps cutting the power out,
so more tomorrow.

Have a using-your-power-wisely day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Never nothing going on

Reading the dessert menu
waercolour, and black marker on 
watercolour paper
9 x 12 1/8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Yes.  It's a double negative.  A complete no no!
(Another double negative.)  But it's true, in an
artist's life, there is never 'nothing going on.'
We might fake that -- pretend boredom, answer
the question, "what's up?" with "nothing much."
But trust me, we're not telling the truth when we
say that.  We're attempting normalcy, we're trying
to blend in.

The truth is that our eyes and brains, and at best our
hands are at work full time.  As long as we're awake,
and even when we're sound asleep we are like full
time movie cameras recording measuring, trying to
hold onto and remember all that we see.  For the
most part we don't need to drink, or do any mind
altering drugs, because our minds are always on
high.  That's why we get so tired, and have to lie
down -- and then there are dreams!

I say we're lucky.  But if you ask an artist what's
happening, and hear a pat answer meant to
escape the spotlight, just say "oh" and move on,
maybe it's best if we all pretend artists aren't
different.  But here's another thing -- every single
one of us is an artist in one way or another.  Like
the guard at the art gallery yesterday who told me
she wasn't an artist.  When I asked her what kind
of artistic thing she did, she said embroidery, and
then, she started talking tools, the kind of cloth,
the kind of embroidery thread she uses.  Definitely
an artist.

Have a nothing-going-on day.