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!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Irony of a busy art life and selling with meaning

 
 Winter tea at the art gallery
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
SOLD

I am super happy about the past week's show
with Gill Cameron, and now I'm getting ready
for Paris, and thinking about Florence.  There
are commissions to complete, and I'm still teaching
a demanding course -- so whew!

I went outside with my dog, Sally, today. This week I
got the report back on my knee -- torn meniscus,
torn ligaments -- yes I hurt it.  Which I've known
for 6 months. So I don't walk the dog, or walk
far right now, but what a treat to go in the backyard
with her, sit on a low ledge and weed a bit.

And the clouds were spectacular -- the perfect
clouds I like to paint, against a spectacular
blue sky.  How gorgeous. 

The irony of being in many art shows, and
preparing and painting is that there is so
little time to blog -- and blogging here --
talking to you, is one of my main loves
in my art world. 

Tonight I am showing you another painting
that sold in the show last weekend.  This
painting -- Winter tea at the art gallery, was
begun the fall when my mother died.
There is a sombre, soulful beauty to it, and
a different colour way that reminds me of
that time.  My mother was a great lover of
the beauty in nature, and was always distracted
on the phone by the magnificent views of nature
she saw out her windows facing the Ottawa River
and Gatineau hills across the river in Quebec.

It looks like I've never shown you the
completed version -- bonus!  I am delighted
that I know and like the person who bought
the painting, and it feels right that she should
have it.  Tea in the members lounge at the
Art Gallery of Ontario is one of my favorite
pleasures, especially on a cold, winter
afternoon.

Have a sharing-the-meaningful day.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Life's pleasures and a delightful show!


 Summer Clouds Wallace Bridge
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
SOLD
Today was an amazing day at the art show. 
I met a novelist whose book will be published
next year.  I met two actors who met and fell
in love at drama school and are working at being
a professional clown therapist, and an escape game
trainer.  I met a journalist with CBC.

 At the Gallery at Wychwood Barns today.

And I met many, many people who used
to paint, would like to paint, almost paint,
paint at home only, dream of painting one day,
do paint but would never show! 

And I thought about how rule bound we can be. 
How there are rules for everything, art, beauty,
what is and isn't good enough.

Then there were the little kids -- a little girl with
her brother who was a gypsy, and had many
necklaces, a head scarf and long floral skirt. 
And another little boy with his sister, he happily
 holding a soccer ball, and his sister in a bathing suit,
after playing in the pool. 

Children know what we drum out of them -- that
we are all artists, that you should eat the macaron,
(maybe two or even three they are delicious)
that you are as beautiful today as you will ever be,
so smile.  They know that the best of life is about
fun, love and pleasure. 

Gill Cameron and I are lucky because so many
people loved our work, and bought it.  And talking
to people today made me realize that we're
lucky because we can't 'not paint.'

Thank you to everyone who came to the show.
Please give yourselves a hug and enjoy life.
Thank you to everyone who bought our art.
You affirm our purpose, and make our work
worthwhile.

Thank you Gill for showing with me. And
thank you to the Wychwood Barns for a
gorgeous space.

Have a letting-yourself-have-fun day.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Super opening and wonderful turn out today

 
A poor photo of my painting 
The Magnificent -- Big Blue
Acrylic on canvas
6 feet x 4 feet, in two canvasses
Barbara Muir © 2015

There's one more day (Sunday May 24th) of the super
art show Gill Cameron and I are putting on at the
 Wychwood Barns near Christie and St. Clair in
Toronto. The Gallery is at the east end of the barns
about a full block east of Christie and about a block
south of St. Clair.  We're open from noon until four
and would love to see you if you're in town.
Gill Cameron (far left) and visitors today
The watercolours are Gill's and the
acrylics on canvas and wood are mine.
Our opening last night was so festive and packed
that I didn't even get a chance to take a picture.
We had  champagne and delicious pizza via
a good friend, and the whole evening was a hit.
More visitors and a lovely dog.
Today again we had great enthusiastic visitors
coming to the show all day from 10 until 4 p.m.

Gill and I are lucky that our work, which is
quite different looks wonderful shown
together, and that's been true as our styles change,
since we first started showing together 9 years ago.

Gill does watercolours of Georgian Bay, and
of B.C., and I do ocean/cloud scenes, food,
still life and portraits in acrylic on both canvas,
and wood.
One of the youngest visitors today.
Come on out if you're in town, you'll be happy
that you did.

Have a going-to-Gill-and-Barbara's-show day!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Limping in a speedy town -- My trip to New York


 Woman waiting at the airport
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Reading the paper
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

I hurt my knee in January.  Badly. Since then I've
been waiting for a diagnosis, living on extra
strength aspirin, and working on staying cheerful
and upbeat. But I don't get an MRI until
the end of this month. (I am lucky that I can
walk, and stand, but my leg does hurt -- sometimes a lot.)

So... when the decision of whether or not to travel
to New York came up -- to show in my wonderful
gallery there -- The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery --
 I was both determined and hesitant.
 I'm so glad I went.  My gallery set up a special
chair for me at the opening.  And the opening was
so much fun.

 Steven and me in the lights of Times Square
As a teacher, and a reader, and a lover of life and
art -- my deal is learning.  Here's what was good.

1. We lingered.  In a city of 81/2 million, 
filled with art, theater and excitement the temptation
is to hurry to see more, more, more. But seriously
who is keeping a tally on how much we see?  No one.
On the first really warm day we sat under an umbrella
beside a gorgeous fountain in the café in Rockefeller
Square for a good part of the afternoon drinking wine
and eating delicious panini.

2. Our slower pace lead to friendships -- with the
couple we spent 2 hours talking to about art and
life in the MoMA over lunch, and the wonderful
Malawian artist, Franco Mbilizi from Chicago
who we met at my opening, and enjoyed a short trip
 to the MoMA with, and coffee, and dinner.
Franco Mbilizi talking about art
at dinner in NYC.
3. We saw more of less. Our hotel was close to
the MoMA and Central Park.  So I could get
to both leaning heavily on Steven. We had to be
choosy, so in the MoMA I saw a Bjork video
our friend insisted we see, and made sure to
see the Monet water lilies -- which always
blow me away, and at the Met works by Derain,
Matisse and the paintings I know I love.
Fishing Boats, Collioure, 1905
André Derain (French, 1880–1954)
Oil on canvas; 31 7/8 x 39 1/2 in. (81 x 100.3 cm)
4.  We did things differently.  We've seen the
horse carts every year taking visitors to the
city through Central Park, and never gone on one.
This year we did, and it was lovely, so slow and
romantic, and we both fell in love with the horse --
King.
A night ride through 
Central Park NYC with King
5.  We enjoyed every minute of what we could
do.  A negative fact in part of your life can make
you doubly determined to seek out pleasure.
So we did.  Every cup of coffee, every lovely
blooming tree, and arrangement of pansies around
the city trees, every beautifully designed store window,
and buzzing restaurant reaffirmed our delight in
being in the city.

Have an enjoying-your-town day.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

In the midst of it


 Out of the cab window -- art on a tour bus
with Time's Square art reflected on the window.
Art is everywhere in New York.  It matters.
I have to get a small notebook today because I
haven't been drawing this amazing city, and
that's just wrong.
View from the bank -- a girl getting her
photo taken at the Love sculpture on
Avenue of the Americas.
But there is more to art than just making it --
there's observing and believe me my eyes,
my ears and my heart are going wild drinking
in this glorious place.
Lunch yesterday in the Rock Café in front of 30 Rock.
Behind the statue carved into the granite is a quote from Aeschylus
that makes sense here: 
“Prometheus, Teacher in Every Art, Brought the Fire 
That Hath Proved to Mortals a Means to Mighty Ends.”


So here are some images from our time here.
Do yourself a favor, and drive, hitchhike, fly,
take a train, but come to New York.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Have a loving-New York Day.
 
 Central Park at dusk

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Great opening in New York City tonight

I had so much fun at the opening of the group
show at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in
Chelsea tonight.
Here I am with the artist Jose Polcheira in front
of my painting Breakfast in the hotel.

 “Big Hug” 4′ x 2′
 Jose Polcheira © 2015
I love Polcheira's fanciful sculpture creations,
so joyful, like the man himself.
Gallery Director, Ruthie Tucker (in the headress) with
her husband H.E. Ambassador Dr. Alton Louis Amsterdam III
and guests.
Another artist, who may show at the gallery in a future
show and I spent along time talking and laughing about 
everything.  We had a wonderful time.  Franco Belizi is
from Malawi, and was visiting New York from Chicago.
He says he has always thought Toronto would be a 
great home, even though he's never visited. 
Franco Mbilizi and H.E. Ambassador
Dr. Alton Louis Amsterdam III
sharing a joke. 

Have a loving-what-you-do day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New York in May -- so French!


 Steven in my son's studio a month ago
waiting while Christopher photographed my
art for the Paris Carrousel du Louvre show.
The painting is Breakfast at the Skylight Diner NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

 If you're in New York City, and want to come to
the gala opening at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery
tomorrow featuring an installation of my painting
Breakfast in the hotel, please let me know.  It's by
invitation only.

What a day today!  We spent a long time in the MoMA
(we're in New York), and had lunch in the lovely
restaurant there.  Our table was about an inch away
from the next table, so naturally we began talking to
the couple from Paris next to us.  How strange to
be out of Canada, and hear French in New York.

Yet, not so strange here, where surprises
that put a smile on your face are constant. I tried
to stumble around in French, but the gracious
couple spoke beautiful English.  Now here's the irony
 -- we're going to Paris in a month! 
 Gustav Klimt. Hope, II. 1907-08
at the MoMA
After about a two hour lunch, we headed out into the
gallery.  I was standing in front of  the Gustav Klimt
(above) and the man next to me and I started asking
each other how the artist put the gold on the background.
Was it first, and then did he paint the green over top,
 or the other way around?  We really couldn't decide.
The man turned out to be a graphic designer from the
south of France, and once again, I attempted a short
phrase or two in French.

Then just before we left the gallery, I started talking
to one of the docents.  He was originally from Haiti,
he too spoke French! I told him that in Canada it was
not cool, quite embarassing not to speak French, Canada's
second official language.  Little did he know that I'd heard
more French in one afternoon at the MoMA than in an
entire year in Toronto. He told me to keep practicing
(my French) and to speak confidently in Paris.  Really?
Bien amusant (funny!)
Rose by Will Ryman in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Sculpture Garden at the MoMA

Have a loving-where-you-are day!