Sunday, September 17, 2017

More on New York plus saved by the garden

Toy boat on the pond in Central Park, New York City
I had an amazing time in New York City.  City of art and light
and entertainment and festivity.  I remember before I showed in
New York the first time that I was warned that New Yorkers are
cold.  I'm sure that cold New Yorker exists.  You may even know
him by name.  But I have never met a cold New Yorker.  What
I've met is warm, lovely people from all over the world, who
make that city their home, and who love to talk.  We had
conversations about art of course, and about music, and
food, and of course worried discussions of climate change
and the horrific hurricanes battering the southern U.S.

A couple shares a quiet picnic in Central Park

Now I am home.  As well as the people I miss glorious Central
Park, which I'm sure is one of the most ideal urban parks on the
planet -- so large, so filled with benches and quiet nooks, precious,
gorgeous trees, animal life, flowers and absolutely welcoming and
rich in beauty.
Dance by Matisse
at the MoMa in NYC
Plus I miss the galleries.  I miss the MoMA and the Met. Especially the
Met this time, which we visited twice.  I stared at Sargent's portrait of
Mrs. Hugh Hammersley for probably the 20th time, and was struck anew by the
strange and magical techniques Sargent had used painting this woman.
 I loved the Portrait of Theodore Duret by James McNeill Whistler,
and Mary Cassatt's Portrait of a Young Girl.

Portrait of Mrs Hugh Hammersley
By John Singer Sargent
The Met, NYC

Portrait of Theodore Duret 
by James McNeill Whistler
Met Museum, NYC
(I love the discussion on the link about
why the woman's evening cape was
needed for contrast.  But looking at the
painting I saw a dutiful mate waiting patiently 
for his wife or girlfriend at the end of 
a gala evening, and that made me smile.)

Portrait of a Young Girl
by Mary Cassatt -- The Met Museum NYC

 I came home feeling terribly sad to have to say goodbye.  I'm
probably an artist who would be happy living in a hotel.  But I'd miss
my cats (the siamese is calling at the moment asking to be held),
and my dog, and this week the garden.  My Japanese Anemones,
taller than I am at 5'4", are a blaze of white blooms against their dark,
green leafy base.  So perfect.  And the Morning Glories are the size
of saucers, maybe even larger in a blue that's impossible to
replicate -- one of the most joyous, soulful colours I've ever
seen.  My gallery director in NYC helped me out with my acute case
of homesickness for her city.  She told me I could not have the life
I have here in Toronto in New York, with a small house and a garden,
and the peace to create the art I make.  She's right.  Few people in downtown
New York have even a small backyard.
Japanese Anemones in our little garden -- a super cheerful sight.
She turned my heart back in the direction of home, and now back with
my family and friends my sadness is gone and I'm happy and content
with my memories.  For now.  But I'm coming back New York.
You can count on it!

Have a loving travelling for art day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Leaving New York City -- the long goodbye

Saxophone player in front of the Metropolitan Museum of
Fine Art, New York City.

For the rest of this week I will be saying goodbye to New York
where I've just spent five wonderful days.  Tonight after
arriving home in Toronto I am both happy to be back in
my home town with my family, and Toronto friends, and
sad to leave one of the best cities I've encountered in the world
so far.  So I will feature New York this week, and share some of
what I love about the place.

I figure five days would be all I need to live somewhere else,
and feel -- "Oh yeah -- this is my home."  I was totally
getting that way in New York City until I heard the saxophone
player in front of the Met play "Oh Canada!".  He touched my
heart, and made me realize -- okay Canada is certainly one
of my homes.  I thanked him profusely, and he went on to play
other countries' anthems.  One of the super things about New York
is the people, who are smart, funny, generous and love to
meet and talk to other people.

Have a living-like-a-New-Yorker day.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fabulous opening at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery today

Me with art appreciator and new friend Judith Newfield
in front of
The happiest view 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 60 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(to see the painting photographed 
at a normal angle click here.)
I had a wonderful time at the opening of the group show
I'm in at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.  It was
extremely well attended and the work was fantastic.

Artist Philip Catania and his wife Karen.  I think Philip
and I have been in at least 6 shows together.

 One of Philip Catania's paintings
titled The Swamp.

A gorgeous sample of the wonderful 
flower paintings by Nancy Balmert

Artist Patrick Walsh does amazing collages of
his photographs to make dramatic,
powerful  images.

I enjoy meeting artists, and seeing people who have shown
with me at this gallery before.  It is a superb exhibition, and if
you're in New York City in the next few weeks be sure to check
it out.

Me with Gallery Owner and Director
Ruthie Tucker.  This painting got a lot
of attention!
There are 13 artists in this dynamic exhibition.  To the artists whose work I didn't
mention -- my apologies.  My telephone wouldn't let me take photos, so all
I have are the photos my husband took!

My extreme gratitude to Ruthie Tucker the director, and her assistants, Torie and Valeria.
What a pleasure to be part of this.
Happy discussions in the room with my paintings.
Have a going-to-wonderful-art-shows day.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gratitude to a hero -- the luminary influence of Louise Hay

Acrylic on birch panel
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Before I first read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, I know
I was already trying to be a positive person.  But all artists/writers/people
get the blues, go through hard times, and doubt themselves.
Louise Hay popularized the idea that it is okay to love yourself.
And in fact taught that all decent, kind behaviour to others begins
with accepting and loving yourself.

This was a major shift in thinking.  She wasn't proposing narcissism,
but trying to reform our natural tendency to self criticism.  That
doesn't mean that signing on to her ideas, and believe me they
were like magic for me, ended all my self scrutiny and worry.
But she gave people tools for transforming a bad day, hard
experience, and crippling lack of confidence into something
brighter, stronger, more resilient.

I will always be grateful.  A few years ago I did some small
portraits of some of my heroes to put up in a show I was in
here in Toronto.  I didn't intend to sell the work, and did not.
They were for me -- as recognition of a fantastic experience
I'd had meditating about meeting some of my favourite people
while my husband was having an acupuncture session, and I
had to sit with him quietly.  Naturally one of those portraits
was of Louise Hay. I would have loved to meet her.

Last week Louise Hay died, and it all came back to me. I wanted
to honour her here because I don't think this blog would have
happened, or that I would be an artist who's been featured in shows
in Europe and New York, without her influence. I think that the
happiness I enjoy with my family and friends, the wonderful people
I've met in my art and teaching career, and even my relatively good
health cycles back to the groundwork for joy in her teachings.  And I
just want to say thank you Louise.  Since you've been gone,
I keep hearing a quote from you.  "In the infinity of life where
I am all is perfect, whole and complete."  I love that and I
know that wherever you are that is true.

Have a caring for others and loving your life day.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

New York bound -- a joyous journey

No Contest -- Nature Wins!
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches

Barbara Muir © 2016
This is the last painting in the trio celebrating the beauty
of Nova Scotia, that will be on display on September
9 at the champagne opening and I'll be there.  So if you're
in New York City then, and want to come out -- see the
art and have some fun, let me know.  You know that party
you are always wanting -- this is it.

When I am in Nova Scotia, clouds, the landscape and the
sea dominate my vision.  But I am strongly attracted to
cityscapes too. So I love this little corner of commercialism
with the clouds doing a happy dance above, and of course
being more spectacular than anything below.  Truth to tell,
just around the corner there are fields and horses, about six
blocks away are some of the most beautiful, majestic houses in the
Maritimes, and along the road, and around another corner you
can see farmland as far as the eye can see, rolling in gorgeous
shades of green and yellow, and then the ocean.

I am missing all of it, and the wonderful people I know

Have a loving-what-you-see day.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A continuous high -- the ecstasy of clouds

The happiest view 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 60 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Today's painting will I hope be the centerpiece in my New York
exhibition next month at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.  Finishing
it made me so happy -- because the scale (quite large) really gets
across the magic of clouds over the ocean.  It's almost like clouds,
dance, and stretch and breathe into the most gorgeous and luminous
sculptural shapes when they have the space -- over rolling farmland,
or the wide open ocean.  They get both opportunities in Canada's

And we artists on the ground looking up are in complete awe.  I felt
like I got that with this one.  And I love it.  So once again -- if you
are in New York City when my three paintings are part of a group
show at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Chelsea.  Let me know
and I'll send you an invite to the champagne opening between
3 and 5 p.m. on September 9.

Thank you for all your support.  We artists and collectors and curators
need one another, and I feel so lucky to get to do this work.

Have a marvelling at clouds day.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sending Nova Scotia to New York

At the Boat Launch -- Port Philip
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016 - 2017

I first painted this painting last year and revised it when I came back from
our recent trip to Nova Scotia.  The experience of walking down the
boat launch and seeing masses of brilliant yellow flowers and red, red sand
was still vivid in my mind, and demanded some changes.  Paintings
do that.  They look at you and say "Really?" And the next thing you
know you are back in the thick of it.  I'm happy with the results.

The work I'm sending to New York City for a show in September at
the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, is all about my love of Nova Scotia.
Sitting at the dinner table a few days after we got back, my husband
and I were teary with longing for the place.  I painted when I was
in N.S., and visited other artists.   New art projects were filling my mind.
But Nova Scotia is too far from our family, and from the familiar
and friendly art world here.  Still seriously, if you haven't been, you
must go. And if you go to this place on Highway 6, there are magnificent
views in every direction.

I apologize for the photo.  I was in a big rush to ship the work
so it could arrive on time.  More about this, and about the artists
I met on my trip to come.

Have a getting-the-work-out-to-the-world 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!