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, July 21, 2015

Bad week for artists on the net, and what gives me hope

 Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
It's a bad week for my blogger friends, artists on
Facebook, and artists on the net,  because
Wallpart.com has stolen images, and is selling
posters of the work of most of my artist
friends.  Please sign the petition by
clicking here, and help reverse this situation.

The young woman I'm painting now is
certainly a reason for hope for the future.
She is a valiant worker for important causes,
and has worked since she graduated with her
masters 5 years ago in government, advocating
for women's involvement, and women's rights
in Canada. 

I am still a long way from finishing this painting,
but I thought I'd show you the current stage.  This
is stage 4 or 5 and is where I'm at.  I just miss you
too much when I don't blog.

Have a stopping-the-rip-off-artists-and-enjoying-hope day.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Finishing work -- with a friend's help

From the market (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Two weeks ago I started this painting after
buying an amazing bouquet at the Brickworks
Market here in Toronto from my friend Pegann.

I loved the bouquet, but it was unfamiliar in many
ways.  I didn't know any of the flowers, I am not usually
a fan of purple, and I just wanted to be fast and
loose in preparation for a big portrait I am working

I was a flower painter first and foremost which
should have made it easy -- but post trip exhaustion,
then a horrific cold got me off track.

I was talking about all of that to an artist friend
today, who challenged me to do a painting in
purple, green, brown, grey, black and yellow.
Huh!  I thought.  What am I some kid just out
of art school?  Do I need assignments?

 Colour study
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Well apparently yes.  Because working on that
little painting, with colours I would never choose
first, gave me my resolve, and I went back to
nearly finish the flowers.  Doing what was so
not me, gave me back the me of me.  Thank you
to my friend, the great artist, Franco.

Have a-trying-something-new-day.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Portrait of a boy and I love Paris because...

Portrait of a boy
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Here's my most recent portrait commission of a
darling little boy.  The collectors have bought and
commissioned quite a few of my paintings and
I love working with them.
France from the air
Heading home --
already missing Paris
© Barbara Muir 2015
Two weeks ago tomorrow we flew out of Paris and I
was really sad to leave.  But just so I remember
and to share my thoughts with you, I'll tell you
some of what I loved about the place.
Our first night on the Seine
© Barbara Muir 2015 
1.  I love the people.  Everyone was so
helpful, and kind, and funny.  Just so much fun.

2. I loved the people at the Carrousel du Louvre
show (my reason for going to Paris).  The man
who worked at the entrance, the docents at the Louvre,
the women on the information desk
who gave me a candy that tasted like a strawberry
Macaron, and the people running the EA Editore
section at the show.  My thanks to Francesco Saverio
 Russo, Salvatore Russo,  Sandro Serradifalco
and Alessandra Mascitti. You are an awesome

Alessandra Mascitti and me
3. The city, pulsing with life all the time.  We
walked out of the Louvre one day to see
the street filled with people rollerblading.  Then
later saw a rock group performing by the Seine for
some event about the car, and right by the stage
was an area for children, where some little girls were
dancing in a circle to the music.
 Children dancing to a rock group's music
© Barbara Muir 2015
4. The food -- does that go without saying? The food
at the restaurants we visited was delicious, unique,
I realize I didn't actually get a picture of the
food -- we were too busy eating it.  And the
wine -- I forgot to mention that.  This photo
was taken in an amazing Indian food
restaurant. Very elegant.
© Barbara Muir 2015 

5.  The architecture. Everywhere we went in Paris the
architecture was so beautiful.  So much thought went
into the buildings, and so much care is spent on
maintaining them.  Parisians are aware that their
gorgeous public spaces attract people from all over
the world, and they take pride in that.
The Grand Palais
© Barbara Muir 2015 

View from a taxi
© Barbara Muir 2015 

6. The museums.  I have not been in good walking
condition since I hurt my knee last winter, and it
was sad not to be able to stroll in Paris.  But we took
taxis everywhere.  The Louvre of course is wonderful,
and huge.  We wanted to see the Musée D'Orsay, which
is amazing, but we could not get in. We also went to the
Pompidou Centre, but I could not stand in the long line up.
Still for you my friend these and many, many more
museums are a must-see when you visit Paris.
 Steven at the Louvre
© Barbara Muir 2015 

7.  The Seine and it's beautiful bridges.  We were
beyond lucky to be staying across the street from the Seine.
This meant we could cross at the light, walk down
a ramp and be sitting on the wall at the edge of the
Seine in a matter of minutes.  We loved watching the
people picnic all along the river.
 View of the river Seine near our hotel
© Barbara Muir 2015 
8.  Coffee.  There are places that don't understand or
value coffee, Paris is not one of them.  On one of our
loveliest afternoons when we couldn't get into the Pompidou,
we rested on wooden lounge chairs that looked
like sculptures in front of the Hôtel de Ville and then
walked around the corner to a café and had perfect coffee
in small glasses.

 Wonderful coffee
© Barbara Muir 2015 

9.  Stores:  The stores in the sixieme arroundissement
where we were staying were exquisite.  They looked so 
artistic that I kept walking by them thinking they were
 like galleries for clothes.  And they were tucked in
between cafés and art galleries.  But when we finally
went into the beautiful shirt store to get shirts for the
men in our family -- it was both a perfect gallery of
shirts on display, and a superb and charming store.

10.  Waking up and knowing I was in Paris!  Could
there be a nicer way to wake up.  To know that for the
whole day I would see Paris.  It started with opening
the curtains and seeing the pretty courtyard in the
hotel.  I do like being in Toronto.  And I love New York
City too.  Still I love the sound of the French language,
the courtesy, Notre Dame Cathedral.  There's so much that
I can't include it all.

The view from our hotel window 
© Barbara Muir 2015 
Notre Dame Cathedral
© Barbara Muir 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big opening at the Carrousel du Louvre

 Me with my painting
 Breakfast in the Skylight Diner NYC
30 x 30 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2014
At Art Shopping Carrousel du Louvre
June 2015
Guests at the show enjoy the artwork
 and some good French wine.
Friday night was the opening of the Carrousel du Louvre
show which is huge, and down a hallway from the inverted
glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris.  Now that's exciting.
There are 450 artists in the show, and a vast variety of
work from abstract to realist.
Left to right: Francesco Russo, one of the organizers
 of the EA Editore exhibition, Letizia, his fiancée (I
did not get her last name), Me, and artist Deborah Anne Nero.
I met some of the artists, and we had wonderful discussions.
EA Editore, the gallery representing me here, hold shows
all over the world, and last year held one under the Eiffel
Tower in France.  The artists in the section where
my painting is hanging were telling me all about their
experiences in the art world around the world.  Fascinating.
Me and Steven at the inverted glass pyramid, 
about to go into the show. 
We've moved over to French time, which will be dangerous
back in Canada. I'm always amazed at how quickly we
adjust to new environments.  Vite -- very fast.  Now what's
not to like in Paris?  Not much that I can see.  Great wine,
great food, amazing restaurants, shops and galleries within
steps from our hotel.

The show ends today, and I feel sorry that it's over, yet
so glad that I came.  What a wonderful time. Thank you
to all of the staff at EA Editore for your work
promoting me.

Have a taking-your-art-to Paris day

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Small miracles -- on the road again

 Breakfast at the Skylight Diner NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I am quite moved today thinking about reuniting
with my painting Breakfast at the Skylight Diner
at the Carrousel du Louvre Art Shopping show
this weekend at the Louvre in Paris!

Most of the time I am thinking 15 steps ahead
of myself, and don't often reflect on how amazing
this painting job is.  But it's quite delightful that
a romantic breakfast with my husband in a
diner in New York City on Mother's Day a
year ago is taking me right across the ocean
to Paris.

It seemed to take forever to paint that breakfast.
I agonized over the French toast.  And I know
I kept thinking -- it's one breakfast (but
such a beautiful one). 
First stop Paris
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
A few years ago I painted one of my favorite
models in a work called Next Stop Paris,
thinking that it might somehow come true
for her.  I hope it did, because she grew up
and I lost touch.  But now I am going.  In
fact today.  You may be reading this as I
cross the wide Atlantic.  I hope that I can
blog from Paris.

Meanwhile.  Have a wishing for miracles day.

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

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

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
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

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.