Friday, December 1, 2023


Light from the kitchen table
iPad sketch
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Before I start there's an opening of the Winterlude Show at
the Heliconian Club in Toronto tomorrow at 35 Hazelton Avenue,
Toronto. I have 3 pieces in the show, and was working on
them up to the deadline, and didn't photograph them! (Blame
my end of school deadline too -- I rushed home from delivering
the paintings to prepare for my final class at the Regent Park
Community Learning and Development Center). That is a poor 
excuse.  Pictures tomorrow. It's a beautiful show.  Come out and
have cookies, coffee, treats and maybe pick up some work for
holiday gifts.
The Blog
A few years ago Howard Wolinsky, the amazing writer and 
photographer, whose piece about me on his Skype blog got
me noticed by Oprah Winfrey's people in 2009, asked about
the things I had learned that year.  It's a nice tradition to notice
what mattered as the year ends.  This has been both a wonderful,
and hard year.  Wonderful in terms of a super life, kind friends,
happy travels -- hard in terms of wars, climate change and illnesses
in the family. This first gratitude from last year still holds true.

#1 of 22
I wrote this a few years ago, and it still works as one of
the first things I learned again in 2022.  I am not religious,
so what I like about the festive season, is the joy around
the light returning, which is all about rebirth -- a new year,
new ideas, new possibilities.  

Steven and I are sunset chasers.  By which I mean, we love
to see the sunset, and because we are also more late night
people, we rejoice as the days get longer.  So this is what
I learn every year -- try and be the light.  

In recent years the news has frequently been harsh:
fires in California, fires across Canada, hurricanes on the
east coast, climate change so out of control, 32 countries
experiencing wars, mass shootings in America. A normal 
reaction is to feel despair.

But as I said a few years ago that despair is not generative
-- it doesn't lead to change. And change has to happen now
for the sake of the planet.

When I first talked about this I was thinking of the work
of my artist friend in Nova Scotia, Flora Doehler.  Not only has
Flora chosen to live a rural and sustainable lifestyle.
Her paintings are so joyous that they instantly lift the
viewers up, and make them happy.  Flora grows her own
garden with her husband Larry Knox, and  also sits in the
garden and paints -- celebrating the ecstasy and beauty of the
natural world.

I do believe that celebrating the world is one of the most
vital reasons for making art -- to inspire people, and help them
to love the planet, and value all of our lives on it.

Have a loving your light day!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The last night at my Presentation class

Last night in our
Presentation class in
a Toronto Community Center
The groups make banners to
decorate the walls. We
talked about how working
together on something fun
is networking too.
Not just LinkedIn.
They made these
on the paper
I brought in about 5 minutes!
So fun.

I've been teaching a 7 week Presentation course at a Community Center for
one of the community colleges in town.  It has been so wonderful.  Just
one night a week, and the students are adults who want to improve their
ability to speak in public -- partly for advocacy, and partly just to get
better at it.

And they are really good.  I felt so happy to be part of helping that group.  And as
is often true with teaching, I wonder who learned more?  Me or them? They
did their final talks tonight, and were absolutely fabulous.
I felt so lucky to have met such super people, and to have spent the time
with them.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Returning to the importance of rituals


Parrot Tulips
Acrylic ink, and marker on
11x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Last year at this time I talked about the value of rituals.
A friend had inspired me to talk about the subject because
she wanted to have some consistent practices
in her life. And I think having a regular practice is part
of why I do a daily blog.

A year ago I explained that it's great when I have something
new to talk about, or to show you.  But blogging also a vital part
of my day.  It's been a great way to talk to friends who are
thousands of miles away. I like talking to you. For instance I
get some incredibly beautiful, hand written calligraphy letters
from a friend in Texas I met through the blog.  And they make
me so happy.  

So I guess this is one of my rituals -- a daily practice.
Writing here, as I said a year ago, keeps me anchored to the
present. And that's a good thing.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Fun with my art group

Art group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Tonight I went to draw and paint with my art group for
the first time in a long time, and it was a treat.  I only
stay for an hour, and tonight it was gesture night, with
the longest pose at 25 minutes.

Nothing I did is good enough to post here, but it 
was so much fun just to be with other artists.  I 
think this sketch is of the same model who posed 
tonight -- but it was a 45 minute sketch.  

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, November 27, 2023

This would make a super Holiday gift

Before the Dance in the red dress
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 

I have a friend who wants me to put prices on everything
I show on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook, but I prefer
to mention prices occasionally, when the mood hits me.
But maybe she's right, and it makes sense that this should be
the Month of Sales.

do have set prices for different sizes of work, and I'm happy
to discuss them with you if you contact me via email or
or Instagram DM.  But let's just start with the price of one work.

This beautiful woman in Before the Dance in the red dress, is
part of my Before the Dance series. The painting was created 14
years ago, and the model is the daughter of a former neighbour --
a brilliant young woman just going to university when she posed
for me for several paintings.  The title of this 
series incorporated
the theme of getting ready for a formal 
dance, as a metaphor for
preparing for adult life.

I love the painting, and have not worked actively at selling
it, because it lives in our house, and makes the room she is
in sing.  But if you'd like the work to do the same for a room in
your house, the one time only sale price is $1500, shipping not
included.  If you live in the Toronto area I will deliver it for
free.  The regular price of a 3 ft. x 4 ft. painting is $3500,
shipping not included.   So this is an excellent special deal
for sure.

Have a let's buy art for the holidays day.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Staying cheerful in hard times

Our son Sam, and daughter-in-law Emily
on a cool (cold) winter
first anniversary vacation.
Happy Anniversary you two
wonderful people!

In 2020 on this day, I wrote about reversing the domino effect.
I just read that entry, 
and thought we still need that idea now.
I know that I was incredibly blessed to get to teach positive
psychology for 10 years at a community college. That work
taught me so much.

That's why the idea I had in 2020 still holds appeal today.
And that is -- build on the positive. Each happy idea, action,
event, thought, shared appreciation, adds up.

Every time I read that social media has a depressing effect on
people's lives. I wonder why? I am so sorry that happens.
But that is not my experience with social media at all.  I get a
heart on a photo I post from a friend in Tucson Arizona. I get a
thank you for a positive comment I write from a friend
in Nova Scotia. I have friends who share their beautiful work,
and who support me all over the United States, in England, France,
the Netherlands, South America, and Australia.

The point I was making on my piece on reversing, the domino effect,
is to acknowledge and relish every positive act that happens.

It is in so many ways, a horrific time in human history. We need to
reach out to one another and share any help we can, our best thoughts,
our affection, and our inspiring ideas. Thank you for your wonderful

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Happy Anniversary tomorrow to Emily and Sam

Our son Sam and his wife, Emily
© Emily and Sam's Wedding 
Photographer, 2022

Tomorrow our son Sam and his wife, Emily will
celebrate their first wedding anniversary. The wedding
was such a treat.  Steven and I danced the night away.
We know their hearts will be filled with memories of
that special day. They are two wonderful people.

Wishing you a very happy weekend wherever you
are and I hope you are well, safe and celebrating.

Have a loving your life 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!