Monday, February 24, 2020

Some quick sketches

Concentration -- 3 quick sketches
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
Barbara Muir © 2020
I'm a big fan of James Edward Clark.  One of my favourite
things he does is fast sketches of people on buses on
subways, and then he finishes the sketch in this studio.  Every time
he posts a little video on Instagram of how he creates the sketches,
I watch it over and over trying to learn how.
Concentration -- sketch #2
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
6 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Tonight I just happened to have three sketches I could try
and work on in a similar way.  They are done with a
marker and acrylic ink.  Thanks James for the inspiration.
I love sketching too.
Concentration -- sketch #3
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
6 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Have a loving what you do day.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The delights of a winter escape

Winter Road Trip
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Thank you to Caitlin Grandison and Shiobhán Mulcahy for
making it possible for Steven and I to leave the herd
(two cats and a crazy dog) behind and take a short trip
to the Ottawa region.

So much fun. There is something incredibly freeing about
getting out on the highway and leaving all of your routines
(okay most of them) behind.  It was a beautiful weekend,
and we got to see friends in Ottawa, and meet the sweet
dog I put on last night's blog.

I did have work to do, and took it with me.  I did some
drawing, and made sure to talk to you here.  And I
felt such profound freedom.  It doesn't even make sense.
It's been a lovely winter so far, and I've enjoyed  every
minute -- but the road, the endless gorgeous scenery --
soooo inspiring.

Have a loving your travels day.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The happy world of dogs

Black marker on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A dear friend in the U.S. who loves her dogs -- two German
shepherds, once advised me to adopt the dogs' motto,
"Forward, forward, forward."  I loved that, and notice that
my own dog, Sally,  follows that advice and is happy most of the
time.  She gets anxious when it's time for supper, or a
walk, but cheerful is her modus operandi.

So although I've been a cat person most of my life, now
that we're raising our second family dog, I cannot
imagine life without a dog.

Yesterday we met my brother and sister-in-law's new dog
Finn -- a West highland terrier.  So adorable.  And although
he's sometimes a bit nervous, he is one cheery little dog.
Only about four months old, he already knows so much.

So for all the dog lovers out there, who no doubt spend a
bit more time with your dog(s) on the weekend, here's
a drawing of Finn.

Have a loving your dog day.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Pansies go big! So much fun!

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic ink and marker on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A big thank you to Flora Doehler -- yes I know I thank her a lot.
With good reason.  She is a mover and shaker in mine, and
in her local art world.  She's an amazing artist, and wonderful
friend.  Flora is the one who turned me on to acrylic ink.
These magical inks go over, and under acrylic, and the colours
are vibrant and glorious.

When you're painting flowers, one of the issues is trying to
in any way replicate the intensity of their colours.  It is
nearly impossible.  And pansies, which I've been painting
as long as I've been an artist probably, are a particular
case.  Their colours are so rich, they defy capture.

Last year I was so excited about discovering acrylic ink
that I did a whole series of pansy paintings.  These
were on watercolour paper, and the lovely thing about
the ink is that it flows like watercolour.

For this painting, I gessoed a canvas three times, to get
a smoother surface, and of course the ink behaved in a
completely different way.  But it is still intense, and I am
excited about taking one of my smaller paintings, and translating
it onto canvas.  Turns out it doesn't matter how you use
the ink, it is a treat.  This is a work in progress, because the
canvas requires more ink to get a similar intensity -- so
there will be more to show you.

Have a loving what you do day.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Opening night at the Artist Project on all weekend

Gill Cameron was clearly having a great time,
and her beautiful watercolours made
a vibrant display.

Eleanor Lowden's work was a must see.
I've been watching her develop
this cheerful series on Instagram.

Mike Rachlis's huge portraits are amazing.

Andrew Cheddie Sookrah was one of the artists
whose work I absolutely had to see.  I've
been watching the development of some of
the work he's installed in the exhibition and his work is 

Dalia Elcharbini's work is mostly graphite on 
paper, gilded with real gold.
This work is graphite on canvas, and is
beautiful and dramatic.

Ilinca Ghibu brought her gorgeous, large flower 
paintings to the show from Montreal.
They are stunning.  

Steven and I were excited to get out tonight for the first
night of the Artist Project at the CNE.  I have several
friends and artist colleagues in the show, and was
eager to see their work.

It was so exciting.  I love the variety of work -- true
there are so many wonderful artists.  It's like going to
a huge art gallery.  So inspiring.

I took a few shots (above) for you to enjoy, but if you're in
Toronto, head on down!  There is so much more to see than
I could possibly include here.

Have a going to an art show day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Last night with my art group -- what a pleasure

Woman in blue
art group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A good friend in my art group reassured me that the night
was on.  I was so happy.  I packed up and went out for
the planned hour.  That was all I had.

The model, Alyson, was wonderful -- so much mood
emoted from her, which for me in a fast situation seems
to be the magic.  She had it.   Plus I had fun with the
group listening to good music and seeing people's

Here is the result.  I think if I'd had longer, she might
have resembled a long ago queen.  She had the
dignity and composure I'd associate with such a
character.  Royal.

Have a painting with your friends day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Happy Twelfth Anniversary for my blog!

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2008
Wow!  12 years -- I can hardly believe it.  I have been part
of the blog world for 12 years, and it's been a magical
experience.  I cannot imagine what life was like before
I was a blogger.  This site catapulted me into a world of
surprising media and TV recognition for my work, international
exhibitions, and friends across the world who like me, love making
art. Steven and I drank a toast with a bit of champagne to

The international shows lead to strong bonds with all of the
people I showed with in major exhibitions.  And they add
to a life filled with inspiration, exciting possibilities and fun!
I am so grateful. Thank you blog world, and Flora my friend
who insisted I had to blog, Christopher, my son, who helped
me start blogging, and to everyone who has supported this blog
to the point of 511,000 + hits, on 2404 blogs!  Amazing.  Thank you.

A toast to all of you, and to artists, collectors, and
art lovers everywhere! 

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!