Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Building an image

Building an image
An iPad drawing in process
8 x 10 inches ( x 4)
Barbara Muir ©️ 2018

 I like the image of this iPad drawing as a work in process I found in my Facebook memories from April 20, 2018. What a different world that was. This is been a good day in some ways.  Thankfully there was justice in the case of the George Floyd murder. Sadly that doesn’t bring him back for his family.

And in Korea students shaved their heads in protest against the release of nuclear waste from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan into the Pacific ocean.  That action threatens all ocean life, and will continue to do so. 

There are some things we do have to address, and working on those is urgent. We need to eliminate racial injustice, police brutality, and fight for equity for all people. We need to get rid of guns in private ownership altogether. And nuclear energy simply isn’t safe. These forces are massively destructive.

In a pandemic we have to give ourselves every possible chance at some source of joy, which is why I’m posting these drawings. Seeing them helped give me the hope I need to carry on. 

Have a working to change the world day.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Model from just before

 The model on the bridge
in a summer dress in winter
Barbara Muir ©️ 2020 (March 7)

At the beginning of March 2020, just before my one night a week class got sent online, just before we really knew how serious COVID-19 was, on a very cold day, I walked my dog across the bridge that crosses a beautiful park near me, and came upon this woman modelling for a photographer. She had her winter coat placed over the railing on the side of the bridge, and was posing in a beautiful cotton summer dress.  I asked if I could take a photo too because
I'm an artist, and she let me. If she sees this by some fluke -- thank you.

It’s the last day of my once a week evening class this term, and I just came upon this photo looking for an art reference image to add to a painting I’m working on. I don’t think I will use this woman, whose name I never got, for this painting. But I was so happy to see the image. One day -- not in the middle of winter -- we will get back to wearing beautiful clothes, and partying! Music, live bands, dressing up, talking, laughing, being together.  It will be great!

Have an enjoying your memories day.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The love of places

Me and the schoolhouse
Steven van Schaik © 2014

Today with my morning coffee my husband, Steven, brought his computer up to show me a Google Maps image of our school house in Nova Scotia. In August it will be two years since we’ve been there. Kind friends in the local area have checked up on it for us, but the worry of how it is faring without us continues. And we would so love to be there right now -- where COVID worries are low. (Not possible, and we can't wait until it will be possible. But we will -- wait.)

People in Toronto are going crazy with the latest lockdown. Some people marched in the streets in Ontario yesterday, unmasked, protesting against the lockdown. Aside from the stupidity of that, it’s sad that they can’t absorb how incredibly hard things are in the hospitals with the numbers rising. Plus the new variants are hitting young people. And of course as we’ve seen all over the world, every time people gather unmasked the new case numbers go through the roof.

As for what’s getting me through this time. My husband has been amazing. He’s given me surprises like a cluster of chocolate Easter eggs in my bedside table. How lovely. I couldn’t eat them all of course, so I had two of them, and then re-surprised him by putting them in his sock drawer!

We have been very lucky during this whole thirteen months to have each other, and wonderful family who stay in touch however they possibly can, and amazing friends here on social media, and on the phone and on Zoom. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Have a noticing what’s good in your life day.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

The saints of Saturday

Are you ready?
Artists' Group Sketch
acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

It’s Saturday night, and we are in lockdown. This painting came up in my memories on Facebook from this date in 2019. How incredibly lucky we were then. I painted this sketch very quickly with my art group on a Tuesday night. That was back in the days when we could meet together and paint from a model. I usually stayed about one hour, and it blows me away that I could get this done in that time.

The model must have been especially inspiring. I’m not religious, but I do love the look of the haloes that are on many of the beautiful paintings in the Uffizi gallery in Florence, Italy. And I wanted to put a halo on every drawing when I got back to Canada was so inspired.

In this case when I got home from my art group I kept working on the portrait for a little while, and added the halo and the rays of divine light. Looking back it was divine painting from a live model with other artists. I loved every bit of it: the enforced silence while we painted, which often lead to giggles from we grownups, the wonderful conversations in the model's breaks, and what resulted – this is it.

We need to behave in as saintly a manner as possible in these hard times.  As much of a drag as it is for us going into another lockdown that’s even more stringent, we have to think of the people working in the hospitals trying to save the lives of people who have contracted the virus. They deserve our intense respect, and our total cooperation with the new protocols.

Have a taking care of yourself day. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Another sad day in Ontario

Pansies for hope
Watercolour, acrylic ink,
and black marker on
watercolour paper
Barbara Muir © 2019

At midnight tonight Ontario, and Toronto go into an even deeper Lockdown.
Once again the shelves in the supermarket today were empty in places like
they were a year ago. 

I got a notice yesterday on Facebook about a post I wrote on April 15, 2019 when
there was a fire in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Reading that post hit me with
nostalgia in so many directions — the beauty of Paris. and the thrill of showing there
in the Carousel du Louvre show in the Louvre museum — the neighbourhood on the Seine
we thought of as ours -- across the Pont des arts from the Louvre, and looking in the opposite
direction Notre Dame.

When I wrote the post I had no idea what was coming to the whole world. I could not
have imagined this pandemic, not being able to travel, no live art shows. And now
we can't even take comfort in having our children come over , social distanced, because
we can't have gatherings with anyone who doesn't live in our households -- even outside.  

I still feel devastated about Notre Dame, an icon of Paris life, and I hope it gets 
fully restored.  That process is ongoing.  And so is our recovery from this
pandemic.  I hope this new stricter Lockdown does the trick.  The numbers
are rising, and people are stressed to the maximum.  But we must take heart,
and be conscious that if we are alive and well and able to complain, it means
we need to be grateful.  I am grateful for that and for you.

Have a taking care of yourself day.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Taking action


The tulip connection 
Acrylic ink and pencil
on watercolour paper
7 x 9.5 inches
Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

If you don’t know the work of Daniel Bordi you’re missing a truly joyous experience.
LatelyDaniel has been posting wonderful, inspirational posts of ideas that he has about
art and life. Today his thing was was to get rid of the "what if’s", and instead take action.
(His Instagram posts are written in Portuguese and I read the translations.)

I’m very grateful to Daniel, because I also read a bit in The Happiness Equation book
which said that we need deadlines. The combo of these two messages helped me to
paint this painting today, while continuing to work on putting my year end finances in

We need inspirational people like Daniel. I’ve probably talked about him before, and
will again. We met at the Florence Biennale in 2015. And I’m so glad that I got to see
his beautiful art firsthand.

Have a loving what you do day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

My current inspiration

Our favourite park
(That's Lake Ontario)
Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

I was hoping to post a video.  But decided that if I couldn't I’d show you a picture instead.
Lately it seems difficult to get videos to load onto the blog.

It’s been a very busy. and wonderful day. I am at the filing, and sorting for the business
end of art right now, which means that these beautiful days are photographic inspiration
for artwork to come.

I hope you enjoy these beautiful days, and that you too have a favourite park. Please be
kind to one another -- all of us are still going through a very hard time with this pandemic.

Thank you to all of you for keeping me going. I am so grateful for your work, for your
comments, for your suggestions, and your amazing ideas about art and life.

Having an enjoying what’s available 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: 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!