Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Thank you Inktober

Inktober drawing
Black marker on Canson
Mixed Media Paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

We’ve now been in a state of on and off lockdown because of COVID-19
for almost 8 months. I just realized tonight that it’s been that long. So
I’m grateful to Inktober for getting me drawing. Some days like today when
it was beautiful, sunny, and even warm in the sunny parts of our backyard,
I can almost forget that we are living through this strange, nightmarish time.

But on the grey days, and now very cold, grey days, trying to do a drawing
because it’s Inktober has distracted me in quite a wonderful way. And seeing
other people's amazing drawings on the same theme has inspired me. Today
I finally sat down to draw the sunflowers I’ve been meaning to draw since they
came into the house a few days ago. 

People talk about the therapeutic aspect of being involved in art. Today as I
drew these simple flowers (mine -- not the flowers which are so spectacular)
I actually had that feeling of peace. So I like this drawing, even though I know
it’s far from perfect.

Thank you to everyone out there who inspires me, supports me, cheers me up,
cheers me on, even if you don’t know you’ve done that. You have! We will
get through this and it will be the biggest party ever when it's over. Won’t that be fun!

Have a great Thursday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

My best Inktober -- wasn’t

You can't keep a good man down
Acrylic ink and acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

I learned a lot last year doing the Inktober sketches. In fact when the
Heliconian Club, one of the art clubs I belong to, had a figure drawing exhibition,
I decided to do a very large Inktober drawing

The people at my favourite DeSerres art supplies store helped me to figure out
how to do it, because unlike the Inktober drawings on paper, this one was going
to be huge on canvas and 36 x 48 inches. One challenge was that the canvas
surface is not ideal for drawing with ink. So I learned how to gesso the canvas
until it was even smoother than paper.

I am very happy with the drawing. It's the nicest portrait I’ve ever done of my
husband, who definitely deserves an excellent portrait. 

Have fun creating today. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Today’s drawing

Before the party
Marker on Canson
Mixed Media paper
The 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

I worked today on this drawing of a girl. It’s another Inktober drawing. Pen and
ink isn’t the ideal medium for a child’s portrait -- soft colour is probably
best. But it’s fun to try new things, and during this strange time we live in, we
are trying new things all the time.

Perfection is the enemy of art. I read all the time about people trying to get it right.
And I was trying to get it right in this drawing. But art is often about what didn’t
work, about distortion and interpretation.That doesn’t mean I don’t love perfect art,
I certainly do.

A good friend Laurel Daniels is having an exhibit of what I consider perfect art in
Texas, and if you are nearby and can go to the see the show, I recommend it.
She is amazing.

And for more wonderful art check out the artist Eleanor Lowden's beautiful,
 happy work on display now as part of the One of a Kind online show.

What I like about the portrait of this girl is that she’s happy, and we need all the
 happiness we can get right now. Take care.

Sunday, October 25, 2020


The view from our hotel window 
© Barbara Muir 2015 

Today Steven and I had a super time seeing good friends on their front porch.
We were social distanced, brought our own coffee, and sat in the freezing cold
talking to one another and having a great time.

When we came home we started to look at pictures of our visit to France
five years ago when I was in the Carousel du Louvre in June, and four years
ago at this time of year. That was the most phenomenal October for art ever!
We went to New York City where I was in a show at the Amsterdam Whitney
Gallery, came home to Toronto on October 9th, and were on a plane on the 19th to
go and show in Paris, France at the Carousel du Louvre for the second time.

Classy Halloween Store window for
Teuscher Chocolates near 30 Rock in New York City
Barbara Muir © 2016

So Steven and I spent some time looking at photos, and dreaming of a time when
we can live that way again. When we saw our friends today, we talked about how
travel is the most wonderful thing to do. And it's the best way to learn about other
people's lives.

The skating rink at 30 Rock
So different from Canada 
No one could skate!
Still so fun.
Barbara Muir 2016

The skating rink is in front of this 
gorgeous statue -- the symbol
of 30 Rock

I’ve been so lucky to travel to international art shows that I've been in. It was beyond
thrilling to have my art show in the Carousel du Louvre, which was attended by
so many people. Plus it takes place in the basement of the Louvre Museum, one
of the most important museums in the world.

View from our hotel room in Paris in 2016
Barbara Muir © 2016

So I am grateful to my gallery director in New York, and to the wonderful Gallery
directors at E Editore who organized the shows in Paris. Plus in the October,
2016 show I got to see my friend Miranda Brouwers, the artist who I met at the
Florence Biennale in Italy in 2015. 

Me and Miranda Brouwers in front of
her beautiful painting in
the Carousel du Louvre
Steven van Schaik © 2016

Me with my painting Dream Selfie
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2016
(Photo by Steven van Schaik)

In fact Miranda and I started something at the Florence Biennale in 2015 that we could
really use now, and that was the Happy People Group. In the long days of sitting
the Florence show we helped people become more cheerful by starting this group,
and teaching people to put their hands in the air for two minutes to lower their stress
levels. So hey let’s give it a go now, because aside from not being able to travel at all,
 there are one or two things going on that cause some stress at the moment.

Have some fun dreaming!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Pictures of inspiration

Walking in our favourite
park by Lake Ontario
we met a woman who
lives near the park walking
her cat home, 
by playing with it 
with a stick. 
(She gave me permission to take the
photo, and bonus, she knows
that bread is good for swans.
Her cat loves the lake,
and is not scared of swans.)
Photo: Barbara Muir © 2020

It’s Saturday, and I want a day off. It's been a wonderful day, starting with
the market, and seeing the wonderful farmers who sell us a gorgeous quiche
(they are chefs), organic eggs, and organic lettuce every week. We came home
to watch the finishing process on our front door, which was getting painted to
match the shutters on our white house. Red is a tricky colour, as any artist
would agree, and it had to be the right red to match the red shutters, which
make the house look pretty and happy.

The house
This is a before picture.
You can't tell from this
that the shutters are a
cherry red and all the
same colour.  The door
was more fire engine red.
It now matches -- Thank you Andrew.
Photo: Barbara Muir © 2020

So this afternoon the work got finished beautifully. And for the first time
since the rest of the front of the house was painted two years ago, the door
actually matches the shutters. That might not even seem important to you,
but it’s a major event for us.  

Then the excitement kept on going as I got to play a fabulous game of ball
with my dog in the backyard. This is a rare event because she doesn’t respect
gardens, so luckily we are near the end of garden season, and we concentrated
on the back of the yard, where nothing is growing, for our game.

Produce from some of the plants I 
didn't want the dog to hit in our game.

Random tomato plants from
our compost sprung up 
everywhere this summer.
Photo: Barbara Muir © 2020

Now I’m looking for a movie, and showing you some shots of things I’ve seen
in the past couple of weeks that made me happy. I hope you have a great
weekend, and we will keep on loving what’s great about our lives.

Recent view in our 
colour -- leaving soon :-)
Photo: Barbara Muir © 2020

Happy weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Last day of summer weather – maybe

Happiness experts -- anemones
Inktober drawing
marker on Canson
Mixed Media Paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
It was unusually warm today for October 23. In fact a friend was painting our
front door, and when we went to sit social distanced on the back porch while
the door dried between coats, it was too hot to stay on the porch, and we had
to move into the shade in the yard.

But according to the government alert I got on the radio a few minutes ago all
this will be over soon. It is supposed to drop by 16 degrees tonight, and this is going
to lead to severe storms and possibly tornadoes!

So I was glad to work on this drawing of maybe the last of the fall blooming
anemones. I hope I’m not boring you with them, but they are certainly not boring me.
They are amazing -- just so gorgeous.

We have to enjoy what we have, while we have it, which is what I remembered
talking to our friend, social distanced, and masked, on this glorious day. 
What we have is friendship, nature's beauty, and laughter, and that’s pretty good.

It was a very beautiful day. And the door is going to look amazing. Now as the 
weather people say, it's time to take cover.

Have an enjoying yourself day

Thursday, October 22, 2020

More from the Times Table series

Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

This is the last painting I can show you that is part of the Times Table series.
I’m not saying this series is finished, because I’d love to do more paintings
of families around their kitchen tables. But who knows when we’ll be able
to visit and photograph families, so I don’t know when I will be able to do more.

I love this painting. I love the joyful expressions on the faces. I love the feeling
of love that is so clear between everyone -- mom and dad, and the children.
I was doing these paintings from photos long distance, and it was so wonderful
that Auralee Wallace, (the beautiful mother in the painting) was so cooperative
about helping me. Plus it was more than that. Auralee understood what I meant. 

Every time I described what I needed in a pose, the photos came in abundance
to help me get exactly the look that I was trying to create. It was a delightful
creative collaboration, and I’m so happy that the family has this painting.

Wishing you a joyously creative 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!