Friday, January 17, 2020

Great influences in my art life -- #1 Jennifer Hinrichs

Around the table
Charcoal on paper
Jennifer Hinrichs ©
I had my first art show ever with my friend Jennifer Hinrichs,
a fantastic artist in every painting and drawing medium.
I don't think I'd be an artist today if I hadn't met Jennifer.
Studying at OCAD was fabulous for training, but I needed
more than it had to offer.  After finishing an English
degree, while working at an art magazine, I met Jennifer.
She is not only a fabulous artist, but was an incredible art
director too.

At the time, meeting people at all levels in Canadian art,
I was alienated by what looked like an impossible
profession that created stars for reasons I often couldn't
understand, and left the majority of artists struggling
to make a living.

Jennifer changed my mind, and helped me see how wonderful
an artist's life could be in so many ways. Because of her I joined
the Don Valley Art Club, started meeting other artists,
participated in regular drawing classes, and was in
wonderful group shows.

She is always an awe inspiring artist -- who makes me
feel so excited every time I see her work.  And I want to
thank her.  It has been a pretty joyous ride out here in the
land of art.  People like you -- Jennifer --make it possible to
enjoy the life, learn, grow and continue to have fun.

Have a loving your art friends day.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The hospital -- drawing while waiting

Here are some sketches I made in the
waiting room.  I decided to upload them
like this, but if you know of a good app
for uploading multiple photos 
please let me know. The woman
in these sketches was the kind of 
person patients anticipating surgery
need.  She was warm and connecting
and talked about great recipes and
TV series.  Super relaxing.

A dear family member was having surgery today, so
I was sitting in the waiting room, with other people
going through the same thing. The hospital is very
up-to-date, and comfortable, the staff kind and caring,
and the space quite welcoming.

But still sitting with nothing to do for long periods
can be too much.  So I drew, and here are the few
small sketches I did today.

Wishing you a keep-on-drawing day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A portrait of Steven

At the dance in the yellow chair
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008
(My Dance series about people
in the midst of, or anticipating
a happy life featured many 
women, and not enough men. 
As usual, Steven my husband
stepped into the frey and posed. 
What I captured I think is how reluctant 
he is to sit around doing nothing.  He
is always on the move.  I did not
at all adequately capture his 
beauty, or joyous wit.)
I'm going to do a new portrait of Steven my husband.  Today
I began drawing on the canvas in acrylic, from the reference
I'm using, and everything was going well until I stepped back.

You know that rule.  Step back frequently to see what you're
up to, and I was drawing him too small for the canvas.  So
I gessoed over the place where I'd been drawing, then had to
let the gesso dry, which took a couple of hours.  And tonight
I hope to get at it again.

Meanwhile.  Unless I am very happy with what I've done,
I'll talk to you about other works.  I love the portrait of
Steven I'm showing you tonight, painted in 2008.
At our New Year's Eve party this year, a friend stood
in front of the painting in awe -- impressed by it.
I vowed one day to do a large portrait of Steven,
that shows his happy, and contented side, which is of
course my normal view of him.

Setbacks happen in art, and they are in some ways the
font of creativity.  As artists we have to be able to rally,
no matter what.  This painting will be accomplished one
way or another.  Please be patient.  (I say that like you're
waiting, when I know your own creative life is filling
your day with challenges, and you are happily busy
doing your own thing.)

Have a doing your own thing day.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Prepping -- dreaming big

A tense moment in the gesso
process.  And yes those edges will have
to be touched up again.  And how
do you get gesso out of black 
clothing.  Stay tuned for more
mind blowing drama.
An artist's life is not all romance. Romance definitely helps.
I'm glad I have kind and wonderfully helpful husband,
but so much is organizing, getting advice, shopping for
supplies, getting more advice, and of course prepping.

That was today -- and tonight I thought, 'what can I show
on my blog when I've spent the past half day getting
ready to get ready?'  I tried a new method of gessoing,
which took a long time, and I may not be done.

I hope so, because I fervently hope that tomorrow
I have something more exciting to show you.  But this
is exciting to me.  Just this one big canvas waiting for my
 work.  Meanwhile time to put my leg up again.

Have a prepping for something wonderful day.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Teaching is learning

Women talking
red marker on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5
Barbara Muir © 2020
(A very rough sketch -- the hands tell all.)
I teach writing one night a week, and it's a real
pleasure. I learn so much from my students and
I hope they learn as much from me.  Tonight
was the first night of a new semester, and the
class is great.

I’m starting a really big portrait. After a lot of
thought and questions to the show curator, I’m
 happy to say that I’ve decided on a subject.
Meanwhile here is a fast sketch I did of two
artists talking during an art opening at the
Heliconian club in Toronto.

If I feel confident as the new work progresses
I’ll post process shots. If not —I'll share pieces on
fellow artists whose work Iove. I do have a deadline
so you will see the finished product in early

Have a planning new projects day.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Ruthis Pak Regis -- Beautiful work at Yorkminster Park Gallery

Acrylic on canvas
Ruthia Pak Regis © 2020

Sunday is our day for hanging out doing nothing. But today
was special! Why? Ruthia Pak Regis is having a solo show
that opened today at Yorkminster Park Gallery, and runs until February
13.  The show is called Round and round we go until we
see a little more. Her work is spectacular.  She focuses on intense
abstracted close ups of the natural world -- what you might see
looking down in a forest.

All but one of her paintings, a large energetic view
of nature at the end of the gallery, are on oval canvasses.
I was told by a friend when I entered the lovely space
that she wanted us to feel like we were looking in a mirror,
looking at each piece.  We need to be one with nature, and
these paintings make that clear -- highlighting the
exquisite beauty we might miss if we don't look closely.

Give yourself a treat if you're in the Yonge
and St. Clair area in Toronto, and go and see her
magnificent work

Have an enjoying artists' work day.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The pleasure of your company

 This was the painting I used for the 
Happy Art Award.
Back when I created this award people were 
giving each other awards on blogs,
so I created my own. I now follow 294
people on Instagram, mostly artists,
so it would be quite a task to name each of
them and describe their work.  Let's make
it more general, and just as important.
All of you get the Happy Art Award because
you make me happy, and here's the link to
the original blog about it.
Breakfast at the Skylight Diner, NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

I'm trying to write my blogs earlier in the day because
I seem to be getting to bed almost when the sun (if we
have any) comes up, and one of the reasons is that
I've been writing my blog at the end of the "day", when
I also have a few domestic chores to finish before
I can go to bed.  So -- it is a grey day here, with
freezing rain projected and I am hoping to work on
some art projects all day.

People who aren't from Canada want to know how we
feel about Meghan and Harry moving to Canada.  I
think -- come on over! I hear they're planning to settle
in Vancouver, and I imagine what appeals to them is
the fact that Canadians will probably leave them alone
to live their lives. I hope that's true.

I want to thank you again.  I can't thank you enough
for reading my blog, and commenting over the years.
It is wonderful to live in a small house in Toronto,
Canada with a sweet husband, a crazy dog, and
two cats, and to connect and have friendships with
people all over the world.  To me that is magic.  The
Happy Art Award was something I thought of five
years ago to honour that magic and clearly the magic
has grown!

Have a loving the magic 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!