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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Memories of Sunday

 After the nap
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
The drawing today could be the illustration for
the all day seminar my cat, Professor Dr. Timbah
taught on relaxation with his colleague, Professor
Fiona the cat on Sunday.  Saturday was an all
afternoon photography session.  Monday I was back
to work full force -- but I am grateful to the dear
professors for the lessons of Sunday. 
 Professor Timbah
Timbah's schedule for the day was delivered
personally bit by bit so as not to disturb the
participant. (Me).
Overall Schedule:
Morning -- Sleep In late
First session -- coffee and reading a novel
Second session -- lunch as the first session
took all morning.
Afternoon session -- extended rest in bed with novel
Break sit in real sun with cup of tea on the back porch
with Professor Fiona -- who seemed
preoccupied with bird culture.
Professor Fiona's selfie

Professor Timbah's excellent relaxation
model teaching method involved sleeping
all day curled up near the participant.  He accompanied
the deeper relaxation sessions alternately
with the sounds of a hammer (Timbah snoring)
and sound of someone humming (Timbah

Looking back I'd say the course taught me
that working 24/7 is fine, but slowing down
is delightful.

Thank you Timbah and Fiona

Have a balancing-your-life day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

99.999% Done

The King's Breakfast 
(almost done)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

Here is The King's Breakfast almost finished -- a few wee
touches to add.  But I can't wait to show it to you.
Watch this space.  If it's completely, completely done
I'll put it on again tomorrow night, and I will be so
stoked -- to be able to say it is done!  Image that
haunts my dreams.

Have a finishing-what-needs-doing day.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Spring Time from the lionhead bunny -- Pip

Pip the Lionhead rabbit delivers eggs
8 x 8 inchs
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2015
Dear Pip,

I've been thinking of you ever since your owner
asked me if I could paint you.  But I was used
to the other kind of rabbits --  like my rabbit, Harold,
with the long ears and bodies, and didn't really know
what you looked like because I'd only seen pictures.
 Helping Pip with the baskets 
-- Putting in the blue straw
Then this summer in New Brunswick we met
a woman with a bunch of Lionhead rabbits, and
I got your look, but I didn't have time to paint you.
Now with Easter here, and my favorite part
of it being the bunny and the eggs, I pulled out the
portrait I'd begun of you and got to work.
Starting to fill the baskets -- so pretty
All done, and ready for the family!

Happy Easter Pip.

You can see some shots of how we prepared the
baskets with you to take the the Easter people
in our family.

Have a loving-rabbits-day.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Big doings!

 Steven (left) and Chris climb up on a bookshelf to take 
four pieces that make up Breakfast in the Hotel down.
Yesterday afternoon in what threatened to be
a thunderstorm, but luckily was just rain,
we took down the largest work I've ever done
from St. Clair Printing and Graphics, and brought
it home to the studio to get the paintings ready
for New York City!
Steven and Chris joke around 
before the hard work begins. They
are on a very narrow shelf, and Sam
(not in the picture) stepped in to help.
Major thanks to Chris Chan and Ellen Liew who
run the company -- they are master printers and
designers, and dear friends.  Thanks Chris and Ellen
for being exceptionally kind to my work, and promoting
me in every way possible. And a big thank you to Steven,
my husband and Sam, my son, for helping us get those
 big paintings off the wall, so they can begin to prepare
 for their flight to New York at the end of this month. 
 She's coming down.
The whole painting
Breakfast in the hotel
Acrylic on canvas
6 x 8 feet
Barbara Muir © 2012
Have a shaking-it-up-and-moving-it (carefully) day

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Getting out of the corner

Pink light
Acrylic on canvas
Acrylic on canvas 
36 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

I teach on Wednesday afternoons and my
students today wrote about getting out of a
creative corner -- viewing the end of the
school term as a creative problem.  Their
ideas were great. I'm going to share some
of them with you because they might help
if you ever get stuck. 

1. Go for a walk.
2. Dance to your favorite music.
3. Have a shower -- feeling clean
makes you feel new.
4. Look at yourself in the mirror
and say, "Hi you're great, you can
do it!"
5.  Leave the project alone
and have a nap.
6. Better yet turn off the light and
go to sleep for the night.
7. Call a supportive friend.
8.  Get over yourself.
9. Make a list of all of your
10. Eat your favorite food.
11.  Make a mind map planning
out what to do.
12.  Write a series of questions
and then wait and write down the
answers as they come to you.
13. Take a ten minute break and
then get back at it.
14. Do something nice for someone
else, to get out of your own
15. Sing.

I'm sure there were more ideas -- and they
were all good.  Wishing you a day
filled with creativity.

This painting was stuck in reality until
Verna Vogel said she liked the pink on
the clouds.  "Hmmm! More pink," I thought.
Thanks Verna.

Have-a-walking-out-of-the-corner day.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Places we call home

 First sighting -- coming home
(work in process)
Acrylic on watercolour paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I am  rooted in Toronto, Canada, but if
I visit another city or town, even in another
country, I can start to feel at home in
two weeks.  That's happened in
England, Sweden, Italy (especially
Italy), France, and the U.S.

But the place in my painting tonight
near Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in Canada's
Maritimes is in a different league.  I've
been visiting for almost 20 years, counting
the views on the way out, like clues in a game
called "getting closer," and on the way back
to Toronto, in a profound series of goodbyes.

This view is poignant both coming and
going.  It is iconic of home.  I'm
still working on the painting, but getting there
and very much enjoying the process.

Have a feeling-at-home-anywhere day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Proud like egg lady

 Like birds in flight
(work in process)
Acrylic on watercolour paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
What?  There used to be a woman who lived
down the road from our school house in
Nova Scotia, who raised chickens and sold
eggs.  She didn't sell them every day, but
once in a while, and they were a tremendous
treat.  That lady was so proud of her chickens.
She knew everything about the breeds of her
chickens, and why they gave such good eggs
 -- it was a pleasure to hear her talk about them.
Plus the birds were beautiful and her rooster
woke us up every morning.

So I was wondering tonight how we can know
that people raising livestock for sale, or
vegetables, or sewing quilts, are proud of
the artistry of their work, and want to sell it,
and why people don't make the same connection
with artists.  We are supposed to be like some
strange cult who love to make things so much,
that that's what we do.

But here's a secret.  We also want to sell that work.
Not all of us.  There are hoarders, and people
who are too shy to put it out on someone else's
walls, and people who just make art for fun.
But the majority of us I'd go so far as to
say, want to do the work, and like egg lady, or
the health food store lady who took over
egg lady's property, and was infinitely
knowledgeable about herbs -- we want to
sell the work we're passionate about.

If anything strikes your fancy, you can
contact me at the email address above.
And for you my wonderful blog
audience -- no pressure.  I'm not
going anywhere (well New York, and
maybe Paris, but I am still here).  I say
this small piece in support of all the
artists on my blog list -- and all of them
need to eat.

Have a buying-your-eggs-from-an-egg-person day.