Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mommy I am still here in NYC

The heart of the neighbourhood 
(one of my two paintings currently
vacationing in NYC)
Acrylic on canvas
 30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

If your paintings are like your children -- two of my paintings
are having an incredible adventure.  They were in a show in 
The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery New York City in December 2019,
and January 2020, and moved into a second month long show in February
in the Wall Street Art Space.  

That would have been considered a good time for most paintings,
but wait!  This work was scheduled to go into a second show
at the Wall Street Art Space  honouring International Women's Day,
and then the pandemic hit.  What have my paintings been doing since then?
Of course they're self isolating, and like everyone else in New York
City they're waiting for things to open up. And when they do
these lucky works of art will move into a new show in the "new

As for me their artist creator (Mommy), I just hope that they're 
okay, and they know it's fine with me if they sell, as long
as I know where they are, and could see them if I needed to.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The urge to draw -- missing the social occasions

Steven and our student, Sam 
at the GoldenThai restaurant
black marker on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
This drawing was done while we ate dinner just before Sam
went back to school at the University of Windsor.  Looking at
it tonight I thought about how nice it was to sit in a restaurant,
get out my sketchbook, and draw whatever I saw. 

And I thought about how sorry I am that my students can't be in
a classroom with each other, and enjoy the humour and excitement,
that is part of any classroom dynamic.  Zoom is a wonderful 
help in this strange time, because we can meet and share ideas.
But it's not the same.

Sam was drinking a beer, and his hand was blurry. Steven looks
like he might be looking at the bill.  I love the few details
in the background -- the couple and the chandelier.  It will be
so nice when we can enjoy this kind of time again.  Sam is all
grown up, finished university and working.  And we would
really enjoy having dinner with our family as soon as that is a

Monday, July 6, 2020

Colour renovation -- happy accident

Parrot Tulips
Acrylic ink, and marker on
11x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

It's very late, and I've been marking.  I found this drawing I
really like today, and thought -- Hey this thing could use some
colour.  So I got out my acrylic inks and added a layer of
punch to it.

I absolutely love parrot tulips, and it would be so much better
to paint them live, but we are in July, and tulips are merely
a memory.  Despite the COVID and all of the hardships of
this year -- it is barreling past.  

I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy summer's beauty.  I
sat on our front porch today so enjoying watching the beautiful
trees across the street. Wishing you an excellent week.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Some forms of missing are in the cells

The artists' yellow house
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
We were watching a series on Babies last night as Steven
coloured my hair (yes I am not a natural blonde.)  What a
revelation that series is for how much we learn before we are one.
And yet I feel like I am lucky that my learning constantly continues.
But another theory about the brain and habit says that if you do something
21 times, it will be a habit.

We have been going to Nova Scotia, every year except the
year I broke my ankle, and was in a cast, for more than
20 years. Nova Scotia is in my blood.  As the city of Toronto
heats up -- it was 31 Celsius today, and will reach 33 Celsius
by Tuesday,  -- my entire being craves Nova Scotia.

The painting tonight is of my friend Flora Doehler's
house in Bear River, Nova Scotia, which had gone partially
purple at our last visit.  I don't know if we'll get to go to
Nova Scotia this year, and that thought is super hard
on Steven and on me.

I quoted Joni Mitchell when I put this image on one time,
and it seems perfect for now, "on the back of a cartoon
coaster, in the blue TV screen light.  I drew a map of
Canada. Oh Canada, with your face on it twice."
I love Canada -- and Nova Scotia has a special place
in my heart.

Here's to the trees

The tree story
iPad sketch
 8x10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Here's a sketch from our front porch.  The tree story is that someone
called the city to say that part of our front yard tree had to come
down.  So one day the more than a year ago the city came along 
and lopped off half of the tree.  It was shedding sap.  Squirrels live
 in it.  And maybe racoons. So it was not safe.

Today I drew our tree and the neighbourhood.  The bad squirrel
was sitting happily on the lopped off side eating nuts.  Too bad
for city people who don't realize we need trees.  And they don't
realize trees are part of the answer to saving us from climate change.
And yes!  Squirrels, birds and racoons hang out in trees.  They
are supposed to!

I had fun drawing this sketch, and there is still enough of a tree on
our front yard that we can sit on the porch and have some privacy.
And that's a good thing.

Friday, July 3, 2020

The power of happiness

At the Cottage
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008

I found this painting that I did of my son Christopher and his wife
Megan when they were dating.  I wish I knew where the source
photo I worked from was, because I'd try it again and I'm
sure I could improve the result.  But what I do love is the wonderful 
happiness in the image, and the fact that it did catch the love that these 
two had for each other then, and now.

Love is a big deal, and as a friend said yesterday, finding someone
to love, and having love in your life is the only success that
counts.  I'd agree with that.  This has such a holiday feel, and
we've just had Canada Day, now Americans are going to celebrate
the 4th of July.  I hope that everyone around the world finds the
love they want.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Happy Birthday to my first baby

My son Christopher as a newborn
blue ink on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir

For a mother the first moments, and first day of her baby's life stays
vividly in her brain and heart for good.  This is my firstborn's
birthday, and I'm happy that he is not here in the city heat, but
up in the country by a clean lake with his family.  

We had a lovely talk today, and that was wonderful.  I had
to teach, so couldn't have done the cake, and stack of presents
thing anyway.  But it was really strange not to be there to see
him blow some candles out, to have a meal together.

All of that will happen when the vacation is over, and he comes
back to Toronto.  In the meantime we sang Happy Birthday, and
thought about our baby -- now a wonderful, kind, grown up,
talented, happy man -- all day.  

Happiest of birthdays Christopher. 

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!