Friday, December 3, 2021

Friendship painting = Play

Crazy Ocean view
Acrylic ink on watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

I got to talk to my wonderful friend Flora Doehler, the great artist, last night.
The last time we talked I started a little painting. Sometimes I find it easier to
paint if I’m not concentrating on what I’m doing so the image of an ocean scene
came to me just because of the sound of her voice.

Acrylic ink on watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

One of the highlights of our trip this summer was visiting Flora and her husband
Larry in Bear River. We saw a gallery they're curating in town, and a wonderful
show. And above all I loved seeing Flora’s studio, which is like no other. It is filled
with paintings inspired by the beautiful garden she and Larry grow, and the glorious
light that comes in the studio windows.

I think I can call these InkDecember creations, even though they are not pen
and ink drawings. They’re done with acrylic ink on watercolour paper. So that’s that.

You got me universe
Acrylic ink on watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

I’ve been thinking about that watercolour pad for a while, and about Bob Burridge who
starts every day doing five or six paintings. Bob I did some, and it felt good.

Having an enjoying what you do day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Happy December

Prepping for the season
On the weekend we got this beautiful tree 🌲 from Mike Majeski, who is selling
Christmas trees to raise money for the Daily Bread Food bank. Clockwise 
from the left — Steven with the tree which is 4 feet higher than his 6 feet!
I mean!, Clementines — our winter sanity food. (They make you happy),
last year’s tree, the swans who were waiting for us to feed them after the tree
was delivered, the first snow fall in the backyard, and in the center Mike’s truck,
which I’m sure made everyone think we’re selling our house,
with the adorable delivery girl. We aren’t selling at all, but if we ever do Mike
would be the person we’d choose to help us.
Major thanks to Mike, Christopher and Alice. Great team.

Here we are on the first of December already getting a jump on the season thanks
to Mike Majeski. We are very grateful to Mike for his fantastic work for the Daily
Bread Food Bank.  

The tree is huge, the Clementines have become a year round snack during
COVID-19.  They calm us down. The decorated tree is last year's 
effort. We haven't brought the tree into the house yet.  Our excitement was added
to on the day we got the tree, because when we went to a park on the west end
of the city, the swans were back! We were so happy because we were worried
that they'd been harmed, and they were delighted to 
see us. We feed them good
bread, and the Queen's (Queen Elizabeth) swan 
manager says that's a good thing
to do. The first snow came at the end of November -- 
thank you universe.  No one
 here is in a rush to see snow, but it does feel right at this 
time of year. And in the
center is Mike's delivery truck, with his assistant Alice 
pointing to the name on the truck.  

It feels like this strange year has rushed by.  Thank you to everyone who made it
enjoyable despite all of our restrictions, which I gather will continue with this
new variant. Deep breath!  Stay safe.  We can get through this.  Together.
Please get vaccinated if you aren't already.  And Happy Holiday Season.

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Hi There Happy American Thanksgiving weekend

The Helpful Printout of my
Ink drawings.
Thank you Chris at
St. Clair Printing.
Barbara Muir © 2021

Happy American Thanksgiving to my American family and friends, and
Congratulations to my nephew Jonathan who married his partner Kathryn
2 days ago.There are big celebrations going on in California, even though they
married on their own, and went home to take their daughters out for lunch.

I know I haven't been here for awhile, and I'm sorry.  This fall has been busy
with family celebrations, and work.  I am slowly working at getting the
beautiful website my son designed added to.  

I've been writing captions, which meant searching through my blog
to find out the names and sizes for each of my works.  I want to thank my printer
Chris at St. Clair Printing and Graphics for making printed images of each page of
my website, so I could caption the images, and see the order easily.

Not complicated, but very helpful. 

I'm showing you a photo of his printout of the line drawings.  I want to add more
and I will.  For now I just want to get what's there detailed.

Thank you for your support.  I am very grateful for every one of you. 

Have a loving your life weekend. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Hey! Exciting announcement

Some images -- not all on the
website -- but I wanted to 
put a celebratory piece up for you.
I am trying to stop myself 
from going and shouting this
from the rooftop.  I've wanted
a website for 10 years! It's here.

Hi everyone I've got a website. Yes. My thanks go out to my son Christopher
for designing it for me.  Yes I still have to link it to my blog.  But here's
the link to My website

I'm so thrilled that my film director son put in the work to get this
done.  Yay!

Please share it if you want to! It's a very happy day in this artist's life.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Friends who collect your art

Still life collection in
my friend’s kitchen
Acrylic on canvasses
Barbara Muir ©️
They are clockwise from the upper 
left corner:

October Pansies
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Morning at the artist's table
36 x 12 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008
(I've learned a lot about 
photographing my work in the
past 13 years!)

Cherry branches in a
crystal jug
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008

I went to see a friend the other day who I think I've only seen once sitting outside
since the beginning of the pandemic. The reasons have been many. We were
in lockdown for the longest time in Toronto. Then because both of us are
conscientious about not being exposed to the virus, we had to wait until Steven
and I were fully vaccinated before I could visit.

But a couple of weeks after we were fully vaccinated we headed out on vacation
to our little school house in Nova Scotia. And then my friend and her husband went
travelling. So it was so lovely to see my friend. I was so happy. We talked and
had coffee, and she showed me her garden. And when I walked around her house
I saw that she and her husband are serious collectors of my work! An added treat.

Life gets so busy, and almost 2 years is so long! I had forgotten how many paintings
they had bought, and commissioned from me over the years. And the work is beautifully

Tonight I’m showing you a little collection of still life paintings that they have on
the kitchen wall. The paintings are across from a large window, which was letting in
brilliant sunlight when I was visiting. I took the shot with my phone because the sight
of these paintings gathered so perfectly made me feel wonderful. I don't have a decent
photo of the long still life.

Thank you to all of my collectors over the years. You’ve made me a very happy artist.
I once had an art director who thought that sales to people who knew you meant nothing.
Not true. In fact when I teach business writing one of the things we emphasize over and
over is the importance of connecting. And friendship is right at the top of the list of how
to connect in life. Right? Thank you so much Susan and David. You two totally rock.

Have a collecting your friends' artwork day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


My friend Franco 
Inktober drawing
Marker on drawing paper
 5.5 x 8. 5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

One miraculous part of my
life in the last decade has been
taking part in shows around the world.
I met the wonderful artist Franco the Creator
in New York City when he visited
a show in the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery,
and loved my work.  Meeting fabulous 
artists, and being part of international
exhibitions made me so happy.
This is all on hold now because of 
COVID, and I miss it.
This drawing is loosely based on an image
from a video Franco did 
about being so tired of racism.  The
video broke my heart, and I wanted
to draw Franco and honour him.
My story about miracles is separate.
I could never have imagined the
wonderful life I've had when I was a child,
not because I didn't enjoy my life, but
because I had no understanding 
of what was possible.

It's hard for me to imagine the little girl I was sitting in Sunday school -- itching to
 be outside, or home with my dolls, or reading. I couldn’t get the concept of miracles.
The Sunday school teachers would read from the Bible about the loaves and the fishes,
 and it wasn't until I was much older that I understood what the miracle in that story was
supposed to be. As a child I didn't like fish at all, (love fish now), and I remember thinking
 that if everyone got a little bit of this horrible food, they'd still be hungry. Maybe I was meant
 to be a scientist.

Of course I'd keep all of my rebellious thoughts to myself on the ride home with my mother
and father. There was probably more to my unease than just the content of the stories. I didn't
like beards (no men I knew had so much as a mustache,) so I couldn't relate to the art work,
or the proffered God. I hated sitting on the cold chairs in the basement. I could hear the singing
upstairs, and resented memorizing the psalms downstairs.

But it was probably the earnest, didactic nature of the teachers, and the concept of sin that
bothered me the most. Here we were, a collection of entirely innocent, fresh faced, six and
seven-year-olds being told that we were bad. That was a boring, tiring and annoying message.

So how did I, a childhood cynic, start to believe in miracles and wonder?  I have been
so lucky to be released from the idea of guilt for enjoying life, and into the delight of seeing
what's good in the world. This didn't happen overnight, and maybe it's a natural progression.

My mother was big on wonder, and helped me notice nature -- birds and animals. My father
loved his garden and his land on the river, so he taught me love of place. Both of my parents
loved art.  My mother almost got a third degree in it, but opted to audit art history classes
instead.  My father was an excellent photographer, ands self taught painter.

My father quit going to church, because he was expected to spend his time adding up the
donations. My mother stayed part of the church until my parents moved back to Ottawa.
She had been trying to please my father by attending the United Church, but was raised a
Unitarian, and didn’t believe in the United Church credo.

I left the church right after getting baptized at 15.  After church one Sunday I asked my mother
why she didn’t repeat the credo, and she said she didn’t believe it. “Then why do I have to?” I asked.
And she answered, “you don’t.”

My friends taught me all about sharing and humour, and my husband and children taught me about the
sheer joy and poignancy of love. In short, I was saved, but not by the church.

Now I feel like I witness miracles every day. When I first wrote about this subject one miracle was
my yowling cat, who noticed that my son hadn't changed his socks in a couple of days, and 
a pair of clean socks up from the laundry room in the basement, to my son’s bedroom on the second floor
yelling all the way. That was a miracle I could relate to. And most miraculous is the world I
share with you here -- of art, ideas, wonder and love for our family, friends and the planet.

Have a miraculous day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Okay I'll be positive!

Inktober drawing
marker on drawing paper
5.5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

Being positive takes a lot of work.  I'm blessed to know how to get there.  So
I had a couple of questions from very different sources a few days ago.  One
was, "what would I like to do to affect change in the world?"  Without thinking
I answered, "I'd like to try to be kind in all of my actions." So I will work on that.

Then a sweet Jehovah's Witness woman phoned me as I was drinking my first
of three coffees on the weekend.  She wanted to know if I thought the world was
getting worse or better. Her good work for the day was to call random people and
read from, the bible.

I told her that it didn't matter what direction the world was going in, my job was
to do my best to be kind, to make people happy, to think about the environment,
and take whatever actions I could to improve things.  And I told her I don't
believe in God, and am not religious, but I believe in Love.

Then she read a little piece from the bible to me.  I found out that she was living
in a seniors' home, and I think she was lonely, so I'm glad I put aside my
book, and listened for a few minutes. She told me she was originally from 
Jamaica, and had come here in 1972.  She still had a lovely accent, and we
talked about the fact that so many wonderful changes had happened in the
world since 1972.

As for the title.  My artist's, worker, writer spirit is often rebellious and resistant.
That person would rather do anything than work.  So it more or less says to
the part of me that wants to continue -- Make me!  And I reply Okay I will.  This is
all an internal debate.  And the answer is my list, and crossing things off the
list. See it works.  Writing my blog was on the list.  

Wishing you a wonderful 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!