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!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dreaming of hotel breakfasts

 Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
It's been a long day -- and I wanted to
paint again.  This is a breakfast painting.
I started drawing on a prepared red wash
piece of birch with a pink coloured pencil,
and soon switched to blue. (Pink didn't show
at all!)

I felt contrary -- if someone's rules say
start with darks, I wanted to start with
highlights.  My inner rebel knows there's
 no 1, 2, 3 to painting.  Also instead of
planning too long -- jump in.  My
inner overbearing mother hands out
advice like candy. 

So I did.  Here's how far I got today.
I'm working from a blown up photo
of a delicious breakfast I had somewhere.
I've forgotten where.  But I know I wasn't
camping, and I know that it was wheeled in
to us on a cart covered in a white cloth.
And I know the china was white, not
hipster black (thank you hotel of my
dreams).  In other words it was perfect.

Have a dreaming-of-romantic-breakfasts day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Painting fast -- artists need artists

Totally confident 
(art group sketch painting)
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
It made sense to get back to my art
group tonight.  I dashed over to the
studio, whipped out my paints, and
caught this image of the model
in less than an hour. The title
describes tonight's wonderful model.
She was completely happy with herself.

There weren't many of us there, and
the conversations were intense, funny,
and packed with information.  Everyone
was doing amazing work, and I was just
experiencing paint.  What a treat!

Have a being-with-fellow-artists day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The magic of drawing and More from the dresser

 Happiness framed
Black marker on moleskine paper
4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
(I may work on this a bit more

The little silver frame in the drawing here
has always been a favorite.  But until I
sat down to draw it today I didn't know
why it is so perfect.  I never noticed
that it was surrounded with ribbons
connecting a ring of cornucopias (ae).
Drawing is a gift because it opens
our eyes to what is right there.

As symbols of the abundant life the
horns of plenty couldn't be more perfect
to frame the first person who taught me to be
a mother.  The fun we've had as a
family, with two wonderful sons, and
now a daughter-in-law has been
abundant indeed.

Have an enjoying-the-magic-of-drawing day.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Robbie Burns Day

 Crowds at the dresser top
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Happy Robbie Burns Day.  We were lucky
enough to celebrate yesterday with some
diehard fans of the traditional celebration.
The Caledonian is listed as one of Toronto's
best Scottish restaurants, and they do the
event up proud.  There were readings from Burns,
toasts to the Haggis, a brilliant bagpiper,
and highland dancing.  Oh and the food
was delicious.  Glorious evening!

Today's drawing is of the dresser top in
our back bedroom, where we've been
essentially camping out since October.
In the cold it's one of the warmest rooms
in the house -- but this still life is a bit
more crowded than it would be if half
of these items migrated down the hall.

See if you can pick out my son's
monster clay sculpture in the midst of
this.  I like it because basically it is just
a glossy (glazed) lump of brownish
green clay, with a great big tongue
sticking out of it.  A helpful symbol
if you were having a bad day.

I have had a delightful day, and hope
you have too. 

Have a drawing-your-life day.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 6? Yes I had to keep going.

 The ocean series
Wonder Water Image paintings #1, #2, #3
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2014 
Water Image paintings #2, #3, #1
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2010 Each painting is 30 x 30 inches
(and there are more!)
It is one of my art goals to one day have these
paintings all along the wall in an entire
gallery.  To that end, I had to post a day 6
on the five day Facebook art challenge.
Which means I can nominate another
artist whose work I love, and I nominate
Sheila Vaughan.  Sheila may not want
to have anything to do with this, and
that's fine, but I love her work, and
want to make that known.  She is
an outstanding landscape, portrait, abstract
and bravely experimental painter.

Have a keeping-a-good-thing-going day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day Five -- Whew -- Coming down the home stretch!

 Clouds dancing over Toney Bay 
 Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2014
Wow!  That went quickly, and I feel like I've just begun
the awesome Facebook challenge.  It has been so much
fun, and there are so many paintings I'd like to share,
and so many artists I want to nominate.  But I may take
a two day break from this line of thinking and move
on -- or else -- keep posting a bunch of paintings,
and naming super artists.  We will see.
Summer clouds Wallace Bridge
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2014

I love painting portraits, and food, and flowers, and
this summer was blown away, knocked over, in love
with the clouds in Nova Scotia and here, and
everywhere. I still am, but I'm trying to control
Clouds over the bay
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2014
Cleaning up rooms in the past few weeks I
unearthed my diary from when I was 11 - 16.
Fact of very early life:  I was in love with someone,
possibly someone new almost every day.

Now it's visual.  This summer clouds were
an obsession, and once caught, always caught.
Warning -- cloud love can be hazardous to
driving.  Wait for a red light, to really 'look
up, look way, way up!'

Nova Scotia is my second home, and I feel
so happy every time I return.  My good friend
Frank Daley, who hired me to teach school
success used to say that you can't love a
thing.  Here is where we disagree. As
an artist you can love a thing, a food,
and a place.  Just differently.

Have a loving-what-you-want-to-paint day. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Goodbye Christmas -- Love is on the way!

Breakfast in the hotel
(full breakfast in sunlight)
Upper left section
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
My son Sam helped us get the Christmas tree out
of the studio today to my great relief.  I have been
working on small work, but dreaming of going
after something like the four paintings I chose
for the Facebook Challenge Day 4 today.
Breakfast in the hotel
(the star of the show)
Upper right section
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
The tree will go in the backyard on a stand
that Steven made to hold not yet dead Christmas
trees and he will be able to see the birds and
squirrels arguing over the birdseed he'll put
on the tree from the window through to
the downstairs office until the tree goes brown
sometime in March.
Breakfast in the hotel)
1/2 there (the top)
Acrylic on canvas
3 X 8 Feet
Barbara Muir © 2012
This has become our tradition because it makes us
sad when the Fraser fir moves out.  Those trees
stay vital and hold their needles a long, long time.
And besides it's time to start thinking about Valentine's Day.
Breakfast in the hotel
(Toast and jam)
Lower left section
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I debated putting any number of my food paintings
on today, but these are my largest combined work
to date, and it made me happy to post to Facebook
all in one go. So I'll put them on one by one, and
then fit the puzzle together. Thinking about
Valentine's Day makes me think about Breakfast in the
hotel.  Great idea!
Breakfast in the hotel
(oatmeal purist)
Lower left section
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Breakfast in the hotel
1/2 there (the bottom)
Acrylic on canvas
3 X 8 Feet
Barbara Muir © 2012
I nominate Nicki Ault for the Facebook challenge
today.  She is an awesome landscape painter.  I
often think she's inherited the Tom Thomson
gene somehow -- our most famous Canadian
landscape painter.  Plus she's a great person
and a friend.  
Breakfast in the hotel
Acrylic on canvas
6 X 8 Feet
Barbara Muir © 2012
Have a thinking-really-big day.
(I know I am.)