Sunday, January 9, 2022

Out to the park

Steven feeding the birds
at our favourite park on
Lake Ontario
in very cold weather
Barbara Muir © 2021

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday we went to our favourite park to feed the birds.
One day it was just ducks, and we enjoyed having time with them, because
usually other birds make sure they take priority.  Friday and Saturday the
swans we love came in from the middle of Lake Ontario, and yesterday
it was lucky we had two loaves of good bread.  All of the birds were very
hungry and there were a lot of them.

The queens's swan marker has made it clear that feeding swans and "waterfowl"
bread is fine.  Yesterday the birds were really hungry  It's cold, and there
was a crust of ice on the beach near the shore. With the windchill it was -7 Celsius --
cold.  One of the swans was nipping at my arm, and my coat because
I wasn't getting the bread out of the cloth bag we carry it in fast enough.

What a delight to be by the deep blue of the lake, with the wind creating
dramatic waves, and our bird friends having what amounted to
their dinner.  When they were full the swans lay down on the beach.
As if to say, "there now.  Time for bed." We drove off into a brilliant
sunset, and were as happy as could be.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Choosing Happy again -- Avoiding the shoulds

Tulips choose happy 
(Work in process)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021
(In November 2020, I
thought this painting was
done. For the past few days
I've kept seeing more and more
to change.  I would say 
almost done. Crazy how our 
tastes change isn't it? 

A big focus at this time of year is on all of what you should be doing.
I think it’s ironic. December 31 is one year, and January 1 is a new one.
But actually it is just the next day. So do you need to buy a Peloton? No.
Do you need to start a new exercise routine -- not unless you want to.
Last year an artist I follow, Veronica Funk suggested picking a word for the year. 
I chose happy.  And I'm glad I did.  Because all through the strange ups and downs
of a year with non stop news about the pandemic -- Lockdowns, and street
construction on our street for 4 months, somehow I stayed happy for the
most part. So I choose happy as my word for the year again this year.

Now in addition to trying not to get this nasty virus, I want to focus on
making art.  Because that work makes me so happy.  I loved what the
artist Janet Vanderhoof said about finding that art in every category in
her work last year sold well.  That was encouraging.  I tend to paint 
what attracts me.  Even with commissions, I work on getting the reference
resource (now that we can't meet portrait clients in person) that attracts me, makes
me want to keep going back to the painting or drawing until it is right, and
enjoying every moment of the work. It's a ,great feeling when I finish a work
and love it.  Getting there with this one. Liking it quite a bit now.

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2022.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Day 2 of 2022 -- the inspiring park

January 2,  Sunset 
Barbara Muir © 2022 

Happy New Year to you. I do not have a long list of resolutions
or plans.  My main goal for 2022 is to do things, and be with people
who give me pleasure.  So I am blogging after a lovely day.

We went out to our favourite park, and took a small walk in the cold.
I am always inspired by water and clouds.  And the lake never 
disappoints.  It was beautiful, and suited my main goal. It was
wonderful, and a treat.  Heading out to and home from the park
Steven and I sang in the car, and the light as the sun set was magnificent.

Tonight a breakthrough with our new kitten, Monet - 12 weeks old, and
living with us just over three weeks. Tonight while we were watching
our nightly show, Fiona the older siamese cat in Steven's arms, Monet
in mine, the dog Sally asleep on the floor -- Monet slid into Steven's
arms against Fiona.  And Fiona (who has not been at all happy
about the new kitten) let her stay. It was very sweet to see, so maybe
they will be friends one day.

Happy New Year. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

The 2020th and 2021st things I learned in 2021


Steven and I in 2015 on New Year's Eve
Things will be a bit quieter this
Happy New Year.

2020th -- I don't know

I learned again and again that I don't know.  If COVID-19 has taught me 
anything, it's taught me to realize again for what feels like the millionth time
that I don't know.  In some ways it seems wrong to have so much to learn
when I am a constant reader, and a teacher, and old enough to know better
as the saying goes.  But it has been a great year of learning.  In fact I think
that's one of the most significant things I've done this year -- is to study 
subjects I know way too little about, and to find out over and over that
I have a lot to learn.

2021st -- Happy New Year Means Something

Why does it matter to wish one another a Happy New Year in 2022? Because
we need hope more now than maybe ever before.  Some of the problems 
facing the world are ongoing, but this world wide pandemic and the climate
crisis are hitting new records of reasons to be afraid.  When we wish each
other Happy New Year -- we send the message out to our family, friends
and the world, that there is hope, and we will work together (apart) to 
solve these problems in the new year.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2018, and 2019th things I learned in 2021

First stop Paris
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 

2018th thing I learned -- the world is still out there

People complain about having to talk on Zoom, but Zoom has given
me my Monday night evening class, and faces to see without masks.
And connecting to people around the world on the phone, through letters,
and email has given me so much hope.  The world is still out there --
even when we are in lockdown -- fingers crossed that doesn't happen
again any time soon.

And Paris is still out there.  My favourite places are out there and 
I will visit them when the time is right, when everyone does their 
part to help us conquer this plague.  Meanwhile just the thought of
you -- Paris, New York City, Florence -- makes me happy. Stay safe.

2019th thing

Believing leads to change

The heart of all creativity in part is a belief that it can happen. I can
make that drawing, you can write that book, we can solve this hard
scientific, and behavioural problem of the virus.  And we can solve
climate change, if we believe we can change our ways, and take 
action to do it, and follow through. Let's join forces in a kind and
loving way to effect the change that needs to happen.  I believe we

Thank you again for all of your kindness and support.  You
make me happy.

Have a seeing how much you learned this year day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

From 2016 things, to 2017 things -- spreading joy


Golden Sunlight Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

I started to read bell hook's all about love, and she talks about how 
the pervasiveness of cynicism, and lack of belief in love and joy is 
harming us as a society.  So here it is.  It has been my mission for
maybe 20 years to spread joy with my art, my writing and my teaching.

So this year--in a year where it's been hard for all of us to keep our
heads up, and keep going down the rocky road of virus land, I learned
this lesson again. Joy counts.  I need to do whatever I can to help 
others feel happy, and of course to stay happy myself.  That is not
a shallow lesson. Love is a deep commitment -- to the planet, to
family and friends like you, and to myself. 

I'm sending you the image from my holiday card.  I submitted my
teaching grades on December 22, and had two days to get the holiday
together.  That meant I didn't get the card to as many people as 
I would have wished -- in short -- all of you. 

The inside message is:

Warm Wishes for a Happy Holiday

and a Joyous New Year!

Have a spreading joy day!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Catching up

Valiant winter tulips
Marker on Canson
mixed media paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

There are so many people who make my life the best, that I
don't even know where to begin.  But for the next 10 things 
I learned in 2021, I'll repeat the joy of learning from other
artists on line.  Today watching Harry Stooshinoff draw, I
got the urge to draw the tulips sitting in my kitchen.  I'm
organizing my studio, and it's in a state of flux at the moment.
Tomorrow is another day. 

But inspired by Harry's amazing one minute video I began a 
line drawing of the tulips.  This is the second one.  I began in
ballpoint pen, which everyone raves about, but it didn't work
for me, and the pen went dry, so I began again.  If the flowers
last until tomorrow, I'll work on it a bit more.

Line drawing is not the ideal medium for tulips -- they deserve
colour.  But that made it an even more interesting exercise.
I had a lot of fun.

Have an enjoying your life 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!