Monday, February 18, 2008
Art Moving Into 2008
I know it's February -- almost March, but it still feels like the beginning of the year. Today is Family Day, an official holiday in Ontario, and we were lucky enough to have our whole family together at dinner.
My son Christopher helped me start this blog. The pull of technology as a way of talking about art is huge, and the blog seems a natural extension of my journal writing courses.
My friends Flora, in Bear River and Greg and Norene in Pugwash, Nova Scotia all have blogs on art and all things Nova Scotian. My friend Lina in Ottawa has a wonderful cooking blog. I don't have a website yet, but that's coming.
In the meantime, some thoughts on art. It's been a fantastic winter visually in Toronto. Apparently we've had 70 centimeters of snow in February so far. The driving is hell, but the look of this city landscape iced in a deep sculptural coating of snow is amazing. I think artists are especially blessed with a keen delight in all things visual. As a painter I try to convey joy, and the happiness I get from looking at the world through what Monet called "the artist's eye." Only Monet said it in French, and I am not certain of the quote.
I believe that the universe presents us with pivotal moments whenever we need inspiration, or a push forward, and that's why this blog is happening. Christopher just started it -- poof, and here it is. On the way home from taking Christopher and Megan back to their apartment, driving through the icy streets we passed a huge Forest Hill House. As we drove past my husband Steven said, "look at that portrait!" He backed up so I could see a stunning huge painting of a woman's head on the wall, and I thought that's what I want to get back to -- the large portrait paintings of faces series that I started with Megan.
This is my first Dance Series painting, Before The Dance. It is 6' x 4' and not at all imposing in the large space it occupies now at Seneca College, King Campus, north of the city. I love painting with a huge brush and sweeping the colour on. It feels almost like conducting or dance, and the big canvas makes a noise like a drum when you start to paint. It's so kinetic, musical and absorbing. This painting is the painting that shot me into the life I have today -- with many dance series paintings behind me, I've been working as a successful portrait painter,
and encouraging people to dress up a bit for the work -- step out of the jeans and T-shirts and into their good clothes. Which is funny because I paint in my tiny little living room and dining room, and they sit in a big chair my two cats have practically clawed to pieces, or another little elegant chair I bought last year for the purpose.
In between sittings, which I keep very short (10 minutes) we go into the kitchen for tea.
I teach writing and motivational psychology (school success is another term for it) at Seneca,
and last year every time I arrived home from school in the late afternoon there were clients waiting. I'm an energetic teacher and pretty tired when I get home, but we'd settle in the kitchen for a few minutes with tea, then I'd begin the painting and whammo all my energy returned.
As I figure out how I'll connnect to more blogs. Happy blogging Flora, Lina, Norene and Greg.
(This is my dog Zoey and the new kitten Fiona -- companions to those tea and cookie breaks in the kitchen)
More coming. I hope everyone had a great family day.
I hope you were painting Flora and Norene.
- Barbara Muir
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!