Sunday, August 17, 2008

Inspiring children

36" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
Sometimes when I'm working on a portrait it
comes together so quickly that I amaze
myself. I've tried analyzing why this happens
and can't give you any concrete answers.
It's not simply about connection, because
some of the portraits that have taken the
longest time to do were of people I loved.

This portrait of Sean was a complete surprise,
because it developed with such ease.
Sean is a fantastic human -- when I painted him
he was verging on 15. He was polite, incredibly
funny, loved his family, was devoted to board
sports, and liked school. We seemed to click
instantly, and every portrait session was a
pleasure. He liked eating cookies and talking
in the breaks; he enjoyed the cats, and
happily wore my son's white shirt for every

His was the third in a series of three images
that would hang together on a wall at his
parents' place. The paintings had to work
individually, and when hung together had
to appear to be one big work. I
completed the series last summer, and
it is definitely one of the best things I've done.

Group Portrait
Sean, Madeline and Elizabeth
36" x 6'
acrylic on canvas
Despite all our training, practice, knowledge,
and understanding painting is a chemical
or alchemical process. Sometimes it is
so easy we feel with every brush stroke that
we were born to paint, sometimes every
decision is painfully deliberate -- and the
results can be exactly the same, giving
off the same feeling of delighted ease,
whether we had a great, or difficult time
producing the image.

Here's to a day of effortless creativity.


Anonymous said...

Painting portaits is way beyond me. It would be nice to find the time to learn to do them. I do understand, tho, the way a painting sometimes only needs us to hold the brush and it does all the rest. I understand the other way too. Great job, I really like the way you've handled these three.

Theresa Rankin said...

Barbara,,,thank you for your time and comments...they mean a lot to me. I understand what you mean when a painting just falls together....I call it seems to me I am transported into another place where every brushstroke, every decision happens subconsciously...and before you know it...there is a fantastic painting there before you. I believe it may have something to do with letting go of all the extemperaneous stuff in our lives the moment we pick up that brush..but am not sure if that is the only reason. Your piece hear works extremely well apart or together...great shapes and brushwork...your knowledge of composition is evedent. Fantastic!!

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks Eldon,

I'm sure that whatever you paint,
observation is key, and you are
such a great landscape painter --
you could paint anything you
decided to paint.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Theresa,

Thanks for your time and comments too. You are so right about the sense
of flow. It makes everything work.
I'll remember that when I'm painting


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!