Saturday, August 23, 2008

Highly susceptible to humour

My first serious portrait when I switched to acrylics from
watercolour was a painting of Sandra Martin, a superb
writer and columnist with the Globe and Mail, one of
Canada's most respected newspapers. The painting took
months to finish, and one of the reasons was that
Sandra is so funny. I enjoyed talking to her so much,
that I had trouble disciplining myself to pay attention
and concentrate on her features. Plus she had to
be quiet so that I could paint her, and I loved
talking to her. The portrait wasn't a commission,
so we weren't confined to a deadline.

Sandra Martin
24" x 36"
acrylic on canvas

When I hunted through our photo files last night to
find an image of the result, I was happy because it captures
a real impression of Sandra. She is extremely
intelligent, witty, urban, stylish and beautiful.
Plus the painting is very painterly -- colour
and brushwork are almost as important as
the likeness. I'm not aiming for a reproduction
of a photograph in my work, even if the
only resource for a painting is photographic.

At the time when I painted her in 2003/04 she
had brilliant blue hair, and wore a gorgeous
blue shawl spotted with gold for our sittings.
There's an indefinable regal quality to
Sandra's bearing, and she has elegant hands.
Not many people can pull off blue hair with
equanimity -- but Sandra did.

We started the sittings before Christmas, and
finished the last details just before a spring
show. It will always be one of my favorite works.

Have a deeply gratifying day.


Theresa Rankin said...

Fantastic work, Barbara...the eyes are mesmerizing. I believe you have captured her spirit!!

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks Theresa,

That's certainly what I was trying for.

I really appreciate your thoughts.


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!