Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why draw when you can paint?

Sometimes in the endless thinking about painting, drawing
is a way to relax. The first drawing I'm showing you tonight
I found in one of my sketchbooks. Toph Schink says he
doesn't draw, he just paints, but he does draw while he's
painting, the way all the rest of us do. He just doesn't
separate drawing from painting.

Sketchbook study Marty's Mom

I did master classical drawing long ago in art school,
but painting in watercolour and acrylic changed me.
Today I'm trying to be myself in paint to the extent that
that's possible.

The first drawing is really a colour study I did
when I was doing a portrait of my friend Marty's
Mom. A wonderful woman, warm, intelligent
and very pretty.

Marty's Mom
acrylic on canvas
24" x 36"
Barbara Muir © 2004

In university I had a friend who drew
with everything, leaves, grass, sticks,
pizza. Nothing was safe from experiments in
line and form when he was around. I loved
that wild way of working -- although I'm far
from wild -- but sometimes I try something
just for memory's sake. In my case, bits of
fruit or flower don't produce great art, but
the process is fun. Here's one done with
purple flower petals.

Sketchbook drawing of a table top grouping
in either purple Iris petal, or pansy petal

And of course I draw to fill in time, divert my mind,
capture a moment, and practice. Before my son, Christopher
left for Korea, I drew endlessly in the pub restaurant where he worked.
I had no intention of turning the drawings into paintings, I just wanted
to stop my mind from running ahead to missing my little boy, who has
grown up into such and amazing man. Drawing anchored
me in the present -- the noise, gestures, enjoyment, serious
conversations people were having in the pub. It helped me
stop my emotions from swamping me. Artists are secret
scientists. In a way every drawing that isn't expected to be
great art, is an equation waiting to happen. Coloured pencil
on heavy watercolour paper -- maybe not. Ink on bond -- not

Sketchbook study Fionn MacCool's Toronto
Never completed because dinner arrived

Have a noticing-and-enjoying-everything day.


Anonymous said...

How interesting to be able to draw something lovely with panseys. I love it. You have such a wonderful talent...and I'm enjoying reading as well.

I sure hope your foot is better soon although you may have spent more time painting because of it this summer.

Have a lovely evening

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks Judi,

I'm not sure what it was. I've drawn
with cherries, and grapes -- just
to see what the colour looked like.
As a painter I sometimes think about
artists who worked before we had
anything resembling paint. We're so lucky now with the wide variety of colours in every medium.

Thanks for your good wishes.


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!