Sunday, September 21, 2008

Starting with the background

Before I started working on canvas at my Tuesday night classes,
I used to drive to class wondering what colour of ground to
use. I must have tried every colour in my palette, and ultimately
concluded that for me, in most cases, a warm ground was better
than a cold one -- so I favour rust, orange, peach, yellow and red
as backgrounds, over blue, purple, or green.

Painting sketch
acrylic on watercolour paper
20" x 26"

The painting sketch I'm showing you tonight is done on watercolour
paper in acrylic, and at the time I was trying out a purple ground.
I prefer our portrait night when the model is dressed, to the
figure study night when the model is naked, not because I'm a prude,
but because I like to paint clothing. I like how clothes make a
statement about the model -- and that's just me. I can appreciate
all kinds of work, but I guess I like painting people in their clothing,
because I'm interested in their personalities. Clothing may not make
the man, or woman, but it definitely expresses who they are. As a
portrait painter, I know that clients are very particular about both
what they wear, and the accessories that go with their dresses or
suits. Women clients often bring favorite meaningful jewelry, and
men who think they never think about clothes insist on wearing
special shirts, and ties. Mark Twain said, "clothes make the man.
Naked people have little or no influence on society." I think
that idea could easily be challenged.

That said I like the figure drawing in this image, and I especially like
the colours I was working with.

Have a painting-everything-in-sight day.


Susan Carlin said...

I just love the saturated colors you use in your portraits, Barbara. You're helping me work up the courage and gumption to try that.

Barbara Muir said...


I am so blown away by your paintings
and your use of colour. You
are so confident as you paint.
So I appreciate your comment

How exciting sharing this passion
for painting people.


Laurel Daniel said...

Hey Barbara,
You ARE brave with color - it's so lively! Loved your story about the Dangerous Datura... definitely not suitable for your four legged friend! :)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Thanks for the compliment -- I
guess it's my nature to bump
things up. I do like lively --
lively music, colours that dance,
and lively painters like you.


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!