Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
John Keats -- Ode on a Grecian Urn
I was raised on Keats; my mother could quote any
poem she ever read it seems, and did. Plus I
studied English Literature at university, and the
teachers who taught us about the Romantic poets
were some of the most inspired and engaging
professors I ever met.
So...Keats was my mentor, my hero, my demigod.
As an adult, mature and thoughtful I suppose I'm
like the duckling that imprints on an eagle. I can't
shake the idea that celebrating beauty is important
in life and in art. That doesn't mean turning my
back on ugliness -- not noticing what we're doing
to our planet, not trying to vote responsibly, live
without polluting, sending the odd bit of extra cash
I get to help people out around the world.
It means that I think art that is about what works
on the planet -- flowers, lovely human moments,
beautiful fabric, glorious scenery -- matters.
As a young girl right out of university, I survived
a stint of horrendous work at a pizza restaurant
with a boss who was unscrupulously cruel. I'd
heard that the small town I lived in was a mecca
for artists. One day someone introduced me to a
young woman artist and I went to her studio to see slides
of her work. She created "art" out of dead animals
stuffed in awkward poses by a taxidermist, standing
in shattered glass.
I can thank her now because she depressed me so
much when I added her disturbing art to the mix
of bad work and no pay I was dealing with, that I left
town and never looked back. I can also thank her, because
she helped me decide that art could be beautiful,
and that creating appealing work was a calling
every bit as important as shocking and horrifying
In short she sent me crying for mercy back into
the pages of John Keats, where I now live
celebrating the beauty I see any chance I get.
The drawing tonight is one I'm working on in
preparation for a painting of the flower lady
at the Brick Works market. The drawing is
probably uber detailed, the painting will most
likely be much less so.
I like how she disappears behind the mass of
greenery and blooms. Half of what she sells
I've never seen anywhere else, and that's the
beauty of her bouquets. Which sends us back
to the theme.
Have a knowing-beauty-day.
- 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: email@example.com
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!