Thursday, January 22, 2009

More Skype art

When I got my IMac for my birthday just over a year
ago, I had no concept of how this one computer would
revolutionize my life. I am minimally technologically
savvy, but slowly becoming more so with the help
of friends and family.

I knew it would be a good computer for my art but couldn't
have imagined in my wildest dreams that it would be
changing the ways I actually produce art. How wrong
could I be.

Enter Skype -- the online video phone system -- that's
free!!! Wow. With a program called "Capture" on my
Mac I can photograph the people I'm talking to on Skype.
So when I talk to my son in Korea, I can take his picture
as often as I want. And I have been. Some interesting
drawings have resulted from the casual, intimacy of
the Skype visual image on his laptop, and even some
paintings of Christopher and of my friend Flora in
Nova Scotia.

black marker on watercolour paper
12 x 9 inches
But the most exciting thing I've done with this medium
yet had to be drawing people I'd never met, who I
met on Skype as they attended a Skype party at the
Consumer Electronics Show. I talked to you about this
a bit yesterday. But here's the scenario. I'm in my
upstairs bedroom in my little semi in Toronto, Canada.
They are at a loud, exciting party at one of the biggest
electronic shows in the world. There's a live band,
plenty of camaraderie, and a fascinating atmosphere,
and I am in on it, and recording it visually through
the medium of pen and ink. They are in low
lighting, a little bit nervous, and the music is so
loud that they can't hear what I say. So we start
to Skype chat, another cool feature of Skype, and we
talk that way.

It's hard to imagine isn't it? But in a way Howard
Wolinsky, the U.S. Skype blogger is right that it was
like an age old practice artists have frequently tried.
Many French Impressionists drew in cafés, to get the
feeling of the day. Last year one of my sons
worked in a restaurant/pub here and we'd go
out for dinner there every Friday night. There
was loud music, and lots of fun, and I'd take
my sketchbook, or draw on a napkin.

I have always had a practice of drawing any time
I'm waiting, in a doctor's office, airport, or
restaurant. Skype makes that experience more
intimate. The faces I drew who were guests
at the Skype party at the CES were in close range,
and aware, intensely aware that I was drawing

I drew rough sketches during the event, and
more polished sketches afterwards. I
sincerely hope the sitters are happy with the results.

Those of us who blog are already plugged into
a community of art bloggers. We know we are very
lucky to have this community. My experience
was just a vibrant extension of that connection
we value so highly.

Have a welcoming-new-experiences day.


David Lobenberg said...

Wunderbar sketch or should I say skype sketch? I gotta check out what the hellya talkin about.

benjaminlois said...

hi, i like very much your black marker work, thank you for it.

claud-hop said...

Hey Barbara,

I really really love your drawing of that Phil character on this post. Like "benjaminlois" said in his comment to you, I also "like very much your black marker work". Excellent job, I can't wait to see the rest!


Barbara Muir said...

Hi David,

I'm glad you liked the drawing. It's more of a post Skype sketch, done from a combo of Skype reference and photo reference.

Yes you do have to find out.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi bejaminlois,

Thanks so much. You do beautiful pencil drawings. Great work.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Claudia,

I'm glad you like my drawing of Phil,

I hope he does. He seemed to be a really great guy.

Take care,


Theresa Rankin said...

This is sooo know your stuff!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Theresa,

I'm so glad you like my work. I really hope that Phil likes it too.


Rachel said...

Hi Barbara...I saw you on Oprah today and you were delightful! What a wonderful idea to use Skype to do portraits. I wish you the best of luck. I have a funny feeling you are going to be in big demand following your TV appearance!


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!