Friday, February 6, 2009

I've quit smoking

I found this picture in my files and loved it so much I
thought I'd share it with you. When did I quit smoking?
I hope my paintings are still "smokin" as Jim Carrey
says in the movie Mask. Before you get all up in arms
about parents who would let their children smoke,
even photograph them in the act -- calm down. When
I was a little girl many people thought smoking was cool.
Luckily my parents didn't, although my father did smoke
when he was in the navy. But...because smoking was
so cool, children could buy chocolate cigarettes in what
looked like cigarette boxes, complete with a tear off
cellophane over the box, and tin foiled paper lining.

Me "smoking" a chocolate cigarette
(That's my brother in the background)
by my father Wallace Muir
black and white photograph
8 x 10 inches

It did feel really cool to "pretend" to smoke. Other
than that -- I had a few puffs in university and early
adult life, when I foolishly thought that a cigarette
would help me stop crying. But I'm not a smoker,
so you could say that if I was eight or nine in this picture
I gave the dirty habit up when I was 13. There were no
chocolate cigarettes anywhere when we moved to Toronto.
Sometimes when I find evidence in childhood photos
of the self I've become it makes me happy. This
shot tells me that I had a sense of humour even as a
little kid, and that my father encouraged that fledgling

Have a finding-out-you're-funny day.


Edgar said...

You look so into smoking that coffin nail in this picture. Clearly, you had observed carefully the pose, attitude and facial expression of intense commitment that inhaling produces.

Hope you still enjoy chocolate. I always feel sad for people that give that up.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Edgar,

Don't worry, I kept eating chocolate long after I crumpled up my last pack of "ciggies".

Now, of course, there's "good" chocolate and "bad" chocolate. I like
the milk chocolate variety -- probably not healthy. I get what you mean. It's sad that people have to give up chocolate, wine or flowers.

Take care,


claud-hop said...

I absolutely love this photo, it's fantastic! Mostly because of its humor, but also because I just really like old pictures of people I know (by the way, I can really see a mix of Sam and Christopher in the shot, kind of cool).


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Claudia,

Thanks so much. Actually -- it's also
just a really good photo. It tells a story. The younger kid showing off, the older brother watching and probably wanting that attention -- plus the sheer humour of it.

Glad you like it.

Love Barbara

Liza Hirst said...

So do I! And I remember having those chocolate cigarettes as a kid, too. Like your hair cut and the "fifties'atmosphere" - great that you posted it, Barbara!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Weren't they fun -- the fake ciggies. Did you grow up to be a smoker? I think the politically correct removed them in Canada.
Too bad. Kids like pretending to be naughty.


Laurel Daniel said...

I LOVED the candy cigarettes! Ours were never CHOCOLATE though, ours tasted like the white candy hearts and were that texture. There was even a little dust (powdered sugar perhaps?) that made a little "puff" when you breathed on them. Great picture, and great shared memory we all have!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

I think we had the candy ones too --somehow the end looked like ash.
It's bizarre to think of it isn't it?
I mean I can't imagine us giving these to our children today.



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!