Saturday, February 14, 2009

Loving art friends -- Happy Valentine's Day

My friend Pam is a true art academic. What do I mean?
I mean she probably takes more courses, and goes to
more gallery shows in a year, than I will take in my
lifetime. We met at a workshop in California on my
first trip there. We were both at a water media course
put on by two of my art heroes -- Skip Lawrence and
Christopher Schink. I'm not even sure how we started
talking -- because it was a big class, but we did. The
group ate lunch together and dinner was at a local
restaurant each night. Pam and I hit it off. We liked
each other's work, treatment of colour and many
other things.

by Pam Brown
acrylic on canvas
40 x 30 inches
Part of a series

We talk on the phone fairly frequently, and when
Steven went to California two years ago in April,
we spent an entire day going around Los Angeles
together looking at art schools, art galleries, art,
art, art. I'm thinking about her today oddly enough,
because she has so much knowledge that I've
learned a lot from her. But I was grateful to her
today for a pretty simple reason. Pam taught me
that rubbing alcohol takes acrylic off -- your
painting, your floor -- and bonus of bonuses your
dry crusty with acrylic, left out of water too long
brushes. So I was using rubbing alcohol to throw on my
painting, (see Bob Burridge's latest newsletter)
and decided to clean my brushes at the same time.

acrylic on canvas
by Pam Brown
30 x 40 inches

Put the rubbing alcohol in a plastic container, swish
your brushes in the liquid, dry them off with a paper
towel. Clean!!! and Saved!!!! Before I knew this
technique I was constantly throwing out my ruined

I went a bit far on the painting, and will have to put some
paint back on where it went down to the canvas, but I
don't mind.

The Promise
I apologize for the photo
it's Valentine's Day

Detail of the area behind the head.
My friend Suzanne (my colour advisor) did not
like the unrelieved dark area.
I added lighter paint, laid it down
flat (it's 4' x 6') and dribbled
rubbing alcohol onto the wet acrylic --
this creates a cool mottled effect.
Where the alcohol went down to the canvas
I added the yellow lights -- and now I'm happy --
thanks Pam and Bob Burridge for the
heads up on rubbing alcohol.

Pam is an experimenter -- something else I enjoy about
her -- she is always trying new media, new ideas, new
methods. Because she spends a good deal of time looking
at art in galleries -- she is aware of the directions art
is going, and loves art from all over the world. She
wants to be contemporary, not bound by out of date, old
ideas, but she appreciates art from all of the past eras
as I found out when we visited galleries ranging from the
Renaissance to 20th century Japanese printmaking.

by Pam Brown
acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 inches

Have a loving-the-whole-world day.


Anonymous said...

Happy Valentines Day Barbara and Steven.

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks Eldon,

Right back at you! You are sweet. It was a superb day here, and I hope it was a good one in Colorado too.

Take care,


Laure Ferlita said...

What a cool effect you get with the alcohol and wet acrylic - I had NO idea you could clean off old dried acrylic that way - thank you!

I love "The Promise" and your style in general - wonderful use of color!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laure,

Your work is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks so much for your kind compliment. Yep -- this was quite a discovery for me, because I am rough on my brushes -- easily distracted, and now it doesn't matter. Very cool eh!
Take care,


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!