Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When are you funny?

Art group sketch
acrylic on canvas
16 x 15 inches

I was thinking tonight as I emptied the cat
pan, put things in the dishwasher, got ready
to call it a night, about the first time I
understood how much I loved funny. For
at least one summer, my older sister and I
shared a two bedroom cabin down the road
from the main cottage my parents rented
called the guest house. That summer my
brothers (when one of them wasn't away
at camp) shared a much smaller cabin called Bunkie
(because it had bunkbeds) right
next to the big, old cottage.

The main cottage was beautiful with a huge stone
fireplace, and was built by an English family, all
dead by the time my father rented it, and before there
were even proper roads in that part of Ontario.
My father was strict, and Bunkie was about five
feet away from my parents' bedroom in the cottage.
So you couldn't make noise there. But in the
Guesthouse we listened to the radio all night long,
singing, talking and laughing. My sister was then, and is
now, one of the funniest people I know, and she got
me laughing so hard when we'd talk and dance and sing
late at night listening to American rock stations, that I wanted
to be around that humour all the time.

How does that connect to art? My friends at
the art group I belong to are, among other things,
funny. After a long day at school (and today my
students were pretty funny too), I climb the stairs
to the art studio where we work, and look forward
to the break when I can talk with them. Most of the
artists I've met through the blog share a wonderful
sense of humour too. I love that.

It's so easy to get too serious and somber about art,
your oeuvre, your craft. Julia Cameron in The Artist's
Way asks us to admit that we're playing. We're all just
playing at this weird thing with colours and line
we like to do. I better stop, because I'm in one of
those chatty moods you get in late at night after
a long day. Kind of like the mood I'd be in as a
little girl loving every minute of talking to my sister.
The truth is that I do love every minute of talking to

It's time to say goodnight.

But one thing before I go. The painting tonight is my
Tuesday night art group sketch. I had a little under an hour
to do it, and enjoyed the process. The model was extremely thin.
You read people saying to turn the model into an object,
and paint her like you'd paint a cup. I find that staring
at the model, seeing her humanity, and feeling compassion
and affection helps me get the image I want. This model
emanated a very sweet and vulnerable feeling. I'm
quite happy with the sketch.

Have a laughing-with-your-great-friends day


Laurel Daniel said...

How great to have friends that remind you of laughing all night long with your sister! That's a good life! You captured a certain fragileness in this woman...

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

It is great to have friends like that.
They'd probably be surprised to hear it, but sometimes I laugh the most on the drive home, thinking about funny
things they've said. I bet there's a lot of laughter in your classes.


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: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
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!