Saturday, May 2, 2009

In praise of praise

Detail of a portrait of Remi
that I painted a couple of
years ago. He was a totally confident and
loved young teenager.
Remi before the Dance
24 x 26 inches
acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir ©2007

I watched some wonderful parents beam with pride today
as their child, a beautiful little boy talked about his
current passion -- history. Over the years in my work as
a teacher, an artist and in running workshops, when I
meet people who don't have faith in their own
intelligence, talent, even their own worth as beings on
the planet -- the problem is always the same thing.
These people missed out on the lavish doses of praise
that the little boy I met today receives every day.

When psychologists try to say that too much praise is
bad for a child, I completely disagree. The reason I say
that is that I've never met a child, or a grown up
who is unpleasant to be around because they've
received too much praise. I watched Sam, my youngest
son, watching this child talk, and I thought he got
the goods too for his whole life. He was always told that
he was beautiful, smart, and kind. That doesn't mean
we never got upset with him, far from it. It means that he knew
on a daily basis that he was loved and honoured. The
result is a wonderful person, kind and happy, in school
and enjoying the process of growing up.

The artist blog community is about praise. It thrives
on, runs on, rewards on, and is all about praise. In
my own life I can only say the effect of this joyous
dose of daily kindness has been to make me want to
create, to fill my mind with ideas, to make me glad
to be alive. Oddly enough, it's exactly the same with
a child. So I want to thank my older son, Christopher
for re-designing my blog title tonight. I love how it
looks. That particular colour of blue is certainly
one of my favorites, and he designed the new header
for me unasked. What a guy! Should I tell him I
think he's great, or will that make him get a swelled
head? What do you think? Thanks so much Christopher.
You are a talented, sweet and brilliant soul.

Have a praising-your-family-and-friends day.


Anonymous said...

i already have a big head.

thanks dad.

r garriott said...

First, the portrait is lovely, her kind expression surrounded in just the shades of blue that never fail to cheer me up.

In praise of praise: A beautiful sentiment, expressed so well. I always look forward to your daily enthusiam for life and art and am inspired. Thank you Barbara!

(I like your name on the blue, too!)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi R.,
Actually Remi is a boy -- probably about 16 now. I'm glad you like it. Yes he wanted to be painted in front of Richard Branson's place in Necker island, so that's the blue in his painting.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Thanks Criff,

You do have a big head, and it is a very handsome one. You are lucky.


Theresa Rankin said...

After looking back over all the insightful and beautiful blogs I have missed....I believe you need to be called Barbara Super need a big BSG on all your shirts, sweaters and jackets! Your energy and love for life never flag, your paintings are always exquisite and packed full of life and emotion...your time and consideration are hallmarks of your soul and trademarks of your personality! I don't know how you do it...I am soooo honored to know you. I have deemed your kitchen perfectly paintable and Milind can certainly have at it also...his work is stunning. You will be happy to know your kitchen sold for a very nice price the other night....send all the pictures of those divine cabinets and gorgeous china bathed in light you can spare via my email...!!!
As always rock!!
Theresa xoxox

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Theresa,

I am delighted that my kitchen -- transformed into a very special place by your incredible talent -- sold!! Selling is good news for all of us.

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts, and your wonderful friendship.


laura said...

What a sweet face!
I love what you've written in this post and agree wholeheartedly.
I've found that the children I have known love to be paid real attention to, to be listened to and focused on ... which is I guess a kind of praise too.
BTW--watched your Skype interviews: it was so wonderful to watch and hear your laugh!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

I guess we just have to remember. The adults we loved spending time with as
children saw us as people who were
important. They valued our thoughts, our humour, and made us feel that all
of our dreams could come true.

Now they have. I get to have wonderful artist friends like you.

Take care,


Liza Hirst said...

Your portraits are always so expressive! This is very beautiful - beaming with joy of life and kindness! I especially like the way you painted the hair.
And how right you are again with your daily thoughts - I agree wholeheartedly that children can't be praised too much!!!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks so much. Ans I love all of your work too.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Sorry I'm rushing. Always a bad idea.

I love your work. I love this week's paintings of gardens.

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!