Thursday, May 28, 2009

One kindness at a time

Drawing of a man III
marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10
Barbara Muir © 2009

(I admit I did this drawing
for my own amusement, because
I never draw people mid-gesture,
mid facial expression. I wanted to
see how it would look. Not perfect --
as soon as you photograph something
you see what should change, but still
funny. Why am I drawing men? Because
I paint so many women, I wanted you
to know I can also draw men. Okay --
maybe that's just one of the reasons.)

Seriously -- everybody has bad days. But what I
want to learn, is how to stay kind and thoughtful all
the time. I don't mean that I want to be a saint --
I'm firmly stuck in the human form, but I want
to notice as much as possible whether or not I'm
being kind, and to choose kindness in as many
as possible of my interactions. There's the goal.
Sometimes I slip up because of poor communication --
mine, sometimes I'm over the edge in fatigue.
Now how do you stay kind, when someone is being unkind
about someone you love? I posit this challenge to
my own theory to see whether or not I can dance
on the head of a pin. I would automatically
jump to the defense of my friends -- but what
about taking that position with people who are
friends badmouthing people you love? I think
kindness dictates some attempt at understanding,
and then perhaps an "I love you, and I love X
too, so I'm not the person to discuss this with."

Would that method hold up in art circles? I
think so. Here our tastes are so varied, that
we can't go cold because one of us likes realism,
and another prefers the glory of abstraction.
It isn't personal. It's taste. That means I
can love Larry Rivers -- not want to be him --
and you can go for Warhol. We're cool.
I like Lucian Freud, and Mary Cassatt. If I'd
known Mary, would she have liked Lucian -- no
way to tell at this point.

All right. I've answered some of my own
theoretical conundrums. As One of my favorite comedians
would say," Boy I love me." Isn't that kindness
too? Loving me. We teach our students to love
themselves, so they will be able to love others.
So now -- go ahead give yourself a big old artist

Have a giving-yourself-a-big-old-artist-hug day.


Melinda said...

I really like your drawings of the men lately. I think these are great. The line quality is wonderful.

Your posts are very thoughtful as well. It seems that there is something, a big art discussion(?), going on, but I'm out of the loop. I'm very much the same when it comes to liking many genres. If one's heart is in the work, then it's going to speak to others.

I don't think Mary Cassatt would have liked Lucien Freud, but then, Picasso hated Bonnard and Van Gogh couldn't get along with Gauguin and the male painters of the Abstract Expression era weren't inclusive of the women, such as Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning.

We can be a difficult lot, eh?

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

No there's no big art discussion going on, just me writing in the middle of the night, trying to think of something to say. I've noticed in the blog world that we're courteous to one another. And I like that.

I love what you've said.

A difficult lot, but wonderful.


Marian Fortunati said...

I don't think you can truly love anyone else unless you love yourself as well!

Love your thinking and your drawing is supurb... puts my little sketches to shame.. But hey... I love the place I'm in on my journey ...

Be well... nice to drop in every once in a while.. Good things to see and reflect on!!

Gwen Bell said...

It amazes me that you do these drawings in ink! That's like doing the NY Times puzzle in ink in under 30 minutes. Love "the man".

Your post are always so interesting, Barbara. I love having a glimpse at your creative mind.

Would love to join the conversation but my Art History is marginal at best.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marian,

I don't believe in shame (can you tell?) -- okay I mean in terms of doing art. Your sketches are fine, and the painting of white poppies outstanding.

Glad you like my drawing.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Well I do the drawings in marker pen, but they take me a while to do. I just love drawing the man.

You don't need to know art history, to know whether we should argue because we don't all like the same art. I don't think we should. How strange would it be if a whole universe of creative people liked the exact same artistic expression.
Too weird! You are funny Gwen.

Take care,


Laurel Daniel said...

You draw a GREAT man! Well, you just draw great, period! :)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Thanks so much. I was certainly trying to draw a great MAN. I do love drawing, and painting of course.

Your paintings just inspire me so much.


Portrait Artist

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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!