Wednesday, May 27, 2009

World view

Mother and daughter
(More blocking it in)
acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(The mother and daughter
I'm painting exemplify the positive
world view I seek. Both
of them allow each other
to be themselves. I think
that's part of a positive world view.)

I don't know when it hit me that I really care about people's
world view. It might have been an expression my sister
used to describe how an author thinks, but it stuck. I
got an email newsletter from Susan Jeffers about
Finding Peace of Mind In The Land of Tears, and I
can't wait to read the whole thing. My world view is
solidly positive, and so is Susan Jeffers, which is one
of the many reasons I enjoy her work. Knowing that
I can read about how she deals with sorrow. But authors
who revel in the horror of the world, or the worst
side of human nature don't attract me.

When it comes to art I have a similar world view. I
enjoy trying to make a joyous account of a life. In
art, that's been my mission since I started painting
long ago. This was not a popular world view in the
art world when I was a teenager, and I eventually
felt wearied by descriptions of positive art as "facile", "pretty"
or "derivative." The determination to maintain a
positive world view sometimes takes
some teeth gritting -- life throws us all pain at
least as tough as the pain of labour. But each day,
no matter how hard can have rewards if you look
for them. Today it was raining heavily off and on.
From inside, the world looked bleak, but out
running through the rain to get to the car for
a dozen errands the world was vibrantly coloured,
the richest, lushest full summer greens, glistening
next to Japanese Maple reds, and flowers taking
the weight of the water in and flourishing.

There is a lot to worry about in the world: sorrow,
disease and war. And when we concentrate
on what's working, and what's good we aren't ignoring
those facts, or abandoning our family and friends
living in hard circumstances. We give ourselves
the space to be courageous, create beauty, summon
kindness and treat each person we meet with proper

That is my world view.

Tonight I'm showing you an earlier stage in a portrait
I'm working on. At this point it's all underpainting.

Have a living-a-positive-world-view day.


Elizabeth Seaver said...

Your colors always provide surprise, and I can't wait to see how this finishes.

I have called my work "art light" for some of the same reasons your work was dismissed in your early career. I think it is important to make people smile or laugh out loud or to surprise them. Art can be a reminder of happier things and an escape to an imaginary or new place.

Carol Berry said...

I always thought it was cheating, when artists poked fun at the state of the world, showing how silly or ugly people and their surroundings can appear to be. It is too easy to be negative in art, as easy as throwing a pebble into a puddle and not much more imaginative. The real challenge is showing the positive intent of people as they travel through their life's journey!

julie davis said...

Barbara, your words are as beautiful as your art. Thanks for always being a bright spot in my day!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Your work is beautiful. Tell me how
black swirls on a white canvas are
more "serious" or "substantial" that what you are doing?

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Carol,

I hear thunder outside, which means I better get off my computer. Here comes my frightened dog.

Yowser. I agree. Your paintings present an ideal world, I'd be happy to live in.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Julie,

Your art is a bright spot in my day. What incredible talent, and a very joyous world view. I just love what you do.


Teresa said...

Hi Barbara,

Enjoyed your comments on Elizabeth Seaver's blog about commissions vs. no commissions. Followed the link for your blog and also enjoyed your comments on your world view. Well put, and I say a hearty, "Ditto!"

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Teresa,

Thanks so much for your kind encouragement. Isn't it lucky there are lots of positive people out here in the blog world.

Take care,


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

you forgot 'trite and banal' ;)
I like to go for a beautiful composition so that the piece can be judged on that over and above the subject. If it's well done, it's well done.
Escape? I'm all for it!

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!