Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In praise of notebook sketches

Pansies in a milk jug
Notebook sketch
marker on bond
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

A while back (November to be precise) I did a rough notebook
sketch of my friend Flora in Nova Scotia, as we talked on
Skype. . Little did I know that that one little sketch, quick
and simple would launch me into a whole
new phase of my career. I became in that instant the Skype
Sketcher, and caught the attention of Howard Wolinsky and
the US Skype blog. But I wouldn't have even published
that humble sketch, coils from the notebook and all, if
I hadn't seen a notebook sketch (much more detailed)
on David Lobenberg's blog. I am eternally grateful to

So...I am working on a number of paintings, all large, and
all under wraps at the moment. I was thinking about what
to show you on my blog today, and remembered this
simple drawing I did a couple of nights ago of pansies in a
milk jug.

Watch out -- my last sketch lead from the blog, to Howard,
and from there to a wide world of opportunity.

Have an honouring-your-notebook-sketches day.


Liza Hirst said...

Another beauty! Simple you say, yes, but actually not at all! One has to be able to do it like that! You certainly are!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

You are so sweet. I think I am pulled by line, it's always tempting to sit for days and describe the entire world in line. But you did that so magnificently in colour in your wedding painting!

I was amazed.


laura said...

Keeping a sketchbook is a habit I would love to get into ... I have several that I've started, but I always end up putting them aside.
You're inspiring me to try again!
(And thanks for the mantra!! ;-)
I'm going to try it!)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

I don't really keep a sketchbook, I just draw on everything, like that cool sketch you did in a car once.
The mantra is true. So I'll try it too, only not about watercolour.

Take care,


Lynne Grossman said...

This is so interesting how you became a Skype sketcher. I'm looking forward to your series and seeing more honourings of notebook sketches. I use a notebook, napkin, torn paper....once did a portrait of a sleeping daughter on a torn piece of construction paper and I *knew* from the onset, I should have grabbed a better piece and yet... some of the charm lies in the fact that it was a piece of pink construction paper that was handy...
I smiled from your post. Thank you.

Aliaena said...

Hi Barbara,
I really love your line drawings as well. This one especially! Love seeing your comments and work every day and wishing you all the best, Aliaena

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Lynne,

It's true that part of the charm is the piece of paper, or napkin, or back of a store receipt that's readily handy when the urge to draw hits suddenly and unexpectedly.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Aliaena,

I really appreciate your kind encouragement. Your own drawing is just superb.

Take care,


eldon warren said...

And yet another awesome drawing by the Skype Sketcher. Lovely and not as simple as you claim :)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Nonsense. Simple. Just me and a milk jug of pansies, late at night hanging out in the kitchen. That's simple. I was waiting for the kettle to boil for my hot milk.

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!