Wednesday, June 10, 2009


At the market
charcoal on Manila
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(Sometimes before I begin a painting
I sketch to get to know the subject.
This isn't entirely accurate, but
it's getting there and I like the
For the past few days as I worked on my paintings
and drawings, gathered material together for submission
to a major art show, and driven through the countryside
to school today to visit some of my friends there, I've
had a word surface in my brain again and again.


No. I'm not going through a life crisis...this year.
Significance was just the word my brain stuck on.
Roving around the net to read what other people say
about the word I notice that people frequently separate
the idea of a life of significance from a life of success.

So what's the opposite of a significant life? I'd call it
treading water. When you tread water you don't move
forward or back -- but you do keep afloat. Metaphorically
it's like the hamster ratcheting around the same little
wheel all day. After thinking it through I've decided that
significance is about meaning. The people who test
your happiness at the University of Pennsylvania
identify a feeling of meaning in life as one of the factors
necessary for a happy life. So that's where I ended

Open the door to meaning in your life, and it's like a
flood of light comes through -- knowledge, love,
a profound connection to the planet and the wonders
of the universe, artistic inspiration, and significance.
Then miraculously happiness can come in too.
So I'm going to quit worrying about the fact that
my front door is not yet painted Feng Shui red,
and let it be the door to meaning and significance
even in its battered blue state.

Or I may just walk through it and pick the yellow
pansies growing on the front porch steps.
Today those pansies are significant.

Have an understanding-the-significance-of-your-life day


Gwen Bell said...

Wonderful drawing! Your posts are so insightful. I will think about Significance and what it means as I go about my day today. Thanks, Barbara!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

I guess we need to strike a balance between just living and thinking about it. On a sunny, lovely day like today, it seems right just to be in it.

Take care,


L.Holm said...

Beautiful drawing. I like the soft tones.
Adore your insight in this post. So well said. You're an inspiration.

Melinda said...

This is so scrumptious, Barbara. I, too, love the smudges with the lines. There is such beauty in the image.

Thank you for your thoughtful post, too. It had me thinking about significance all day as well.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liz,

Your work is an inspiration to me. You certainly can paint.

Thanks, I'm glad you like this drawing.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I swear I was just a happy shallow girl until I started reading your blog and Mr. Edgar Arty Fice's deep mind probings. You made me sit up and take notice, and now I can hardly read my Allure magazines anymore.


Laurel Daniel said...

oooooooooo, this is wonderful. I love the soft, smudged edges and your minimal hint of context (kind of your signature I might add.)

PS - I agree that we all want to know that we are making a difference... that we "matter". ALSO - To love and be loved; that brings significance. OXOX

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Thanks so much. Back to the drawing board we go. I so love your paintings. We're hitting the hot times now and the city is breaking out in parties everywhere.


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!