Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My first love

acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
(first steps. I've painted a ground,
drawn the baby, started to paint
her, and figure out the background design.
I think she needs a toy, so I'll ask about
that. I'm happy with her placement,
and love painting her. I have
to stay soft on her, may go
quite light with the dress, and
darken the couch. More tomorrow!)
Barbara Muir © 2009

I am painting a little baby, and you might think how could
someone who loves strong colour handle that assignment.
I even wondered myself. I've studied the baby, drawn
her picture about 10 times, thought about it, and the answer
came in a flash -- an underpainting of very soft, pale pink.
She is a very light pink colour, and is wearing a pale pink dress
in the photos I'm working from.

What you couldn't possibly know is that I've loved babies
since I was a very little girl. I was a major baby doll freak,
and almost had to have my baby doll pried from my hands
at 13 when I was starting grade nine. I more or less
adopted a couple with a beautiful baby boy on the next
block over when I was seven, and was with them as much
as possible until I moved to Toronto from Ottawa
just before my 14th birthday. When I was eleven I babysat
three of their children, and the youngest was two weeks old!

I loved babies, and that's what got me started drawing. So
as I was painting this little girl a whole slew of memories
came flooding back to me, and I realized I started out
drawing exactly this kind of picture. It's rough now, but
I'll refine it, and the whole time I'll get to stare at this
beautiful baby's face. A baby girl in a beautiful pink dress.
Heaven for me, and the seven-year-old artist child within.

The challenge of course is staying simple, and making her
alive. So I'm taking it slowly. Her dress is patterned, and
the client wants to see that. I'll figure that one out.
Meanwhile, my little baby is calling!

Have an-enjoying-the-babies-around-you day.


laura said...

So far, so good! The pinks throughout the baby, her hair, her dress, and even the flecks of it in the turquoise are wonderful.
Her face is amazing--such openness and intelligence!
I had quite a lot of baby dolls, and have held on to a select few, incl. a Madame Alexander, and a pair of redheaded, green-eyed, freckled twins!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

I'd almost forgotten that I loved dolls, which is funny because this year my mother asked me to take the dolls she was saving for me home, and they are in our spare bedroom. Twins eh? and a Madame Alexander. As soon as I started babysitting for money (at 11) I spent my money on dolls. Funny. Yes the baby has a truly lovely face that I hope to capture today.

Take care,


Liza Hirst said...

I am sure you will capture her perfectly! She does already look wonderful - Laura has said it all.
What a good idea to paint the canvas pink - that works so well!
Good luck with this difficult undertaking, Barbara!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks so much. It is such a push/pull kind of thing painting a baby, you can go too far with contrast, then pull it back and find you have to go farther with contrasting values again. I never usually think of values at all (oops) but have to very carefully in this instance.


Liza Hirst said...

How interesting! I think of values all the time!

Gwen Bell said...

What a wonderful post! And the little girl went on to have beautiful babies of her own. Aaawwwwww. Bet you are the best Mom ever!

This little one is precious! I love the pink under-painting and her adorable expression. Can't wait to see the finished piece!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

I mean that I really don't think. I can write about it after, but I think when I'm not painting, when I'm painting sometimes I just move. Does that make sense?


Liza Hirst said...

Sure! I wish that was the case for me - I think far too much.

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: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
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!