Sunday, August 30, 2009

Loved the movie

Cat on an office chair
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(New photo taken in daylight.)

The original charcoal sketch on the canvas ground
done while Fiona, our Tortie-point Siamese
cat was sleeping. I used the large
charcoal sticks my friend Noreen Smiley
in Pugwash prefers. They were great
for indicating value.

I went to see Julie & Julia last night with Steven and our
friends and loved the movie. The movie chronicles
the real life story of a woman writing a blog about cooking
through Julia Child's first cookbook, Mastering the
Art of
French Cooking. It felt a bit personal. True
the New York Times hasn't come knocking on my door,
but I have had the more than thrilling experience of
drawing Oprah in a live taping, and all of the media
interest since has been phenomenal. Let's face it,
all of that happened because of my blog. I've said this
before, but it's true.

I feel almost exactly the way the character in the movie
did -- grateful, surprised and delighted. In my case
I was encouraged to begin blogging by my dear friend
Flora Doehler in Bear River Nova Scotia, and launched
into the practice by my wonderful son, Christopher,
who is a technical wizard (I so am not). I don't think
I've ever had a melt down over the blog, but my husband
has suffered me typing the thing, and entering my
photos late at night when he's trying to sleep in the
bedroom which doubles as my office.

Like the character in the movie, I have the most
wonderful and supportive husband, and friends.
And like that character I am making new friends
through the blog world all the time. Unlike her,
I have no intention of stopping, because I am
committed to the daily blog, and trying to produce
art daily too -- which I admit gets to be a smoother
exercise as time goes on.
Toronto is being swarmed by
wasps. This is normal at this time of
year, but a bit worse because of the
garbage strike. If you put out dishes
of sugar in water, they go to the sugar water
and leave you alone. Be warned they
drink that sugar water like it's
champagne at a wedding, so you need
to replace it frequently if you want to sit outside.
Yes that's our back porch, and yes it needs
sanding and painting. We have not had time.
I hope we do before the snow flies.

Reviews from friends and family on the movie are
mixed. Check out the Vanity Fair piece on Julia
Child too, because her love story with her husband
is the stuff that movies are made of.

Have a loving-the-blog-world day.


Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for coming by my blog again. Your encouragement means so much and I truly appreciate the personal comments you shared as well.

I just read Julie and Julia this summer... when I was in Guelph visiting my sister and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It could have been the final push I needed to start my own blog. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking about it and go for it.

I'm so happy for you that your blog has added a new dimension to your life and brought you joy.

All the best,


Tammy Hext said...

Hi Barbara,
Love these last paintings. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the movie and on the wasps. Julie and Julia is next on my list to see and our backyard is riddled with those pesky bees.

Catherine Jeffrey said...

Good Morning Barbara
I'm glad you are not going to stop blogging, because there is always something about your words that gets the wheels in my analytic brain turning. When I first read the previous post about artists being a privileged lot, I was thinking, "are you kidding?". With the average working artist earning $12,000 a year, its not privileged. Also, there are serveral artists who suffer for their work, for one reason or another. Also, a friend of mine who is a wonderful artist grew up with 12 siblings in a northern ontario mining town. She can't help thinking deep in her soul that spending a lot of time producing art is trivial and so has devoted her time to teaching young children about art.
But then.... after more pondering, what you said made sense. Whenever I would complain about the hard work of producing art and no money etc, a teaching friend of mine would say "you are so lucky because you have a have no idea how lucky you are." So yes, whatever drives us as artists, we are very lucky to have the nerve and passion to do what we do.
Thank you for being so positive and upbeat, for writing such interesting words, for your happy bright paintings (love the houses), and for blogging.

L.Holm said...

You deserve all accolades coming your way. You have one of the most inspirational blogs. Love your painting--let us know if you solve the shine issue in photos.
giving wasps some refreshment...who knew!

LeSan said...

I am looking forward to watching the film when it comes out on DVD. Some movies I just enjoy more watching at home. It's more intimate I suppose. I appreciated your comment about the daily art becoming a smoother process. I have been out of the studio habit long enough to need a kick start. "A painting a day" sounded like a good exercise but I worried that it might be a struggle. Your comment suggests I might just get used to it after all. LOL
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Barbara for the mention! I always knew that you would be a 'natural' for blogging because of your wonderful writing background. I didn't know that you would use it to challenge yourself to paint everyday too! You are a rare artist who chooses to write and paint prolifically. It is wonderful to see your new paintings everyday ... you inspire so many people now and are in turn inspired by many. Wow. This art blogging world is wonderful. I have learned so much about it through your blog and through the people that comment on yours too!
Go Barbara Go!!

suzanneberry said...

Barbara, thank you so very much for such incredibly kind and generous comments. You made my day! And we so appreciate your words regarding Devlin the Wonder Dog. We miss him more each day. Thank you!

Your blog is amazing. I love your work. I will be back. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we can't wait to see the movie. take care and again, thank you so much. chat soon, suzanne

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

I haven't read the book yet, but I'd like to. I read a little bit of her blog after the movie. I started the blog in a hard year. It was a challenge to keep thinking in a positive way with the health issues some of my family members were dealing with. The blog taught me to bite the bullet and find the good in each day. I teach positive psychology and that year was my biggest test. Just when it looked like all would be well, I broke my ankle, our basement flooded, and that's when the blog took off. I met artists from around the world while I was on crutches, and my work on staying positive despite so many hard things paid off.

So yes. The blog has brought me joy, and taught me how to really work at art.That would have been plenty, but so much more has happened. It's just been wonder after wonder.

Seeing your work is one of those wonders.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Tammy,

I hope you like the movie, but you need to know that I'm both hopelessly sentimental and easy to please when it comes to movies. Throw in some great actors, Paris, food, and you don't need much more. I'm feeding those silly wasps, and they sure like
organic sugar and water.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Catherine,

I know what you mean. I am a bit of a Pollyanna type, but not for want of trying misery. I've had my share, but don't like to wallow. In a way I think all of us in Canada are lucky compared to many people in other countries around the world. You put the average artist's income one grand higher than I've heard. Most painters do something else so they can paint.

But also I do know this. As long as we believe that artists have to suffer and be poor, we will suffer and be poor. The second we decide otherwise, we will feel rich, and we won't have time to suffer. I believe that, not on a shallow level. The answer to all the questions is acknowledge hardship and sorrow and go for the joy. I think it's always there waiting for us.

You brought me joy today with this thoughtful comment. And your work is just lovely.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liz,

Thanks so much. Wow your abstract painting is amazing! I'm glad you're getting some help -- the night walking is truly bizarre. I just love your work. I hope that more help is coming your way so you can paint.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

You go girl. You are sooooo good. Your paintings are so gorgeous and completely original. I feel like you pulled me out of my art cocoon.

I'm glad you knew I'd be a natural. I so did not know that.

What a wonderful time I'm having.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Suzanne,

When my Siamese cat died at eight years old, I was inconsolable. Two years ago we got Fiona, the cat in this painting. She is one of the delights in my life. All kindness and humour all the time. We have one other cat and a dog - Zoey. So I do understand.

Your art is spectacular and love the writing too. Thanks for your kind comment.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Le San,

I can't believe I forgot to answer you. I went to visit your blog and was mesmerized. It looks like you have a lot to take care of in addition to painting. I say give yourself a break. I think you need to be a bit driven to paint a new painting every day. But as long as it's fun, I say go for it.

Your blog is a great pleasure.

Take care,


Gwen Bell said...

Barbara, I love love love this cat! The red ground showing through gives it a quickness that works so well with the graceful curves of the cat. WELL DONE!

I read that Vanity Fair article before seeing the movie and it was so insightful. Thought the bubble bath valentine was adorable! Seeing the movie and some of Julia's reruns on PBS has awakened a curiosity in me about this captivating woman. I'd like to find a good Biography.

Laurel Daniel said...

This cat looks so content!!! As usual - I love the color you get!! Thanks for the sugar water tip - I will be ready if those wasps come our way! That is a scary prospect!

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!