Friday, August 21, 2009

Painting to abstraction

Low tide Gulf Shore Beach
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

It's been a exceptionally beautiful day here in Toronto.
The sky was the purest blue -- a Nova Scotia colour,
cicadas were singing, it seemed like all of the animals
were celebrating living through a storm that has
streets closed off, and really did severe damage north
of the city. One of my Greek neighbours up the street leaned into
the car as I went out to buy canvas, to tell me with a joyous
chuckle that she'd spent two months in Greece and
it was wonderful -- "They are wild!" she said, and winked.

A dear friend came and worked for me sorting
through my office work and paper debris, and I felt my feet
slowly settling on Toronto soil. Oh goodness. Everything
Steven said is true. I have moved back. But not unchanged.
Don't worry.

In the late afternoon I walked the dog slowly through
the long, golden light, and a handsome man pulled up
beside us, parked his car, and got out to join us. The
dog seemed even more thrilled than I was. Well, I
tried not to mind -- Steven is her first love. I am
working on a couple of things. The little painting
I'm showing you is a kind of abstraction of the ocean,
beach and tide pools in Nova Scotia. We are
blessed with red sand. This picture is based on a
photo taken when friends were visiting on a very hot
day. By now those colours are stamped in my heart
and I can pull them out at will.

Maybe that's how abstraction happens -- deep
familiarity. Or maybe love lets it take place.

Have a loving-the-world-to-abstraction day.


Gwen Bell said...

I love the bold horizontals and the bright sunlight in this and the way you split the canvas vertically with the figure. Another great, strong composition. Really gorgeous!
Red sand? I never would have guessed. Makes me want to take a trip to that exotic Foreign Country to the North to see for myself.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Come on up girl! I just think you do. But come in the summer, so you don't go into winter shock, and so you can see this red, red sand.

It's actually kind of copper coloured, and is red because of the amount of iron in the soil. What's also cool is that the highways are kind of a pink colour. Set that against the lush green of the fields, and it's an artist's dream.

Oh make sure to stick a few gorgeous little white clapboard houses on the fields, shaded by groves of lush trees that create purple shade in sunlight, and add bright coloured fishing boats in the harbours, then try not to drool!


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful painting. I must have it!! I am contacting you via email to find out the purchase details.
Your work is wonderful Barbara!
Flora xoxoxo

Karen Bruson said...

Barbara, You know I love abstract. Love the contrast in this one and how her red arms get lost in the red stripe...the dark it all.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

It is yours! Consider it done. Sides left orange or black?

So delighted that you like it.

We can discuss the details through email.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

I'm so glad you appreciate what I was trying to do. I just wanted the feeling of that perfect day, without too much information.

Take care,


Susan Carlin said...

LOVE this, Barbara! Do more, do many more! Thank you, too, for your poetic narrative of your daily feeds my soul.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Okay. I will. I'm working on one right now, but I've got some big ones to get both finished and started so life is busy. You are incredibly sweet and I so appreciate your kind support.


Melinda said...

Excellent, excellent painting. You've really shown mastery with this! I think you can paint anything and make it fantastic.

claud-hop said...

Dear Barbara,

You mentioned the singing cicadas, which made me remember this fun fact: cicadas are born, sleep for 17 years, then wake up for two weeks where they mate and then die. Weird life, eh?


claud-hop said...

P.S. Congrats on the sale of the painting in this post!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thanks so much. I don't know about mastery or Ms.tery, but I am glad it worked out. It was the feeling of that beach that day -- such vivid colour and the ideal temperature.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Claudia,

It's true, I knew that about cicadas but had forgotten it. But I thought they lived a bit longer than that once they came out of their sleep. My mother found one at our cottage when I was a little girl, and told us the whole story. So cool.

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hey Claudia,

Thank you so much. Yes I am very happy to have sold it to such a wonderful collector!

Love Barbara

Laurel Daniel said...

This is beautifully done! I do agree with you that abstraction comes best from total understanding of a subject. Love it! XOXOXOXOX

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

I'm so glad you like it. I may do more on this theme. It's dear to my heart. Talk about yearning to return! Every year we dream of flying out for Thanksgiving, and every year we're so busy by Thanksgiving that it's not possible. Fingers crossed.


Portrait Artist

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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!