Monday, October 5, 2009

Art sounds

Going to the beach with a red umbrella
Pugwash, Nova Scotia,
August 2009
Barbara Muir

Art is so visual, at least painting is, that we don't often
step back and think about the sound it makes. Like
the sound of my brain churning tonight because I
started a painting, but didn't get it finished enough to
show you. Or the sound of wind, waves, and bumble
bees in clover in the photograph I'll show you of another
painting I'd like to do, but haven't begun.

I love the thumping drum sound the brush makes when
I start a new, large canvas. Skype drawings and portraits
are married to the sound of the person talking and
laughing as they move in some other part of the world,
or in the studio. There's the sound of the timer, deciding
when my subject and I will go and have tea, the sound of
the tape outlining a client's feet on the floor. Sometimes
when a project is serious the sound of the brush dipping into water,
and then the slurp and slide of paint on canvas seem
incredibly loud -- amplified by intention.

Tonight I can't finish my painting. I have too much
marking to do. So please forgive me. This image is of
a future painting. It's my dear friend, Flora standing on
the green, clover filled grass in a park in Nova Scotia,
just before we walked down to the shore and took a leisurely
and hot walk along the sand. The red umbrella was mine --
we needed the shade because it was so hot out. Hard to imagine
now in the chilly Toronto night. Ahh that's the sound of me
relaxing at the memory. It was a perfect day and every
sound was 100% joyous summer.

Have a dreaming-of-the-sound-of-painting day.


Janie B said...

I love the referral to "sounds" the painter hears. Great images come to mind. Thanks for sharing.

LeSan said...

What a fun and thoughtful post. Now I am thinking of what sounds my paintings make. Of course I tend to paint to disaster movies so maybe that's better left on mute.

Chris said...

you are such a delightfully happy person. I love your blog.

Liza Hirst said...

That's right, what Chris said! You are in deed such a delightful, happy person, Barbara, and I also love your blog!! Thanks for making me aware of the sounds of painting - I will listen to them carefully tomorrow!

painterchum said...

Nice for the reminder of the sounds of painting. Lovely! Dont worry about not finishing your painting and feeding the blog;it will still be here when you're ready:)

Linny D. Vine said...

That red umbrella is hopping up and down in anticipation of being painted by you, Barbara!

floramary said...

Barbara, I too love the sound of the brush on the canvas. It has a real drumming sound!
You are so wonder your non-virtual students love you so.
That photo makes me wish we could go back there soon and visit with you. We will again!
Flora xo

Barbara M. said...

Hi everyone,

I'll answer you one by one tomorrow. So crazy with marking today. Thanks so much, you've made me so happy today.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Janie,

Thanks so much. When you love doing something--every sense is involved. I am lucky to be a portrait painter, and to have people to talk to when I'm in the studio, because I love our conversations.

Barbara M. said...

Hi LeSan,

Thanks so much. You paint disaster movies? They are really loud aren't they? I'm imagining a theatre with surround sound.

I doubt it very much. Your blog is so artistic. I'd love to see your work.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks so much. I'm glad my blog makes you happy. That's a super compliment.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Liza,

I guess a couple of days of not painting help to romanticize the process. I didn't used to feel the way I do now. Painting is such an essential part of my life. Like sunlight. Needed. I think you helped to make that true. Seeing your work every day inspires me so much.


Barbara M. said...

Hi Sally,

As you know. Once you start feeding the blog it becomes voracious, and I'm sure everyone who blogs every day knows that and worries about it. It doesn't make sense, you're right. And if you could go ten years back into the past, most people would consider such an obsession crazy. But here we are. I love your work.

Take care,


Barbara M. said...

Hi Flora,

Let's hope we have more time next summer. This year has gone galloping by. I'm sure there are slow years, when I've longed for this level of activity, so I'm not complaining. But a few walks on the beach with you next year. That would be nice.



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!