Friday, October 23, 2009

Keep on painting

Starlight II
acrylic on canvas
12 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
I wish I'd known what I know now when I was younger.
How many times do we think that in one day? What
I know now is that when times are tough, when the
world is sad, when hard things happen, keep painting.
It was a very sad beginning to the day today, with Mitch's
funeral. But it was also beautiful in a way. The rabbi didn't
pretend it was okay for a very young man with two
young daughters to die. He said it straight. No one
could give a good explanation about why a great
young man like Mitch should get cancer.

And at the grave site, there was no fake grass, just
a simple coffin lowered into the cold, wet mud, and
his wife and daughters shoveling in the first earth.
It was raining and freezing cold today. Tonight I
decided to work on a painting that has challenged me
for a couple of years, and I think I'm getting a lot
closer. This is what I do. Or one of the things I do,
and maybe one of the more important ones. I
paint. I don't mean to be morbid, and if you read
my blog consistently, you know I'm not. But looking
into that cold wet hole, and watching the mourners
holding their umbrellas and shoveling the dirt in
over Mitch was sobering. It is time to get on with
it. I am not immediate family, or even in the close
circle of friends Mitch had, I am one of the 400
friends in that synagogue, and his message would
be the same -- love your family and friends, and
do the thing you do.

Have an honouring-what-you-do day.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post Barbara. I like what you write.
This new/old painting of yours is so intense, emotional and personal. It grabbed me right away. The light and dark are so dramatic. The expression is so, well, expressive. Barbara, once again you have outdone yourself!
And, I'm very glad that you are part of my life.
love, Flora xo

Laurel Daniel said...

Barbara, I am so sorry for your loss of this dear friend. I am sure that you and your community's support to his family is keeping them afloat. Very sobering and as you say, a reminder to live fully now. You do that, my friend! XOXO

Gwen Bell said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your friend's passing. Your post is such an eye opening reminder to live and love fully.
The painting is exquisite...beautifully expressive and full of life.

(((hugs & kisses))))

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

Me too. Glad you are part of my life.
This was taken from a photo of Neely, one of my son Christopher's friends, a lovely girl. A few years ago before both of us were crazy busy, Christopher and I tossed around the idea of having a show together in which both of us would do portraits of the same people. I don't know if it will ever happen -- his photos, my paintings, but it's still an inspiring thought.

Love Barbara xoxoxox

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

So do you -- your paintings are all about the glorious landscapes you love. Every painting inspires me and
fills me with wonder.

Good luck on your show.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Aren't you a sweetie. Yep. We've got to keep on trucking as they say. Your work is lovely. Just superb.


Linny D. Vine said...

My condolences to you, Barbara. This painting has a special light and warmth to it. And, I've been admiring your sketches, they are amazing.

Melinda said...

Elizabeth Lesser said that we practice all our lives how to die: when we don't get what we want, when relationships change, or when we lose loved ones.

So, each day we also choose life in the midst of this practice. Ritual helps us moderate these two things.

Painting is one ritual that we share with you and find comfort in the doing. This painting beautifully expresses and honors the moment.

Thank you for such a heartfelt post. Your friend, Mitch, lives on in his dear family and now as a teacher to all of us.

LeSan said...

This was very sorrowful and yet so encouraging and honoring. Life is to be lived fully and with joy. It sounded as if Mitch lived and loved in just that way. You honor him by living with passion.

eldon warren said...

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your friend Mitch. It's hard enough to experience this sort of thing from any view point but I can only imagine how it must be for his family. Perhaps something positive will come of it.
Yep, keep on truckin

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

I absolutely love your work. It is stunning and totally original, brimming with the joy of life.

Thanks so much. I am just so sorry for the family.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

My son, Sam and I were talking about Talia's naming ceremony only eight years ago. We are not religious, so we find all the religious ceremonies intriguing. That was a nice one, and I can see Mitch, this big football sized guy, in a suit carrying this little baby around the synagogue so everyone could see her, and the look of total beaming pride on his face. This is my image of him.

Thanks for your thoughtful words.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi LeSan,

I guess we honour everyone who went before us by living with passion. I also think that some of us, especially my artist friends, are just lucky and we do live with passion. No one has to teach us that, it's part of our nature.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

To see how many people were touched by
Mitch's death, makes it clear that something good will come of it. Maybe we'll all just re-evaluate our lives, and decide to be happy.

I have.

Thanks for being a friend who always makes me happy. Be well.

Take care,


Nicki said...

Barbara, this painting is beyond words... one of my all time favorites you have posted.

There really is no way to make sense of this kind of loss. I am sorry for the sadness this brings to your world and hope Mitch's widow and daughters have strong, wonderful memories of him that carry them through their hardest days.

Hugs to you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,
I really like this portrait. It's serene but has punch (love the light marks on the blue background really enliven) and seems a good image to post with this post. It is sad to lose someone in the prime of life, and does make you reflect on the opportunity we have today, here and now. I'm sorry you lost your friend Mitch.

Liza Hirst said...

Barbara, I have been admiring this picture for several days now but only today I had the time to read your post. I am very sorry to hear about your friend's death and wish his family all the strength they will need to cope with this tragedy.
Your painting is marvellous!

Kim Rempel said...

Barbara - this is just magical. Everything is working so just glows. Gorgeous mouth and eyes.
My condolences on the passing of your friend. Life can be so cruel : (

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!