Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Painting for Pure Design

Tobias at the zoo
acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

I woke up this morning realizing that I can finally tell you
about the experience of being on Pure Design. As
I write this I haven't seen the show yet, but will
add something after I have. But I want you to know
it was so much fun. The crew ( I think there were
nine people altogether), were so wonderful to work
with -- helpful, supportive and funny. I felt relaxed,
confident and enjoyed myself because they made
what is really a complicated process seem so easy and

When I learned about the project -- painting Tobias for his
parents, Carm and Jason, Wow! Was I excited!
Samantha Pynn, the designer, had chosen me to be
the artist featured in the segment of the show I'm on.
The photos of Tobias showed a beautiful
little boy of about two. On the show I discuss why
I chose the action shot, over the static standing
posed one.

Painting in front of the crew was a bit daunting,
I'd never done that before. But the painting happened
so effortlessly. As soon as I'd decided how to place
Tobias, and that I wanted to create a tiger in the
background, like the one in the reference photo
I was working from, only much more visible --
it was a total delight to work on.
The one worry I had was the suggestion of a fence to keep the
tiger and her cubs from harming Tobias. In the photo
the fence is a fairly tight grid, but I didn't want to cover the
abstract leaves, so I created a very light grid as a
symbolic fence.

I've talked to Carm and she says that she and
Jason love the painting. That made me very happy.
Update: I watched the show and Carm, Tobias's Mom,
cried when she saw the portrait, she was so moved.
That made me happy, and when they brought
little Tobias in to look at the painting I almost
cried, the real, live boy looked so sweet in his father's arms.
The Pure Design team working with Samantha's
super design ideas transformed the rooms into
a fabulous space.

My image of the painting here tonight isn't entirely
accurate because the grid is completely straight,
in the real painting. I hope you watched the show,
but if not, you may be able to see it on line at HGTV
Canada after today.

Thanks to everyone at HGTV -- it was just the best
project. And thanks to all of you for keeping me
joyous when life is busy.

Have a-painting-is-easy day.


Anonymous said...

I love this Barbara - It's brilliant, absolutely magical. I don't have t.v but it's being shown on line and I can watch it in the wee hours and I will. Way to go cutie!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

Thanks so much. What are the wee hours? Let me know how I can tell other people to see it. I've had people ask me.

You are the cutie.


eldon warren said...

Geez Louise!! Brilliant! and as the lady above stated, magical. I've seen a lot of your work and find this piece (with the exception of course of my little one) my favorite.
Congratulations my friend.


Anonymous said...

If you click on the link - 'Pure Design', it takes you to their schedule page. It will air at 1:am but then after that I'm sure it will be archived as a past episode and available for anytime or subsequent viewing. I'm looking forward to this! xoxoxo Marcia

Flora Doehler said...

Barbara, I just watched your HGTV debut, Fabulous! Wonderful painting and it was so sweet to see how thrilled the parents were. It must have felt great to make such a difference to their lives.
I love the colours that you used and I wondered if they had suggested any of them. I ask because the floral fabric that was used for the chairs reminded me of your colours. On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that they chose the fabric after you chose your paint colours!
Another perfect portrait. They are so lucky to have a Barbara Muir original! Don't I know it!
love, Flora

helenjlouisy said...

Dear Barbara:

I check your blog daily and this
piece of Tobias is my absolute,
no-hands down favourite. It is exceptional. Tobias looks
natural and happy in the painting
and I love the backdrop of
the tiger and cubs.

Tammy Hext said...

What a beautiful portrait - no wonder the Mom cried. Way to go Barbara!!!!

Unknown said...

What a treat to get a peak at your studio and your work! You looked fabulous and so confident and your paintings are stunning. Well done on Tobias, beautifully painted!

Melinda said...

Very, very well done! I think the delicate fence is quite successful. That little boy's face is so full of life. You've captured him so well.

Wish we could see the video of Pure Design. I just went there and they don't have it archived yet, but I'll be checking back.

Now that you've painted before an audience you don't have to fear that bugaboo again!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Thanks so much. I'm delighted that you like it. That means a lot to me.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

Thank you for watching! No, I was not given any colour direction. I discussed wanting to put the boy at the zoo, and the designer said that would be perfect, but that was it. I chose the colours based on the photograph, and the other work I was doing at that time. Yes, it is great that it works! Yay!

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks so much! I'm really glad you like my blog, and this painting.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Tammy,

Thanks so much. I am so glad the mom
liked it. My goal of course was to make the parents happy.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Barb,

Thanks so much. I'm delighted that you watched it. Of course it's really strange watching yourself. I think the talent of the editors shines through. A lot of wonderful people worked on that piece.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I wish it was so simple to get rid of stage fright. What matters to me is that you like the painting. The rest is all training. The more I do it, the easier it will get. Right? I seem to recall that you wrote a blog about that once. What did you conclude.

Talk to you soon.

Good luck this weekend,


LeSan said...

I am a little behind the times here but I wanted to say

Congratulations on a successful shoot Barbara and the painting is wonderful. I admire you so much for being able to produce in front of a film crew. Definitely not my forte'.

Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

Oh I loved the show! You were fabulous and it was so cool to see you moving and talking and breathing! I've gotten used to your photo so it was neat to see you "live". How clever they were to chose you to do the portarit especially because they wanted it to be colourful, vibrant and full of life. Congratulations over and over again.


Susan Carlin said...

I'm so excited and happy for you, Barbara. You just get famouser and famouser. The universe is getting it exactly right. You're wonderful!

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!