Saturday, January 16, 2010

My grandmother's chair

Grandmother's chair
acrylic on canvas
6 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

If you knew me well you'd know I have a thing
for chairs. When I see them at the side of the
road abandoned I almost always want them,
even if they're chairs I wouldn't look at in a store --
bad Lazy boys, old brown and chrome kitchen
chairs, even sagging sofas get my attention.

This can be good, and it can be terrible. I'd really
like to replace some of the clunkers I've bought at
garage sales, or rescued and get lovely new ones,
elegant velvet covered arm chairs with curving
wooden arms and legs. Pricey antiques -- but
they haven't been our top priority of late.

A few years ago I inherited four dining chairs from
my sister, that used to belong to my grandmother who
has been dead for a long time now. I feel badly that
I didn't get to know my grandmother very well and
I only remember a few meals sitting in her pretty
dining room. Now her chairs, which have
been banged up and gone through rough times in one
young family after another, sit around my kitchen
table begging me to do them right.

My sister recovered the seats with a pretty navy
Laura Ashley cotton years ago, and those look
a bit worn now. When the chairs venture into
the studio they get bits of extra colour on their
former mahogany elegance, blues, oranges, reds,
and yellows. Poor chairs.

Our decor decisions and improvements are
sporadic and rare. We can ride along with splattered
chairs in need of recovering for years. My grandmother,
on the other hand experienced considerable
wealth in her lifetime, and would have had these
beauties dressed in rich silk stripes, and polished to
a bright shine.

The lives of women have improved a great deal since
her day. We can decide to make our studios in the
living room and dining room, not know how to serve
a formal dinner, get paint all over the house, and
still feel adequate, strong, talented even sometimes.
My mother says that my grandmother could be a lot
of fun. I do remember her laughing when she visited
our family. I hope wherever she is she is having a
wonderful time.

Have an honouring-your-grandmother day.

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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!