Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quirks of art

Portrait of the Artist
acrylic on canvas
24 x 30
painted in 2004
Barbara Muir © 2010

One of the funniest and most fun stories of my
art career in recent years was the time I won the
award for Best Portrait at my club's Juried
Spring Show. The judge, who I never saw again
completely surprised me by picking an odd
self portrait I'd done of myself painting the other
painting I'd entered in the show.

He said one of the best things I've ever heard about
my work, and that was that he'd just been visiting
England, and been to a portrait show at the Tate,
in London and my painting would hold up with anything there!
There was a loud "woo!" from the crowd, and as
I was absorbing this miraculous moment, my friend's
friend ran to the front desk and bought the painting!

Ironically I had lowballed the price thinking that I'd
be taking it home. Not so! Is there a moral to the
story? Yes -- it's have fun, because you never know
what's going to happen. And secondly enjoy what

Have a delighting-in-the-amusing-world-of-art day.


Elizabeth Seaver said...

Great portrait and great story, Barbara. I'm not sure many people enjoy themselves more than you do. It is a joy to read your positivity and your enthusiasm for your art and the life you lead.

Gwen Bell said...

Lol...envisioning the friend of friend high tailing to grab it up. How fun! Love this self-portrait and the delightful element of you being dressed up while painting. So elegant and funny at the same time. And what a great judge to see your potential! I couldn't agree more!

cohen labelle said...


I never got to see this self portrait before, until now - it is fabulous! But you alway did have a knack for portraiture!


Melinda said...

I love this self portrait, Barbara. You have a gift and I hope you tell yourself so each morning when you look in the mirror.

Of course, what you believe is the most important thing of all...

Liza Hirst said...

This is beautiful, Barbara! I like the contrast of your elegant dress up while you're painting - just your kind of humour! And a nice story.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Sorry I'm a bit behind. Thank you so much. It was definitely both a great and funny experience.

I love your work, it is incredibly joyful.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

I was in fact big into Vermeer at the time, and love that portrait of the artist in the fancy black and white velvet coat painting, so thought I'd do a take on that.

The judge was super, but never came
and judged again. Too bad.

You are sweet,

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

Kind of you to say so. I hardly recognize this person from times gone by, but like the humour in her eyes nonetheless. Plus I like the loose style and the fact that that was appreciated. Thinking about that for New York!



Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Let's not discuss what I say in the mirror, especially first thing in the morning. I do the Stewart Smalley routine -- "You're good enough, and you're smart enough, and doggone it people like you!"

You are incredibly funny and great.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks so much. Of course that was my joke painting it, but I don't know if everyone understood that. A formal, and a satin stole, highly unlikely! Try a "painting sweater" (an older and paint spattered, full of holes cashmere), jeans and sneakers or slippers, or even -- goodness no, bare feet.


Linny D. Vine said...

Wonderful and congratulations, Barbara!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

Thanks so much. It was a few years ago, and it did make me feel so fantastic and baffled at the same time because I thought my family would own the painting. But no! So funny.

Take care,


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!