Monday, January 25, 2010

Trying to be subtle

January on Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(Photographed this outside today.
Turns out it's quite different looking than
the image I posted last night. I have
to remember that phenomenon.)

I do not have much a reputation for subtlety
in my paintings, but the view out my window
these days is frequently pretty dark and grey.
Not being a fan of grey I've avoided even
looking at that view, preferring my bright yellow,
red and turquoise walls (yep -- the colours I
usually paint with.) But I wondered what it would
be like to paint the street as seen from my window
where I write this blog. So tonight I rolled up
my sleeves, pulled out my grey and dug in.

Now of course the orange ground leaps through,
and I couldn't stay entirely true to the colour.
Looking closely at the reference photo I took
to help me, I see that our neighbourhood trees
are going crazy. In fact it's been a bit too warm,
and they may be getting ready to bud. Slow
down trees!

So here's the result. A bit drear, but not quite
as gloomy as it really appears.

Have a painting-what-you-see day.


claud-hop said...

Dear Barbara,

Perhaps your a romantic style painter? Your creative spirit is more important than a strict adherence to formal rules. In other words, you're a total artistic badass. I really love the painting, the colours are great.


LeSan said...

I read your post title and just said "What the duece for?"
Painful isn't it? heheh Barbara, you are like flowers in spring, full of life, full of color. Paint your season girlfriend! I'm a big fan of it.

And of course you did a marvelous job with this painting. I love the way you handled the houses and the strong tree really balances the painting beautifully.

Tammy Hext said...

I like how the scene of a dreary day hits you first and then you discover little hits of the colour that I have come to associate with you and your work - wonderful.

Gwen Bell said...

Love those trees! Your eye for composition always amazes me. Not dreary at ALL!

cohen labelle said...


I love your love affair and subtle sensitivity to light and color and your ongoing and constant quest to define, refine and fine tune it!!! Yay!!!
Your street looks eminently livable to me in the fair month of January, our coldest of seasons.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Claudia,

I have been meaning to comment on your work blog -- soooo funny. I know a lot of workers who would love to write such a blog -- so well written. I will do so, when I have a minute. Love that you think I'm a "badass" something I would never call myself. I hope you still like it now that the colours are more accurate and way more blue.

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi LeSan,

I've reposted the thing and now it looks soooo blue. Ah well. You are right. Why be subtle? Well once in a while you see these muted days and think how would I paint that. True. Probably with more colour.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Tammy,

I took it outside, and did a new picture. Now it looks so blue. Shocking really. I have to remember to reshoot my work outside. In the cold it isn't quite as fun.

Nice work on the sun bathers. Good stuff.

Take care,


Melinda said...

Even on what you would see as a gray day, your lovely painting is expressive of light, color and beauty. I think any range you want to explore is good! I think you are very skilled to paint portraits AND landscapes and architecture. Wow!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Thank you. That is actually what I see out my window, with small liberties taken -- because my tree is not blue.

It's amazing how all the colours change in summer.

You are so sweet.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

My street is livable but in my mind I'm going to Caifornia -- isn't that a song? I think it's Carolina, but still it's California for me. Thank you for your kind over the top compliments. You make my day.

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

You paint people, architecture and landscapes and they are all amazing. You are a painter non pareil (French for unparalled).

Thanks for your kind, kind support. I had a plan to scratch the branches through, but the paint dried too fast, got me thinking about gel medium.

Bless you,


Liza Hirst said...

It's not grey at all! I even find it quite joyful. Apart from that, grey can be wonderful - just look at Sheila Vaughn's paintings of dreary old England, which are wonderful.
I like how you have created the distance by painting the tree in front - lovely painting!

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!