Wednesday, February 10, 2010


One way to get "juice" into your work.

When I walk into a writing class I put the word "juice"
on the board in huge letters. You can teach all the
grammar and structure you want, but if writers don't
have juice - power, vitality, vision, punch, oomph,
excitement, no one will read what they have to say.

In painting the juice in your work is what gets you up
in the morning, makes you think about a painting all the time,
lets you see flashes of colours and solutions in your dreams.
Juice matters. You can look at 30 landscapes, beautifully
executed technically, and the one with juice will grab
you and won't let you go.

It's been snowing here, and people think that's a good reason
to abandon their spirit, to look downcast, to feel
deservedly irritated. But snow happens, and many
communities have way more, tons more snow than the
couple of inches that fell here. Snow, parking tickets,
filling in forms, waiting in line. Once again juice is the

One way to get your juice back is the one recommended
by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way, and before her by
Natalie Goldberg, in Wild Mind, and that's to write in a journal
daily. The blog is like a journal, but less intimate because it's
broadcast to the world.

In your journal you can describe your fears and even ask
questions to a theoretical imaginary artistic power and write down
the answers. You can mention your petty worries, and
make lists. The possibilities are endless. You can go all
high end and have superb sketches and great prose, then
publish! (Hey you can do that in a blog too.)

Enough. I'll let myself speak for myself.

Have a writing-your-thoughts-in-a-journal-for-juice day.



Digging out our winter wonderland in the Mid Atlantic today-more snow than we've ever had and I'm loving every minute of it cause we have electricity,heat and firewood. Journals are a wonderful way to work out all kinds of things. I was recently inspired by Danny Gregory's art memoir Everyday Matters so now I illustrate my babbling. Just wanted to say, although I'm American, I love Canada (visit there frequently) and I wish the Canadians much success in the upcoming Olympics!

Gwen Bell said...

What a fantastic post! And no wonder you are such a great writer. That is a very impressive stack of journals. Love your advice on juice and I could not a agree with you more. Juice makes all the difference!

Love your mini video. More please? Your vivacious personality and "juice" comes across loud and clear. Keep those hands down (whooooosh!) lol!

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara!
okay you wont guess this....!!! your cousin Susan is standing right next to me while I'm typing this comment. She is over for a coffee, and she happened to mention did i know an artist in Toronto named Barbara Muir!!! we are. What do you think of that? Small world huh?

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Chris,

The small photo looks beautiful. Do you have a blog? I'm delighted that you love Canada, and thanks for the good wishes on the Olympics.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Oh that's just a tiny portion of my journals. I don't write every morning any more because I write the blog, but I did for years, and I still write in my journal frequently. But you Gwen are the quintessence of juice in painting! I love your work. Yes my hands really want to be in the picture and act everything out.


Barbara Muir said...

Wow. Give my cousin a big hug next
time you see her. It is a small world, and I'd love to see her.

That's fantastic. Lucky Susan and lucky you.

I love your work.

Take care,


eldon warren said...

Juice, how quickly we can forget even when we know it. I'm sure happy you're around to remind me of "stuff" I've quit thinking about. JUICE!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

I was so busy trying to imagine my cousin in your studio that I forgot to say your name. This one's for you.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

I can't imagine you forgetting about juice. You have got it man.

And then some.

Take care,


Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for your blog. I just feel the need to say that. You are such a positive, generous person and every time I stop by to see what you are up to I leave feeling uplifted, inspired and grateful.

Take care,

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

Thank you right back at you. I love your blog, and feel exactly the same way whenever I look at your writing. You are wonderful. Great painting of the tree.


cohen labelle said...

I walked around yesterday Barbara every so often repeating the word ‘juice’ to myself, it just kept going through my head and when ever I said JUICE, I’d feel a kind of surge go through me like a high powered battery, you know getting juiced up. And then I’d say there’s also ‘buzz’ which I’m sure you’re aware of, telling myself. “feel the buzz Marcia”. So yes I couldn’t agree more with you. btw I like your hand gesticulations – very Italian, very expressive, comedia del’arte – keep them! I love them.

Love you,

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

I'm glad you agree. We've all seen perfection that didn't sing. But the paintings that do hold us transfixed.

Love xoxoxoxoxoxoxBarbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

I meant to say that the paintings that hold us transfixed are the ones that sing. It was supper time,
and I forgot all else as is my wont.

Take care,

julie davis said...

Sooo loved hearing your voice!!! It's fantastic that we are all so connected in our blogs with the written word and also with our visual arts, but getting the audio and video today was a thrill! Thanks for sharing--I'll remember the "juice!"

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:
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!