Monday, February 1, 2010

Not my night to cook

Reading with Heart
Next stage (still working on it)
8 x 10 inches
acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2010

As I write this I smell the delicious stir fry that
Steven is making downstairs in the kitchen. He is,
as it happens, a much better cook than I am, and I'm
so glad we traded nights last night, so that I don't have
to cook after an afternoon of teaching. Listening to
him, I realize I've become a bit like our cats and dog,
in that I know when he'll call me to dinner, because
he makes the salad dressing last, in a small glass bowl,
and when I hear him mixing it, I know he'll call me.

I usually read to relax, or mark papers while he cooks.
Then because all that prep wasn't my problem, I can
clean up and paint. We alternate nights, and have for
quite a few years now. Before that there were a few years
when Steven cooked every night, and then we talked about
fairness, etc., and we started our present habit. About
three, maybe four years ago we made a rule that there
had to be salad at every meal, which added a layer of
complexity I sometimes feel is overwhelming. But
if I argue with myself, I'll realize I can do it easily
enough. I do cook, but it is not a passion.

How lucky I think we are -- first to have food, and dry
shelter, and warmth, and then to be able to think
in a problem solving way about how to arrange these
tasks. I know so many women who work, paint,
clean and also make every meal in the house. But
a growing number of men in our immediate friend circle
are the keen cooks in their relationships. And both of
my sons can cook.

What am I rambling on about? And as my mother so
frequently says, "what does any of this have to do
with art?" I guess it's about balance. "Ah there's
my call --"Honey supper's ready " pure music to my ears.

Tonight I'm showing you the progress on my Heartbeats
for Africa painting. The theme is tied in to Valentine's
Day, as the show happens on the Valentine's weekend.
So I thought this girl could be getting ready to go
out to a Valentine's Day dance, sitting in the kitchen
drinking her coffee, and starts to read about Africa,
and to think about it as she gets ready.

I'm not quite done, but will be tomorrow.

Have a thinking-about-your-good-life day.


Linda Popple said...

Just discovered your blog. What a treat! Love your colors. It all seems so happy!

Gwen Bell said...

What a great post! Laughed at your being like the cat and knowing when dinner is ready by the sound. You are such a good writer.

Which brings me around to "balance". It seems your quest for balance is a goal in every part of your life and I so admire that. Not an easy thing to do!

This painting reflects that balance perfectly. I love the way you have masterfully balanced so much color and interest but yet never take the focus off of the girl and the book. Love the clever way you managed to tell the entire story on the 2 pages of the book. Wonderful!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linda,

Thank you so much. Happy is something I take very seriously. I'm really delighted that this painting looks happy.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

When I first said I'd do a painting for this show I was at a complete loss about what to do. Then I remembered my beautiful model and a smaller painting on the same subject, and thought why don't I just develop it this way. I am such a big believer in reading that I try and work books, or letters or reading material into as many portraits as possible. Thanks as ever for your super kind support. You know I love your work.


Liza Hirst said...

What a nice idea for your Valentine painting! Gwen has said it all so perfectly that I can only agree. It is lovely!

Laurel Daniel said...

Sounds like a lovely rhythm you and Steven have going. I love watching the progression of this piece and can't wait to see the final. Wonderful color... XOXOXO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thank you so much. I am glad you like it. Yes, I really love Valentine's Day. Not because it's commercial (although I know it is) but because it includes everything I like -- red, hearts, flowers and love. I have to skip the chocolate because I ate 5,000 pounds of it at Christmas and I'm still sorry about that.

Plus for the past two years Steven and I have given one another flowers for Valentine's Day every weekend. And that I love!


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Well it's great when it's not your night, but harder when you're exhausted and have to drag yourself into the kitchen and think of something to make. Tonight we're lucky because we're going out for dinner so it's nobody's night.

I am really close to finishing. Have to tomorrow, because it goes to the charity tomorrow.


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!