Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Art Gallery visits

Mother and child
Preliminary sketch
acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(I started a large portrait on
canvas today of a mother and
child. I've had a couple of
visits with them, and
now I'm using photo
reference. I drew the whole
drawing once, realized the
placement didn't work, and
did it again. The great thing
about charcoal is it both rubs
off and washes off. I've
begin putting on the
underpainting in several
places, and when that stage is finished
I'll show it to you.)

It's been an unusual week because after a couple of
months of not setting foot in a gallery we visited
our city's Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) twice in one week.
We love to go and sit in the member's gallery,
part of the original gallery building called The
Grange. So on Sunday we sat in front of one of
the tall windows looking out onto the park
and the Ontario College of Art and Design, one
of my alma maters, drank tea from tall white
porcelain thin mugs, and ate madeleines. All
very civilized we felt. After that we wandered into
the Renaissance Gallery and I lost Steven. (The
AGO is huge.)

I could feel that instant panic at being lost
overcoming me, and then I thought -- wait - let's
be rational, and decided after searching through
several galleries, that if he thought I was lost he'd
go to the galleries he knew I liked. So I went up
to the Group of Seven floor, scoured that pretty
thoroughly, and then remembered I'd said I
wanted to see the big cathedral-like walkway on the
street side of the gallery. By this time, more than
forty minutes had passed since I'd seen Steven, I was allowing
myself to be both curious and logical. I asked a
guard how to get out into the second floor walkway,
and it turned out that the huge cedar levered doors
opened, so out I went. I'd quit thinking that
every tall, dark haired man in a black wool coat was
Steven. Until I spotted what looked like his silhouette
at the far end of the space, which seems like more
than a block long. I felt my heart give a lift of joy,
and sure enough it was him.

So maybe I really do know my husband of all these
years, because he did do what I thought he'd do,
and tried to think where I would be likely to go.

Tonight on quite a different outing, we attended
a members only opening of a new exhibit about
time. It was filled with mind moving sculptures
and installations to provoke the viewer into
thinking about our place in time. We enjoyed
the exhibit, then headed down to the Lucian
Freud and Rembrandt etchings exhibit, which
I absolutely loved. Freud is one of my all time
favorite portrait painters, and his etchings are
powerful and incredibly intricate in line.

I love the Art Gallery of Ontario. When you come
to Toronto you must visit.

Have an-enjoying-an-art-museum day.


Elizabeth Seaver said...

As usual, I love your story/blog post, Barbara.

Your sketch is so natural-looking and joyful. I can't wait to see the painting!

eldon warren said...

Pretty cool to know someone that well and still like them. :)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks so much. I love that this mother is crazy about her baby, and just gets down on the floor and plays with him. It reminded me so much of that time with my own sons. Priceless.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Even cooler to know someone that well and love them. I know I do, and I feel so lucky to feel that way.

Thanks for thinking that's cool.

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:
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!