Thursday, March 25, 2010

Artists need adventure

Tulips unwrapped
watercolour on Arches watercolour paper
10 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Perhaps I should have taken a camera with me today
when I went down to Gwartzman's art store to pick
up some canvasses, on Spadina Avenue. I knew I'd
have fun after my friend and I had settled the business
of the canvasses and carried them back to the car.
That done, we were in one of the most
colourful and vibrant parts of the city. The art store
is in an area where I used to spend a great deal of
time, as a student, young married person, and first
time mother. It sits right in the middle of Toronto's
Chinatown and Kensington Market.

When I was a kid from the suburbs attending art
school, there was nothing more exciting, or exotic
in the city than this area. And now that all of Toronto
is a wide mix of different cultural influences these
streets are still compelling. Colourful shops line
Spadina and all the small side streets. Restaurants
with food from every part of the globe vie for attention
with open market stalls stacked with bright coloured
fruits and vegetables, fish and meat stores, and vintage
clothing shops.

My friend and I were walking along and couldn't
resist the lure of bakeries, cheese shops, stores
with beautiful silk Chinese purses, and quaint little
shops with Marimekko fabric. It was a pure

I bought Steven cheese, and fancy breads, and
a beautiful apple pie that was as decorative as
anything you'd find in a Paris bakery. I wish
I could send the smells to you over the Internet --
they were delicious. Even though all we did was
walk around oohing and aahing, we felt like
we'd been eating non-stop. We were full with the
impression of mouth watering food from every
country on the planet.

I went home to my colourful little house, which
seemed pretty tame after the riot of colour we'd
seen, and did this quick watercolour of the tulips
I finally put in water last night. So they were both
first out of the wrapping, and last. One bunch each.
These are the last flowers from last Saturday to
make it into a vase. I put them in a beautiful, big
antique Victorian jug and recorded them for you.

Have an-I-should-get-out-more day.


joco said...

Thanks for sharing your tulips as well as your day out.
An enjoyable way to start my day.
As for the Finnish fabrics: I am surprised that company are still going strong. I used to sew my dresses out of their fabrics when I was at school. Every stitch by hand as my father had banned sewing machines because he couldn't stand the noise. Takes me back ...
We are no longer well provided for in the UK when it comes to sewing and knitting. Even my beloved Liberty's is hardly worth visiting these days. Austerity.

I'll take your words to heart and am on my way out for the day :-)

Kim Rempel said...

Lovely, Barbara! And you captured that graceful flop that tulips get : ) It's fresh, bright and fluid.

eldon warren said...

I need an I-should-get-out-more-day.
This painting is a beauty. I especially like the way you rendered that little pot they're in.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi joco,

Sorry to hear about the austerity, and the fact that you had to sew by hand. I love looking at Merrimekko, the link I provided sends you to a website where you can browse their designs for hours. My own style is more "country" I guess, but I just love looking at their designs and colours.

I hope you had a great day.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Kim,

You are so right. Today those poor tulip girls are almost finished. Too bad. I love them when they open wide and flop.

Thanks so much.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Well I hope you have a getting out and about day. The "little" pot is a great big Victorian bath set jug, but the tulips themselves are massive, so they make it look small. (Never seen such big tulips.)

Take care,


Anonymous said...

These are stunning! Barbara, your sense of colour is such a joy to behold!

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!