Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fit to paint

Today's video: My thoughts on art and strength

Hi Everyone,

I head back to school part time tomorrow. It's been
absolutely beautiful here for the past week, and today
I saw people walking in T-shirts and shorts. That's
funny, because if it was real summer, they'd be bundled
up and complaining of the cold. But it was so magnificent
and comparatively warm that people were jubilant.

That kind of weather makes you want to get on some
kind of fitness regime. Usually when I think of being
fit it's for reasons of vanity. Wanting to look good to
be able to wear great clothes is certainly an impetus
for being in good health, and strong. But what about
the connection to art? In this little video tonight
I talk about a friend of mine, a wonderful artist who
joined a gym specifically to be strong enough to
paint, and do all of the tasks connected to painting.
She regularly has to lug massive easels around to set
up for her painting classes at a local art school.

Plus she carried folding chairs and tables and backdrops
to interesting create scenarios. So strength matters,
and she's sick of getting terribly tired from the
sheer physical labour of teaching and painting.
I get it.

My thoughts are in the video.

Have a super week. I got a new pedometer today,
and I'm going out to walk the dog around the block.
Then I'm doing some free weights while I watch
the Oscars.

Have a being-a-strong-and-happy-artist day.


Edgar said...

Be strong. Artist strong.

Being a Canadian, you might have been spared the ubiquitous US Army Recruiting reference and therefore you'll be completely bewildered by that bit of 'wit.'

Best wishes on your regimen, actually.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Hi Barbara, you are quite right we do need certain physical strength to enable us to create artwork and all that goes with it and therefore should exercise the body to be fit for it, especially when getting on a bit (like me).
I either paint standing at an easle all day, or I may lay the artwork out on the floor (just like JP) and this can be quite rigorous. A two-and-a-half hour Life Drawing session working at an easel is hard on the arms, legs and back (and the mind).
I'm not one for "pumping iron" but have found since taking up yoga last year it helps a lot with all that stretching and balancing.

Enjoying looking at your paintings.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Edgar,

I think Canada has about 62,000 people in the military, which in a country of 30 million is not a lot. But I will be strong artist strong, and I have seen the US Army Recruiting ads on American TV-- which is our main TV. Thanks for your best wishes. I'm getting out in the day for a walk now, inspired by your encouragement. Great blog on Mail art.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your encouragement. I was pumping iron (free weights) up until a few years ago, and I've noticed that since I stopped I've become ridiculously weak -- so I'm going back to it.

This artist want to make big, heavy canvasses. As you've said that takes strength just to paint them.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,

You're right about physical strength being important to everyone (no matter what the profession).

I have found that the more exercise (I climb a lot of stairs) I do, the better I sleep, and the better I sleep the more energy is have to climb a lot of stair which is need to do in my profession.

Great blog.


Laurel Daniel said...

I loved seeing you talking (and hearing your bracelets jingle) and couldn't agree more. Here is a great quote I keep around to remind me why it's so important:

"Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they ae dim, the whole world is clouded." - Goethe


Liza Hirst said...

I liked seeing talk and hearing your voice again, Barbara. Couldn't agree more about what you said! I started walking (nearly) every day in October last year when I noticed how stiff and breathless I was becoming. It has done me sooo good! Next thing I am planning on is the weight lifting and exercise. Good luck with it for yourself!
I like Laurel's quote.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Josephine,

Those stairs! Well of course that's what the author of French Women Don't Get Fat said, something about climbing five flights of stairs a day.

Good plan.

You do look good,

as always.


Anonymous said...

Hi Laurel,

Thanks so much. Goethe no less! A wonderful quote, and really true. These eyes deserve our care and compassion. They work so hard all of the time enjoying life. Thank you so much for using yours to visit me and my work. It is a great delight every time I see your wonderful work.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

I've done free weights before following the simple regime in Strong Women Stay Young. It was amazing to me to see how quickly we can get strong, and of course the opposite is also true. Glad you're going in the get strong direction. We need to play together soon. By the way that book has a nice gradual program for doing weights at home. They cost a bit at first, but it's a one shot expense.

Take care,


eldon warren said...

A great idea/point Barbara. Yesterday I took a walk around one of the lower loop trails at a place called Elk Meadows. With camera and tripod thrown over my shoulder I hiked and shot photos for about an hour and a half. Making that last half mile back to the parking lot was one of the hardest things I've done in a while.

Melinda said...

Thank you for the encouragement to exercise, Barbara. Important stuff, and I hope to do more like your friend.

It's a challenge, but then again, everything we artists do is challenging, right?!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

I hear you. Just walking the dog is a big deal for me right now. Of course since I broke my ankle, I am very careful, but I'm trying to get back in the complete fitness groove. (Quite time consuming I find!)

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Woops. It's late and I'm answering out of order. Yes it is very challenging, and time consuming. I have another friend who just devoted herself to an hour a day of treadmill or walking. She did it sneaky-like, and all of a sudden there she is svelte and gorgeous! Quite an inspiration. Yes an artist must take on challenges!

Have a great show!!!!!

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!