Thursday, March 4, 2010

Making lists

Mother and Child
Stage three of the painting
acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(At this stage I'm altering the design,
thinking about the design, and
starting to work on the skin, with
the baby first.)

Mother and Child
Stage two
acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2010
(Blocking in big areas,
and the underpainting for the
mother's hair, and baby's hair.)

So it's my Reading Week eh? (I thought I'd give you
some down home Canadian talk.) So I am not teaching
for a whole week eh? Heaven right? Almost. I teach
the use of lists to keep students organized, and I've been
making little lists all week and crossing things off.
I've had some major triumphs -- like getting the switch
fixed on my husband's bedside lamp, so he wouldn't
have to turn it on and off by unscrewing a hot light bulb.

But there have been the tasks that just don't go as
quickly as I think they will when I write them down
on the tidy little list. What are you supposed to put on
the list? Six things -- just six major things per day. I
always go over, putting on as many as ten tasks,
and a few years of trying this have proven that six
is probably exactly the right number.

Dealing with the telephone company is an anomaly.
In my mind I think, "a quick call to clear up an obvious
mistake," and in reality I'm stuck on the end of the
line while the company pumps out irritating jazz,
and works overtime on frustrating consumers.

Painting is the solace on these days. I have a couple
of stages to show you on my painting. The design will
change, has changed as I move through the work,
but I am going slowly. For the most part I'm
blocking in areas, and thinking it through. I started
work on the baby's face, hand and foot today. Mom will
have to wait until tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
Painting a large work takes longer obviously, uses more
paint, and seems to require more thought. I need to get away
from the work to be able to come back and see new
things, decide what to change.

Thanks for coming with me on this process. And
thanks to my wonderful printer people for helping
me with the reference photos, and being kind and

Steven and I had a "date" dinner at Ikea tonight.
If you haven't tried their super dinners, and you
don't mind eating with many other families, you
should. The food is good, and ridiculously
inexpensive. You've got to love that. At the end
of the meal both of us were in great spirits, walked
through the store and bought toys for the cats
and headed home to work again.

Have an it's-okay-I-am-so-cool-with-everybody day.


Elizabeth Seaver said...

Great progress, Barbara. I think the joy of being in each other's presence is really coming through in your sketch.

Kim Rempel said...

Thanks for posting the stages like this Barbara. It's interesting to see decisions being made. Great gesture.

eldon warren said...

Eldon Warren LIKES this. No wait, that's Face Book. Oh well he likes it anyway.Lookin good Barbara.

Diane Hoeptner said...

Wow, beautiful, vibrant use of color and motion. This has a very dynamic feeling. Lovely.

cohen labelle said...

Barbara, you’ve been coming up with such fantastic posts and work these days. Always with such superlative energy – I love the bit about lists. For once I made a list today and although I didn’t cross out a fraction of it - it was still a relief to know it was there to refer to. It’s a great organizing principle indeed.
This latest portrait of mom and child is a joy to look at and see unfold. You’re a dream of a painter, Ms Muir.

xoxoxoxooxo Marcia

Melinda said...

Oh, my goodness, you are painting with such mastery and expression. It is so wonderful to read about your process, knowing that you will succeed brilliantly.

I'm dazzled by this new work and look forward to every step of the way.

Great advice about making lists! I do make them, sometimes lose them, but always feel better when something is crossed off.

I hope you are as excited and thrilled with your work as we are to view it.

Great post.
Virtual hugs!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Elizabeth,

You are so kind. Yes I fueled by that feeling. There is nothing more delightful than watching superb parents with their children.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Kim,

I'm glad you're enjoying the stages. It feels painfully slow, but it's moving along.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

You are bad. Liking my work is just
fine here too. I'm sorry I don't get to go on Facebook more often.

Thanks for your great encouragement. It always makes my day.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Diane,

I'm so glad you like it. Your flower paintings are exquisite.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

HI Marcia,

Well shucks. I just don't know what to say. I'm pleased as punch that you like my blog efforts. Of course I am in awe of your Ms.tery of painting and drawing. Your fantastic work staggers the mind, and gives it
joyous relief. You are sooooo good.
But you know that already.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thank you and bless you. I am living second by second on lists, because school starts again Monday, and I have so much to do! Art plus school needs to flow elegantly for the next six weeks, because New York sits at the end of April. So this is a very intense working time.

Your work, your writing, and your kind thoughts lift me up and make me
feel so happy. I so wish I could come to your show, but I'd get in your way hanging around and squealing with delight.


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I'm loving this!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Mary,

Thanks so much. Your encouragement means a lot to me.

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!