Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The secret path of inspiration

Portrait 2 Water series stage two
For the underpainting I used a
slightly brighter turquoise on the face.
acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

On the easel Portrait 2 Water Series Stage One
acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(By the way in this drawing the girl's
head reaches the mark. I also
measured the drawing against the
other painting to see if they'd work

I spend my teaching life talking about how to be
happy. I encourage people to take the path that
ends up giving them a happy life. So I am always
surprised to unravel my own happiness, my own
thought patterns. Today driving to school I was
a bit nervous (make that very nervous) after
yesterday's experience. No driver behind me was
okay. I repeated that Louise Hay dictum, "A
circle of safety surrounds my car," like a chant.
I said it inside and outside my head.

Then sanity raised it's lovely head, and I started
listening to Elizabeth Gilbert. I got to a part in the
book Committed that I'd heard before, and it
struck equally deeply the second time. Her
description of her lover Felipe's father swimming,
brought back a torrent of memories of my father
standing in his pool talking to me and my sister
two summers before he died.

And then I saw the link. First the colour, then the
pool, then the idea of painting people wet, then
the water series. I had intended to infuse the
paintings with my own written diary words about
water, but changed my mind. Water was the best
part of my childhood, is one of the best parts of
my adult life. I love rain, love my mother's pool,
love the lake my city is on, the rivers my mother and
brother live on, the lake my other brother lives on,
the ocean my niece and nephew live on, and the ocean
I visit every summer in Nova Scotia. And there it is. I love
water. It would be ridiculous not to in a part of the planet
lucky enough to experience water as bounteous.

Me at Laguna Beach, California in 2007

I realize that I don't have to say we need to protect it.
If we're sentient beings at all we know that. I just
want to celebrate it. So here is how far I've come
today with the second painting. I moved her head
up to the line, and began playing with the blue
underpainting, which was so much fun I didn't
want to stop. Just like playing in water.

Have a playing-with-water day.


cohen labelle said...

Barbara, dear friend, what a gorgeous, resilient woman you are! I am so relieved that this was a good day for you and that your painting is right on track! This is a great series for you. I too, love water and the feeling of buoyancy when I swim. What a metaphor, eh?
Love you, take care!

eldon warren said...

another great start. said...

Barbara, I am so touched and moved by your story of your 'revelation' as to the significance of swimming and water to you. Wow!!! That kind of insight will carry itself into the works.
Thanks so much for sharing the story behind the painting.
I hope your neck and back are feeling better after your hit. xoxo Flora

Barbara Muir said...

Dear Marcia,

Thanks for your sweet concern and good wishes. I feel much better today except for a huge cold. I am mainly easily rattled and that is the only after effect. I am a little shook up, but mostly things are improving.

Love you too.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Thanks so much. I hope you're getting good weather there now. Tomorrow it will feel like summer here. But experts say that can only last for a couple of days.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

The main area that hurts is my mid to low back, but that's improving very well. Mainly I have too much going on to be able to let it slow me down. Thanks for your sweet concern.


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!