Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ever tried this?

Fiona in the special Elizabethan vet collar
Black marker on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

This morning the paper is full of doom. Correction: every
morning the paper is full of doom. And there's no
question that this is appropriate. There are
so many tragedies and calamities in the world. We
need to know about them, vote about them, take action,
send money.

But after that we need to paint. When I teach I do
a hard job. My own life has its share of hardship, but
I tend to teach people who've lived through, or are
living through difficulties I can barely imagine. Perhaps
that's why I focus my art in the opposite direction, why
I feel it's my central job to find the joy in life, both
for myself and for everyone around me. It is why I
believe it's important to learn how to be joyous,
through whatever methods work for you.

Perhaps you could try something as simple as
taking out your paints and looking at the colours
you love. Or in your dreams you could turn away
from sadness and focus on cheering thoughts. Last
night I dreamt I was in Paris. I think it was because
a friend and I had taken a walk on Yonge street and
had a wonderful conversation with a man who sells
tableware (bowls, plates and mugs), and fabric
from Provence, France. He was telling us all about
Paris, his home. So I dreamt I owned a house in Paris,
very beautiful, and then I was thinking about that
lovely bunting Americans decorate their porches with
for the 4th of July. So I decided I'd like to decorate my
Paris home with this bunting, but I wanted mine all made
of flowers -- fresh roses and lilacs, tulips and all
kinds of flowers. The problem was my house had no
front porch to speak of. It was an old, beautiful classic
French building. So quick as a wink I built a set of stairs
going to the roof, and made a small deck up there with a
clear vista of all of Paris. Then I swagged it like crazy in
drifts of flowers, in scallops like the American 4th of
July swags.

Cleome and Nicotiana in the garden tonight
The Nicotiana is 6 feet tall at least

When I woke up I was dazzled. And I thought bring that
happiness into the day. So we've been to the vet already.
The lovely but expensive Fiona has an abscess and had to
get treatment, but I can still see my house in Paris, and
my extravagant flower bunting. Try letting the best of
your dreams power your day. Then try circling all the
happy stories in the newspaper (on the weekend there
seem to be more of these). After you've read them, put
the paper in the recycling box, and give yourself a break.
As for me I'm going to pat my poor cat with the giant
Elizabethan collar to prevent her from licking her cut,
and enjoy the day.

Have a keeping-the-dream-vivid day.


Liza Hirst said...

Fiona looks absolutely adorable!!
Fantastic drawing, Barbara!I LOVE your drawings!! I know I am repeating myself but that's how it is.
And thank you for taking me to Paris in my thoughts with your wonderful dream. You're right - dreaming or imagining something joyous and happy can do so good!

Karen Bruson said...

Your little Fiona looks so sad. She is lucky to have your to care for her.

cohen labelle said...

Hi Barbara

If I were to be a cat, I would want to be Fiona. Not because I covet her ailments, I most certainly do not - but you and Steven provide the most comfy sickie beds and I know that I would be pampered - almost spoiled and I would like that or try at least to get used to it. That said I hope Fiona is feeling better soon. And I am sure she appreciates the lovely drawing you did of her - I certainly do!!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Fiona is decidedly adorable, and quite high maintenance at this point. But she is resilient as all get out, and almost walks like a runway model with this giant floppy plastic collar on. Smart too, has figured out how to get it off.

I'm so glad you like the drawing. And about the dream. The news is so dire, I was happy to be able to escape it. Perhaps we'll meet in Paris. I'm getting ready for that.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

She was certainly sad on day one, but seems to be taking the giant collar in stride now. I feel lucky to have her, she's an amazing little animal.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

Fiona made it quite clear last night that she neither appreciates our kind care, or her animal roommates in this drama. But she will tolerate them,and even play with them. However, we take the collar off after her meals so she can bathe most of herself (not the wound), and she is good about letting us put it on again. Yeesh. No actually I think you would make a difficult cat. You'd have all these rational, and supported arguments about why we should and shouldn't do what we were doing. You're much better as a person. Although I'm sure you'd make a very beautiful cat. Please stay human. I'd miss your art and thoughts.

Love Barbara

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!