Monday, August 16, 2010

Real life is love

After the wedding
Stages 1 - 5
(not quite finished)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

It is late and I'm trying to finish, but haven't quite
a little painting of the bride and groom at a wedding
I thoroughly enjoyed attending a week ago. The
couple are so clearly in love, and I am a sucker for
love stories.

I have been wanting to finish the painting just so
I could include a quote from John Keats'
Ode on a Grecian Urn.

I left art college before I'd finished my degree to
get an honours degree in English Literature. At art
college I was crazy about the art instruction,
which concentrated on the visual but wanted
to learn more about literature.

And that desire has never left me. Now though,
I rarely remember the poetry books on my shelf,
and it's such a treat when I put down my popular
novels and reach for John Keats for instance. The
poet died at 25, still a kid by current standards,
yet wrote some of the most profound poetry in the
English Language before his death.

You've probably read this a million times,
but I do like this second verse:

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal -- yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss.
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
John Keats from Ode on a Grecian Urn.

The book of poems fell of the shelf (literally -- there
were too many books there) and into my hands when
I was roughing in the lines for this painting.
It seemed apt somehow. The wedding is over, real life
will make its demands, mortgages, schedules, payments
for cars and soup. But in real life love is the reward,
for paying the mortgage, meeting the schedule,
making the soup, recovering from illness, planting a
garden, helping others who need it, and for painting.
Love is both the process and the goal.

Side note: At art college we used to go to the museum
to draw. That was an official class, and every week
we'd traipse into the Royal Ontario Museum, set up
stools and draw for the current project. I learned so
much about history that way. So of course we drew
Grecian urns for one of our assignments, which later
at university made it much easier to understand
exactly what Keats meant.

Wow. It's time to call it a day.

Have a loving-the-words-of-the -great-poets day.

1 comment:

Nicki said...


I love this post and I love the line you wrote, "love is both the process and the goal." I think I am going to write it out and put it up on my fridge.

Thank you,


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!