Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More from Dad

 
 Into the woods at Mazinaw
Oil on board
24 x 36 inches
© W.W. Muir (date unknown).

I wish my father could see me here thinking about
his painting, something he really loved to do.  My
Dad was an elegant man.  He certainly seemed to
rule the house (his military training), but he painted
on a portable card table, first in a spare bedroom in
Toronto, and in Ottawa in the den -- a room that has never
really recovered from his presence. He painted in viyella
shirts, corduroy trousers, cashmere sweaters and highly
polished loafers.

In Toronto when he started painting, he found an art
store that would talk to him about painting, and I think
bought every colour in the store.  He took me along
because I had been designated as "artistic."  Imagine
this elegant but nervous man, in a hand-tailored three
piece suit, gorgeous trench coat, highly polished shoes
going in to buy paint. He bought a couple of very simple
books on painting and some palette knives.  He soon
discovered that he enjoyed working with a palette knife
and thick paint more than with brushes.

My dad could not have even imagined this world,
where I can publicize his work without any
approval process.  He didn't even name his paintings,
because he just painted them and gave them away.
So I'm naming them for him.  Looking back I don't
know where he mustered the courage to continue.
My mother tolerated his work, and allowed him to
hang it around her house, but for the most part she
was indifferent.  This was his bizarre "hobby", a
word I'm violently allergic to now.

Because it wasn't a hobby, it was a passion.  So
much so that when he was dying of lung cancer,
and I didn't want to admit it, I asked him on the
phone if he could still paint.  He was a business
man,  a hard worker, a wonderful writer, an excellent
speaker, an amazing photographer, but his big
love was painting.  I get it.

So here's another one.  It has warmed up the
large grey stone fireplace in my parents' home
ever since my father hung it there. I know my
mother cherishes it today.

Have a loving-your-parents'-talents day.

10 comments:

Sheila Vaughan said...

Barbara, I am tempted to say I can see a progression from your dad's work to yours, especially with this luscious painting. Just imagine him all dressed in his best clothes and weilding a palette knife!

Karen Bruson said...

How wonderful to have a painting done by your dad.

Melinda said...

You are very fortunate to have some of your father's work. This is a fabulous piece--reminds me of someplace I've seen recently.

This is also about your passion for paint, yes?

!! I see it and look forward to more!!

Nicki said...

I love this painting. It is an exciting piece. I really appreciate how he treated the leaves. As someone who is a bit obsessed with painting trees right now, I sure appreciate this post.

I love that you have such vivid and fond memories of your dad. What he had was most certainly not a hobby, based on this one piece alone.

Prabha N. said...

This tree is beautiful! The love of red in your family is obvious.

cohen labelle said...

I'm very moved by your Dad's painting and by your words, your proud, loving, at the same time poignant remembrance of him. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?!

love, Marcia

Chris said...

what a wonderful tribute to your dad. You have many happy memories and art to cherish-lucky you.

painterchum said...

aww, Barbara what a wonderful tribute to your father. It is a joy to look at. That's the great thing about art, we can treasure it and the person who made it long past when they are gone. By the way I love the dresser top you finsihed below this post. gorgeous.

David Lobenberg said...

Yep, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. Your Pop's done good here!

shirley fachilla said...

I've seen your avatar often, but only now have visited your blog. I'm so glad I did.
Your father's painting illustrates his passion and your beautiful words let me know much about him and about 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: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
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!