Monday, November 8, 2010

Selling art

Garden Flowers in a glass jug
Pen and ink and coloured pencil
8 1/2 x 11 inches
© Barbara Muir
(Date unknown)

The concept of selling my art came to me years ago when
we started to go to therapy to help us adjust to the
early tensions of parenting a new baby.  We were lucky
I think, because my sister is a therapist, and it was very
natural for us to seek and get help from one of her colleagues.
After a couple of months working out what seemed to be
giant epiphanies at the time, and what seem now to be the basics of
practical couple decision making, Steven got up
the nerve to say that he needed me to make money.

I was shocked.  Hadn't I had a baby only eight short
months earlier?  Did he mean he wanted me to be a
mother, and earn an income?!!!  He did, and the therapist
supported that notion.  The drawing tonight is a sample
of those early works for sale.  I am always delighted when
I go to my mother's house and see them.  Done in pen and
ink with a straight pen, Indian ink, and coloured in in
pro level coloured pencil, they seem shockingly detailed
to me now.  But they are still beautiful in an intensely
obsessive way.  I was trying to be a botanical artist, and
succeeded at this for several years.  In fact I drew these
images in straight sessions, spending 16 hours a day
producing them, with a baby at my feet.  Is it any wonder
that that baby is an incredibly hard worker today?  Or
that he's grown up to enter the arts field?  I guess not.

Have an honouring-your-young-sweet-naive-searching-self day.


cohen labelle said...

Mein goodness, Barbara, this is geshmackt! beautiful. If intensely obsessive is what it takes to produce this, then I'd say - go for it!
love Marcia

Nicki said...

Barbara, I love this in all it's "shocking detail"! Absolutely gorgeous!


Elizabeth Seaver said...

What an amazing great story and illustration, Barbara.

Linny D. Vine said...

Amazing detail and like all of your work, beautiful! Thank-you for sharing your father's art and your early art career, too.

Janie B said...

Sometimes going through hard times makes us open up to new possibilities. Looks like you were drawn in the right direction.

laura said...

Really lovely, Barbara--the painting and the story. The painting, though more "detailed" than your current style still has a lightness and exuberance about it that I associate with you--it fills the page but is still full of air and life.

Laurel Daniel said...

That is a great story - how wonderful for the world that your husband needed you to be painting! We are all so glad that you got that nudge! This is beautiful - so fun to see your early work. XOXOXO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

I just found out tonight that the dictionary-on-line dictionary not only gives you the British and American pronunciation of a word, but will translate it into a whole host of languages. Wow! I'm afraid the obsessiveness of my girlhood, has transmuted into a vastly different kind of obsessiveness. I hope that doesn't disappoint you, but I am happier now.

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

Thank you for that. I think I was almost at the point of inserting the bee on the flower, and the dead flies so necessary in the Netherlands 17th century flower paintings I admired so much.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks so much. I remember being so proud of earning a whopping big $800 in my first month. Now I wonder where the rest of those drawings from that year are.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

Thanks so much. I love your last painting. The light is inspiring.
Just amazing.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Janie,

Having my babies was probably the making of me. But that first child is a big, if wonderful, transition for a couple. It was for us. Now both of our sweet boys are men, and it's funny to look back on how we got here. Getting to go to therapy was an absolute treat. But our therapist did make us listen to one another, and grow up. I'm glad she did.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,
I'm glad you can see me in my earlier work. Of course in part it was more detailed because I could see in finer detail. But with my glasses on now I can see every fine line in the tulip petals on my table, and I don't think I'd put that in a drawing anymore. I now admire a loose quality, freedom and style, a feeling of play.

I love your work.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Of course I painted when we met. In fact in our very early courting days my husband bought a pastel drawing I did of Nike track shoes. But I now think it's comical that I thought motherhood justified a complete lack of financial thought. Trying to balance working and being a mother was no joke. But these little drawings helped me to pay our rent at the time, so that was a huge weight off my husband's shoulders.


Portrait Artist

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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!