Monday, January 31, 2011

Art, health and the power of great soup

Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(This is the final, she went into the show today.  Please
note that her name has changed.)
To see this painting and my other two 
paintings in the Skype portraits series,
plus many other wonderful paintings please
come out to the Inaugural Show of the
at Studio Vogue at the new address --
216 Avenue Road -- between 5 and 7 p.m.,
this Saturday, February 5th.  
 Can't wait to see you there!)

A couple of weekends ago although I knew we should
be out dancing, Steven was working and I was painting
(which if you're having fun, or even just nervous is a lot
like dancing.)  Later we watched a movie
together, but while I was painting I thought about artists and
health.  A raging flu is heading through the city,
every store is selling equipment to organize your
life (baskets, file folders, books on organization).
Then there's the gym equipment -- weights, and
stretchy things, and  CDs on yoga, and yoga
mats in every colour, and high impact exercise
DVDs and  apps.  The window for self improvement
is narrow.  As soon as February dawns tomorrow this
obsession will be over, but should it be?  You need
your health as an artist, to stay creative, attend
 your openings, organize yourself, and to stay
cheerful -- an absolute necessity for artists.

So I finally weighed myself (which I'm supposed
to do every morning), but I've been avoiding it
because my clothes were saying "Hey artist
person you've eaten tooooooo much."  Blame
Christmas, and New Years, and snow, freezing
temperatures and terrific novels. The list could go on
and on, but the result is + 4.5 pounds.  Now that got me
 hopping. I lost 32 pounds in 2010 through dint
of exercise and not eating so much.  So yep that focused
me back on adding up my steps on the pedometer.
One or two more times around the box store my friend.
Ikea is a good one -- nice and large.

But the whole point of this was to thank Norene,
because this grim weight gain thing might have
been infinitely more serious in the summer in
Nova Scotia, the land of the buttered lobster.
But Norene and Greg who own
and operate the Chatterbox Café in Pugwash,
Nova Scotia, made such delicious
soup, that I had soup and half a bakery bun
every day there for lunch and kept losing weight
on holiday.

Norene is an artist, and a wonderful one.  A shout
out to her, but she doesn't have a blog.  However
she did three years ago, and she is the reason I
started blogging.  One of them.  I blogged to get to
her blog -- a short term one in honour of a show she
was having with two other women.
Some of Norene's work
These are pieces she exhibited in the 'From here'
show a couple of years ago.  She did not give me sizes.
 Northwest Cove, Nova Scotia
Budge Wilson herself at home
Acrylic on canvas
Norene Smiley ©

Go West Young Man, Saanichton, British Columbia
Norene's father 
Acrylic on canvas
Norene Smiley ©
Lightness of Being, Lapoile River, Newfoundland
Greg Smiley, a guide and his friend Alan fishing
Acrylic on canvas
Norene Smiley ©

Most artists in Canada do more than one
job to keep the money coming in to feed the family
and put a roof over the studio.  Fact of life here.
I teach, and Norene runs a superb café. The theory
behind getting the café, was that she could paint in
the winter when Pugwash goes back down to 400
residents, from the 4,000 who depend on her delicious
food and coffee and tea and cookies in the summer.

I'm thinking of her on this cold last night in January, and
hoping she is painting or doing a reading.  She
also writes wonderful children's books, and she
and Greg and the café have become a cultural center
in their part of Nova Scotia.

Have a getting-on-the-health-kick-and-liking-it day.


Nicki said...


Congrats on getting the paintings done and off to the show. I'm sure it will be a great one. Unfortunately I'm too far away to attend... but my tickets are booked and I will meet you in one months time in Ayr!!! Yippee!!!!

This one worked out really well. I'm sure you must feel good about these recent paintings.

Nicki XO

Liza Hirst said...

I like this one very much, too.
Wish I could be at the vernissage of the show! Have fun, Barbara.
Too much weight gain here as well and I have just restarted doing execises in the morning - hope it helps.
The painting "Go west young man" by your friend is great!

Susan A said...

It's great to see you so focused and having so much success!
I'm also on the daily weighing thing, and it's working.
Have a fantastic show!

cohen labelle said...

Hi Barbara,. When you talked about Noreen's soup last night you made me hungry!
Well you've been working super hard lately and your paintings are simply beautiful to show for it!!! I suppose you could slow down a bit, read a book and enjoy the storm coming our way tonight.

Have a wonderful time on Saturday at your opening!!!! - I will drop by later in the month.
Also it's a treat to see Noreen's work! She is a splendid painter!

love, Marcia

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

Thanks so much. I do wish you would be here. I will see you in Ayr on March 5th. I don't think I can come for both days.

I can't wait to meet you. How incredibly exciting.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks so much. I do love that painting too. Norene was very close to her father, a wonderful man.

I wish you could be here too -- wow that would be so much fun. Your ocean paintings are driving me crazy with longing for the ocean. You are soooooo good.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks so much for your kind comment. It was great to talk to you. I am putting on the icers now and heading out for a walk in the deep stuff for a few minutes. Or else I'm going to a mall.

Yep. fitness matters.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

Thanks so much. Her soup was always delicious, but never fattening. Yum. I can just taste it now. Those whole wheat bakery buns were incredibly good too. I'd save half of mine in my purse wrapped in a napkin, then feed it to Steven later as we took one of our lengthy drives around the coast. Love Norene and Greg, Love the Chatterbox, Love Pugwash, Love the ocean. You have to come out one day.

Love Barbara

Linny D. Vine said...

Beautiful work from you and Norene, Barbara! (I see that you truly did get my
"lighten up-isming"!

Anonymous said...

I would love to visit Norene's cafe one of these days when i go down to Nova Scotia, it would be nice to make a detour to Pugwash. I like her paintings.
Good luck with your show Barbara your paintings look great.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

So glad you like the work. Norene is a magnificent painter. Thanks for sending the light from the light house. As for lightening up the other way. If only it weren't so cold eh!


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

In summer the Chatterbox is a hub of activity -- readings, and bands and it seems there's always something going on. It is really great.

Norene and Greg are just the nicest people you would ever want to meet.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

If you do drop by, I hope it's when we're in the neighbourhood. We don't have sleeping accommodations, but we could take you to a great beach.


Gwen Bell said...

I knew this one was going to be a beauty from the very beginning. Just LOVELY!

I enjoyed the post as well. Thanks for including some of Norene's paintings!

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!