Thursday, February 10, 2011

Small kindnesses add up

The Four Nectarines
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(So many artists talked about
the 10 minute challenge that
I got curious and gave it a try.
I read about this on Róisín O'Farrell's
website, and
discovered it was Carol Marine's
idea.  I am a big fan of both artists.
These are nectarines.  I divided the
canvas the way that was suggested and
spent 10 minutes on each painting.
I found out that nectarines are
not the easiest fruit to paint, that
10 minutes is not a long time,
that highlights count when it comes
to fruit, that I wish I could try oils,
that this is a great exercise for
warm up and understanding painting.
I also noticed that I got a bit looser
as time went on.  All good.  Thanks
for the inspiration.)

I am a person who notices the good things in life.
I feel it's one of my jobs on the planet.  Tuesday
when I was scurrying around doing what felt like
a thousand jobs, I parked my car in front of the printer's
storefront.  The snowbank there is about 3 feet high and
iced over.  I am terrified of ice because I broke my
ankle a couple of years ago.  But on the other side
of the snowbank stood an elegant older gentleman,
who took my mittened hand and helped me over the bank.

When I drove home in the pitch black night, I was trying to
turn around on our very narrow street.  Snowbanks
narrow the drivable part of my block by about six feet and
those snowbanks are rock solid with ice. To my horror I got stuck
turning into a driveway and was completely blocking the street.
Headlights of other cars started to form a line.  Oh no!
But once again kind people helped me -- leaping out of their
vehicles. A young man got in the driver seat and tried to rock me
out of the icy trap, driving the car for me.  As I stood transfixed
looking in the driver's door, he said, "I'm afraid you are well and
truly stuck lady." Meanwhile even more cars formed a line
up the street waiting for the way to clear.  I went to get my
Steven and by the time we returned about six people were
there to help us.  They pushed, the car rocked, the wheels spun,
and then Yay! Steven successfully drove the car out and
parked it. I thanked everyone who had helped.  And I was
so moved by their readiness to jump in and help in the freezing cold.

All week long there have been people holding doors
for me at the school where I teach part time. In one
class a girl constantly brings me coffee. Students offer
to carry my very heavy bags when they see me
labouring through the halls.  I feel so blessed with
kindnesses in my life, that are really too many to mention

But thank you to all of you.  Your thoughtful acts and
kind comments make me feel glad to be alive.

Have a happy-to-know-so-many-kind-people day. 


Linda Popple said...

Your nectarines are great! It is a wonderful exercise and I have completed two more - one with spoons and one with a jelly jar. It's fun and helps me to loosen up with my brushstrokes and simplify.

I also enjoyed reading about the kindness in your day and is a reminder of sooo many gestures from strangers and family and friends that are so nice. I'm quite sure that you are one that will return that kindness many times!

Nicki said...

This is great Barbara and definitely seems to be an interesting exercise. I just came across this challenge as well, but have not yet tackled anything for it.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks so much. It for sure helps to focus on experimenting with colour and a direct method. It lets you think and not too much.

Thanks for your vote of confidence. I sure hope I return the kindnesses people have shown me. I'm sure you do, because you are so kind.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

Most of the time I'm obsessed with the everyday challenges of my own work. But I just thought I'd see how the challenge of really small work worked. And it is really freeing.


Marilyn Flanegan said...

Your nectarines are so fresh!

It was a great challenge, wasn't it? The loosening-up and simplifying was good...the frustration not so good...but I needed to be prodded out of my comfort zone!

: )

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!