Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paying tribute to Ann Northcote


 Ann Northcote
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008

My friend David Northcote's mother, and my friend
Suzanne Betcke's mother-in-law, Ann Northcote,
died this morning, after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke
last week.  I painted her portrait a few summers
ago and spent many hours talking to her and getting
to know her.  In the breaks between portrait sittings
we shared tea, cookies, stories about her family,
lots of laughter and an appreciation for each other.

Ann was a citizenship judge and loved and took pride
in her work helping people become new Canadians.  She was
also the first Canadian to become President of the
World Y.W.C.A. and a Member of the Order of Canada.

A down-to-earth woman, and avid gardener, Ann
wanted to be portrayed with her backyard in the
background where her beautiful garden surrounded
the pool that was the center of many large, happy, family
parties.  The only symbol of her considerable stature
in Canadian life that she wanted included in the painting
was the tiny pin on the right side of her blouse in the
picture.  That piece of jewellery was the pin given to
her for being a Member of the Order of Canada. She was
an amazing woman with a great laugh, a generous nature,
and a tender dignity. I will miss her.

Have an honouring-the-people-you-meet-who-care-about-the-world day.


Karen Martin Sampson said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend! I LOVE this painting. It reminds me of an Alice Neel work - gets right to the soul of the subject.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend, Ann. It sounds like she lived an amazing and wonderful life, full of meaningful things.The portrait looks pensive and thoughtful. great job.

Linny D. Vine said...

My condolences, Barbara. Your painting of your friend is really special!

Kim Rempel said...

My sympathies Barbara.
And what a beautiful painting those who love her will have to treasure...

cohen labelle said...

Hi Barbara,
Your friend while unassuming made a big contribution to others in her life - your tribute to her is very moving and the portrait is amazing.

love, Marcia

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you so much. What a kind compliment. It is a very good likeness. In fact I was staring at the photo the other day and remembering the silk shirt, her expression, her eyes and her hands. I'm delighted that you see her soul too. That is wonderful.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

I am sorry for David who loved his mother, and Suzanne who loved Ann like a second mother. She was the center of a vibrant extended family,
and will be horribly missed. Thanks for your support Sally.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

Thanks for this. My friends' Mother and mother-in-law was a very special person. I am so glad I got the chance to know her, and had the honour of doing her portrait.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks so much. I feel for David and Suzanne and Ann's extended and loving family. She will be missed terribly.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

David and Suzanne were devoted to Ann. They spent many Sundays having family dinners with her and her husband Bruce. So they will miss her terribly. I was happy looking at the photo to see that even though the painting has my style it is an accurate portrayal of Ann, of her appearance and expression. I was filled with memories of our portrait sessions together. And she and Bruce have come out to our shows. I will miss her.

Love Barbara

Nicki said...

Barbara, I'm late leaving a note, but have been thinking of you ever since I saw this post the other day. I'm so sorry for your loss. This portrait is a treasure. Ann's image remains documented for those that loved her in bright, joyous Barbara Muir colour. We should all be so lucky!

XO Nicki

Liza Hirst said...

Dear Barbara, I am sorry to comment here so late, but unfortunately I missed this post and only now had the time to stroll through your blog again. My sympathies to you.
Your painting is a lovely, I agree with what the others have already said above. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

The lucky person was me to have the honour of painting someone who'd made such a contribution to the country, and to women. She was a woman of strong moral beliefs who had taken action to improve the lives of many. I found her inspiring, and fun to be around.

Thanks for your kind thoughts.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Thanks so much. My thoughts are with David and Suzanne. Ann was a strong woman who loved her family, and loved having her family around her. Each holiday, or birthday was an occasion for a big family party. Her sudden death was a shock, and she will be terribly missed.


toronto painters said...

You are so nice painter.
This is so nice painting she lived an amazing and wonderful life, what a lovely tribute to your friend! David and Suzanne were devoted to Ann. Thanks for this. I am very impressive you're blog.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Toronto Painters,

Thank you so much. David and Suzanne were devoted to Ann. And she to them.

Take care,


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!