Sunday, May 22, 2011

Painting, gardening and cleaning

 To please the bees (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I'm working on a large work and for relief I sat on my back
porch to paint our glorious apple tree.  Inside as I worked
I was listening to this, and this on TED TV.  Outside I was
rejoicing that the apple tree was in full bloom and also
filled with honey bees.) 
Three weeks ago it snowed here.  Maybe it's four,
but my point is that not even a month ago a day
like today and yesterday would have been any Torontonian's
dream come true.  All of the major Home Decor magazines
are telling us we should have outdoor rooms.  I think
I have such a thing -- it's called a back porch.  Just a
bit of a concrete deck with a roof over it.  We clean
it up, stick some chairs and pillows out, candles,
maybe a container with some of the flowers from the
garden -- presto.  But the truth is an outdoor room,
a flourishing garden -- these add to the tasks we have
to manage.

I say try this.  (This is especially helpful if you work at
home.) Start painting, keep going.  Good -- now get
to a place that feels really awkward.  Stop.  There is
no one watching you to make sure you keep going.  So
go outside.  Sit in your outdoor room.  Then see the
garden.  You'll think, 'maybe I could just weed for a couple of
minutes' (It's true. You can.)  Weed until you want to
quit (five -- maybe ten minutes at the most), then get
restless and go inside.  Inside put on a load of wash,
sweep the floor.  (Only five more minutes have passed).
Get restless, and guess what? You're back at the painting.

To change it up.  Unload the dishwasher in your next break.
Go outside with a cup of tea, weed, load the dishwasher
and back to the painting.  No one  tells you that this is
how Georgia O'Keefe painted those bones, or how Michelangelo
painted the Sistine chapel.  But rumour has it that their
respective places were spotless, the dishes done, the beds
made when they were at the height of their creativity. 

Is my place spotless?  No not at all.  But it's a lot tidier than
it would be if I weren't painting.

Have a balancing-it-all-with-pleasure day.


eldon warren said...

I'll give that a try Barbara. At the very least Debra will appreciate it. :)

Liza Hirst said...

Wise words again! I agree, that is how it often works.
I am pleased for you that finally the weather has changed and you can enjoy sitting outside. Sweet painting!

Nancy Laliberte said...

Thanks Barbara! You always know just what to say. Love your painting and the luscious colors!
Having a Hooray for Spring kind of day--Nancy

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

Yes Debra will appreciate it, and so will you. Say Hi to Debra for me.

Your fan in Toronto,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

For me the window is so short, because I don't enjoy sitting out in hot weather. Right now it's perfect -- warm with a slight breeze. Just amazing.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nancy,

Thank you. So glad you're enjoying the spring. It's amazing isn't it, especially after a doozer of a winter.

Take care,


Sheila Vaughan said...

You have a real talent for composition and colour Barbara. A great little painting. And yes! Isn't that so true about the housework! When you are stuck or just taking a break, go do some simple task like washing the dishes. I have just finished one painting and will go do just that before I start the next. That's something we have that most men don't!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sheila,

Thank you so much. You are the champion at composition and colour, so that is high praise indeed. Thank you. I am loving the portraits you're doing, and I'm always fascinated by your restless reworking
of your images.


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!