Monday, June 6, 2011

Oh Montreal -- you are so beautiful

 Ladies at lunch
Black marker on lined Moleskin paper
5 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Thinking at dinner
Black marker on lined Moleskin paper
5 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

It turns out my little stay in Montreal has been the cure
for my nasty bug.  I am, for the most part, over my
dizzy, sick feeling.  We had lunch yesterday in a lovely
restaurant -- sitting outside under maple trees.  The
meal was a delicious concoction of sautéed veggies
pressed into jelly, and married to a soft slab of
frighteningly good cheese. You know what's funny.
The entire time I've been here I haven't had one meal
on a round plate.  The square plate salesperson made
a bundle in Montreal.  Wonderful food - squared.

I did a little drawing while we sat listening to the birds
under the trees and enjoyed the afternoon.

Napoleon et al
The day before we visited the Montreal Museum of Fine
Arts.  There's an exhibition on of paintings, furniture, china,
and sculptures from Napoleon's life.  My favorite thing was
this little pink and gold covered dish.  I am a complete
china freak -- and this would be a piece I could covet.
Judging by Napoleon's death mask, done when he died
at 52, he was a good looking man.  But there is also a
sculpture of him in the exhibit which tells the same story.
Covered dish from the Napoleon exhibit 
at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art
Circa 1800 - 1836

Sculpture of Napoleon
(Sorry I didn't think about 
getting the name of the sculptor.
I was too in awe of the exhibit)
We wandered into the permanent collection and I was delighted
to see a Raeburn.  Actually there were a few.  He was a Scottish
painter and his name crops up in Alexander McCall Smith's
Isabel Dalhousie series. This portrait explains why I tell my
students not to cross their arms.  The lady looks quite gruff and
angry about having her portrait done.  Too bad -- because the
painter dutifully painted what he saw.
Portrait of Mrs. O'Beirne
Oil on canvas
Henry Raeburn 1823

This gorgeous city
We wandered around old Montreal yesterday and I picked out the
window I'd like to replace our window in the living room (studio)
back home.  It may be a bit grand for a rug brick semi-detached
Toronto house, but I like it.  Then we happened upon a lovely
garden and settled on a bench to take it in.  We aren't too good
at taking our pictures by ourselves, but must have tried 10
times to get our heads under a sign that says Narcisse, French
for narcissus, because one of our friends loves to point out
that people are narcissists, so we thought it would be funny.
Unfortunately we couldn't get a great shot because we kept
laughing about our terrible photography.
 My ideal window -- found in the market building in old Montreal
A gorgeous garden in old Montreal
Steven and me laughing in the garden

 I will miss you Montreal.  I love your grand avenues, your carefully
preserved architecture, your understanding that history matters,
your lack of dedication to the condomania plaguing my home town,
Toronto.  And I will miss the food! Hmm.  So good.


laura said...

Your line drawings always make me want to sketch more; unfortunately I've let sketching become a prelude to painting, rather than an end in itself.
I've had a similar problems with my visits to Montreal--which are, sadly, always for funerals (Peter's mother's family lives there), never for pleasure!

eldon warren said...

Sounds like you had a great time and I'm glad you're better.
You should do a travel blog Barbara. You make these places we've never been sound so perfect! :) One of these days I'm going to see Canada.

Linny D. Vine said...

Thank-you for the mini vacation to Montreal and you two are great tour guides and such fun, too!!! (Glad your better and you've always been great,Barbara, just like your art!)

Susan Carlin said...

Thank you for letting us hitch a ride with you to Montreal, Barbara! I love your generosity of spirit and your spare sketches which describe so much with so few lines- like poems say so much with an economy of words. XOXO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,
Thanks very much. Sketching is a prelude to painting for me too, but since I bought the Moleskine notebooks, which are so light that they easily fit in a purse, I seem to be drawing more. Also when I'm travelling I find it harder to paint.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Eldon,

I hope you get to go to Montreal. There were a lot of Americans in our hotel, and they were enjoying the city. It is a super city to walk in, and of course Québecers really care about food, so even in fast food places the food is amazing.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Linny,

It was quite fantastic to feel well, after feeling horrid. I wish I had more time to write about the city, because we saw scenes that were very Linnland, people down by the river with whole families riding in amazing contraptions made from bicycles, with colourful cloth canopies.

You would have loved it. Thanks again for your sweet encouragement. You make me so happy with your lovely paintings and your writing.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Thank you so much. I wish I could show you more, and may sometime. I wasn't quite up to scratch in Montreal, but it's a great walking city, and totally accommodating to tourists, plus the shopping is almost as good as in New York City. The women there are sooo dressed up. I am trying to train myself to draw quickly, but you are the best at that. I loved watching you paint on your video, how you get the face in about a second. Whereas when it's official
(a client) I usually search, and search before I feel it's right.

Take care, I'd love to talk to you
sometime, but I know you're crazy busy.


Melinda said...

I love your line drawings so much! They are full of color and expression, like a song they are.

So glad you are well, too, and had a good time in Montreal.

Thank you for sharing your visit to Montreal. Sounds wonderful.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thanks so much. I must say it is good to be well, and Montreal seemed to be the cure. I love Toronto too, but Montreal is just so different from Toronto in ways that I enjoyed. The French language and style permeated everything. So nice.


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!