Thursday, August 18, 2011

My friend Flora

Flora at the Bear River market
Watercolour and blue marker on Canson drawing paper
9 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I did this little sketch of Flora at the market
in Bear River when I was on the
phone yesterday grabbing the nearest
pen to hand.  But today I thought Flora
needed some colour, so added watercolour.
One of the great things about Flora,
is that she won't mind if it's not 
entirely accurate.  Painting is painting,
and she totally gets that.  In my little
painting she's standing in front of one of
her beautiful pictures of dancing Irises.)

The art blog world is creating a virtual network that
operates the way friendship circles probably have
happened since the beginning of time.  Since university
I've met some of my friends through my children's school,
some through my dog, and many through art.
Flora Doehler and I met because we belonged to the same
art club, and loved each other's work.  At shows I'd
go around looking at all the paintings and hers
leapt off the wall and spoke to me.  She loves bright
colours, is brave and experimental, tries all
different sizes, and now documents her processes
on her blog.
Flora with her wonderful painting Floral Fusion
Acrylic on canvas
I think it's 36 x 30 
Flora Doehler © 2011
(Flora's work and this gorgeous painting is
available at the Flight of Fancy Gallery in Bear River.)

 When I first visited her Toronto house I was blown away
by the way she and her husband, Larry Knox
used colour -- bright glorious colour in every room.
But in addition to the brilliance, Flora was super organized,
and in a house almost as tiny as mine had her art life under
control.  Her studio, like mine now, was in her living room and
dining room, but the room easily transformed back
into its original use through the clever use of drawers
and draped cloth hiding the supplies.

I have learned so much from Flora, and hers was the first
portrait I drew via Skype that I posted on my blog and
that set off a whirlwind of media interest.  Why did I draw
her that way?  About three years ago Flora left Toronto,
and moved to Bear River, Nova Scotia,
with Larry, who is a fabulous artist in metal and precious
stones. Losing the ability to drop in on Flora,
show together, paint together and learn what she was up to
was a big loss for me.  But she now lives and works in Nova
Scotia, one of my favorite Canadian provinces, and for the
past three years we've made a point of getting together when
we're there.  And when we can't "see" one another we visit
via Skype.

Either way the air buzzes with ideas whenever we meet,
and in Nova Scotia we can barely settle down to share a
meal with Steven and Larry. Her work always inspires and
delights me.  So three cheers for Flora.

Have a getting-together-with-art-friends day.

10 comments:

Flora Doehler said...

Barbara, I am blushing right now!
YOU are the inspiration! You dragged me kicking and screaming through 3 shows we had together that you had booked in advance. If not for your prodding and persistance, I might not have shown a body of my work in one spot.
You are right that we get lots of great ideas about art and life together and I really miss that. Still, each time I see you and Steven, it's like no time has passed at all. I look so forward to reading more about your adventures until you come this way again next summer. For sure we'll make it up to Wallace next time.
Thank you Barbara for being such a good friend and the inspiring artist and woman that you are too! love, Flora xo

Melinda said...

What dear friends and wonderful artists you and Flora are!

Beautifully rendered watercolour!

You have a great skill with this medium.

Blogging has been so good to all of us, yes?!

Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,

Flora's work is joyful, inspired and vibrant. No wonder you two gravitated to each other! I'm so happy that you had a visit this summer. Hip hip hooray x 3 for you both!

XO Nicki

Barbara M. said...

Dear Flora D.,

You are so cute. No it was you -- you even got me teaching art in our seminars. We are a funny match. I love the idea exchange and it's sad that the reality is one day a year. Wallace it is!

I meant to add to this. But maybe it will be bulletin number 2 or 3.

So great to see you. Your work is amazing.

Love Barbara

Barbara M. said...

Hi Melinda,

Yes blogging has been good to us. I have a little movie of the clouds and cicadas yesterday, but can't figure out how to edit it. But of course I was thinking of you.

It has been very hot for the past two days, but of course we know that the cold will come like an ice cube down the back -- suddenly and in a painful schock. So people are trying hard not to complain about the heat.

Thank you so much.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoBarbara

Barbara M. said...

Hi Nicki,

Now with the blog world friends who like each other's art meet through this medium. But how super it is to see one another in person. Like meeting you. I found my notes from our first meeting the other day and bought the colour you suggested.

Thanks for this.

XO Barbara

Linny D. Vine said...

Your Flora is beautiful (and isn't Flora a beautiful name, too?!)

Barbara M. said...

Hi Linny,

Flora is beautiful, and as she is the most amazing gardener and painter of flowers, she was aptly named.

Thanks so much Linny -- your paintings always transport me to where I want to be.

XO Barbara

painterchum said...

beautiful shining portrait of your friend Flora! You definatley are kindred spirits.

Barbara M. said...

Hi Sally,

Thank you. I always think of Anne of Green Gables when I see kindred spirits, and P.E.I. is so close to Nova Scotia. Yes we are such good friends, despite being very different in many ways.

Love your recent work.

XO Barbara

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!