Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The pleasure of your company

When I don't blog I miss you -- but you must know
that.  I haven't been feeling top notch for the past
few days, and there's a lot of catching up to do at
this point in the semester.  So I've been taking it
easy aside from marking and a bit of teaching.
Nap time 
watercolour on watercolour paper
and black marker
16 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I'll take new photos of these
tomorrow in daylight.)

Basket nap
watercolour on watercolour paper
and black marker
16 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
It's a very rainy day today.  Quite beautiful on the ride
to school. All the colours deepened and brightened by
the grey, mauve background of the sky.  I am a major
fan of rain, but at this time of year it does add to the day's
darkness -- so my animal family take the sensible strategy
of sleeping long and hard.  I thought I'd do some very quick
colour sketches of them while they slept.  But Timbah the
black cat became too intrigued by all this action on the
kitchen table, and prodded me to get on with it, and paint
him so he could have his dinner. By the way animals are great
for the short pose because they change positions every few minutes.
Holding the pose
watercolour on watercolour paper
and black marker
16 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
As soon as my supper's done, I think I'll take Zoey and Fiona's
advice and have a nap myself.  Meanwhile the rain comes down in
sheets.  A lovely sound.

Have an-enjoying-all-kinds-of-weather day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy American Thanksgiving -- A super closing party and meeting Hannah's Dad

  Outside Studio Vogue Gallery
with Eben Creaser,
Hannah's Dad trying to
get a decent shot with the
painting in the gallery window.
Too dark and too cold.

On the road in Fredericton
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

A shout out to my American friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!
In Canada we have ours in October and the only things we
shop for on that weekend are turkeys, pumpkins for the
pie, cranberry jelly, potatoes and the rest of the groceries
for the meal -- so we don't have Black Friday.

The story of my painting of Hannah, the girl on the motorscooter
has been a bit magical from the moment I decided
to ask a girl in the parking lot of the Superstore in
Fredericton if I could photograph her for a painting.
Steven and I were listening to a book in the car,
called The People of the Book as we drove home from
Nova Scotia.  The central character was Hannah, and when
I asked the girl her name she was Hannah. Well tonight
there was a fellow at the opening I didn't know.  I thought
perhaps he was one of Gill Cameron's friends, but then he
introduced himself as Eben, Hannah's Dad.  How exciting.
He'd been working in Toronto this week, and was driving by
Studio Vogue Gallery on Avenue Road when he saw Hannah's
portrait in the window. It was freezing cold outside, and very
dark, but we tried our best to get a shot of us in front of the
painting, and this is the best we could do.

We were so delighted to meet Hannah's father.  He was a
lovely person, and so is his daughter.  To me the whole
story around the painting underscores how amazing
and great people can be.  And it is also astounding that
five minutes photographing someone lead to her
portrait in the window of the gallery, and to her father
coming to see the painting in the show all the way from
Fredericton.  Wow is all I can say.  I feel grateful to the
universe and to everyone who came out tonight to our
really super closing party.  Thank you to my incredible
friends and collectors.  You rock!  And thank you
Eben for coming to meet us.  Please say Hi to Hannah.
 People having fun at the opening tonight.

Have a life-is-amazing day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big News -- New baby across the street and come out to Faces and Places Closing Party

We were quietly returning from supper at Ikea
and picking up a few things at the grocery store
when the fuss began. There's nothing like a fire
engine with sirens blaring stopping at your neighbour's
house to get your heart beating faster.  Follow that by
two Ambulances and it seemed clear that Cathy
across the street was having her baby.  I stood in
my winter coat watching all the lights flashing fervently
hoping that all was well, and quite a few
neighbours came out -- some in nightgowns with
ski jackets over top.

A few minutes later the firemen emerged cheerily from Cathy and
Pat's front door raised their arms up in a jubilant gesture
and said -- Baby Number Two -- a Boy.  Pretty exciting stuff.
In fact I'd say the most exciting news in the hood for all of us
who have known Cathy could have her baby any day.
Here's to Pat and Cathy and their new baby boy.  Here's to
Mathias who is the older brother now at two.  Pat is a great Dad,
Cathy a sweet Mom  -- all is well.

Faces and Places Closing Party is today -- November
24 from 6 - 8 p.m. at Studio Vogue Gallery, 216 Avenue
Road, Toronto.  Come on out and have a glass of wine.
Gill Cameron and I would love to see you there, and
would love for you to see a really great show.

Have a-Thursday's-a-great-day-for-an-art-show day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick drawing -- giving in to instinct

 Ready to draw
black marker on Moleskine paper
9 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Practicing drawing
black marker on Moleskine paper
9 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
I haven't painted much in the last two weeks.
For me that's a long time away from my passion.
  But I painted so solidly, and intensely
for the two months before the show opened, that
I thought I could use a break to pull back and
decide what was next.  Still it's almost impossible
for me to stop drawing. I draw when I'm sitting in
a car, every single time I'm waiting, even in between
chapters when I'm reading a book.

So here are a couple of small sketches from
today.  I know I held my tiny Moleskine at
an odd angle, but I like the results.  Painting
will resume again tomorrow.  I'm sure I learned
a lot in the break.

Have a-drawing-for-pleasure day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Selling for my friends

 Me with my paintings Peaches for Lunch,
and More flowers from Ken's garden
both are Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I'm afraid I was so busy
selling, that I didn't get a chance
to photograph more work from
the show.  But it's a great one,
so head on over if you're in Toronto.)

I love the Don Valley Art Club.  I think I've been a member
since 2002.  So almost 10 years.  Today was the opening of
the Large and Small Picture show at Todmorden Mills.
I was on roving sales, which really means walking around
talking to guests at the show -- held in two huge, and
very beautiful rooms -- the former home of the mill.
In my two hours on sales today I sold 11 paintings for
my fellow artists, and had a wonderful time doing so.

I beat my former record of 8 on roving sales by 3 paintings
and felt super by the end of my shift.  My friend, Josephine
came to see the show and took this shot of me with my
paintings. My paintings didn't sell yet, so if you hurry
down there Sunday you might still be able to grab one.
Don't be discouraged by signs that say the road is
closed.  You can still turn onto Pottery Road off the
Bayview extension and get to Todmorden Mills and the
show. And the parking is free.  The prices are incredibly
reasonable, and collectors recognize this.

A shout out to Josephine for taking my picture.  Steven
and I took in the movie Tower Heist tonight, and laughed our
heads off.  All in all a fabulous day.

Have a selling-your-friends-work day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Second opening coming up and a busman's holiday

Watching you paint
30 x 30 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2011

Our second opening of Faces and Places is happening on
November 24th -- two weeks from yesterday between
6 and 8 p.m. at Studio Vogue Gallery, 216 Avenue Road,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada  416 659-9809.

 It is close to Christmas, and near the start of the holiday season,
so it's fitting that part of the purpose of our closing
party is to raise money to give a  high school education
to two little girls, currently living at Peace Matunda in Africa.
Peace Matunda is an orphanage school in Tanzania where
Gill Cameron volunteered for three months last winter.
Gill is raffling off tickets to win one of her glorious watercolours,
and I am giving a portion of the proceeds from the sale
of two paintings to the girls' high school education fund.

But the main reason for the second opening is to give anyone
who didn't get a chance to come out to the first wonderful
party, an opportunity to see the show and talk to the artists.
Please come out if you couldn't make it earlier, or come
again if you like -- we'll be thrilled to see you.

A Busman's Holiday
Thursday was my first full day off in two months. I couldn't
wait to get out of my studio to see the great show of
Marc Chagall's work on at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Double Portrait with Wine Glass
Marc Chagall
On view at The Art Gallery of Ontario
Avant-garde exhibition on loan
from the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris
After visiting the show with a friend, I hurried home,
made supper, then Steven and I went to see Valda
Zoben's show at Propeller Gallery.  Valda is a wonderful artist
and gets inspired by her travels around the world.
Her paintings in this show have a deeply spiritual feel based on her
travels last winter through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Check it out at Propeller if you get a chance in the next
two weeks.
Valda Zobens discussing 
her work with visitors to
Propeller Gallery
Her painting is on the left.

My head spinning with images from Chagall, Kandinsky (my
favorite in the Russian painters show), The Group of Seven,
(which we can't leave the gallery without seeing), and Valda
Zobens I slept like a happy baby.  Clearly art is my working life.

Have a can't-get-enough-of-art day

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More pictures from the show

Saturday night's opening was a blast.  Joyce Fournier,
the Gallery Director at Studio Vogue Gallery, sent me
some pictures today that will give you a bit of the feeling.
 Me (left) with Mick van Leur and Raylea Lambert

Here's a picture of me with Raylea Lambert and Mick
van Leur who feature prominently in my painting Love
on the High Line.  It was great to see them and many
collectors, friends and family at the show.  Really fun.

Fun at the opening of Faces and Places at Studio Vogue Gallery 

In this picture people are having fun talking, and drinking the
wonderful wine the gallery served. Two of my paintings are in
the background.
Guests having an animated chat in front
of Gill Cameron's beautiful paintings.
 Gill Cameron and her husband Bruce Harbinson with some of
Gill's lush paintings of Tanzania in the background.
Me in front of my painting On the Road in Fredericton
On the Road in Fredericton
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
In this shot I look like I felt last Saturday -- tired
from painting hard and delighted to be there.
Thanks again to everyone who came out.  If you
couldn't make it we're having another party at the
gallery on November 24th from 6 - 8 p.m.
 We would really love to see you then.

Have an-enjoying-art day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great show and my son's birthday

Gill Cameron (right) with me, Barbara Muir just before the opening

The show opening the other night was awesome.  If
you missed it and live near or in Toronto, please
come out on November 24th for a second reception.
My shots of the opening did not turn out, so I'm
waiting for other people to send me theirs. But we
were very lucky and had a good and happy crowd.

Here's a shot of Me with Gill Cameron in front
of her painting of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Today's my son's birthday, and it's the first time we haven't
spent either the day, or the day before together.  It's a very
strange feeling all 'round.  But he's in school 5 hours away
by car, and I had an opening this weekend.  It's a wrench at
the heart when you can't be together for your children's birthdays
even when they're growing up.  So next weekend we'll have
a little party when he comes home and make it up to him.

Happy Birthday Sammy.

My painting, Watching you paint,
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30
Barbara Muir © 2011
as seen in the gallery window across
the street.

Have a living-the-life-of-an-artist day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My friend Ken

Pugwash's Garden Man
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
Here's the final version of my painting of Ken Lander
the fantastic gardener in Pugwash.  I added in the
ocean bay you can see from Ken's driveway on Highway
6,  also known in Nova Scotia as The Sunrise Trail.
Ken lives there with his sweetheart Maxine Johnson,
and Maxine sent me super reference photos for this
painting to add to my own.  I've know Ken almost since
we began visiting the province when Sam was four.
I hope that my delight in our friendship with Ken and
Maxine comes through in the painting.

If you're in or near Toronto,  and would like to see a great show,
please come out to Studio Vogue Gallery, 216 Avenue Road,
on Saturday between 5 and 7 p.m. We'd love to see you.

Paintings by Barbara Muir and Gill Cameron
216 Avenue Road, Toronto
Opening November 5,
November 5 - 24

Have a going-to-an-art-party day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What else is new? An art show and a glorious day

On the road in Fredericton
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Check out last night's post to see the entire show that
opens this Saturday between 5 -7 p.m. at Studio
Vogue Gallery.  Gill Cameron and I are showing
paintings I think you'd love.  So if you're in town
drop by to take a look and say Hi.  For the
rest of the week I'll post paintings that are in the

Here's one that you haven't seen.  I met this young
lady in the parking lot of an Atlantic Superstore
in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  We were
on our way home, and travelling on to Quebec City --
about a 14 hour trip from our place in Pugwash.
On that glorious day we were listening to a great
audio book in the car, The People of the Book by Geraldine
Brooks. It was one of those books you wish would never
end, and we were transfixed.  You can find out what inspired
the author here.

So we stopped for coffee and a bathroom break at the
Superstore and were off.  Just as I got back into the car
I saw this great looking girl hop on her bike beside us,
and I asked if I could photograph her to paint her for an
upcoming show.  She said "Yes!" eagerly, I took the photos,
gave her a postcard of my New York show, and here's the result.

It's a big painting that I've dreamt of painting ever since
that day.  What was wonderful was that the girl's
name was Hannah, and the central character in the
all consuming book was also Hannah.  Plus the girl was
just the epitome of youthful confidence and joy -- a
subject I love painting.

Thank you Hannah.

Have an-enjoying-the-kindness-of-strangers day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

There is so much to tell you! The show opens on Saturday

Our show at Studio Vogue Gallery 
Barbara Muir and Gill Cameron
Watch, enjoy, and come on out.

Life has been crazy, busy, wild exciting and hard
work in the past week-- but the show is up at  Studio
Vogue Gallery, and our opening is Saturday between
5 and 7 p.m..  Please come out if you're in town.

Today my dear friends Davide Tonizzo and Sandra
Pacitti worked on a video for Gill Cameron and me that
gives you a good idea of what you'll see when you come
to the opening (we would love to see you there!)
Sandra is a wonderful writer, and Davide a superb designer.
So Davide put the film together and Sandra helped suggest
improvements.  Thank you so much to both of them.

 Sally Chupick and I ham it up in my kitchen
The other day Sally Chupick who runs The Gallery
at the Porch Door in the lovely stone porch of her
farmhouse was visiting Toronto and dropped in for a fun
talk about art over coffee.  What a treat.  She was so kind
about my messy, little house, my art everywhere and my
work.  It was just a delight to see her.  One of the nicest things
about being a blogger is that we create delightful mutual
admiration societies based on our work, our writing,
and the commentary.

My thanks to Joyce Fournier at Studio Vogue for doing
a beautiful job hanging our show, to Gill Cameron for
showing her beautiful paintings with me, to Davide Tonizzo
for creating this little film, to Sandra Pacitti for her help, wisdom
and humour.  And my thanks to Sally Chupick for showing my
work, being a kind, supportive friend and for her wonderful
art.  Oh and most of all my thanks to Steven loving me and
for understanding and tolerating the upheaval and mess of
an artist preparing for a show. 

Enjoy the video.  I will be showcasing (pardon my pun) work
from the show for the next few days. 

Have an the-world-is-an-amazing-place day

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!