Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My art group picks it up

Acrylic on canvas
14 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
This year the art group I belong to, the Don Valley
Art Club, had the rug pulled out from under
them.  The environmental group that took over
The Brickworks, where the club of 170 members
had worked for years, decided to up the rent.  We
had a large studio, great washrooms, good
lighting and equipment.  But as is true with many
art clubs, a good percentage of club members are not
wealthy, and quadrupling the rent meant that the club
would have to multiply its fees by the same amount.

Most of our members could not support the extra
expense.  So after a lot of discussion and negotiations
we have moved our studios in with
another city art group.  The Forest Hill Art Group is
allowing us to use their space in the Forest Hill
Library.  I attended last night for a little while,
and did this painting of the model Guinevere.  She
was lovely.  So were the members of the Forest Hill
Group who were there.  A big thank you to Forest
Hill for welcoming our members.

Have a  keep-on-painting-together day.

(The first post on this topic written July 13, 2011) End of an era with the Don Valley Art Club

 You're joking
Graphite on Moleskine paper
5 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
Last night I headed out to my art group to the Tuesday
night life session.  I've been so busy for a few months
that I've rarely been able to attend.  Feeling my spirits
lift I parked the car at the Brickworks (where it was
free to park 6 months ago, and is now pay parking),
and started walking towards the building.  But luckily
I met two fellow members of my group who were heading out
with their equipment in hand.  They told me that the studio
room was locked and no one was there.

Right now the Don Valley Art Club, a  group of 170
artists that's been in existence more than 60 years, and
was promised a permanent home in the Don Valley,
has nowhere to meet.  The reason?  Evergreen, the
environmental group operating the Brickworks property,
and the city, have raised the rent on our studio space so high
that the group, many of whom live frugally, cannot
afford to stay in the space.

After a couple of years of negotiations we find ourselves
out on the street, and unable to offer the five days
a week, and weekends too that we have been enjoying.
A committee is working on getting the city to give us
a new space at a reasonable rate, but so far we've had no

I drove home feeling quite sad, then did this small sketch
in my Moleskine of a friend, it isn't perfect, but it was
something on a night when I'd hoped to paint with

Have a helping-art-groups-stay-vital-and-giving-them-space day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the middle of the night

 August Colours
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Billy Joel's song "The river of dreams,"
talks about walking around "in the middle of the night,'
and was one of my favorites by him. We used to sing
this driving in the car with the kids in Nova Scotia when
they were little. Last night at a late hour I started this little
painting.  I was thinking about Róisín O'Farrell, and her
dedication to the painting work day.  My day yesterday was
gone before I knew it to the Phone company trying to hook
up my cell, to bills and household logistics.  When I don't paint
I get antsy, nervous, out of sorts.  So after a great
walk with Steven and Zoey, I concentrated on

The nasturtiums in my garden were planted late and
are just hitting their stride.  They're one of my favorite
flowers, and the peaches this season are beyond
delicious.  I just have to look at beautiful peaches and
I want to paint them.  So I put a few on the table with
a lovely little jug of nasturtiums, with a random miniature
petunia, and got out the paints.

I've just finished as much as I'm going to do with it for
now, and I'm very happy.

Have a painting-when-the-mood-strikes-you day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Doggone it. I love dogs

 Barney (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 26 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Yesterday as I drove around doing the errands with Steven
I mentioned that I love dogs.  We'd just driven by an
older man walking a proud little poodle, and watched a
young guy in his early 20s shuffling along with a big
lab.  In both cases the dogs looked so delighted to be
with their owners out for a walk.  "All dogs?," he asked.
Well in essence yes, but I don't like violent dogs, or dogs
that hurt my dog.  Other than that I do love dogs for the most part.

Why?  I have friends who are so frightened of dogs that I
have to put my old, docile Zoey in the basement when they visit.
I do understand, because I was a little afraid of dogs before
I owned Zoey.  But having a dog has taught me a lot.  Dogs
understand the joy of being outside (except in thunder storms),
and of movement. If a dog can't have a walk, it will invent a game
that gets it moving.  I love visiting my friend and watching her big
black lab place his drool covered ball in her lap, over and over
so that she'll throw it.  Plus for the most part dogs are happy,
and love being with people.  I have two cats too, and before
Zoey came into my life I guess I was 100% a cat person.

All pets involve the work of feeding and taking care of them,
but then, in some ways so does every relationship involve
elements of care -- every relationship that matters.
I promise to write about how much I love my cats sometime

Have an enjoying the dogs in your world day

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The dog days of summer

 Zoey (my dog) against the beautiful tall grasses in the park

If today is anything to go by we are past the period known
as the "dog days of summer."  This was the period running from
about the second week in July until as late as the 25th of August in Roman
times.  It was so named because that was when the Dog Star, Sirius was
seemed to rise just before the sunrise, and it was thought that the
double brilliance brought on extreme heat and muggy weather.  But it's cooling
down here now.
I asked Zoey to take my picture with the 
grasses so you could see how tall they are,
but this is the best she could do -- not bad for
a dog.  Okay I admit she had some help.

My dog days have been incredibly pleasant, both because my dog,
Zoey and I have taken some awesome walks in the nearby park, and
because I've been painting a delightful commission of my friend
Alen's dog, Barney.

Starting the painting.  Working on an orange ground I 
roughed in the snow around Barney and then began painting.
I am crazy about dogs, so this was a pleasure from start to finish.
Barney (Work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Slowly adding to the piece, I work by feeling, and thinking 
about what will make the layers of fur look right.
Those eyes are a bit spooky, but that will change tomorrow.
(I took the photos on the easel, so the lighting
is not optimal.)

Barney (Work in progress)
24 x 36 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2011

Tomorrow I'll give you more of my progress,
and I'll show you the grand finale in a couple
of days. 

Have an enjoying your canine friends day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My loving family

 The young actor
Black marker on Canson drawing paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
My son's off to school working on his Acting degree.
Most students haven't arrived yet, but he's rehearsing for
an early production to be put on in mid-September.
He seems happy and enthusiastic about the play.  We
set up a time to talk on Skype tonight after supper, and we
were both tired from long days working at what we love.
So we laughed and caught up with one another.
The portrait I'm posting must have been from one of
the more serious moments during our talk.  I kept looking
at the drawing and thinking where have I seen those
features before?  It's fascinating watching young adults
grow into their faces.

Have a talking-to-your-family day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Canadians' minds

 Jack Layton
Marker on Canson drawing paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(The image I used is in many places, but 
I found my reference here.)
Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democratic Party in
Canada, died this week of cancer.  His bravery in continuing
to work and campaign with prostate cancer, to win a
major victory by bringing his party into official
opposition in Canada has moved many, many Canadians

So many of my conversations in the last two days have been
with people who were moved by Jack Layton's vision for
a truly democratic Canada, and who knew him personally.
I had dinner tonight with a friend who had campaigned for
Layton twice.  I didn't know him, but it would be hard
not to notice his values, ending violence against women,
saving the environment, and when he got cancer, trying to be
a voice of hope to other people with the disease.

I have been working on commissions, and unable to post them
yet, but I wanted to do a sketch of Jack.  So here it is.
the reaction to Jack Layton's death here is unprecedented.
People wrote notes all over a wall and the entire public
square at city hall in downtown Toronto, and there have
been impromptu memorials and tributes in cities and towns
all over the country.  Layton wrote his final message to Canadians
with the help of his wife and colleagues, just two days before he
died.  His incredible courage, and the love letter to Canadians has
touched the hearts of everyone I know. We sat at the dinner table
the other night listening as the letter was read on CBC, and Steven
and I were deeply moved.  It didn't matter that we'd read the letter
in the morning paper. The words resonated and were touching in
their direct simplicity.

My thoughts are with Jack Layton's wife and family, and I hope
his message to Canadians can galvanize all of us, whatever our
politics to create positive change in how we run our country.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This magical time of year

 Saturday's riches
Watercolour and black marker on watercolour paper
10.5 x 13.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
Yes it's hot and I'm not a fan of heat,
but it's hard not to love a day filled with cicadas
singing their high heat song.  The grape tomato
plants in Steven's tiny garden by the basement door are
thriving.  I go out each day and pick tomatoes for my
lunch.  It's paradise.  Up the fence and over the
tomatoes climbs a glorious morning glory -- the
Japanese anemones are ready to send their beautiful,
waxy white flowers up to meet the clouds.  Night
blooming Nicotiana already seem five feet tall and are
stretching -- up, up, up to that sweet summer light.

We went to the farmer's market today -- it was like a
popular summer fair, crowds of people, parking very hard
to find, vibrant music, art events for children, food everywhere,
and some of my old market friends on hand.  The tomato fellow
from Picton sold me a box and then kept putting more tomatoes
in the bag.  So kind.  I bought small garden carrots, a huge sweet
onion, and a jar of plum jam.  At the market the small open
sample jar of plum goodies was hosting a great sampling party to
 a dozen neighbourhood bees.  And they loved it.

So that was the day -- quintessential August.  Here is a little
painting I did of the kitchen table with the beautiful big tomatoes
sitting on an antique glass cake stand, on top of the Joy of
Cooking.  Our own nasturtiums and pansies and a scattering
of our own grape tomatoes finish off the story.  Some of the colours
have been changed I confess.

Have a loving-the-end-of-summer day.

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.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Re-entry Tx

 Full Tank
Watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
My sister's a therapist and in our family's shorthand
Rx is short form for doctors and medical help, and Tx
for mental or therapy help.  Coming back from a vacation in
the pristine countryside of Nova Scotia's
Northumberland strait near Wallace, to Toronto,
one of the biggest cities in Canada is a shock. And
any principles for recovering a sense of well
being are a help.

I confess to one very down day on re-entry.  You know
-- the bills, endless amounts of laundry,
household organizing, and whatever worries, or
projects that were put on hold for three weeks.
Three long, delicious, fantastic, wonderful and
glorious weeks.  It's a known fact that 21 days
is long enough to form a habit.  So the habit of
being on holiday, and living somewhere else is
ingrained in that time.  I know that many of you are
going through similar splash downs into your real
life so here are my tips.

1. Have a bath.  Take care of the physical first.
# 1 You'll be clean, and #2 You'll start to feel more
relaxed.  In my case just the return to readily available
hot water is something to rejoice about.

2. Pay some bills.  Instead of avoiding the nasty
facts of your post-vacation finances -- pay the
first bills to come through the door.  Then take
a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for
being an adult.

3.  Write thank you notes to everyone who was
especially nice to you while you were away.  You
can do some of it through email, and some through real
notes.  But connecting back to your vacation heroes,
makes you realize that you still have that connection
anytime you can make the effort.

4. Make lists. Part of getting back into real time
involves accomplishing basic tasks like laundry.
Lists not only make you feel efficient, they give
you a guide when your mind is in a kind of
fantasy haze.  Cross off six things on a list and
watch your mood lift.

5.  Be thankful for some attention deficit tendencies.
When you go to the cupboard for dishtowels and
realize they're on the laundry table, you may decide
to pop a load of laundry in the washer.  Saving your
best antique quilt for later, you pick it up to see it's
caked in sand.  This distracts you from both putting on
the laundry, and getting the dishtowels.  In fact after
shaking out the quilt and all of the clothes in
the hamper, into the garden -- you feel happy to realize
you now have enough sandy soil to grow lupines.  Then
after you've swept up all the sand on the laundry room
floor, and put on a new load of laundry, you forget the
dishtowels and have to go back.  During this whole
episode your imagination escapes to thoughts of the
wonderful picnic on the beach your son must have had
sitting on your beautiful quilt. (You see why you need
the list.)

6.  Phone a funny friend.  This is no time for the Doom
and Gloom voices in your life.  Call the funniest friend
or sibling you know, and let them force you to lighten
up.  After all the truth is you've been so lucky that
you got to go on vacation.  Or as my son always says
when I whine about something unimportant -- "Wa Wa."

7.  Get back to painting.  For a painter painting is
like breathing, as necessary as food.  Start something,
anything and keep going.  Before you know it you'll
be back in the moment, back home and where you
are meant to be.

8.  Walk the dog, a friend, a loved one, or just you.
I almost forgot why I love my city until I walked
my dog, Zoey through our beautiful neighbourhood
park.  Cuts in the Parks and Recreation budget mean
that the park is thick with vegetation -- Milkweed flowers
as high as my head and bull rushes almost twice my height.
Purple Lythrum and Queen Anne's Lace even Forget-me-nots
with a second wind.  Bird song filled the air, and I suddenly
felt I was home.
This little painting today is another random road picture.
The subject is a woman filling her car in Ottawa, Ontario.
These huge SUVs have been the status car of choice here.
But the reality is that they are a lot like shiny,
beautifully designed tanks.  That means that filling them
up with the current gas prices is no joke.

Have an enjoying-your-own-homecoming day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tagged into the examined life

Socrates said that, "the unexamined life is not 
worth living."  To that end a blog called TripBase 
(a travel blog) began the "My 7 Links" project
,"to unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint
endeavor to share lessons learned and create a
bank of long, but not forgotten blog posts that
deserve to see the light of day again."
(• Note: Something strange is happening with the formatting.
Please forgive me.  I can't get my blog to close
the gaps.)
I was tagged by Kim Rempel and Nicki Ault

You could easily create new categories, because almost
any question you could think of would help us examine
our blogging life, but this particular exercise follows 
a certain set. To participate I am supposed to link to seven
of my previous posts based on the following categories:

- Your most
beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

The point is that unlike a book, which might sit around 

and be read over and over -- the blog world moves on.

So although I have some trouble fitting into these categories I'll try.
The first category is a toughie -- as I often paint beautiful people, 
 and flowers, and I don't find it easy to choose, but this post is about
the astonishing colour in the work in a chapel not usually open to
the public in the cathedral in Siena, Italy is beautiful, and so is the one
about what you see in Florence as a tourist.
My most beautiful posts:
1. Give me more colour please.
2. Goodbye to Florence

My most popular post
Not too surprisingly looking back through my post lists the most
popular posts were those about being on the Oprah Winfrey Show
via Skype in 2009.
Oprah Winfrey
Skype Sketch
willow charcoal on Canson Mi-Teintes paper
11 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Both the announcement post
Watch me on Oprah on Thursday,
and the post about being on the show
Wow that was so much fun!!!
attracted a lot of attention.  But interestingly so did my announcement
last summer that I was going to take a blog holiday.
Blog Holiday

My most controversial post?
 Spring tree at sunset
(work in progress)
Acrylic on wood panel
5 x 5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

I'm not a controversial blogger most of the time,
except for perhaps my post on Nuclear Power
prompted by the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster --
Earth Hour and Nukes.
Recently in a discussion about wind turbines in
Nova Scotia I was shocked to hear someone say that
"I guess wind is better than nukes."It certainly is.
Nuclear power's ability to ruin the environment
permanently (for 150,000 years) wherever it is used,
is something we choose not to understand.  After all which
is more important getting to use our air conditioners and
blow dryers now, or stopping irreversible damage to the
oceans and air we breathe. Wind -- almost a complete environmental
freebie.  Problems arise when turbines are too large,
too noisy, and placed too close to towns, but all of those
problems can be solved, and are being dealt with in
countries like Denmark.  We are unfortunately unaware
that there are huge lobbies against every alternative source
of energy.  Money trumps the environment every time.

My most helpful post
 Looking for starfish at low tide
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Keep on loving yourself
My focus in art, and life is on how to live joyously.  I even
teach this topic to students who aren't yet where they
want to be as students.  More and more research on the brain
is pointing out the impressive power of our thinking on
our health, happiness and overall quality of life.  So
I frequently write about happiness, and was glad to see going
through my lists that these posts attract readers and comments.
This post is a helpful one -- I know there are others.

A post whose success surprised me 
 One night deep in a painting push I published this
short piece on what I'd been up to, and was delighted
that people liked it.

 Backyard Cherrywood Avenue (just spring)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I've given you the finished version in this
post.  The image on the blog was a work in
Capturing spring, was short and sweet, and what do you
A post that didn't get the attention it deserved. 
I'm coming up with no examples here.  I think of
blogging as a wonderful bonus activity, and can't
remember ever thinking this way about it.  So forgive
me for missing this one.

The blog I'm most proud of:
Shine your light in 2011

Ready for joy
(work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I painted this painting for the International
Women Celebrate show in Ayr, Ontario.
It seems fitting that the blog I'm most
proud of (one of them) connected
me in person with some of my fellow
bloggers, which was such a joyous event.)
Once again the version I'm showing you is the almost final one.
the post contained a work in progress.
The only problem with this kind of list is that
it's almost impossible to fulfill the categories.  I am
proud of so many blogs, and so many connections that
I've made through blogging, or all the media events
that have resulted from being on Oprah, of showing in
New York and Florence, but I think I am most proud of
writing more than 1,000 of these posts.  Whether my
writing was great, or just present, writing these blogs
has let me meet outstanding artists, and become a source
of great opportunities for me, and enriched every day that I
made the effort to post.  It has radically transformed my
art life.  So I am very proud of that accomplishment and
of continuing to add to the number.  2,000 here we come
(2,000 posts that is -- I know it's 2011). 

So I extend this opportunity to carry out the process
to some of my fellow bloggers:
Marcia Labelle
Melinda Esparza
Liza Hirst
Tammy Hext
Sally Chupick
Eldon Warren
David Lobenberg
Flora Doehler
Gwen Bell
I may tag more of you tomorrow.  Meanwhile I'll let the
people I've chosen so far know that they've been tagged.

Have an examining-your-happy-life day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My big news

The image here is a little movie I took just over a 
week ago while walking on the vast beach
that's created at low tide in the Minas
Basin in Nova Scotia.  I have not had time to paint today.
To get an idea of the scale of the cliffs notice the size of the tall
trees, and the houses when you can see them in
the distance.  This is one vast space. The sound is the wind.

I am home.  Is that my big news?  No.  Although
after living in a such a wonderful place for three
weeks, getting back to the city, bills, our busy lives
is a pretty dramatic shift for us.  No the big news
is that I've got a guest blog on Róisín O'Farrell's
blog.  Wahoo!  I love Róisín's work, and the feeling
is mutual -- so I wrote about blog friendships --
a wonderful phenomenon that has enriched my life
beyond measure.  As much as I loved my time in
Nova Scotia, I realize that I've become perhaps a
quite reliant on my computer for news of the world,
and especially news of my fellow artists whose work
dazzles me daily. In the next few blogs I'll give you
some bits and pieces of our trip.  Meanwhile thank
you to everyone who made it a delight.  And thank you
to Róisín for her gorgeous work, and for asking me
to post on her blog.
Róisín O'Farrell
So starting now I'm catching up with my city life,
my painting life, family life, and my blog life.
Check out what I wrote and enjoy Róisín's superb

Have an aren't-friends-the-most-wonderful-people day

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Drama and sadness – in nature’s paradise

Full Serve
watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
I’ve said that we are living in paradise here
we are – seafood available at every turn –
rolling fields with horses and cows set against
 ocean views of breathtaking beauty.  People
 who are among the nicest in the world (I can’t restrict
that to one place because I feel lucky to know
wonderful people from all over the world.) But last 
night driving home from shopping in Amherst about 
45 kilometers away, we moved through a spectacular 
thunder storm – lightning arced for miles across the sky
in glorious and terrifying patterns. 

I was both terrified and mesmerized.  This morning
the news told of people stranded on the runway in
planes at the Halifax airport for 8 hours, because the
ground crews couldn’t go out to service the planes while
 the storm was happening.

The sadness is about having to go.  I love this place, our
 school house, the town, the province, the people with all
 my heart.  It is a wrench every year when we get ready to
 leave.  But instead I want to concentrate on how lucky we are
 to get to spend time here.  This morning I woke up to the
sound of rain on the tin roof.  That feels exactly like being in the
 middle of a rain cloud.  And though I might love a bright
beach type of day, rain suits the moment. 

My painting today is another watercolour of a woman gassing
 up her car in one of the most beautiful areas of the province. 
Despite the Full Serve designation on her pump, she is filling the
car herself.  I like the way she is leaning against the car as though
 it’s a trusted friend. 

Have an enjoying-the-drama-of-nature day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Needing a grace period

 More flowers from Ken's garden (work in progress)
 Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

My dear friends I'm holiday.  This is my last week,
and I promise to get back to everyone who has written me,
who has commented on my blog, and whose blogs I haven't
been able to comment on.  A few of you have listed me in
posts of favorite artists.  Thank you so much.  But I
need a grace period to respond because I'm in the wilds
(very civilized wilds) of Nova Scotia, with internet access
only at a café where I buy a quick iced tea or a sandwich,
and that doesn't give me much time for posting my
blog, or checking my email. 

So I need a little grace period.  I'm back at work next week,
and back in full internet capacity.  But yesterday I found
my husband sitting on the back deck staring at the clouds.
The smell of clover and wild roses was in the air, and
I realized we'd reached that ideal point in the vacation when
most of what is on your mind is not anything of huge import.
Just breathing, visiting, enjoying.  And then we're off on
the big journey home.  And in a way, a profound way, this
whole time away has been a grace period -- a complete
break from the hurry and scurry of our normal life.  For that
I am incredibly grateful, and for your kind thoughts that
bolster me in peace and in activity, I am also grateful.

Have a being-grateful-for-your-life day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Living in Paradise – don’t we know it?

 Self Serve
watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(Yesterday in the most beautiful scenery in the
world, I was aware that we have
to (as a world people) do something
to make getting around safer
for the world we were travelling through. 
On an art note -- I just liked the look of
this woman getting her gas.)
On Saturday we drove down to see our friends
Flora Doehler and Larry Knox who live in Bear River
and own and work in Green Willow Studio.
Flora is a superb painter and Larry creates wonderful
jewelry, and other objects in precious metals and fine stones.  
 They are super people.  We stayed in the Queen Ann Inn in 
Annapolis Royal in luxurious Victorian splendor – except
that the Victorians lived more like we live at the school house, 
and did not have huge whirlpool baths with showers – though
they did have the four-poster beds like the beauty we slept in.

Yesterday we drove home taking the slow route along
the Bay of Fundy shore and kept having to say –“Stop
the car!” so we could get out and take in some of the
most spectacular ocean views I have ever seen. 
 Stop the car.  This is one of the spectacular places the view of the ocean in
the Bay of Fundy at the top of a hill. 
We visited a garage sale along the Fundy shore, and met a 
woman named Dorothy Reese– near Port George who grows
thousands of day lilies in magnificent gardens that overlook
the ocean.  I have never seen day lilies in the colours, or sizes
she and her husband have cultivated.  Sadly Dorothy and her
husband have to leave their beautiful property because they are
older now and can’t manage it.  
 The Daylily gardens on the Fundy Coast
They're selling and if you know
anyone who loves gardening lilies and gorgeous ocean views, not 
only is the price reasonable, for a house on ocean waterfront with 
ocean views, four acres of land and gardens that are a viable business,
but the couple would help the new owners to keep the gardens in 
good repair.  I didn’t get a good picture of the gardens because I was
too busy looking. 

Have a wanting-to-preserve-nature 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:
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!