Friday, February 10, 2012

In living grey

The listening effect
Black marker and watercolour on
watercolour paper
10 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
Today has been quite the day.  Tomorrow
I start a new commission, so I'm heading off
to bed.  But here is a Payne's grey Skype
painting.  In a noisy cafeteria, the subject
listens to the call through earphones (the
buds).  When I paint in Payne's Grey (I say
that like I've been doing it for years -- and
in fact  when I was at OCAD, my favorite
medium was watercolour and pen and ink
drawings with nib pens and India ink) I get
lost in Value thoughts.  Today I enjoyed the
watercolour essence of the medium and the
value happened effortlessly.

But honestly -- much as I am enjoying working
in values, I feel terribly sorry for all of the students in
workshops all across this country and the
world, religously doing value studies thinking
it will make them into artists.  Nothing will
do that, and don't you remember the first
time someone let you take a big brush and put
colour on a page?  I am willing to bet that's
why we're still painting today.  So thank you
Mrs. Jordon, my kindergarten teacher who
introduced me to big paper and brilliant tempra

My mother and I were laughing the other
day about the time I was doing a pen and
ink drawing in my room using indelible
India ink, and spilled a whole bottle on the rug.
It made a gorgeous, huge black stain on a
lovely sea blue rug.  My mother got my brothers to
move the bed and the rug so that my father
wouldn't see the spill and be upset.  He
didn't and he wasn't, but I know that when
we left that house the very nice rug with the
big ink stain did not move with my parents.

Have a hiding-the-ink-stains day.


Unknown said...

that's a wonderful story Barbara! thanks for my morning chuckle. ha ha. It's interesting seeing your portraits appear in black and white watercolour before you get at them with acrylic. i love the one of Jesca, it's coming along beautifully. have a lovely weekend.

Kim Rempel said...

I love that story! ; ) And you know, for all the value studies we did as students (tons!) I never truly understood it - I mean, I understood, but it didn't really translate to my thoughts when painting. It was only the last 6 or 7 years where it truly clicked. Funny. I love this one!

Nicki said...

This is a great sketch Barbara. And a great story. When we were little my sister took a popsicle from the freezer and left the box on the yellow shag carpet (unbeknownst to my mom). Now that was a beautiful stain!!!

Melinda said...

This is really lovely, Barbara! Once again, you show such skill in drawing and inking.

Your story is great too. That's just the nightmare that we all worry about, now isn't it?

Karen Bruson said...

Nice value painting. I've done my share of spilling pigments, too.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

The black and whites probably won't turn into colour portraits, I just like doing them every now and then.

Love your work.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Kim,

I do remember all of those value studies at OCAD. I did not like gouache, and still don't. Plus I think it is all the same, grey scale and colour. To an artist it is just about looking and making.

That's all I get to this very day. You made me laugh thinking about it.

Love your work,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

I actually think a popsicle stain would be prettier than an India ink stain. That stuff transforms the carpet into a hard, lump of -- you aren't ever going to remove this. Not fun. Did your parents get the stain out?


Love your work,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thank you so much. I am lucky now to live with people who tolerate the stains I make on the hardwood floors in the studio. And the tape marks marking poses. But ink would be a whole different matter I think. Acrylic will come off with rubbing alcohol, I just don't want to spend the time to wipe up every spatter.

Love your work,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you, and I'm glad we're in the same club.

Super work. I love it.


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!