Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yes it is and a tribute to my Dad

 Night image of the backyard one year ago today
Steven van Schaik © 2011

Shaky middle of the night picture of the backyard taken 
by me minutes ago. See a picture says it all
(*Note -- the tree on the right of the picture
that looks like a Christmas tree -- is in both
pictures -- not the same one -- we put the tree
in the garden until the spring every year, because
Fraser firs stay green for a long time.)
Barbara Muir © 2012

My husband Steven jokes as he heads off to bed,
"so you have to write another 500 words tonight eh?"
Do I?  I don't have to but I can.  Today would have
been my father's birthday if he were alive.  I think
about how lucky he was to be born on the day before
a possible leap year.  And I think about missing
him.  I think about him all day on his birthday -- not
that as a grown man he was into having major parties
for his birthday.  I always remember going to the
convenience store when I was about seven in Ottawa,
 and buying him a pen.  My father was very fussy about
 his equipment.  He liked really good brand name pens,
and my gift was not that, but he opened the present and said,
 "Thanks a lot Bibby!" (his nickname for me).

My father was a writer -- an excellent one.  God
knows what he'd think of this blog business, and
trying to produce art every day.  He was a photographer,
and a painter too.  I was thinking of him driving home
from my art club tonight, because one of my favorite
friends from the club is very ill.  Another club member,
a terrific artist, who always made me feel happy when
 things were hard died this year, and I miss her too.  I don't want
to fall into a swamp of sadness, but I feel the loss of
my dear friend who can't come to the club anymore
so keenly.  I always thought that although my father
was gone, I knew so many kind, fatherly men in
my community, that I had a sense of being with
the people who represented the best of what my father
valued -- kindness, a sense of humour and good manners.

My father was a painter, but I've only realized
recently just how shy he must have been.  It's amazing
to me that he never joined a photography or painting
club, or took any classes in the subjects he was
passionate about, or exhibited his work.

That seems like such a shame, because I know
he would have enjoyed knowing how much people
loved his paintings and powerful black and white
photographs.  I wish I could tell him that our oldest
son is in Vancouver right now on a trip taking
photographs of athletes -- that his grandson says
he got his photography chops from his Poppa (the
name he uses for his grandfather -- my dad).

Tonight I'm showing you a picture of our backyard thatSteven took at night last year on this date. It's a far
cry from this snowless winter (my blurry shot).
Snow is predicted for one day this week, but it will
disappear quickly.  In Toronto global warming is real.
The tulips are coming up in my garden and it's still February.
 I saw a Magnolia tree filled with buds today.  Not good.
One of my father's later paintings
He was bolder and braver about going 
abstract than I am.  I don't have an actual
title, but I'll name it for my Dad.
Study in yellow and orange on green
oil on board
36 x 24 inches
Wallace Muir ©
I just realized that we haven't even eaten the last
package of frozen peaches that we saved for the
depths of the February blahs -- which never happened
because it was a lovely month.  Woo Hoo!  So I
guess it will be peaches for supper tomorrow, and
I'll think of my father who was partial to fresh peaches
and vanilla ice-cream in season.

Now that is a perfect illustration of the power of words
to take us out of life's unavoidable sadness and lift us up.
I can see my father's face smiling when I say that.  And
 I know he'd like that conclusion, because
the last time I saw him as he was lying dying he was
chuckling to himself about something he was seeing
no doubt because of the strong pain killers, but all the
same -- that is my final image of the living man.  He
died with grace.

And thank you Daddy, and my dear friends for carrying
me way beyond the 500 words.  Well folks that's your
thousand words, and your pictures. 

Have a loving-the-fathers-and-fatherly-figures-in-your-life day.


Kim Rempel said...

I enjoyed every word. I remember you talking about your Dad before - maybe it was last year at this time. But what beautiful memories. You painted a warm picure through your words. I have a funny peaches and ice-cream memory about one of my grandmothers. I will share it next time I see you : )

cohen labelle said...

hi Barbara - oops! I got mixed up in my order for commenting, how droll eh?! - a mechanical error - ah well..
I wanted to say that part two is as compelling as part one and that your images are superb as always!!!
love, Marcia

Unknown said...

very moving post Barbara. thanks for sharing your memories of your dad...a special memory. It's important to acknowledge things that make us sad too. Nice to have a painting session with your group, so sorry you're missing your friend. 'The Red Line' is joyful darkness.

Nicki said...

This blog post does your dad proud. He sounds like a wonderful man... and the daughter he raised is a testament to that.

Hugs to you,

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Kim,

It's heartening and also huge responsibility to know how important we are in our children's lives. My Dad was awkward around children, didn't feel it was his role, and yet my brother and I talk about him all the time. He got better and better as
time went on.

Thanks for your kindness I love your work, and would love to hear that story.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,
that tree of yours is awesome. I was just blown away like a leaf from a giant oak, or ...sorry I forget the type of tree, just remember its incredible treeness.



Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

It's odd how when you're deeply moved about something its hard to focus. My friend's absence coincided with so many changes in our art club. Each time I draw I miss him, his humour, kindness and talent, and yesterday I felt it keenly. Good men matter.

Love your by the water series.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

Your dad must know that he's a lucky man -- because you are one of the kindest people on the planet, and so talented. Love your recent skies. Awesome.

XO Barbara

Flora Doehler said...

Barbara, what a beautiful description and tribute to your dad. And what a good description too of the bitter sweet journey we all share in relation to life and death…of our loved ones, of our friends and of this amazing planet.
It is wonderful of you to share your beautiful paintings and your writing with us all.
Thanks for this…it is my father's birth/death day coming up on Sunday. I think I'll start thawing those peaches now! ;-)

write my research said...

It is very beautiful that you love your Dad with so much immense feelings...your tribute is really really beautiful and the description is full of emotions indeed...Just love the whole thing!!

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!