Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not nine to five, and how painters escape

 And then we were seven (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
A few weeks ago I was sitting in my accountant's office
bemoaning the state of culture in Canada, and he told me
that he's glad he's an accountant.  You hardly think of
that as a glamorous job, but unlike the artist gig, it is
nine to five, or eight to six, except in March and April
when the workload really heats up.  And when the office
day is done, and all the numbers are in place, you can forget it.

Whereas artists work all the time.  They even work when
they're sleeping.  Because as well as being a job, and
let's make it perfectly clear that this crazy, compelling work
is that -- work, it is also an obsession.  You don't wash your
hands at the end of the day, drive home and say,"Hmm.
What's for supper?"  You break for supper, and then you're
back in the studio staring at a painting and talking to
yourself.  It was a revelation to my students that it's
okay to talk to yourself.  Okay?  Go in any artist's studio
and you'll hear if not speech, harrumphs and exclamations,
and ,"oh I know!  I can do this -- yes!  That works!"
Occasionally you might even hear an expletive deleted.

I have been working on a painting that I am quite fond of,
but it is a complex task -- for me.  Today instead of doing
too much to it (it's almost done), and as a relief from
other distractions, like peeling the hard dried-on acrylic off the
plastic containers I mix it on, (a secret diversion -- now
made embarrassingly public) I painted tulips.  The
other day I bought three pots, and today I reveled in
their straightforward beauty and started this small painting.  It's
almost done, and I'm happy so far.  It's very late now,
and I'm taking myself off to bed and my ridiculously
funny book.

I'm glad I'm an artist, and delighted to know you.

Have a  being-glad-that-you're-what-you-are day.


Pam Holnback said...

Such a beautiful spring painting!

Flora said...

It's beautiful Barbara!
I'm working on tulip paintings too. Although I don't have the wide range of tulips that you have on offer in Toronto, I found some red ones too and they are exciting to paint.

Melinda said...

Lovely, Barbara, and so true! I'm glad that you understand this obsession we all have. It's a good thing....mostly!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks so much -- I do love tulips.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

Your tulips paintings are glorious.
I'm sure there are greenhouses there.
I don't really look for variety. I go to the shelf with the pots and look for red ones -- sometimes Parrots -- my favorites.

Love your work.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I do think it's a good thing -- mostly. I don't know anyone whose job doesn't drive them crazy at some point. Painting though -- and art in general is almost a visceral compulsion. If you see it, you'd like to capture it, or change it, or make it. I know your mountains so well from your imagination -- that when I see them on film I think
oh -- the cameraperson is trying to create Melinda's mountains.

Love your work,


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!