Monday, July 30, 2012

Try something new

 Pugwash Flower People
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I’m an artist – fact of life.  As a portrait artist I am used
to meeting the client’s requests – but here was a new one.
About a month ago a friend in Pugwash expressed
an interest in my painting PugwashFlower Man, that
I showed in Studio Vogue Gallery last fall, and in the 
Don Valley Art Club Spring Show.  I called her up to 
confirm that she wanted it, and after saying yes, she asked,
 “can you put me in it?”  Maxine is my friend Ken Lander’s
 fiancée, and a major force in their flower business.

I ran downstairs to my studio holding the phone, stared
hard at the painting, and decided “Yes I can.”  Then the
fun began.  I’ve never actually done this before.  Oh I’ve
changed paintings – usually because I wanted to redo
an area, add more depth.  But add a person into a portrait
of one person?  Nope. Luckily in many photos of the couple
together, Maxine takes exactly this pose.

Challenges?  The trees and flowers that used to be in the
painting where Maxine now is, were painted with a palette knife –
thick and bumpy paint.  I took those off with sandpaper, and then
 rubbing alcohol to make a spot for Maxine.

The rest was not hard.  I would have put Maxine in in the
 first place, but I took the reference photos on my way out
 of Pugwash last year and she was away. 
The happy result for me, is that I like the painting
much better with her in it.  I was always fond of the painting, 
but now see there was someone missing.

And of course the best part of all was seeing the couple's
faces light up when I delivered the painting today.  They
loved it.  

Have a being-willing-to-change day.


cohen labelle said...

Barbara you’re a genius. And you’ve got chutzpah - you did a gutsy thing and pulled it off. Now Maxine is right where she belongs and she knew it all along – and you helped oblige by putting her there – beside her man for all to see – they’re an item – she’s his muse and driving force and he’s so cute and handsome. Like hey – wake up and smell the flowers.
And the most extraordinary thing is that in a way, Maxine looks almost as though she could be your sister! Way to go!


Love, Marcia

astra said...

Wow before he looked a little stiff
her flowing locks,great smile and head leaning on him makes so much sense.It turned out great.

Melinda said...

Congratulations, Barbara! Really impressive work. Love how you solved the problem of adding a person over bumpy paint.

Yes, I agree this painting is really lovely with the two in it. It has a wonderful captured-the-moment feel to it.

Warm hugs!

Anonymous said...

I agree, adding Maxine has given this painting a whole new dimension of vitality. you are a smartypants figuring out how to work over bumpy paint. Congrats on the sale.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,
You get it. Yes they do belong together and are adorable together. Well Maxine and I are both blonde, so in a way that does make us sisters in hair colour eh?

I can always use more sisters. The one I have is awesome, but I will gladly gather more.



Barbara Muir said...

Hi Astra,

I'm glad you like it. I always liked
it, but love having Maxine there. They are a great couple.

XO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thanks so much. That is exactly what I was going for. In the busy season (summer) that is exactly what anyone wanting to talk to Maxine and Ken would do -- catch a moment, because they are busy taking care of the gardens, talking to customers, and planning, but they always make everyone feel special.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

I'm glad you like it. I did have to figure out what to do. I had so much fun painting the original painting, heaping the paint on, and just as much fun adding Maxine once the surface was more or less smooth again.
A pleasure because I so enjoy the company these two provide.

Wish you were here.

XO Barbara

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!