Monday, December 31, 2012

A Happy Family and Happy, Happy New Year!

 In the park
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Babara Muir © 2012
Happy New Year everyone.  Here's to an amazing
2013.  I know it will be.  On Christmas eve I
delivered this family portrait to a very appreciative
client.  The painting was a surprise Christmas
present for her husband, and it was a long time in
the making. 

The two girls in the painting, my client's daughters,
are dazzling and delightful.  They are multi-talented,
and seem to go to a school that encourages genius
and self-confidence.  Plus they are completely
unaware that they are unusual or special.  Part
of the pleasure of painting this portrait (and it
was so much fun), was thinking about what a great
mother my client is, and how fun and funny her
children are.
The family got a photo
with the portrait and
the Christmas tree in the background.
I hope you have a fantastic New Year's Eve, and
here's to a joyous, creative, love-filled, peaceful
and adventure filled year in 2013.  Thank you
for making 2012 one of the most rewarding of
my artistic life.  To all my friends in blogland,
Happy, Happy New Year!

Have a loving-your-family day.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking forward thoughtfully

 Summer on St. Germain
part of a three painting 
commissioned series -- Our first home
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
This painting is part of a three part series
commissioned to show a family's first
house with the changing of the seasons.  It
has been a joy to work on.

2012 has been a great year.  Looking back I am
delighted with all of the wonderful happenings,
and the friends I have shared time with both in
in person, and on the Internet.  When I think
of all of this in a reflective mood, I know
that our current web connectedness is a
kind of miracle.  And I am grateful.  True
as a friend of mine in Norway says, if you
can see me on Skype, you are like a neighbour
even far away.  And with that you share in
both the joys and sorrows of your neighbours.

One of my friends on Facebook has a grandson
who has come home from Afghanistan with
both legs blown off at the knees.  His
struggle to regain his young, vibrant life has
been vigorously documented by his grandfather.
I am against all war, and yet how can I not
sympathize and care profoundly about the
future life of this young fellow, and all people
dealing with either side of a war.

The same is true of my feelings about all
people in hardship.  So at the end of the year
I am definitely counting my blessings, and
am profoundly grateful to live in this vibrant
city, and in this country.

Thank you for your kind encouragement and
solid inspiration in 2012.  I raise a toast to a
marvellous and creative new year in 2013 for all of
us, and to a more peaceful and kind world.

Have an-enjoying-this day day. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day -- and what have I been doing?

 Fall on St. Germain 
-- part of the Our First Home series
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I hope that all of you have had a wonderful holiday, and
Best Wishes to everyone for a joyous and peaceful New Year.
I count myself especially blessed to have kind, generous
and talented friends out here in blogland around the world.
I raise my glass of hot chocolate to you today.  Thank you
for your inspiration in the past year.  You have sent me
exploring more and more ambitious ideas and projects.

You may have wondered where I've been -- why no artwork
showing up?  True -- my family -- though not religious at all
-- does celebrate Christmas, and even though this year we
had a strict financial limit on our spending, we still did shop.
But in my family all of the tree decorating, shopping for
food for the dinner, decorating the house and most pre-Christmas
details were seen to by Steven and Sam, and Christopher and
Megan.  Why?  I was painting -- and painting, and painting.

 Today I'm showing you one of the house paintings I have
been working on that is part of a Christmas present.  This
is the house in fall with the glorious blaze of the Maple in
front of the house trumpeting the wonder of fall in Ontario,
and especially Toronto.  We have a surprising number of
trees here for a big city.

So this little painting is part of the answer to what have I
been doing.  Watch for more to come in the next few days.

Happy holidays, and Happy painting.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday cards -- art from the iPad

 This year's holiday cards based on my iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
For me this has been a very David Hockney influenced
year.  Two wonderful interviews with Hockney on CBC
Radio done when the artist was having his iPad art show
 here in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum inspired me.
You can read about them on my blog if you click here.
One influenced me to draw on my iPad -- something
I hadn't done until I listened to Hockney.   Then his
discussion about filling a wall, the challenges of scale
really made me want to go big.  Looking at his work
on his website and seeing how he breaks really large work
down influenced my latest show -- and the biggest 
painting I've done -- so far.  Indirectly Hockney
taught me so much in 2012.

I decided to make my Christmas card from one of
my iPad drawings of the lane at the top of our street.
When we walk our dog, we cut through this lane to
avoid the traffic on the main street.  One beautiful
day I drew the lane from a photo and loved how the
iPad allowed me to pack so much colour into the image.
Drawing with my finger was interesting, and forced
me to be loose and playful.  I was pleased with the
results and even more pleased when Ellen at St.
Clair Printing and Graphics did such a great job
turning the image into colourful cards.

Have a making-your-art-into-cards day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Crazy and fun

 In deep discussion
black marker on Moleskine paper
6 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

What an insane week.  They happen.  Too much to do, too
much to think about and complete.  I am eternally grateful
to my friends, both artists, collectors, and family who pull
 me through these busy spates with boundless
enthusiasm, kindness, fascinating discussions, their own
 beautiful work,novels to read and even --- dinner.  Warm
 food on a plate at the end of the day can seem like a divine
experience when the day has been especially long, and demanding.
Texting Fred
Black marker on Moleskine paper
6 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Thank you to all.  I think the benediction of dinner, or
salad, or breakfast in the case of my big painting, is worth
all the fuss in restaurants, all the foodies having infinite
discussions about the absolute best of the best of something
like a Veggie burger, and every special and ordinary meal
prepared around the world.  Last night we celebrated
a friend's birthday, at a very low key, Vietnamese restaurant.
The food was inexpensive, and delicious, and a wonderful way
to end the week.  Tonight Steven made a wonderful dinner of
salmon, roasted baby potatoes, steamed green beans, salad
and pumpkin tarts for dessert.  Yum.
Favorite seating
Black marker on Moleskine paper
6 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Have an eating-good-food-and-chilling-out day.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Great openings at Studio Vogue and the DVAC and Yikes! Less than a month to Christmas!!!

Me with the big one --
 Breakfast in the hotel
Petit-déjeuner à l'hôtel
Acrylic on canvas
4 canvasses
36 x 48 inches
6 feet x 8 feet total
Barbara Muir © 2012

Super openings today -- one at the Don Valley
Art Club this afternoon where I displayed two small watercolours,
and one at Studio Vogue Gallery this evening where I
 showed both watercolours and my big still life Breakfast
in the hotel based on a wonderful breakfast I had at the
Quebec City Hilton this past summer. Joyce Fournier and
 her husband Paul did a beautiful job hanging the show.
 I met artists Heather LaRue and Alexandra Pennycook
who showed wonderful work.

 Steven snapped the picture of me with the big one
before the Studio Vogue show opened.
It got pretty crowded after that and was a lot of fun.
Thanks to everyone who came out.  You made my evening.
 Breakfast in the hotel
Petit-déjeuner à l'hôtel
An ode on four canvasses
Acrylic on canvas
6 feet x 4 feet
Barbara Muir © 2012

 Is it just me, or is this year speeding by at lightning
speed.  (I actually heard someone say the other day on
either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert that the speed
of light was too slow for wall street traders).  What
would my great grandparents think of this world?
Freak out.  That's what.

Well it is less than a month to Christmas, and whether you
celebrate it or not, it's a marker in the year in North
America, and a holiday (Yay!)  But the other heads
up is that the year is almost over -- 2012.
Time to realize what a great year it was, and what
we'd like to change for next year.

Deep thoughts on a Saturday.  I hope your
day is filled with laughter and fun tomorrow.
Mine was today.

Have a laughing-it-up 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!