Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crossed the 100,000 hits line

 City backyards in snow
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

Yep.  My blog has past the 100,500 hits mark.  Thank you to
all of you who come out regularly to make those magic
numbers.  It's good to know.  The entire blogging
experience has been a mind-blowing pleasure.  Sharing
my art as I make it with like-minded artists and collectors
all over the world has been fun.  Thank you 100,500.

You'll notice that I've put the comment moderation back on
my blog because I was getting too much spam. I don't
want to make it harder for people to comment, but
I also don't want the spammers to have access to my blog.
If it drives you crazy, write me at my sympatico address
at the top of the page.  Meanwhile I hope you are
working hard, and having fun.

Have a working-hard-at-having-fun day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Quiet night at the art group

In the limelight
Art Group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
It's unusual to go to my art group and have space to
move around.  But after the cold weather, ice and sleet,
yesterday, heavy rain and warnings of severe thunder storms
kept people at home tonight.  I was glad I went out.  The model
was lovely,  and the whole painting came to me easily.

It was a good night.  What a pleasure.  The rain is
still coming down, and all of our snow will be gone
tomorrow.  But there is nothing like a night of listening
to opera, talking to other artists, and painting to make
it seem like all is well with the world.

Have a making-art-and-loving-it day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter and exciting times

Snow on Cherrywood
(Work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
(I may still make a few
small changes here.)
I am getting into the mood for winter, even though it
has made for some scary driving in Toronto today. Snow
makes my neighbourhood look festive.  The painting
today is of the house across the street where my friends
Sandra Pacitti and Davide Tonizzo used to live.  Before
that my friend Nancy Da Silva lived there -- so the
house is evocative for me.

A cell phone shot of Davide Tonizzo and Sam standing with 
Davide's curio cabinets in the Bühler display at the
Interior Design Show in Toronto last weekend
Davide invited us to see his new line of furniture Midtown
at the Interior Design Show on the weekend, and we
were delighted to head on down.  Sam, my son, acted
in both of the short videos Davide shot for the Midtown
line, so it was a treat for Sam to visit the Bühler display
at the show, and see the end product he had been part
of.  Sam's friend and another neighbour, Claudia Puchiele
is also in the Midtown movie.
 Steven reading the Midtown Collection Brochure, and
Bühler rep,  Celeste Brunel stand by the 
beautiful electric fireplace cabinet.  

I loved Davide's cabinet designs and a gorgeous electric
fireplace, set in a wooden cabinet would be a warm
and welcome practical and beautiful  addition to any
room -- especially right now.

(One of my small paintings is in one of the Midtown videos.)
I think I live squarely in Midtown. 

Have an-enjoying-life-in-Midtown day.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The last of the house trilogy and joy in the kitchen

 Winter on St. Germain 
(Third in the Trilogy of Our First House)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I haven't shown you this final painting in the little trilogy.
This one is called Winter on St. Germain, and this features
in addition to the house, the father in the family with his
two children.

It's strange but it's been hard to get images of snow, because
almost as soon as it comes, we have warmer temperatures
and it melts.  But just after Christmas the snow bank from
shoveling was almost up six feet on the tree on our front
lawn.  I love painting snow scenes, and it seems almost
like recording a vanishing phenomenon.

When I was a child in Ottawa we used to dig snow
forts into the snow banks on the side of our driveway.
And I remember when my parents first moved into their
ranch style house on the Ottawa river, the snow drifts
went up over the roof on one side of the house.
Steven Dancing with the cat
Music by Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing
Didn't it rain,
via my good friend
the wonderful Irish painter
Róisín O'Farrell
The little video I'm connecting you to is of Steven dancing
in the kitchen with Timbah as he prepares food for the
animals (Timbah, Fiona (the Siamese) and Zoey the dog).
One of the wonders of the blog community is how we all
connect, how friendships are formed across continents and
oceans, and how we influence each other's lives.  I was
listening to Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing Didn't it Rain
from a link on Róisín O'Farrell's site, Róisín O'Farrell,
every other day paintings, and Steven started dancing
with Timbah.  Timbah loves Steven so much that he
was probably purring during this whole dance, which
I videoed with my cell phone.  But as you see when we
share our joy, our joy expands.  I love that thought.
And Róisín kept it going when I asked her permission
to post the video using her link, and she put my
little video of Steven and Timbah on her site.
Let's keep this artists' community hopping, and
have fun together.

 It was especially wonderful the other day on one of the
coldest days of the winter. But hey today is almost as cold --
so let's keep sharing the good times, and dancing to
keep warm.

Have a loving-your-dancing-house day 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Going Public -- big image for a thriving business

Breakfast in the Hotel
Petit-déjeuner à l'hôtel
on display at St. Clair Printing 
and Graphics 
Acrylic on canvas
6 ft. x 8 ft.
Barbara Muir © 2012

My piece Breakfast in the Hotel showed
at Studio Vogue in December.  It's based
on a delicious breakfast Steven and I had
in our room at the Quebec City Hilton
Hotel -- so it can also be called
Petit-déjeuner à l'hôtel and is now visiting
St. Clair Printing and Graphics -- a shop run by
Chris Chan with Ellen Liew. Both are superb
at printing and graphic design.

Last week on a snowy night Chris and Steven
installed the work.  My thanks to Chris for
showing the work in his very busy business, and
 for taking the time to stay late to hang it.  I shot
these photos to document the process.  I think they
give you a good idea of how big the final work is when it's all
together.  I felt incredibly happy and proud
to see it there.
Installing the work: Steven adjusts the two left hand paintings
Chris measures so he and Steven can hang 
the upper right quarter.
Measuring to install the final piece

Steven checks the hangers on the last quarter

The final piece goes up, and Chris says he is 90 per cent happy.
Why?  The painting cannot lie completely flat because a strip of
trim on the wall that knocks out the bottom edge of the lower paintings.
But we are happy.  It looks great, and Steven has
driven by the shop a few times every day to see it in place.
If you're interested in purchasing the work please write me at
the sympatico email address at the top of the page beside my photo.

Have a getting-the-work-out-to-the-work-world day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sad night at the art club

Art Group Sketch
Acrylic on canvas
20 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

A dear friend in art, George Shane, died a week ago.
 He found out he had ALS about a year and
a half ago, and the disease progressed very rapidly.

I was proud of George when he held an art show in
the residence he was living in last August and
received visitors in his wheelchair.  At the time he
could still move the wheelchair with one hand.  His
work was beautiful -- both modern and evoking the
lessons of the masters.  And George was just a
wonderful man, a true gentleman.  He had so much
strength of character sitting with his paintings.

So there were many teary eyes tonight at the club
when we found out he was gone. And we made plans
to have an evening to honour George and
share our stories.

I did this painting of our beautiful model for
the evening, Laura Burns.  Though just a sketch
it feels like it captures the serious and thoughtful
mood of the night.

Have a telling-your-friends-how-much-they-matter day  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter on the iPad

 Winter in Forest Hill
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Here's a little sketch of the view up a street in
Forest Hill from the park near my house.  I
drew it with the iPad.  People ask me if I've
bought a stylus, and you can probably tell
I haven't.  Why?  I love the loose quality
that happens when I draw with my finger. 
Primarily my work is in acrylic and watercolour,
but I am drawn to the delightful colour range
available on the iPad.

Have an enjoying-drawing-in-colour day.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Learning and copying -- what's the difference ?

 New Year on my kitchen counter
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
We are all trying to be original out here in the
land of art I believe.  But because we have eyes
and infinite photo capture in our artists' brains,
we consume other people's methods and styles
without thinking.  Plus we deliberately pick
up certain techniques because that's what artists
have done since the first person scratched an
image in the sand with a stick, or on the wall
with a piece of stone.  In the Renaissance
and in many art classes around the world, copying
the work of another artist was and is understood
as an excellent method for learning.

In a classroom that's fine if the teacher wants
you to copy.  Otherwise picking up techniques
is one thing, copying a specific work of art, and
claiming it's your own is another.  I've had two
friends who are wonderful artists complain
about being copied lately.  Perhaps it was unconscious,
and perhaps not.  Either way there's an easy way
around the problem.  Use your own subject matter.
that way you can't do someone else's work.

My drawing today is of the things on my kitchen
counter.  The most famous iPad artist is David
Hockney, whose work I love.  But if I draw with
my finger on my iPad in my own kitchen, I am
learning, not copying.  There's the difference.
I thank my friend Carol Berry, for talking about
volume.  It's more of a challenge thinking about
volume in an iPad drawing than a painting, or
drawing. But I thank Carol for whatever volume
emerges here.

Have a-getting-ready-for-week-2-2013 day         

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Art is everywhere -- my son's collection

January on Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
Fact of life -- artists' families own a lot of the artist's
art.  In this house it's hard to turn around without
seeing my work -- sometimes stacked in boxes, leaning
against walls, on top of cabinets, three deep, and
of course hanging everywhere.  But it's always nice
to encounter work I hardly remember when I
visit someone else's place, and there it is.

This painting  that's just inside my son
Christopher's front door caught my eye the
other day.  It's a view of our street, Cherrywood
Avenue that I've painted many times -- the feeling
 changing in every one.  Maybe I'll do a blog showing
a collection of them coming up. Meanwhile, yes there
 is more to come in the 'what have I been up to?' file.
 I hope you've had a great holiday time.  We've had
a lot of snow since the day after Christmas. I had to say
 goodbye to the valiant pink geranium in a pot on the
back porch.   It still had blooms on December 25.
That was a long, long season.

Have an enjoying-the-start-of-the-year day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Quick January is a fast month

 Parrot Tulips on New Year's Day
Watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara  Muir © 2013

Happy New Year, and Happy January -- the most
plan filled and optimistic month of the year -- and
the quickest.  Before you know it it feels like the
holidays and all the parties were long ago, and
the year is flying by on the powerful wings of
time.  Already the light is coming back in this
northern realm, and everyone is exercising like
mad to try and balance the delicious eating that
is so much a part of holiday parties.

On New Year's Eve the dancing began with
my friend and a collector of my work, Jo-Ann
Del Vecchio.  We were assembling a playlist
on Steven's iPad to set the tone for the night,
and of course had to include the 2012 classic
Gangnam Style.  My son Sam was helping us
pick songs that were great to dance to, and
he was teaching us how to dance like the
phenomenally popular Korean singer PSY.
So the New Year's party set the tone for
a joyful year.  And I thank Jo-Ann, and
all the friends who celebrated with us that
night.  Most were not inclined to dance, but
we had out dancing moments.
 Jo-Ann and I discuss the finer points of Gangnam Style

These tulips make me feel like dancing, and
painting.  They are spring-like in the current
very cold weather, and a cheerful portent
for a year that I know will be filled with
creative joy.

Have a dancing-with-art 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!