Thursday, February 28, 2013

Five years of blogging and Happy Birthday to My Dad

At the wedding
black marker on Arches watercolour paper
10 1/4 x 14 1/8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
I started this blog five years ago on February 18 -- five years
and ten days ago.  I can hardly believe it's been that long,
because for me those years have sped by and been so full
of wonder -- it has seemed like no time at all.  I wish my
Dad were here to witness the marvels of the past five years,
innovations and developments in the world, and in our
family that would astound him, and make him proud too.

Today is my father's birthday, but he is not in the world alas.
I think of him every year on this day, and as I said to a friend
every day, probably many times in a day.  He is definitely
alive in my heart and vivid in memory.

In this portrait of him he's at a wedding -- ours, Steven and mine,
and here he is dressed in his tux outside the church, surveying
the crowd, and perhaps worrying about what had to happen next,
how to tell people the directions to the reception.  He was an
elegant man, and it made me feel good to find a picture today
of him in a tux, because he was the kind of man who was
always well dressed.

So Dad -- I've been writing this blog for just over five years,
carrying on your roots in writing, and your love of painting.
And to my kind readers, and artist and collector friends,
a huge thank you for this tremendous time.  Five years -- that
deserves a cake, a party, champagne, celebrations!

Have a celebrating-the-joys-of-celebrating day!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Car accident and keeping it going on the iPad

 Happy Memory
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Last night we were heading home from shopping with
our son in the car, stopped at a stoplight, and BAM!
The loudest bang I think I've ever heard short of
I don't know what.  We were rear ended by the car
behind the car behind us and sent into the intersection.
I would bet the girl who slammed into us at what felt
like at least 60 k was texting, because it's pretty
easy to see red stoplights at night. 

Steven, Sam and I all have whiplash, and have been
 lying very low today, nursing our aches and pains. 
But I can't stand it -- not doing some art -- so I did
a little portrait on my iPad, of a girl I drew a few years
 back on Skype -- one of my very first Skype portrait
jobs for a New York firm. It was fun then, and fun now,
trying to draw her with my finger.  I feel grateful for the
 iPad, and for seatbelts, and that we are all going to be fine.

Please don't text, or talk on the phone in your car.  We
were lucky, the next people might not be.

Have a keeping-your-eyes-on-the-road day

Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Day on the road

Nothing like a good story
Marker on bond paper
4 3/4 x 5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

It's family day in Ontario today and we're on the road
visiting family then heading home.  It's been a whole
weekend of family, and so much fun.

You know I can't stop sketching, and here's a little one
I did of Steven reading on his iPad.  I think
the weekend has done exactly what it's supposed to
do -- connected us with family, and given us a break
from the slog of working in winter, which somehow
seems harder than working in summer.

I am grateful for my wonderful family, and for the
glorious bright days we enjoyed as soon as
we escaped the snow squalls of Toronto.  But we're
heading home, and will be happy to be there.

Have a heading-home-happy day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Family Day and drawing with my bro

 The Writer
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
This is Family Day weekend in Ontario.  Monday
is a holiday -- so it's a three day weekend.
Last night I was lucky enough to visit with my brother
Andrew, and his wife, my good friend, Lina.  I
did this fast sketch of my brother on the iPad.  (He is
much better looking than this), then Andrew took
a whirl at it, and drew me.  My brother is very
talented.  He's an artist like me, and
now is mainly a writer.  He also used to be host of a
TV show interviewing artists around the nation's capital,
 Favorite blue
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Andrew Muir © 2013
I have always been a painter, but written
professionally too, and been a corporate magazine
and a web editor.  So the two of us have worked
together from time to time at a wide variety of
projects.  We share a similar sense of humour,
and have a lot of fun when the four of us (Andrew
and Lina, and me and Steven) get together.

I hope you enjoy our family drawings from yesterday.

Have a making-art-with-your-family day

Friday, February 15, 2013

We're here for a good time -- quick study with my art group

 The Pink Sweater
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Here's a sketch I did with my art group this week.
The model had so much soul.  Who knows why
that happens, but she was perfect for me -- with
only an hour to paint her.  Some models just
give off so much energy, and this model was like
that.  Quiet, and peaceful -- she seemed complete.
So my sketch flew.  On the break I so enjoyed
talking to my artist friends.  They can be very
funny and informative.  I learned that each cell
in the human body has six feet of DNA!  Think
of that. It seems impossible doesn't it?  And mysterious,
and wondrous.

So here she is.  I didn't learn her name, but wish
I did. And click here to listen to the song that
inspired the title.

Have a capturing-the-feeling day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day and the romance of flowers

 Untitled (detail) Work in Progress
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Happy Valentine's Day.  I hope you are spending the
day with people you love, and spreading your own
special brand of love in the universe.  Thank you for
being out there, and creating the world I love.

Here's another section of the still life I'm working
 on today.  Nothing says romance to me
like flowers.  I absolutely love them.  Roses and
pansies rank right up there.  Not always together --
but this is a painting about abundance.  And if ever
there is a day for enjoying flowers and a feeling
that the world is indeed a good place, it's Valentine's

Wishing you a month filled with love, and a day
that fills your heart with joy. 

Have a Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 11, 2013

Part of the puzzle and the big snow Nemo

 Untitled  (Work in progress) (detail)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
We've had some major winter in Toronto.
And I've been working on a summer still life.
 I've been enjoying it so much, but it's not finished.
So I thought I'd show you one part -- still a work
in progress.  Lots to do, but I'm getting that summer
feeling painting it -- this section is of one of my
favorite flowers -- peonies in an antique water jug.
Toronto dressed up by a big snow storm
Another gorgeous snow scene
On Friday we had 25 centimeters of snow here,
which looked postcard perfect on Saturday.  I'm
glad I took some pictures to share with you,
because today it rained for most of the day, and
the huge snow banks were melting, and getting
muddy from the salt and sand trucks trying to
keep motorists safe.  And the puddles.  Wow!

Have a staying-warm-and-happy day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Left to my own devices, and shovelling all day

 Snow girl
iPad drawing
(drawn with my finger)
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

I am working on a painting that's taking me too long.
I like it, and I know it will be fine, and at first it was
flying off the brush, and then -- whump -- it started
to slow down, and now we're taking the scenic route
to the finish line.

Speaking of devices -- so I thought after shovelling
the driveway, and front walk, and back stairs so the
dog could get out to pee, maybe I'd do a quick sketch
on my iPhone to show you something.  Aha.  So I
did a not-so-quick sketch of tulips that was beautiful,
and I was thrilled.  Here was my first iPhone sketch.
And it was so pretty and I tried to export it anywhere
on my iPhone, and it wouldn't.  So it said New Sketch?
And I touched that, and lost the first one.  Argh etc.
So I started again.  Did another lovely sketch. Was as
happy as a cat with an ikea moose (my cat's favorite
-- not actually it's the little shark, but we can't find it.)
And -- same problem -- no way to import it.

So...I got out my iPad, thinking maybe it will magically
zoom over to that device if they are linked through
my computer. Wrong!  So I left that drawing there,
and chose this drawing I already had on my iPad --
updated her for today with a scarf and fake fur hooded
parka, and Voila.  I can go back to my painting, and
you can laugh at me for my insanity.

Meanwhile the driveway, walk and back stairs and path around
the house were tackled by Steven and Sam, and then I
took another go at the job.  Why?  It snowed, and snowed
and snowed, and snowed, and snowed, and is still snowing.

Bundle up and buy high boots.  Invaluable.

Have a trudging-through-snow-happily day.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The month to love

Towards the love light
Watercolour, black marker and watercolour
crayon on watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
One of my artists friends has been yearning
for February, and maybe it's because it's a
month filled with the colour red (one of
my favorites), and permission to gush.  If
you are given to hyperbole -- this is the time
for it.  Bring it on.  In Toronto, here we are
in the depth of winter, and this brilliant
celebration of love will pull us through
half of another month -- hearts everywhere,
boxes of delicious chocolates for sale in every
savvy store -- pink popping up in clothing,
in decor, a smorgasbord of pink, and red and
chocolate, and fancy dinners, and romance.

Romance.  Don't even get me started on passion.
Wow!  Even if you live alone you can pick up
some flowers and chocolate and cozy in with
a good book, (and I hope a cat -- cats are great
companions) and groove on the happy vibe of
people being kind to one another. 

By the time everyone realizes what's hit them,
it's almost March, and then there's St. Patrick's
Day, and before you know it it's spring, and the
whole happy time starts over again.

The painting today is of tulips.  I am always
delighted when tulips are readily available
in pots.  It is a sign -- just like Christmas trees
in December.  It's all going to happen people.
So let's enjoy it together.

Have a-getting-ready-to-be-loving 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!