Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Moving Commission starts its journey

Loving our Toronto home
 Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
The sweet part of painting commissions is that they
frequently center around an emotional request.  As
I care a lot about my painting, and like to work
on projects that have meaning, that makes me

The client who commissioned this picture was
inspired by the house paintings I did for a client
last year.  The twist in this case is that the family
who wanted the painting is moving from Toronto
to Calgary for a year, and wanted a portrait of their
 house to remind them that they will be coming back.

12 x 12 inches is not a large space for a house
and four running figures!  Quite the challenge.
But what a treat today when the mother and
father of the family came to pick the painting
up to get it packed for its flight, and they both
loved it!  Hurray!  I felt like I had wings too,
and could fly alongside the plane.

But there is work to do.  So I am here.

Props to the wonderful family who bought
this painting.

Have a making-people-happy day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nostalgia in advance and the wide, wide sea

 Pansies in the school house (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
We have been in Nova Scotia for two weeks
now and I feel my homesickness for the
place mounting in advance of our return
to Toronto.  I look longingly at my great, big
 studio in the schoolhouse, and know too well
how much I'll miss my friends in the province
 and the beach.
The beach near Pugwash
(That person way out there is Steven)
Driving through the landscape after awhile it's tempting
to take it for granted.  The eyes adjust quickly
to views of classic white clapboard farmhouses, green
rolling fields filled with contented cows and
wild and cultivated roses climbing fences,
arching over doorways and filling gardens.
Walking by the gardens in Annapolis Royal
Black marker on Moleskine sketch
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
But all too soon I'll be back in my tiny studio in Toronto,
managing the pace and demands of city life--seeing
masses of nondescript glass condos against the
waterfront instead of sea grass, wild roses and red
sand. Instead of moaning about it today, I've just made
the firm decision to enjoy every moment now, and share
as much as I can with you.
Pansies in a jam jar
Black marker on Moleskine paper
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Have a being-here-now day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Standing in the Minas basin and the awesome work of Flora Doehler

 Flora Doehler with a large plein air painting of Sumacs
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Flora Doehler © 2013
 Flora and me clowning around in the gorgeous studio she shares with
husband, Larry Knox
Glorious enamel pieces by Larry Knox getting ready to be 
made into necklaces

Yesterday after spending far too short a time visiting my friend
Flora and her husband Larry in Bear River, we took a dramatic
 drive along the Fundy coast. Oh my.  I am a sandy beach person,
but the views along the rocky Fundy coast are beyond breathtaking.
Steven taking pictures on the Bay of Fundy
You can't drive straight along the coast, so it was a long
trip taking loop after loop, or the square approach to these
tantalizing views.  And as we so often do when I'm searching
out material for future paintings, we got obsessed with
seeing a park in the Minas Basin again.

It turned out that was a long, long, long drive.  But round about
11 p.m. at night (we left Annapolis Royal in the late
afternoon) we finally, finally got to the park, and in the
dark (there was a bit of a street light) pulled out our handy
dandy flashlights, and climbed down the set of stairs I'd
remembered were there to stand in the Minas Basin at
low tide.  In the dark.

The Minas Basin has the highest tides in the world.  But
at low tide this huge area of the Bay of Fundy empties
right out.  And there we stood.  The stars above us, the
water starting to come in, the rocks at our feet.  In our typical
fashion we made jokes about "nice scene minus some light,
minus some water," and so on.  Then we got in the car
and drove on to the school house -- still a long, long, long

I'll write more about it next time I get near the Internet.
That whole drive was spectacular beyond compare.

Have a marvelling-at-the-wonders-of-the-world day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Visiting Flora and Larry

 Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
10 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of Flora
Doehler's amazing paintings today, but I will
tomorrow. Flora has gone big, and the thing
about big is that what's super small, is astounding

We are in Annapolis Valley visiting Flora Doehler
and her husband Larry Knox, who are both artists.
Larry does beautiful metal and enamel work, and
Flora paints, exuberant, brilliant coloured work.
I have learned so much from her since we met about
a decade ago.

Now when we come to Nova Scotia we get together.

The painting I'm posting tonight is one of a few works
in progress I'm working on while I'm out here.  There
is more to come to complete this one, but I love where
it's going.  The painting is of another perfect breakfast
in the hotel, a recurring theme in my work.

Have a getting-together-with-artist-friends day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Can there be too much beauty?

 Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

There are many places in the world that are overwhelming
because of their beauty.  For me, this province of Nova Scotia,
and specifically this little area where our school house is
near Pugwash, Nova Scotia. 

The beach we visit near Pugwash
Over the years I've noticed that as an artist I can have one
of two reactions.  Sometimes I'm so moved by the
beauty all around us that I can't paint at all. This year
I feel charged by it.  So I'm working on a few things, and
feel the place seeping into me, and inspiring me.

Here's a little painting of a typical farm house on the road
from Amherst to Pugwash.

Have a loving-where-you-are day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Finished commission and Happy Client -- Good News all round.

 In Good Compay
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Hi everyone.  What does a portrait painter say, when
a client wants a painting of a building?  In my case
she says, "Yes!"  So when I was asked to paint this
factory I was on the case. 

When I was working on it I had a good talk with my
friend Kim Rempel.  Talking about the cars, I said
that painting cars is like painting apples.  And I
must say I really enjoyed painting the cars in this one.

My internet connections in the next few weeks will be
sporadic, so please forgive me for not commenting
on your blog, if I don't get to it for a while.  I'll do
my best in cafés along the way.

Thank you to my delightful client for this one.  You
were so much fun.

Have a moving-out-of-your-comfort-
zone-and-liking-it day.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hello from Nova Scotia

 Paula's Pansies
watercolour and marker on watercolour paper
8 X 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
We've gone right across the country and
are out in the beautiful province of Nova
Scotia now, a place filled with artists.
In fact the past few days travelling here
have been all about art.  So many artists,
and so many great discussions.

Here's a little watercolour I did last night.
The yellow flowers are looking very green,
which they are not.  If I get a chance
I'll fix that.  But these flowers are from one
of the sweet floral arrangements my friend
Paula put in the school house for us.

Have a loving-your-friends-day.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th Super day and so much going on!

 This is the image of me with Kristal Hart in New York City.  
The whole video is on my blog.  Just click Kristal Hart and 
you can watch it. 

There's so much happening I don't know where to begin,
and this is the sleepy summer time right?  Wrong.
I worked right through the Canada Day weekend on a
commission that my client is pleased with.  I will
show that to you tomorrow!

The big news today is that yesterday Alyson Stanfield
featured me in her newsletter yesterday The Art Biz Insider.
I planned to put this on then, but have been travelling
and without internet so click on the link and see it.
I am a major fan of Alyson and

I was before I first talked
to her.  When I was going to be on the Oprah Winfrey
Show, I called Alyson for advice.  As I recall she
was hurrying to get ready for a conference, but took
my call anyway and was so helpful about how to
conduct myself, how to prepare my blog and much more.

Her book I'd Rather Be In The Studio is a bible for
those of us trying to organize ourselves to succeed
in the art business.  Sometimes it's hard for artists
to realize that aside from creating the work, making
art is a job, and deserves our attention to the elements
that will help make that job pay!

I will have more great news for you tomorrow.
Meanwhile.  Thank you for your support all the
way along in this blog world.  You know I think
it's a miracle that we've met one another this way.

Have a making-great-art-connections-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: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
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!