Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Talk to your paintings

Detail Untitled (Work in progress)
This is one face in a work I'm painting now.
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2013
(I am not finished this face.  We have had several
real life conversations lately.  And soon (probably
tomorrow) I'll be talking to the painting too.

I am lucky to work painting people I get to know and
care about.  Perhaps my background as a journalist,
and as a psychology teacher, helps me get to
know my subjects quickly.  But sometimes all
I have is a photograph, and I haven't met the people
at all.

Then what I go on is the stories their friends or family
who've commissioned the painting tell me.  But here's
a quirky fact you may not know about portrait painters,
or at least about this portrait painter.  That image
in the painting is real to us.  Painting you, or your
family is a thrill because you come to life on the
canvas, not matter how creatively or abstractly
we paint you.  And for me I know I am getting there
with a portrait when I start talking to it, saying
goodbye to it when I leave the room.  I even start
telling the painting how I should fix this or that,
and don't worry I'll do it.

Yes.  I should get out more.  But I'm a painter,
we need to stay in more.

Have a talking-to-your-work day.


Bigwom said...

I am completely tickle by the thought of you talking to your paintings! I talk to my characters too!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Bigwom,

I'm so glad that you understand. I noticed this phenomenon a few years ago. After all when you're creating a portrait, you want it to resonate as being that person. Even in the abstract.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Auralee,

I didn't know it was you. Yes. I do talk to them, but only as they start to be more real on the canvas. Cool that you talk to your characters. I can imagine in a love story you might say, "Don't worry Jane, he will fall for you in the end, but right now I need some conflict."

XOXO 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!