Monday, September 30, 2013

Writing in baby's nap

 The Writer's Life (detail)
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Well my dear friends, quite the week!
So much going wrong in my own family, that
the list could consume my blog for days.  But that's
not right.  On the bright side here's a detail from
 the second painting in my Times Tables series
 The Writer's Life. This is one of three paintings
I'll have in the show Interplay on at Studio Vogue
Gallery.  The opening reception is Thursday,
October 10 from 6 - 8 p.m., and the show runs until
October 26. The gallery is at 216 Avenue Road in
Toronto.  If you're in the Toronto area, it would thrill
me to see you there.

I love the mood in this. I can remember trying to
write freelance articles, and paint with a baby in my
arms or at my feet, or little children coming into
the room when I was conducting an interview over the
phone.  I'm sure my children have vivid memories
of me slicing the air with my hands and silently
mouthing "not now, Mommy's on the phone."

So I love the moment this painting captures. The
mother's incredible strength and determination to
keep working, but her equally strong love for
the baby sound asleep on her shoulder. I'll show you
the whole painting later this week.

Have a loving-the-children-in-your life day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My beautiful Zoey died this morning -- we will miss her too much

Zoey and the green bin
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Our sweet dog Zoey died this morning, after a long weekend
of trying to die.  She was 13 1/2 which is old for a dog of her
size, sadly.  She had a good life, with lots of summers by the
ocean, and walks in a gorgeous nearby park, dog friends, people
friends -- a wonderful life.  And she was greatly beloved.  

I am so sorry she is gone, as I go through the house and see
her quilts on the floor in every room.  Her dishes in the kitchen,
the balls she like to play with.  But most of all I miss her.  She
liked being with us, lying down on the floor of whatever room
we were in.  And I loved being with her.

Have a loving-your-dog day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You are invited to the DVAC Fall Show at Todmorden Mills

 Reading on the dock
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
If you come out to the opening of the DVAC Fall show
between 7 and 9 p.m. Friday night, I'll be there and
I have two pieces in the show.  I'd love to see you!
I'll be on roaming sales, which means I get to
walk around and see all the art (there are usually
more than 100 artists displaying their work), and
help to sell it.

The DVAC (Don Valley Art Club) displays the work
of artists painting in every category, from figurative,
to landscape to abstract.  So if you like looking at art,
or want to buy some, there's a great variety of styles and
price ranges to choose from.

Come on out if you're in town.  They usually have great
food and wine, and it's an absolutely beautiful venue.

Have a going-out-to-an-art-show day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Magical Monday -- and here it is. Ta Da!

 Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Finishing work to be delivered to a show at my art
club tonight's made this a crazy busy day.  Thank
goodness for acrylic -- it dries fast.  And really it
 isn't as totally mad as it sounds because one
of the paintings was finished last winter, and the other
was almost finished this weekend.  But I was so happy
that the second painting went well.  When that happens
it feels like magic.

It was a beautiful and cool day, and in my breaks I was
out in the garden.  The morning glories lasted for most
of the day, and one lone cleome, that was spared by
the lawn mower reached it's full height today and put out
the most glorious, large, lush white flower.

As promised this is the final version of my painting of
the family.  (I may still work on the odd detail, but it
is done.)  How I loved working with this family -- so
much so that I'm doing two more paintings to make this
a series called the Times Table series. So in fact this
party has just started.  I'll talk more about that another day.
I have a really early morning tomorrow, so it's off to bed
 feeling happy and accomplished.

Have a taking-pleasure-in-what-you-do day.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I am the luckiest painter on earth -- painting happy children

 Detail Untitled Painting (Work in Progress)
Big reveal on Monday
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

These little sisters are two of the most joyous kids you
could ever want to meet.  I felt on top of the world
the whole time I was painting them.  And that was
a sweet gift, as there was illness in my family, and
worry.  But each time I came back to the canvas I'd
smile and could not stop.

In fact I'll miss these girls when they go into the
show I'm painting them for in a couple of weeks.
They feel like family to me too.  I think I explained
how for me at least, when I paint people I really
feel very close to them.  Then the paintings go
off, and I need to start on something new, just
so I won't feel lonely in the studio.

I had a great call the other day from Hannah,
the girl I painted in the motorscooter painting
a couple of years ago.  We were both talking about
how magical that painting was from the beginning.
I met her in a Superstore parking lot in Fredericton.
I was doing a series about women travelling
called Faces and Places, and she seemed perfect.
The painting showed in Toronto and New York
City, and then I took it to the Maritimes to show
Hannah, and her dad bought it.

She was writing an essay for school on the whole
thing, and interviewing me for the parts she couldn't
remember.  Hannah now drives a motorcycle and
is getting her car license.  So she is definitely still
On the Road in Fredericton.   We met for coffee this
year when Steven and I were travelling through town.
It was a shock to me how she had grown up so much
since our first meeting.

Have a loving-the-magic-in-what-you-do day.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I don't know if men know how much women like men who are affectionate dads

 Detail Untitled Painting (Work in Progress)
Big reveal on Monday
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
The father in this picture embodies what women would
like in a mate for a family.  He is clearly a warm and
loving Dad, and one of the reasons for his family's
exuberance.  He's a fun Dad too, and that will be
clear when I show you the whole painting on Monday.

I'm painting a lot right now for the deadlines that arrive
all fast and furious with the fall. One of the photographs
on our bulletin board of family photos struck me as I
walked by today.  Steven is cuddling our older
son Christopher when he was about four or five.
Both of them look so beautiful, and the affection
between them tugged at my heartstrings all over

My job with a portrait is to make those moments
vivid, so the viewer can feel the energy that was
there at the time.  

To all my blog friends, I apologize for not commenting
this week.  I promise to catch up as soon as I can.

Have a loving-the-children-in-your-life day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Are babies corny subject matter?-- Botticelli didn't think so

 Detail Untitled Painting (Work in Progress)
Big reveal on Monday
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
No I'm not in any way comparing myself to Botticelli.
But I do love his work, and he painted babies beautifully
in his many Madonnas. But as I was working on this
little baby's face I was aware of the criticism often
leveled at painters of children and babies.  As a portrait
artist, all ages of people matter to me.  And as a person
I have always loved babies. As a little girl I lived with
a doll in a carrier on my back, and could think of no
nobler pursuit than being a mother.

Being a mother has been a joyful role for me, and
one that always added to my excitement about life
in general.  I'm not saying it isn't hard raising little
children, but it is infinitely rewarding and joins you
to the rest of humanity in a profound way.

This baby is destined for a happy life in a vibrant
family, and perhaps my reason for painting him is
to wish all babies the love and nurturing they need
to step into the human race with confidence and
help the planet. Maybe Botticelli had the same
wish for his infant models.

Have an enjoying-the-babies-you-know day.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A flurry of preparation -- and routine's bonus

 Market Zinnias -- bright and gorgeous
iPad drawing
Barbara Muir © 2013
This place has resembled a test kitchen in the past
few days.  It started last week with the delicious
organic peaches at the market, and a passion to
conserve one of our favorite tastes.

You can't really do it.  Nothing can ever reproduce
the taste of a fresh picked peach.  Nothing.  But
freezing them with nothing in the freezer bag except
fresh peaches --  lets you get almost the same
flavour in the dead of winter. And Steven's canned
peaches in tall lovely jars, will be a mid-winter treat.
Steven's beautiful canned peaches
Barbara Muir © 2013

My friend is going back to school as a full time
teacher, and I am a very part time teacher, but order
is the watchword of the day.  And I like that Robert
Genn talked about how everything in an artist's life
that isn't about art needs to be orderly in his August
27 post Decisions, decisions.

The routine of a little part-time work, insists on an
order that permeates all of life in a good way.  And
this is good for me as an artist.  I have to get my act
in gear for everything except the act of creating, and
the order in the rest of life helps that.  So I'm going to
go and do some laundry and then paint my delicious

Have a getting-life-in-order 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!