Friday, October 25, 2013

Putting painting on the list

Gallery Tea
Watercolour and marker
6 x 9.5
Barbara Muir © 2013
My mother's memorial is this weekend -- a celebration
of life.  I just had a call from a friend in Los Angeles
who is a wonderful artist, and she encouraged me to
remember the celebration part of the memorial.  I
assured her that my short talk will celebrate my
mother's life, how could it not?

But I may not get to talk about the list.  I have been
lost since my mother's death -- sad to a level I can
rarely remember feeling. But of course I was that
sad when my father died too.  Here's the point -- the
sadness shunted me off my practice of making a daily
list.  It's a supremely simple but great practice.  If
I make a list, the things on it get done.

And it hit me -- that even though I essentially learned
list making through articles, and books, and a course
I taught which included time management -- my mother
was a tremendous list maker.  She was a doer.  And
when I'd call her up on Saturday and Sunday mornings,
she'd have accomplished so many tasks by 10 in the
morning, that I'd feel like a slacker by comparison.

So yesterday, in the midst of all the turmoil of
arranging for her memorial, I wrote a list.  Anchored
by that again, I am getting things done.  And on the list
is starting a painting.  So I have. This is a grey scale
watercolour, of part of what I'm planning.  The canvas
 will be in colour, but it's a winter scene so quite muted.

Have a getting-things-done day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Picking up the brush -- sad and happy

 Today's flowers from the garden
Watercolour and black marker on 
watercolour paper
6 x 9.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
My sweet mother died on Sunday morning
last weekend. After my mother died
Steven and I had lunch with my brother,
my niece and my son and his wife.  I know
we were in shock, and horribly sad, but
we were also so happy to be together.

We drove home from Ottawa in the rain which seemed
apt.  I have never known such profound grief.
In Toronto our two Thanksgiving dinners
with family, were good -- the food delicious,
but the ache of knowing my mother wasn't
in the world anymore permeated every conversation.

Today I knew in my soul that my mother wants
me to carry on, to make art, to live life with
every fibre of my being.  So I went into the garden
and picked this small bouquet.  It made me feel
a taste of the delight I knew being in the world
as my mother's daughter -- a flicker of happiness
started in my heart.  One day I will be fine.

Meanwhile tell everyone you love that you love
them.  Spread love anywhere you can.  Yes
it does matter.  It all matters. And you matter to me.

Have a spreading-the-love day.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Opening in honour of my mother

At the opening of Interplay at
Studio Vogue last night.
Me with the Times Tables Series
from top to bottom
Tea Alone,
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30
Barbara Muir © 2013,
Let's Get This Party Started
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30
Barbara Muir © 2013,
The Writer's Life
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30
Barbara Muir © 2013
My wonderful mother is dying in a hospital in Ottawa.
My heart is breaking beyond anything I could have
imagined, but one of the best lessons my mother has
taught me is to be strong in the face of life's sorrows.
And I am.

She was and is one of the bravest people I have
ever known.  Living alone, almost blind, and with
a lung ailment that made her cough for hours at a time,
she still found pleasure in life, especially in her friends
and family. She lived alone by choice.
Even four days ago she was making up
songs about her condition, but I'm afraid that was
the last of the songs I'll hear from her.

During the past few months, and especially in this
past sad month, there have been many
moments of happiness, and some of the most
inspiring have been in the lovely development
of the series I call the Times Table Series, on
view now at Studio Vogue.  The family that let
me into their lives, and took hundreds of photos
for me to use as reference, are funny, and kind
and loving.  And every time I'd make a new request
I'd receive another flurry of photos trying to
give me what I needed.

To honour them, and to honour my mother I
wanted to be at my opening.  I told my friends
in the community that they would cheer me up
if they came, and they did.  It was wonderful.
The ultimate message that filters through out
of all of this, is that love is what matters -- give it,
share it, enjoy it.  And that's what I hope this series

Have a loving-your-family-and-friends day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Love is everything

 Tea Alone
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
This series of three was inspired by the idea
 of the different forms of loving activities that
take place around the table in our homes.
I've called it the Times Table series, because it's
about the multiple roles the table plays.

The theme is especially poignant to me now as
one of the potent themes of union around a table --
eating at my mother's table -- is coming to a close
because she's very ill.

If you're in town please come out to the opening
of Interplay at Studio Vogue 216
Avenue Road,  Toronto, Ontario,
Thursday night, October 10 between
6 and 8 p.m.  I would love to see you there,
and it would mean the world to me.

A shout out to Auralee and her family for all the
amazing help with this.

Have an enjoying-your-family day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Writer's Life

 The Writer's Life
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Here is the final version of my painting
The Writer's Life, the second in the Times
Tables series.  This is a story that many young
parents can relate to.  My brother is a writer
and he frequently worked on writing with his
baby daughter either in his arms, or drawing
at his feet.

When my children were little I was a corporate
writer, working on messages for some of
Canada's top CEO's.  The irony of my situation
wasn't ever lost on me. There I was
having conversations about the company's core
messages, and trying so hard to silently stop a two
year old brumming a truck from being heard
in the background. My model for this painting is infinitely
more stylish than I was when I didn't have to wear a suit to
appear at meetings.

A friend was over the other day and we put all three paintings
on a counter together.  Displayed horizontally they are
90 inches wide and a sight to see.  I'd love to see you
at the opening on Thursday at Studio Vogue.  Please
come out if you can.  It's going to be a beautiful one.

Have a loving-whatever-you-do 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!