Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The family goes home

The girls with Let's get this party started
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
This painting has already lead an interesting life.
It was exhibited in a show in October in Studio
Vogue Gallery. I was talking to a friend about
that show today, and saying that I have almost
no memory of it.  Steven I had driven to Ottawa
on Tuesday night to see my mother on Wednesday.
She was dying and the family, my husband,
son Sam, sister Sally and I gathered around her
bed.  She was funny to the end, and I held her
 hand for most of the visit.

Then we drove back to Toronto, I taught on
Thursday and was at the opening of the show
on Thursday night. Then we drove back to
Ottawa to be with my mother until her death
on Thanksgiving Day.

The family I painted were like a talisman to me.
 I was so fond of them by the time the three paintings
 of their life together were finished that I actually dreaded
the end of the process.  In fact I considered
keeping going, painting a room full of paintings
of this one great family.  I may still do that,
but for now this is it.

Then for a couple of months all three paintings
hung on the wall in one of the chair's offices
at a local community college.  I like to get my
art out and working in the community. The chair who wanted
art for her office, said she loved how the work brightened
the room.  But ultimately the family wanted to own
this picture. So it travelled again.

What I loved about these five people was how
generous they were with their time.  Here were the
mother and father raising three young children
more than ready to take photos for me -- hundreds
of photos to work from.

When my mother died, I'm sure the kind
support of my gallery, the thoughtfulness of this
sweet family, my portrait subjects through months
of work, and my family and friends are what
kept me going.

So it was especially poignant for me to see the
family in person, and deliver the work.  I have
family in Ottawa, and we worked in a brief visit to
my brother and his wife. It was all good.

The family's home is beautiful, filled with
light, and my paintings as I unwrapped them
to show them, took on a whole different
life in that brilliant light.

I wished I had my camera out as the two
little girls carried in a huge tray with
a plate of tarts, and a plate of delicious
strawberries.  (John Singer Sargent
would have loved to have painted that one.)
My photos of the girls with the painting
the family bought were taken with my phone,
so forgive the blur. Their mother is a friend, but I
had never met her children before, even though I
felt like I had, having studied their faces for
so long.  They are, if possible, even more wonderful
in person.

Have a working-on-paintings-you-love day


Unknown said...

what a great post Barbara, full of memories poignant and sweet/ the painting is wonderful, and its great that it 'went home' to the family. Congrats on a great job.

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks so much Sally,

It was a lovely occasion -- showing the family my paintings as the sun streamed in. I think the weekend was especially blessed because it was warm!

Not any more! Hugs to you.

XOXOXO Barbara

Tammy Hext said...

This is such a beautiful portrait of the family and this picture with the 2 girls with it is priceless.
Your work continues to inspire me Barbara - you are one talented lady!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Tammy,

Thank you so much. I hope all is well with you. It's been a crazy time. Hope you know that I love your work.

XOXOXO 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!