Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another breakfast freak inspires me

 After Breakfast
Watercolour and marker
on watercolour paper
8 1/2 x 6
Barbara Muir © 2014

You know that I love breakfast -- especially
hotel breakfasts, and that I'm working on a
New York diner breakfast painting now.
So imagine discovering this artist Danny
Gregory who has a wonderful video of
himself painting his breakfast.

I just recently had a vision of a huge show
of breakfast paintings (my own) when I
was meditating while Steven had acupuncture.
But I was unaware until recently that anyone
else loved that theme.  Danny Gregory is
a wonderful artist, and he is starting a new
session of Sketch book Skool on July 4th
with a bunch of great artists.

This morning I was so inspired at the idea
of painting right away, that I did this painting
of my plate and its table mates "after breakfast."
I have always loved drawing and watercolour.
I especially like the gusto that Danny Gregory
has -- drawing with no preparation with a
straight pen and ink.  I myself use a marker.

Many of us are struggling for absolute
perfection -- trying to record exactly what
we see like a camera -- but this really
ups the anxiety and cuts the fun.  We are
naturally drawn to beauty, but I also
want to see that the artist had fun making
the work.  Not always possible.  This time
I did.

Have a having-fun-with-your-art day.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The missing T and anniversary

Happy Anniversary Tea 
watercolour and marker on
watercolour paper
 6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Tonight, June 24th, I'll be out celebrating
my wedding anniversary. I'm married to a
truly wonderful man, Steven, who has loved
me and known I love him for a long time.
We have grown up together.
And yet we still laugh like children, enjoy
really silly jokes, and dancing in the kitchen.
We are in love. I'm a lucky woman.

Tomorrow is also the day when the women
in my neighbourhood who are free in the
morning meet for tea and coffee.
When I am not on deadline, or working
away from home, I like to be there. But I'll miss it
tomorrow. That's the missing T. - T for Tea, and for
timing, and treats.

 A couple of weeks ago Steven and I had tea at the
 kitchen table using the antique tea cups we rarely
 touch. First we are coffee drinkers, plus we use mugs.
 It felt like an occasion. I also thought that if my new dog
ever calms down enough to be presentable, and
I am not preoccupied with work and family concerns,
I'd like to host a Tuesday (T for Tuesday) coffee and then I'd
 have to know how to make tea in a pot.

Have an enjoying-a-delicious-cup-of-tea day.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Draw everything!

 The everyday purse
marker and watercolour on drawing paper
9 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
It's been a blissful weekend.  Beautiful
weather, fun with family and friends,
and so many art discoveries.  I was
getting frustrated at not being able to get
a painting ready to show you fast enough.

Luckily a friend in California made a pact
with me to meditate every day and report.
What changes do I notice?  I am calmer.
I drop what's bugging me way faster.
Negative conversations -- forgotten the
minute they end.  That in itself is huge for

But I also seem to be plugging into a creative
network in thought and ways of doing art
that is more and more vibrant all the time.
I feel blessed to know the artists I know through
my blog, and the artists I am learning about
all the time.

 I decided to draw when I can't do a full
fledged painting every day (because I'm working
on a larger work), and discovered these people --
the Sketchbook Skool.  Check out the course they
are starting on July 4th.  It sounds great.

My little sketch tonight is of my purse, flopped
on the table in exhaustion after a day of running
around doing chores.  I have maybe three,
or four purses, but this is the one I love the most.
It's Italian leather, very soft and as you can see
almost worn out.  And it has shiny, chrome studs
on it, that help me find it when it's lost.
(Why do purses hide just when you're heading out?)

Have a drawing-everything-that-moves-or-doesn't day.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Garden distractions, Macbeth and festive tea

 Tea with Marcia (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I've been working on this little painting for
a couple of days now -- as I work on the larger
breakfast painting too.  After the winter we've
had it's true that as James Russell Lowell said,
"And what is so rare as a day in June?", and
today our garden, unfinished, weeds and all
was perfect.  The weather was idyllic, warm
but breezy, and the sky a perfect blue.

I sat in the garden on my breaks and the dog
was so happy she plunked herself down
flat out testing various spots -- on the porch,
under the cherry tree (which is in bad shape)
and beside me under the apple tree -- which we
both agreed was best. The view from a pair
of Adirondack chairs I am promising to paint was

The day began with my brother quoting from
Macbeth, which he'd read the night before because
he was missing my mother.  We both agree
that if our mother read something she knew it.
But it is rare indeed to have long animated
talks about Shakespeare over the phone with
my morning coffee, and I relished this
happening, and the knowledge that it was a treat.

The painting is of a delicious tea preceding lunch
at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where I saw a
superb exhibition of work by Henry Moore
and Francis Bacon last week.  In the Members'
Lounge tea is an occasion, and I always like how
it looks.

Have an enjoying-June-day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hey artists -- close your eyes!

 Deepak visits Pugwash
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
A friend I met on Facebook has helped me start
feeling really great.  She wanted to start meditating,
which every health, and mental health professional
highly recommends.  Years ago I did the meditations Louise
Hay put on tape, and super hypnosis tapes and CDs
by Dr. Lee Poulos.

But it's been a while. My friend asked me to
 commit to meditating every day for a month.
I said I would for five minutes a day, but
frequently do longer guided online meditations,
because that's what works for me.

 The vision 
Saturday morning at a ridiculously early hour
Steven went for acupuncture, and I went
with him.  Our acupuncture man sticks the
needles in and lets Steven lie still for half an hour
with the lights out and classical music playing.  I
decided to try meditating on my own.  I knew the
setting was perfect sitting in the dark in a firm
 chair, feet on the floor.

I began with, "you are going down a hill --
 deeper and deeper," which is actually
hypnosis.  You are always asked to picture a
beautiful spot in guided meditations, so I imagined
 our beach in Nova Scotia.  And this is what I saw.
Someone had set up a large, beautiful wooden
gazebo with trellises covered in pink and white
roses (my favorite), and people were
having tea.  They were all in gorgeous, white clothes
and invited me to join them.  I did, had a cup of tea,
then decided to go down on the beach.

Guide Jackpot
I asked for a guide, and who should I see walking
towards me all laughing and happy but Oprah,
Deepak Chopra, Steadman, Mike Dooley and his wife and
Louise Hay. What a line up!  I said hello to Oprah and
 told her how much I had always wanted to meet her
and she hugged me.

I saw Deepak talk in Toronto years ago. I
told him about it,  and we shook hands.
Mike and I met a few years ago when I heard
him speak (my picture with him is
on the blog here.) With Louise I said that I had
loved her forever and we hugged.

They were all dressed in beautiful white clothes like the
people at the tea party, and we walked along
with them giving me advice, none of which
I remember.

At this point my acupuncture guy came in
and that part of my meditation was over.  He
checked my husband, took me to another room
for a treatment, then I was back in the chair,
imagined myself back on the beach and having
 a party with my whole extended family.

Note:  I have never gone to the beach dressed
up and in white clothes.  But the imagination
can take you anywhere and make anything
happen.  Try it.  Do a few deep breaths and
close your eyes.  I've felt a real upswing in
energy since that lovely vision, and I have
been supremely happy.

I painted this little portrait of Deepak Chopra
visiting the beach we love in Pugwash, Nova
Scotia to go along with my meditation vision.

Have a closing-your-eyes-and-visualizing day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sold in New York, and it's Tuesday Night Live

Untitled (work in process)
Stage 2/3 underpainting and starting
some detail.
acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

Great news my painting Wonder Water Image #3
has sold in New York (see the image below).
My wonderful friend, a novelist who has just
published a novel called Sidekick that you can
purchase here, posed for me, and I am delighted.
All in all I've done four paintings of her in the
past year, and I love them all.
Wonder Water Image #3
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
SOLD ♥  
More progress on the breakfast painting, Untitled
as yet.  It was a very busy, and very happy weekend
and Monday so progress has been slow. Perhaps
tomorrow I will tell you about the vision I had
meditating while my husband had acupuncture
early, early Saturday morning.  I might have been
close to a sleeping state, to start with, but whatever
the case, I find my vivid imagination to be a treat
in those moments.

Have a dreaming-yourself-a-wonderful-life day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Breakfast is the other answer and wonderful Belinda

 Detail of the underpainting 
of a coffee cup in Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2014
I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy so
long ago, that I forgot that the book suggested
that the answer to everything was 42.  The
other answer to my mind is breakfast.  So here is
the start of a painting of breakfast at the Skylight
Diner in New York City where we ate a
delicious breakfast on Mother's Day last
Untitled (work in progress)
shown on the easel
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

I am at the underpainting stage and altering
my drawing to see what works. 

Wonderful Belinda
Yesterday I received this beautiful, little
book on Degas -- Degas The Man and
His Art in the mail.  My name was put into
a draw to win the book by the awesome
American painter and printmaker, Belinda Del Pescoe.
 Lo and behold I won!  And how perfect!  The
little book came right to my door, a gift from
someone whose work I admire so much, and
all the way from California.  I had just finished
reading The Painted Girls, a novel by Cathy Marie
Buchanan, about the ballet girls who posed for
Degas, so it was especially timely.
The prize book posing with some
of my recent models.
Thank you Belinda.  You are amazing.

Have a welcoming-glorious-gifts day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Drawing to paint

 At the party 
marker on drawing paper 
9 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Not much time to paint today.
I have a couple of photos from my recent
travels that I'm thinking about turning into
larger paintings.

I did this little drawing tonight to consider
whether or not I'm going to paint this
couple.  I met them at an art opening and
like the mood the photo captures.
The woman with her arm around her more
flamboyant wife (wearing the faux fur boa and
blonde wig) felt protective.

I'm drawing from a not great photo taken
with my phone.

Have a loving all that you see day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ode to Joshilyn

Beach Prom Queen (art group sketch)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20
Barbara Muir © 2014
Okay I confess I'm on a serious Joshilyn Jackson
kick.  I've read five of her novels in the past five
weeks.  The last one Gods in Alabama was such
a page turner that I could hardly put it down.

Our model at the art group I belong to tonight
could be right out of a Joshilyn Jackson novel,
except for the fact that she's not from the deep,
American south.  I sat on the couch in the big
studio room with a friend listening to the grim,
but compelling story of her childhood -- and was
both glad and almost sorry to get up and paint again.
 She had resolved to her dolls as a child, to give
her children the complete opposite -- a safe, loving
home -- and has succeeded.

When I arrived she was posing with an Iris.  The
whole set up reminded me of a dream I had
yesterday and I happily painted for an hour
and a half, coming away with this impression.
I don't know the model's name, but I thank her.

Have a-reading-a-good-book day.
 P.S.  My sister got me started reading Joshilyn
Jackson's books, and I am now hooked.  

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!