Monday, November 17, 2014

No it's not what it is

 Sandra Martin
Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas
36 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2004
Here's the thing about art -- it defies that overblown
cliché, "it is what it is."  It isn't.  It can look
like it is what it is, but in fact it is colour, light,
design, harmony, planning and pleasure, hard
work and excitement, bundled up to make
an image, or images, that are something new.
For instance this portrait of Sandra Martin,
the Toronto writer, is not an exact photographic
replica of Sandra, but it captures the mood,
the sparkle in her eyes, her vivid intelligence.
It was painted from life.  No her hands aren't that
big, but they impressed me as I painted her,
probably because those are the hands that
capture her wonderful work for her on the computer.
They deserve to be honoured. (By the way, at the
time her hair was blue.)

"It is what it is," is a sentence that drives me
mad.  It's a perfect phrase for people giving
up on something.  Art is made by people who
don't give up, they keep on going.
Lecture finished.

I stood laughing in a light snowfall Sunday
with an artist who has so much gusto and
drive it isn't funny.  I was visiting
Kim Rempel at the  Christmas Handmade
Market at the Honsberger Estate Winery
in Jordan, Ontario.  Traffic was manic because
of the snow and the Santa Claus parade in Toronto.
So we arrived just as the event was closing, but on
time to see Kim. She was as usual, kind, buoyant and
happy to see us even at that late hour.

I am working on something, but can't show it to
you today.  For those of you living in the snow belt,
try to stay positive, and drive carefully.

If you live in southern (warm) climates.  Enjoy.
We are working hard on not being jealous.

Have an enjoying-each-day day.


cohen labelle said...

Love this portrait. I remember seeing it shortly after you painted it. It's one of my favourites.
xoxo, Marcia

Unknown said...

i loved what you said about that sentence which also bugs me too. everytime I hear it start to come out of my mouth I change my mind and consciously say something different. lovely portrait, love the sparkle in her eyes.

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks so much Marcia,

I love it too. It's fascinating to see how differently I worked then.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

It's like the other one that I'll stop myself from griping about, which is,"everything happens for a reason." It's true of course in some ways, but frequently an ill timed remark that can hurt the person it's "happened" to.

Love your work, and your thoughts.


Kim Rempel said...

Ah! Just seeing this now. I am so far behind in reading my fave blogs. Seeing you is always a joy because you are like a massive sun beam. And I am not kidding. xo

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!