Saturday, February 28, 2015

Farewell to February and Happy Birthday Daddy

Daffodil Selfie
Black marker and Caran D'Ache 
watercolour crayon on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

This has been the coldest February in Toronto
in 43 years.  Achingly cold.  When you consider
that February is a winter month, the coldest
one in nearly half a century explains the extreme
level of cabin fever in this town. So you'll understand
why flower sales of spring flowers are way up,
and why even though we had a lot
of fun this month, we are glad to see it go.

I decided to colour in my little daffodil selfie
using the Caran D'Ache and water on a Q-tip
method my friend told me she used to paint
on long plane trips.  It is definitely more
vital in colour.

Today is my father's birthday and I think of
him every year on this day.  I would love it
if he were here, or up in his house on the Ottawa
river, and I could raise a glass to toast him and
sing Happy Birthday, but I will have to be content
with imagining this as a possibility because he
has been gone for a long time.

What did he give me?  An eye for art, beauty and
flowers for sure.  A sense of humour, his smile,
a clear understanding that he loved me, my education,
beautiful homes to live in in three different cities,
a love of reading.  The list goes on.  Thank you
Daddy.  Happy Birthday.

Have a celebrating-your-parents day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fabulous Friday

 Spring Walk
Black and white photograph 
8 x 10 inches
© W.W. Muir (my father)
It's been a busy day, but not much time
devoted to art.  In honour of the anniversary
of my father's birthday, which is tomorrow
I thought I'd post one of his photographs.
This is from a print he pulled himself in the
small basement dark room he had for a couple
of years in Ottawa.  After he moved his family
to Toronto, he spent more time on painting
than photography.

I've always loved his black and white work.
This shot reminds me a bit of Mary Cassatt
and her paintings of women picking fruit.
I miss my father, and I know his photographs
inspired my son Christopher to follow in his
footsteps to be a photographer and cinematographer.

Have an honouring-your-parents day.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving Fulfillment

 Untitled (work in process)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I've been working on my painting of a dinner
served on the train.  I think it was on the way
back to Toronto from Montreal but I'll have to
check.  I'm still trying to establish all of the
elements, which takes some time when the subject
is complicated.  This is.

I can't imagine the waiter on the train setting up
the meal on the tray and thinking -- "I just know
an artist is on the train today and will want to
paint this!"

Aren't these small moments the ones we treasure.
Of course I remember my wedding, and the birth
of my sons as huge, special days.  But the beauty of
life is also lived in the every day, and in
noticing and appreciating the strawberry included with
the cake, the olives with the cheese -- the little

I'm enjoying working on this one.

Have a loving-the-small-moments day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Leave it!

Daffodil Selfie
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

I couldn't decide whether or not to colour this little
drawing of daffodils on my bathroom shelf reflected
in the mirror.  And decided to leave it.  Perhaps
tomorrow I'll know.  Yes or no.

I guess training an artist (myself) is a little like
training a dog.  We need to learn to let things sit,
to go to bed (lie down), and leave it!  The next
day it will either matter to change it, or we'll be
on to bigger and better things.

So for now.  I'm going to leave it, and see
what tomorrow will bring. (Good girl!)

Have a learning-to-leave-it-day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The best kind of visitor

Staying warm (art group sketch)
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Before I was fully awake this morning a friend
dropped in and told me that she loved the work
I'm doing -- my food paintings, and the cloud
painting from a couple of days ago.

I didn't know her degree was in art history, but
she told me that to add heft to her kind comments.
Wow. She made me feel great.  I started painting
the moment she left, didn't even grab the next coffee.

The Message?  If you have artist friends, encourage
them.  Tell them what appeals to you.  What a
delight to have someone come into the studio and
tell me she loves my use of colour.  She set
me off to a day of discovery, and left me with a
deep feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction.
Good one.

 I will definitely remember the zap of excited
energy she gave me the next time I visit an
artist's studio.  Yep.  We can all use positive

I painted this quick sketch with my art group
tonight in about 45 minutes.  The model was
lovely, and my friends in the break, a treat.

Have a-taking-the-time-to-be-a-kind-visitor day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

It gets in your blood

 Untitled (work in process)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
My train trip a week ago was pure pleasure.
Now when I hear a freight train in the far
distance at night it takes me back to the long,
delightful trip to Montreal and back.  The
motion of the train -- the sound of the horn,
all seem romantic to me.

Naturally I took a painting of one of my
four meals I had in two trips (yes four meals!).
And today I began work on a picture of one
rather delicious dinner.

This is just the beginning -- working on
drawing, underpainting, thinking about
what else to include.

Have a feeling-the-romance-of-the-train day.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The happy artist on Sunday

 Untitled (work in process)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015 
(I try to get the whole painting
to the same place at the same time,
then move on to the next stage.  Not
quite finished this stage, but very happy
so far).
So it's cold -- so cold we had to thaw out
our laundry room pipes.  So cold we tell
"how cold is it?" jokes.  But meanwhile
I planted a large beautiful bowl with mini
daffodils today, and it looks like a small

Plus I worked on this painting, which
reminded me the whole time I worked on
it of that delicious meal -- of the waiter
who was so gracious and polite, of the
porringer for the oatmeal, of the sweet
anticipation of morning. 

And I thought about still life, and how
sensual it is for me.  How these small
images of the moments of our lives
shimmer in memory when we work
on recording not just how it looked, but
the feeling of delight we had being there.

I think that is part of the pleasure of a
static image in a world of constantly
moving images.  We can stop for a minute.
Maybe grab a coffee, eat a blackberry,
have some toast and marmalade, smile
at one another with sheer overwhelming
pleasure in the magnificence of life.

Have a slowing-down-to-see day.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reality check

 Untitled (work in process)
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I discovered this little blog I wrote in my
blog drafts and thought why not?  It's
Saturday and if I am working, hundreds
of thousands -- millions of other artists
around the world are too.  So here's
what I wrote the last time this thought
entered my head:

We are blessed to have a community of
kind, caring artists, and art lovers to bolster
us when we feel stymied, and inspire us
when we aren't sure what to do next.

Artists are not crazy, or fey.  We don't
live in a permanent fairy tale of
pretty colour and fantasy.  Even
if what we draw and paint is fairy
tale and fantasy -- getting it onto a
canvas, or paper, or board -- is
a job.

 What artists are is brave.  We continue
to work no matter what.  We do love
the creation of art, we do care passionately
about it.  But we are grounded in
the reality of day to day work to
produce it.

Luckily the blog world is supportive, even though
occasionally artists receive mean comments,
and recently a dear friend of mine has been criticized
for doing the very job artists are meant to do --
creating a body of work. 

But this infrequent unkindness is countered by
the incomparable encouragement and community that is
 so helpful in the art blog world and
cheerful stories like one I heard today of
an artist friend who sold everything she displayed
at her opening last night!

Here is the start of a little tulip painting.
 Meanwhile more tulips thrive in the studio
waiting to be painted.  Despite the heavy snowfall
today spring is definitely on its way.

Have a being-kind-to-the-artists-you-know day.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The King's Breakfast

 Untitled (work in process)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
This is actually the start of a painting of
a delicious breakfast I had last weekend
in la reine Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth) hotel
in Montreal.  I forgot to put butter for the
toast (not seen in the painting) on the order
form for room service, and that lead Steven
and I to look up and recite A. A. Milne's poem,  
The King's Breakfast, which you can read here.
I learned the poem as a little girl, and we laughed
about it as we ate our delicious meal.

So it's just beginning, I'm in the process
of blocking in colours to start with, then
I'll show you more as I proceed.  I read
of Bob Burridge that he doesn't have
"artist's angst." And that spurred me on
to buy a few canvasses, and get started on
a theme I feel passionate about -- hotel
breakfasts as the height of romance.  I
like how things are jostled somewhat in
the painting.  You can blame that on the
guests, not on the wonderful staff who
did indeed treat us like a King and Queen,
which was a supreme treat.

Have a treating-yourself-like-royalty day.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Don't agonize -- Paint.

Clouds over the marsh
(work in process today's version
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I'm getting ready for a number of shows now.
Here's my dilemma -- I paint people, food
and landscapes plus small paintings of whatever
I see.  So what should I concentrate on?  People
-- my top specialty, food -- which I love to paint,
and is the subject of my largest painting, or
landscapes with cloud -- a current passion?

I can't find the quote now, but I am sure it was
Bob Burridge who said "Don't agonize -- paint!"
 Good advice.  So I am.  This is a little cloud
painting I started almost two weeks ago. It's
coming along, but not quite finished.  See if
you can see what's changed.

This marsh just down the road from our schoolhouse
 near Pugwash Nova Scotia is dear to me.  Painting
from the photo reference I keep seeing more
and more small lines of water.  Because of course
the marsh is at one end of the Wallace River,
a tidal river, and it fills up with water when
the tide is in.
Earlier version
Clouds over the marsh
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Have a refusing-to-agonize day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Slow Mo with clouds

 Untitled (work in process)
Acrylic on canvas 
36 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Walking from my car today to my Wednesday
afternoon class, it was almost balmy -- a warm
minus 16 degrees Celsius.  It actually almost
felt warm after minus 40 degrees Celsius.

But I was thinking about clouds, and am back
to working on this cloud painting.  I was fondly
remembering what my friend Marcia LaBelle said in a
wonderful discussion about art last summer.
We were walking along the waterfront in
Hamilton on a perfect summers day, disagreeing
about clouds.  Kim Rempel had kindly explained
to me in an earlier conversation that the clouds near
the horizon are always smaller. And I said to Marcia
 -- but what if they're not?

That's the rebel in me.  Marcia calmly
explained that the sky is like a bowl.
So of course the colour is more intense
directly above. And as the clouds at the horizon
are farther away, they are usually smaller.

I thought of that today, and of Kim asking
last night on her blog if we ever give up
on something that you could keep going on.
Of course I do.  And here was this painting
leaning against the wall.  I hadn't given up
on it, but it was far from done, and the words
of those two fine artists and friends persuaded
me to get the painting back on the easel.

So I'm working on it in slow mo (slow motion)
and this is how far I got today.  Thank you
Kim and Marcia for being constantly inspiring.
I am not good at obeying rules, but I am thinking of
them and grateful for all that they've taught me.
I must add that neither Kim or Marcia are artists
who adhere to rules.  They know them, and that's

Have a-getting-back-to-favorite-themes day

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Seven Year Blogging Anniversary -- The Luckiest Woman Alive

 Some of my art from 2008 -- The painting
in the upper left corner is a Skype Portrait.
Working on Skype Paintings got me on
Oprah the next year.  Blogs can do that.

Wow!  My seven year blogging anniversary is
today.  And what a magical seven years it's been.

Thank you to all of you, who have made me want
to come and write, made me work on painting,
and taught me endless lessons on how to paint,
what to paint, where to show,  what to charge.

Thanks to Flora Doehler who would have had me
blogging 6 months before I began, if I wanted to --
but at the time I didn't get the point!  Funny!
Thanks to Norene Smiley, for having a show,
and blogging about it, so I had to have a blog to
respond. And thanks to Howard Wolinsky for finding
my first Skype sketch, and interviewing me on YouTube.

Today I'm posting a few pieces of the art I produced in
2008, my first year of blogging -- it was a great one --
filled with promise, and my dreams have more than
come true. Thank you.

Thanks to all of my friends, to my collectors, and
galleries for liking my work, and believing in me,
and supporting me in this joyous work.

And thanks to my family for putting up with a
sometimes late night blogger.  What a marvellous
ride.  Hang on, we're going places!  All of us!

Have a celebrating-your-special-days day!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Train of thought

Pansies can dream
Black marker and Caran D'Ache watercolour crayon
on Moleskine paper
3 1/2  x 4 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I spent most of the weekend on the train.  I
was travelling in search of inspiration and
got it in the long, slow rumble of the train
ride between Toronto and Montreal and back

One of the things I thought about in those
hours of travel came back to me tonight
when I wanted a quick sketch to think
about spring. Recently a friend told me
 how she painted on planes.  She
uses Caran D'Ache watercolour crayons
and a Q-tip.  Tried that out tonight to
draw and paint these pansies.  'Soon!' I
keep saying, like the long, slow
train ride through 40 degrees below landscapes
thick with snow.  Soon it will be spring.

Today is family day in Ontario, and
I spent it with my little family doing not
much of anything.  It was really good to be

Have a keeping-your-train-of-thought day.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Family Day and Painting Families

Two of my young models with 

Let's Get This Party Started
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Tomorrow,  February 16 is Family Day in
Ontario.  I intend to spend it with as much
of my family as I can -- which may just be
my husband,  dog and cats, depending on
the work the rest of my family  is doing.
So to that end, I am starting now.

I hope you had a wonderful and love filled
weekend -- I certainly did.

The painting today is one I sold about a
year ago to a truly wonderful family, and
I love this picture of the two little girls
in the painting -- who posed for endless
photographs for me.  I love this painting,
and to me it symbolizes the love, excitement,
kindness and pleasure a family can generate

Have a-very-happy-Family-Day!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

For the love of it

 Sing a Loving Song
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Here is this year's offering, made into cards, and
handed out as often as possible. Valentine's Day
is only a "bit of fun" as the  characters say on
one of the British TV shows we're watching.

But love -- love all year round, is the magic
in the world, and not something to be
made fun of, or dreaded.  It's everything,
wonder, kindness, beauty, understanding,
the warm thread that sews a life together.

I hope that you are spending, the day,
the weekend, the year with people you
love -- whether they are your family,
your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend,
friend, whoever.  And if not I wish you
dogs and cats to be with you, and
perhaps a bird or two, and phone calls
with people who love you, and who
you love.

Love matters.

Have a loving-yourself-and-others day.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fun with design and Love to the curmudgeons

This past week in the middle of handing out
chocolates and cards, having a whale of a
time I ran into the odd curmudgeon.  Almost
everyone was wonderful -- but then there
are the Valentine's Day haters.  I send them love.

Something pretty bad has to happen to make
you leery of a day that's about love.  Plus
love begets love, simple but true. 

I grew up in a household of strict, fairly
cautious, and frugal parents.  But on
Valentine's Day -- my mother, scrimping
to take care of a family of four children
and two adults, essentially on a housewife's
allowance -- made fudge.

And believe me to come to the breakfast
table (a feature non-existent in my own
family -- not morning gatherers), and
to see a white package with a red heart
drawn on set my heart beating faster.

Inside was the most delicious chocolate
fudge, that my mother had carefully
made the day before and cut in neat
blocks to give one generous slab
to each of us. 

The result has been that I have loved
that day through good and bad times,
long before I met the love of my life.

So here's a little fooling around with
design to honour love, the big day,
my loving family, my mother who
taught me to care, and my sweetheart.
I might work on it a bit more -- it's not
perfect.  But the message is there!

Have a great day tomorrow.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Flowers -- an absolute necessity

Ocean dreams for tulips
Acrylic on canvas board
6 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Here is another small painting of tulips.
Torontonians try to gauge their experience
of winter, by comparing it to other years.
Last year's ice storm ushered in a hard, frozen
winter.  Best forgotten. This year January was
freezing, but with virtually no snow -- bonus.
February has  been dumping snow, and chilling
us to the roots -- this weekend is supposed to
bottom out at minus 20 degrees Celsius!

We've been in the deep freeze for too long
now, and the thrill of freezing cold days is
wearing thin.

Enter flowers.  Ta Da! Even in my freezing house they
lift my spirits, cheer me on, suggest that yes our
friend spring is really coming, hang on.  Plus
knowing my background as a flower painter
early on in this painting journey, they easily appeal
to me, with laughter, pretty petals, and, "Paint
me, Paint me, Paint me!"

Okay!  I did.  And thank you to all the flowers in
my house for being here right now.

Have an appreciating-the-flowers-in-your-life day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The perfect Valentine flower

 Tulip love (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas board
6 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
All over this large city people are panicking
about what to get their loved ones for Valentine's
Day.  Women say they don't want chocolates
(but will scarf them down if a big heart-shaped
box turns up.) (I should say I would!  Don't tell
Steven!!!) And men are lining up in the
flower shop to buy one outrageously priced
red rose -- which will not smell like a rose
and will die too quickly.  Plus just one?  Come
on -- abundance is the rule with roses. Tip --
pink roses -- Oceana -- last a week and smell
like roses -- beautiful! Just don't buy them in
Toronto, because I want them all ;-)

I know it wouldn't be a popular choice --
but there are red tulips in pots in the flower
store I love.  They're reasonably priced,
gorgeous -- they'll last for a couple of
weeks, and they speak of spring.  This
Sunday in Toronto it's supposed to drop
to minus 20 degrees Celsius.  That is
mighty cold. Any indoor flower that
 promises an end to winter is precious indeed.

My painting today -- a work in progress --
is dedicated to the tulip lovers in our
midst, and the flood of tulips we will
soon see in flower beds all over this
country. Can't wait.

Have a loving-the-thought-of-tulips day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The idea of "loose"

Far away thoughts
Art group painting
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

Before the Impressionists, the idea of loose
brushwork, a loose drawing, the whole
concept of loose was not valued in art.

Artists were just starting to get
the idea, that the drama of brushstrokes
made freshly and without overwork was
good, when the camera came along.

I feel proud of the Impressionists, and
don't know how they had the bravery
to break away from centuries of fastidious
dedication to detail, but I love what they
did. I can't imitate them most of the time.

I do zoom in on detail, and often
enjoy the photographic reference.  But
tonight, with very little time to spare,
I painted with my art group.  I was in
such a rush that I opened my art bag and
I'd forgotten my brushes!  I was painting with
paper towels until my friend Marko
loaned me two brushes meant for oil.
They were great fun.

Plus the model, a member of the group
was just wonderful. 

Have a letting-your-art-loosen-up day.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thinking about family

After a photo by W.W. Muir
Black marker on Moleskine
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Today my son helped me download some
old family photos from my childhood.
I drew this little sketch from a photo of
my brother that caught my eye.  He looked
so indignant.  He must have been about seven or

It touched me to see the look on his face
-- pretty much 'get the camera out of here!'
He was wearing my dressing gown, unwell,
and had an infection on his foot.

The photo moved me, and I'm sure my father
wouldn't mind me creating art from his art.
I'm thinking about a series -- but it's just thoughts

Have a thinking-about-your-family day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Getting love in the picture

 Sing a loving song (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
The house is full of Valentine's decorations.
And here is my card image -- very close
to finished.  There've been some changes
since you last saw it.

Why a bluebird?  After my mother died
on Canadian Thanksgiving in 2013,
my friend took me for a walk in our
neighbourhood park with her dog to
comfort me.  High in the branches of
an improbable tree was the
most magnificent and improbable bird --
a blue bird.  I'd never seen one before.
And it felt like a gift of love.

Et voilà, as we say in French -- there it
is.  The two are linked in my mind, and
here in this little image for my card.
I hope you are planning a love filled
week -- whether with family, a special
someone, or a friend.  Spread the love.
That's the bluebird's message

Have a spreading-the-love day

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Head in the clouds -- and spring is coming

 Clouds over the marsh
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Today as I bought flowers at the flower
shop, it was snowing and slushy --
pure winter outside.  But warm compared
to our recent freezing world.  And here's
the exciting news for people craving spring --
the tulips are in the flower store, and
crocuses -- a sure sign that spring is on
the way.

You can expect paintings of the beautiful
tulips I bought today in the coming week.
But for now -- this is the small cloud
painting I'm working on.  I started and
had to sand it off, and begin again, and
this time it's going perfectly.

I love clouds, and those in Nova Scotia
last summer were especially compelling.
This is of a spectacular cloud forming
in the distance over the marshes
near our school house, part of a tidal

Just looking at the reference photo
had me dreaming of Nova Scotia and
summer, and I hope my painting has
the same effect.

Have a dreaming-of-spring-and-summer day.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Good love takes planning

Talk today at the printer where I get
photo reference for my paintings
blown up was all about Valentine's

One fellow said he buys his wife her
flowers two weeks in advance so he
doesn't have to pay the mark up.
Other people laughed at the whole idea
of doing something special.

But I would like to have a new card made.
I'm almost finished the art work for
this year's effort.  In the meantime,
here was the card combined into a message
from last year's cards.

Have a getting-ready-for-love day.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

An ode to morning

Morning with you
Acrylic on birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

Is there anything better than a beautiful morning
when you don't have to go to work?  Especially
if there is someone to share it with, and even
better if that someone is someone you love.

That's the feeling I want in my breakfast
paintings.  Today was a beautiful morning,
fraught with the demands of the day --
meetings, and phone calls, and arrangements
in a long list of chores.  But even so -- just
the thought of a morning languishing in
bed in a gorgeous hotel looking out onto
perhaps Paris, or Rome, or Quebec City,
was enough to lift my spirits, and make me
reach for another cup of coffee.

So this is the result -- I think it's almost finished.
And I hope you like it.

Have a loving-your-morning day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Adding to the past

 Mary Cassatt
(painted from a black and white photo -- 
photographer unknown --colours imagined!)
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Today my subject is Mary Cassatt.  I was
working from a photo and cannot find the
name of the photographer.  If you know it,
let me know and I'll add the credit.

Cassatt is one of my heroes.  If you read
my blog often you'll know that I recently
had a wonderful dream that she was one
of a group of painting heroes walking down
the beach in Pugwash, Nova Scotia towards me.

Sadly that's not possible as Cassatt died
at 82 in 1926. I have painted her as a young woman.
In the novel I've been talking about for the
past few days, I Always Loved You by Robin
Oliviera, she is an impressive character.
Painting her and thinking about her life,
made me feel closer to her -- although
her work has always captivated me.

In 2010 I saw some of her work at the Met in
New York City, but the paintings were inside
glass cases, and low down.  Still I felt
thrilled to see them. See a sample photograph
of  how the paintings looked below:
Young Mother Sewing, 1900
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)
Oil on canvas; 36 3/8 x 29 in. (92.4 x 73.7 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, 
Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, 1929

Have a -thinking-about-your-art-influences day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Connecting through paint

 In the polka dot cravat
Edouard Manet after a photo by Nadar
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I was lucky to grow up in a household that
venerated books.  I remember my father
gave me a book on Inuit art when I was
10 or so.

In high school my harried art teacher did
her best to educate a bunch of preoccupied
teenagers about the great art of the ages through
art history lessons -- sticking huge coffee table
books in a projector that regularly got so hot it
burned her fingers.

But nothing gives the feeling of knowing
the artists we admire like a novel.  When I
was growing up the idea of the art/work
divide was huge.  It didn't matter what
Edouard Manet's personal life was like,
just the final product.

 True, but how fascinating as an artist and
 fan to read about his life,
Degas and Mary Cassatt's -- to feel that
I am right there with them in the studio.
I am delighted with the book I Always
 Loved You by Robin Oliviera. It's really
about Mary Cassatt and Degas, but
visually I am still working on Manet.

Here is another small portrait of Manet.  I
will add him to my paintings of some of
the heroes in my life.  It's based on a photo
by Nadar, and I may work on it a bit more.

I loved the idea of Manet dressing for this portrait,
picturing him deciding  to wear the red polka dot
cravat, even if in reality his butler dressed him.
Still I can imagine the silk of that beautiful
neck decoration -- and it makes me feel connected
to the wearer.  That's how portrait painters work --
partly on vision, and partly on imagination.

Have a seeing-your-heroes-as-human day.

Monday, February 2, 2015

200,000 Plus! Thank you!

 After Breakfast -- More Coffee?
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Dear friends in the blog world,
and the wide world,
the other day my blog reached
200,000 hits.  That is mind blowing.

Here are 5 things blogging has taught me:

1. There is a community of like-minded
artists out in the wide, wide world, and
I am  super blessed to know them.

2.  When you care about the work other
people create, they will care about yours.

3.  The Internet is an incredible gift for
artists, in terms of joining a world wide
neighbourhood, sharing techniques, selling art,
gallery info, and appreciating one another.

4. Pay attention to the marketing tips
of Alyson Stanfield.  She has been a
great friend and official and unofficial

5. Say thank you to everyone who helps you.
And to that end.

6.  Thank you everyone! 

who shares their own work, comments on
my blog,  buys my work, displays my
work in their galleries and who
comes by and notices what I'm trying to do
 -- you make my day! ;-)

Have a thanking-your-friends day

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Love is here -- and on the way!

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
(quite a bit left to do to polish
this one ;-)
The Love month is here.  And I know every
month is a love month to the loving.
Still I am such a fan of Valentine's Day.  I can't
begin to tell you.  And this year I am not
working on the day -- which is wonderful.

Started painting the image for this
year's cards, rustling up the red heart
decorations, throwing out the few last
indoor hints of Christmas.  I love red
hearts, love songs, love stories and most
of all love -- which I've been lucky to
share for a long time with my dear one,
Steven, and my family, Christopher,
Sam, Megan, and my friends.

Have a welcoming-in-the-month of love 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!