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.


cohen labelle said...

Vision and imagination -- that's the ticket. You got it.


Barbara Muir said...

Thank you. I'm glad I'm getting it. I've been working on it for awhile now. I love reading about Degas and his angst about trying to get the figure. 'Come on!' I think. "You?"


Diane Hoeptner said...

Must check out Oliviera book. I love Mary Cassatt's portraits... The Manet portrait and your thoughts are very evocative. Beautiful painting.

Barbara Muir said...

Thank you Diane, I am loving your paintings so much. Amazing!


Laurel Daniel said...

You have caught my interest with this book - I will have to read it. It's always so interesting to find out about the habits and practices of the greats. I love your paintings too - you bring him to life! XOXO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Thank you I must move on, because I have a friend who would never forgive me if I didn't pay attention to Mary Cassatt,
whose work I've always loved.

Thank you Laurel. You know I love your work.


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!