Sunday, January 31, 2016

Not even close -- more and more fantastic!

 No Contest -- Nature Wins
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
(This is a corner in Amherst, Nova Scotia,
and the edge of a parking lot. I was
asked to do something urban with
my clouds.  And this is it.  It could
be a corner in a suburb anywhere in
Canada really. )
You know how you think your life is going to be?
Do you? You fall in love, learn how to do something
to make some money, do your job and have your kids,
and that's it.  All that is beyond wonderful, when it
works, and I have been really over the moon lucky,
because like the Facebook one liners say -- love IS
what matters.  I am well aware that life can be hard
as hell, and I've been there too, but I think it's important
to welcome the happy dance when it comes your way.

What they don't say is that life can just get more and
more amazing, and richer, and funnier, and more
delicious and delightful, and you can get more friends,
and if you leave the job that was there forever, but
started to wear thin, new stupendous opportunities
can fly in to dazzle you.  No I haven't been drinking --
just milk (seriously -- oh and tea at the Art Gallery
of Ontario -- but what an amazing week.)

I got my painting finished for the Scape show (landscapes)
at the Super Wonder Gallery -- with a love blast,
overwhelmingly, marvellous interruption in the process
in the final hours of our lovely granddaughter being
born -- perfect and gorgeous.
Alice with her Dad
How I ever went back to the easel is beyond me,
but I did. Whew.
 Me with In the City,
at the Scape show this weekend
on until February 4th between 2 and 8 p.m.
(This is the painting inspired by a 
Howard Wolinsky photo.)
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Two openings later, and yesterday an afternoon with
Alice Isabel Vincett Muir and her mom and dad, and
we are exhausted today, but filled with a giddy joy.
(Were you picking up on that?)  As there were other
visitors to the baby today we visited the Art Gallery
of Ontario, and saw the Turner show again.  We also saw a
super Stella, a Claes Oldenburg hamburger, Paul
Peel's beautiful work, a Monet,  and a Gaugin.

Tonight I'm planning my work for next month's show,
so that's all for now.  Whew.  I'll keep you posted.

Here's the show invite, in case you missed it.  It's a great show,
check it out if you're in town.

Have an enjoying-the-happiness-life-gives-you day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Here's the big one! A consuming scene.

 In the City
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
My hat is off to Howard Wolinsky who has played a huge
part in my art career for the past decade.  He, after all
shot the You Tube interview videos about my Skype
art that got me on the Oprah Winfrey show, and the
Where In The Skype Are You? segment.

Last fall Howard posted a picture so beautiful, so
cloud-filled, so awesome beyond compare that I asked
if I might do a painting based on the photo.

Life happened.

Howard went to Pakistan and India, and I went to
Florence, Italy and Paris, France.  In the meantime
Howard lost the high res image, but very kindly sent
me an image so that I could begin the painting.

I decided to go large, and although the photo is not
accurate in terms of colour, and we may try and get a
better image later,  here is the painting I've been
working on, bowing down to Howard's talents
in so many directions (photography is one), and
grateful beyond compare.

I had so much fun painting this one.  I think it's done,
but it isn't in a show until Tuesday, so I can't
promise small changes won't occur.

Meanwhile if you want to see the piece in all its
astounding beauty go to the Super Wonder Gallery
876 Bloor Street West, Toronto, to the Scape show
opening on Friday January 29. 

Have a loving-what-you-do day.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Small changes and -- Happy revelations!

Tea in the gallery with Marcia
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
(In the original I tried to include
a suggestion of Marcia.  Looking
at it in December I realized the
figure part, and yellow background
weren't working.  I painted out the
figure and changed the background 
colour and like it much better.  Besides 
Marcia you deserve a proper portrait.
This year I promise I will do one!)

When January hits I try to give myself a
self-promoted challenge to do a painting a day.
The exercise is demanding and inspiring.  But
this year I'm working one a few larger pieces
and they are my full time concern.

As I said in my last post, before my show at Super
Wonder Gallery in December, 2015, I was blessed
with seeing some of my work with fresh eyes.
Some of my work needed major transformation,
but for other small works changes in colour in places,
and in the backgrounds did the trick.

I don't know what gets in the way of complete vision,
but I'm sure nerves, the distractions of everyday
life, and a whole series of negative thoughts
dive into a frightening mix.
Painting in the studio
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
(I think the inspiration for this
might have come from Edward B. Gordon
who gets so much drama onto a very
small board.  But to start out this
painting with all its bold intentions was
a bit weak. I am quite happy with where
it ended up.)
It's so great to surface and like seeing the sunlight after
 a cold, deep dive in the lake, on a summer's day.

Tonight I'm showing you a couple of examples
of paintings I revised.

Have a seeing-the-happy-light day.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Like new -- seeing old work with new vision

The Yellow Field
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
True -- painting work is all about vision,
and I know some of that isn't related to
actual "vision" as in sight.

I am blessed with an eye surgeon brother-in-law
who tested my vision just before he moved
to California a year ago.   I owe part of my
visual ability to him, and to Joe at Optic Zone
who picks out my glasses for me.

But I'm also talking about the other kind of vision
-- clarity, understanding -- problem solving,

That kind of vision came to me like a blast
of glorious sunlight on a dark day just
before I was in the Idea arts and crafts show
at the Super Wonder Gallery before Christmas.

And it was like something I might have
looked to the heavens for all of my artistic
life.  Suddenly the voice in my head (fueled
only by coffee) was saying "Aha!  I know what
the problem is with that.  It's clear!"

And I revised paintings not finished at
the last go until I did like them.  What a delightful
discovery!  Sometimes paintings just need to
sit and wait their turn patiently for the creator
(me and you) to know how to finish the work.

Here's one of them -- I can link you to the start
and you'll see what changed.  I know part of
what held me back was too much of the first
kind of "vision" -- the anchor to reality.
That can be a hindrance in creating art.  What
matters is the vision of new Aha possibilities.
I think I am finally finished this one.

Have an-enjoying-your-visions day. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Please jump for me -- one year today since I had to stop!

Bring the joy in!
(final version)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

Go ahead put on a super dancing record, and
dance your head off for me please.  I hurt
my right knee badly one year ago, tense about
a relative who'd been in hospital that day,
very cold -- 30 below zero Celsius, and a
massive biting wind -- my knee snapped!

Should this happen to you, don't get on
your friend's treadmill (I did, really bad idea),
and don't pay attention to emergency room
doctors who say it's nothing.  Pain counts.
It is a big something.

Months of medical chats, and my own
research eventually got to the reason
 -- a torn meniscus, torn ligaments, and by
 then 6 months later -- the same damage in
the other knee, just from the stress of the
first injuries.

As for art, I kept on going.  In fact I
travelled more for art in 2015 than ever
before in my life (New York, Paris, New York,
Florence, Paris).  And in July, after two
MRI's, saw a surgeon who said I was doing a
great job (apparently going to gorgeous European
cities, and New York helped), and I will be all better
in 1 1/2 years.  Now that it's January, that's just
under a year away.

Now I can dance again (sort of), walk a distance with
lots of breaks to sit down, and do most of
what I did before.  Stairs are still a problem.
But worst of all I can't jump (yet), (and I love jumping).
So if you've read this far put your hands in the air
 and jump for me.
Santa Maria Novella
one of the exquisite churches I saw in Florence 
when I showed at the 2015 Florence Biennale
You can get there by taxi, if walking is
a problem. ;-)
Do it and enjoy that wonderful feeling of
lift off! (You're right, that's probably why
I went on so many planes this year and loved
being way up in the air.) In fact if you caught
this via Facebook, send me a photo of you
jumping.  That will make me so happy.

Have a going for the jump day.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Keeping loose and having fun

Live from New York
watercolour crayon on watercolour paper
10 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Here's another painting based on a Bob blast from
Bob Burridge.  Got another one today, and I've
been painting most of the day in a much more
serious way, so I thought -- lets try this one out too.

I found a little video I did for my brother's
birthday in May (Happy Birthday).  Stopped
the frame, got out my watercolour crayons
(couldn't find the pencils, although they'd be
fun too), and drew my portrait.

Then -- just like Bob Burridge, I put the water
on the colours with my fingers, dipping them
into a tiny glass of water.  Hey!  So much fun.
If Bob can't get you painting, probably
no one can, but you know I'm willing to give it
a try.

By the way.  I shot the Birthday song video
in my hotel room in New York City when I
showed there in May.  And looking at the image
brought back so many good memories.  Wow!
I love that city.

Have another Happy Day in the New Year.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Going for loose -- sometimes! Happy New Year

 For you Darling
Acrylic on watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

Just before Christmas, one of Bob Burridge's Bob blasts
(his weekly video art advice hit), told us how to paint
flowers without reference.  He did them in about five
minutes.  Mine took much, much longer.

This is one of two paintings I did with that technique.
I was going to put them in an art show before
Christmas, but thought better of it.  Tonight I was
looking for reference to another image, and found
them, and thought, 'why not?'

The world right now (and maybe it always has
been) is an uptight place.   In the spirit of startingf
a new year -- let's keep it loose just for today.

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful
words of inspiration and kindness to me
in 2015.  Here's to an amazing 2016.

One of my friends on Face Book started
calling it sweet 16, and that made me fall in
love with the new year.  Thanks Phyllis.

Happy New Year!

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!