Sunday, May 29, 2016

Art and the beach save the terrible, truly bad, day.

Drawing for a painting I'm thinking about
Work in progress (more as I do more)
Charcoal on bond paper
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
If you are the labeling kind of person, and
I can be, this was a pretty bad day.
My title references a children's book I
read to my kids: Alexander and the Terrible,
Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

1.When I was making my breakfast, and about to serve
it, I knocked the pot off the counter getting my
bowl down from the cupboard, and covered the
kitchen floor with oatmeal.  (Okay the dog
had a go at it, and Steven helped me clean it up,
and I made more oatmeal -- problem solved.) I
An arrangement of stones left close to the water's edge
2. I was trying to make a Facebook photo album,
spent about an hour on it, and was putting the
last photo in, when the computer froze, and no
matter what I tried would not let me do a thing.
I stayed calm, and decided to stop.

3. Unloading the dishwasher while my eggs cooked for
lunch,  I stacked a set of glass containers on the counter
getting ready to put them away when. SMASH!  They fell
on the floor, and exploded sending flying glass all over
the kitchen, plus several of the tiny shards shot into
my legs, and one foot. Freak out.  Yes.  Broken glass is
incredibly upsetting when you have three animals underfoot,
and you have bleeding cuts!  After I cleaned up the bigger
 pieces all over the room (that glass flew easily 10 feet), Steven
helped me clean my wounds, got the vacuum for me, and I soldiered

4.  At this point I could have given up, but Steven
suggested getting out of here (Oh fabulous idea!).
Did I mention that it was incredibly hot today?
Hot, sticky and unpleasant.  So we drove
down to Lake Ontario, and guess what it was
cool enough there that I could wear a jacket.
After my multiple messes I felt so happy seeing people
relaxing, playing ball, and picnicking. Couples
snuggled on blankets, and kissed on the benches under
the trees.
Pieces of brick gathered and arranged  next to a stick
5. But best of all as we walked along the shore
searching for treasure like little children, I saw art
-- little collections of stones arranged in an artistic way.
Those gestures of creativity made me completely happy,
and when we left the beach I felt uplifted.
Steven and I say, "open your hands and close
your eyes," and then put the treasure we've
gathered into each others' hands.  Done.
I even found a piece of the rarest treasure --blue
glass. (Ironically most of our finds are pieces of

Tonight I started this drawing in preparation for
a painting I'm thinking of.  I'll show you more
as I get farther along.  Meanwhile stay happy.

Have a getting through to the art day. 
Check out the links to sites I could have
used in the midst of this saga.

Friday, May 27, 2016

To the people who asked for abstracts -- here's one!

 Broken Line #3
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
At the show I was in in April with Gill Cameron,
at the Wychwood Barns, one couple was struck with
my large abstract pieces and said they'd be interested
in a smaller painting in that style.

That made me think that in the midst of my
other work -- I might create at least one smaller
abstract a week if I was in Toronto.

This week I've been working on this painting --
a continuation of the Broken Line series I started
for a show at the Super Wonder Gallery curated
by the superb curator, Daniel Anaka.

Have an enjoying life in the abstract day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Art group - an hour of plugging in

 Art Group Sketch -- No more sorrow
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18
Barbara Muir © 2016

It's been so long since I could join my art group on
Tuesday night to paint from the model.  Tonight's
gentleman was excellent at giving off a mood --
serious, contemplative, artist/musician -- like
the best art models, stories bounced out of him
as he posed in absolute silence.

Here's what an hour with the group with two
breaks brought out in me.  So wonderful to
see my fellow artists again.  What with shows
out of the country, teaching and the inability
to stand for long, my home studio and
being able to break whenever I needed to has
been my refuge.

But how great to be with the group and hear
their stories.

My title goes with the model's expression.

Have a reconnecting with your friends day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Okay New York -- show us some more!

Lynx Alexander, or Alexander Lynx at the MoMA
(Museum of Modern Art), New York City last Sunday
Our second day started out with an agonizingly long
meeting guaranteeing a better deal in the hotel,
so we went for it.  But whew, afterwards walked out
into the cold May air and straight to Rockefeller
Square for lunch.  We were served by a tall,
handsome young waiter who reminded us of our
son Sam, and sure enough the waiter is an actor
in his other life.  His sense of humour, and kind
manner put us back in the groove.

At the MoMA before we took the elevator to a
spectacular show of Degas monoprints and drawings
we met the man shown above in the lobby.

I was of course delighted by his tie curling
up in sculptural defiance of the rule of ties, so I asked
him how he did it, and he explained his method (wire
and resin). But his art he said with no fanfare
whatsoever was about painting pianos.  That
is perhaps the understatement of the year, as I found
out when I researched him later.  Lynx Alexander,
or Alexander Lynx is the Steinway artist in residence
and has painted some very famous pianos indeed.
Click the link above to see an incredible video of
Lynx painting Steinways. 

The Degas show -- Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty
 is a must see -- with pastel drawings and monoprints I've
 never seen before. This is one of my favorite pieces in the

Two studies for music hall singers, 
(Deux études pour chanteuses de
café-concert) circa 1878 - 80
Pastel and charcoal on gray paper
Edgar Degas

 I love the quote from Degas and the explanation
displayed with this work too.  Something we artists
can no doubt agree with wholeheartedly.

And no matter what's happening I can't leave the MoMA without seeing
the Monet Water Lilies paintings.

  Have a getting out to see some art and artists day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New York!

In the same building as the Amsterdam Whitney was a gorgeous
gallery space -- clearly ready to be rented -- it made Steven
and me think of my Toronto curator, and friend Daniel Anaka,
and how much he would enjoy New York.

The night before the opening we met artist Wendy Barrett
for drinks and dinner.  Wendy was in New York
visiting from Australia and I got a picture
with Wendy and with her wonderful book which
details how she worked on being creative for an entire year
no matter how difficult her circumstances were .

Here I am with Wendy
and below with her book Grabbing The Muse by The Throat
a great read for artists.
 Me with artist Denton Burrows on West 25th Ave. NYC
Denton Burrows is a great guy and he explained
all of the types of paint and ink he uses to create these murals.
(acrylic spray paint, and a huge ink marker for the dots
he's applying in the photo below)

Okay.  If you haven't been, maybe you wouldn't like
visiting New York, but I love it to a degree that is astonishing.
After my opening on Saturday, I walked out the door on
West 25th street to see this!
Around the corner -- we went into the Pace Gallery to take in an incredible
David Hockney show of images taken from his iPad:

One of David Hockney's Yosemite Suite series
iPad drawings printed very large on large pieces
of paper pieced together to make a huge image.

Here's another image from David Hockney's Yosemite Suite 
series to give you an idea of the size.  I'm a 
huge fan of David Hockney, and was delighted
to get to see this work.

 I'll add more to this tomorrow, but in the meantime, book your flights
and hotel so we can all get together in NYC!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Art Opening in New York City -- the city of art

 Executive Director of the Amsterdam 
Whitney Gallery and me in front of my
 Ocean series work.
Yesterday afternoon was excited to be part of an
opening for a group show at the Amsterdam Whitney
Gallery, in Chelsea, New York City.  It was a real treat
get to see the Director of the gallery, Ruthie Tucker and
her husband Alton Louis Amsterdam III.

My work, which was featured in the Florence Biennale
is there  -- a grouping from the Wonder Water Series.
It looks super, and it was delightful to hear how much
the guests and staff liked my work.

Doing the Happy People move for
Miranda Brouwers who
started that idea with me at
The Florence Biennale in the
fall and together we invigorated
a good size group. 
And I was incredibly happy
to see my work here in New York City!

The gallery attracts an intellectual, cultured audience.
Because my series is based on the idea of saving
the oceans, there were invigorating and perceptive
discussions on everything from climate change, to
the political climate -- which the New Yorkers we
talked to were quite concerned about.

Below you can read part of the compelling press
release Ruthie Tucker wrote about my work.  It is
such a pleasure to work with people who understand and
appreciate what I'm doing.

Have a checking out this show if you're in New
York City day.

Detail from the press release (thank you Ruthie
Tucker -- you are amazing)
"Henry David Thoreau declared: "I would give all the wealth of the world,
 and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision."  Canadian 
master Barbara Muir's narrative diorama collection entitled, "Ocean Series", 
reverberates a clear, unique artistic vision that reflects a deep reverence 
for nature and a passion for our oceans, landscapes and inhabitants of our 
environs.  Rejoicing in the penetrating beauty and profound effect that our 
environment plays in the quality of our lives and throughout the imperiled
 world, Ms. Muir states: "The young will have to fix what past generations 
have done to the planet -- a tall order."

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Drawings fast and slow -- and an Art Opening in NYC today!

 Summer in Ottawa (Drawing in Process)
Black marker on Moleskine paper
10 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

Hi everyone,

I am in New York City for an art opening today at the
Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.  I'm in a group show there
for a month.

My love of New York City is profound, there is art
everywhere.  Everywhere we go people talk to
us about their lives.  The city is vibrant 24/7.

I haven't got any painting done in the past week,
but have been thinking about what's next.  Perhaps
cityscapes on a more complicated level.
Pansies in a cream pitcher
(fast sketch)
Black marker on Moleskine paper
10 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

We met the artist Wendy Barrett last night for dinner.
She wrote the book Grabbing The Muse By the Throat,
which I read and loved.  My photos of the evening
have not worked out, so I'm waiting for her to send me
hers -- which were great.  She is a super artist, and
delightful person.

So today I may even do two blogs! Yes!  (We'll see
there is a lot to see and do, and that is paramount).
Leaving Toronto
(super fast sketch as plane was moving!)
Black marker on Moleskine paper
10 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

Have a coming to my opening from 3 - 6 p.m. at
the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery NYC Day

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My most recent portrait -- and step right up!

 The Daniel
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

About three and a half weeks ago, Daniel Anaka, the
curator of about 6 shows I've been in since last October
at the Super Wonder Gallery, sat for his portrait. 
One of the things I like about Daniel is his irreverent
sense of humour, and he enjoys teasing me about my
"sunny art."  He is also one of the kindest people in
the art world, exceptionally caring about artists and their art. 

I do want to focus on what is good about the world,
and I often wonder why artists don't paint people smiling.
It might not just be because they want to be taken seriously,
in fact full smiles are harder to paint than closed mouths.

So I asked Daniel to pose for me, and he posed in
a very serious way.  In between every 10 minute
session, he would laugh his contagious laugh
as he smoked cigarettes on our back porch, but
back in the chair -- boom stern, deep, pensive.
Posing in the studio (very crowded that day) 
with my studio companions
I am heading to New York this weekend, more on
that coming up.  But if you'd like to commission
a portrait I can do it all -- Happy, Serious, and
everything in between.  This painting was in
two shows in April, and is now with me until
Daniel gets his mansion -- which I feel positive
will happen soon, because he is a brilliant
curator, and an amazing artist.  

Have a commissioning a portrait day.
Incidentally I apologize for my blog,
it is going through a transition, and all
should be well in a week or so.

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!