Thursday, November 16, 2017

Work in progress -- life's big secret

Untitled (work in progress)
watercolour and pencil on 
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Here I am making myself laugh in the middle
of the night.  A common phenomenon.  No.  I'm
not crazy, I'm blessed with an odd sense of humour
and friends and family who are funny too.  But
I wanted to post this little watercolour, which
is a work in progress, and of course was struck with
the irony of the term.

Is that it?  Our whole lives are works in progress.
Like mine now -- trying to get the teenager in
me to calm down, quit thinking about the great
day and go to sleep.  Meanwhile here's a little
watercolour I'm working on.  Thanks for helping
me.  I went back to working on my larger
painting, little by little.  Another life lesson.
That's the way to do it.

Wishing you a getting-on-with-it day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

If you're tired -- lie down!

Let sleeping dogs lie
 charcoal on bond paper
14 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

I love the sight of the people and animals I love sleeping -- especially
when I know that they're exhausted.  Animals don't need to be
persuaded, and in fact mine are on a very fixed schedule of
morning, afternoon and evening naps.
Cat on an office chair
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir ©  2009
New in pink
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2014
I feel the urge to nap right now, after a day of running around
trying to get my list completed.  I am working on a small
painting, should be working on a larger painting, and could
add a list of shoulds as long as the TransCanada highway.
Instead I will show you some examples of the art of sleep
from my blog, and get back to work in an hour or so.
Are you awake?
Charcoal on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Sleeping dog with cat food can
Watercolour and marker on
Arches watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Have an enjoying-a-nap-day.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Loving flowers -- more from the garden


Autumn beauties
watercolour and marker on 
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
When I first started painting professionally, I was mainly a
flower painter.  And I still love the glorious colours and 
happiness that bouquets of flowers can bring into the
house.  Outside now the world looks grey and brown.
Inside the last surviving flowers are bravely putting out
new blooms to my amazement and delight.

Here is another watercolour of our late season offerings.
I am having fun painting these, and will perhaps be
showing them in a pop-up sale in mid December.  

Have a letting-flowers-turn-the-joy-up day 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sold in New York City -- Happy Dance!


No Contest -- Nature Wins!
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

It's always a treat to exhibit in New York City -- one of the art capitals of the
world.  And it doesn't hurt a bit that I love both the city, and the wonderful
curator who runs my gallery there. This painting had the special Karma of
my deep love for Nova Scotia and its landscapes.  Plus the A&M are dedicated
to two of the sweetest people in my life -- Alice and Megan.  

So I was excited to learn the piece sold.  I loved painting it, and the title
says it all.  The beauty of Nova Scotia is partly that the massive move to
urbanization has not hit there so far.  Fingers crossed that that continues.

Have a loving buying art day!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remembering joy


Late summer flowers
watercolour and marker on 
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
In the midst of great sorrow each opportunity for joy
and hope seems like a miracle.  My family is grieving
the death of my lovely niece last month.  Losing her
has overshadowed so many parts of normal daily life.

But through it all -- each moment of delight, each sweet
memory of a moment with her, each bit of pleasure
offers up the validation that life goes on, and also that
it's important that those of us left behind continue to
live the life she won't get to enjoy.

Last night I had a wonderful conversation with the
artist, Georgia Fullerton -- an amazing woman, and
we talked about purpose and mission.  I know that my
mission on the planet is to create joy and happiness
with my art, and to try and share those feelings
with the people I encounter in my artistic, and teaching life.

This watercolour, my first step back to painting,
is of the last flowers in the garden -- frost hit the
other night, and that is the end of that part of the year.
The garden was a delight this year.

Wishing you a day filled with beauty and happiness

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sam's day in the birthday line up



Skype Sketch of Sam
Charcoal pencil on bond paper
6 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Searching through my blog for images of Sam there are
so many.  That makes sense.  My family were the
natural subjects for so many paintings and sketches, and
still are.  He has grown up now, and I was trying to find
a sketch that reflects the happy self confidence he radiates
today. He's enjoying life -- which of course makes everyone
around him happy.

Today is his birthday, and this drawing from seven
years ago captures him in a happy mood -- tired and
enjoying his life -- in school.  I drew him via Skype,
which was something I liked to do back
then.  Sam now looks much more mature, but the
kindness in his face here captures something
that is essential Sam.

Happy Birthday Sam!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Missing my mother's Happy Birthday


Isabel
Ink on Moleskine paper
8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

My mother was a gorgeous beauty -- never aware or confident
of that for reasons I will never know.  Today would have been
her birthday if she were alive to see it, and I thought of her
all day.

I've never done a painting of my mother, or even a real sketch,
so decided to try.  I get why I was intimidated -- she had her own
unique look.  Plus I know so much about her -- almost too much to
approach her simply as a portrait subject.  But I'd like to try again.
Here's my first sketch.

My mother was brave, resilient and always looked for joy in small
things.  Even blind, with a serious lung disease she asked me to
help her fill out cheques to dozens of charities.  Not large amounts,
but the thought of helping people was uppermost on her to do
list.  I miss her every day, but especially today.  She died on
Canadian Thanksgiving Day four years ago, and enjoyed a full
and mostly happy life.  I will try drawing her again to make an
effort to capture her beauty and the inspiration of her spirit.

Wish your mother Happy Birthday. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Beautiful Niece Is gone

 
Before the Dance in the White Dress                    After the Dance in the White Dress
Both Acrylic on canvas
Both 24 x 24 inches
Both Barbara Muir © 2008

Some things that happen in life are so sad that there is
no way to just carry on as usual.  I've written
about this before, and I know I will get back to painting
soon, but for now the loss of my niece is paramount
in the sorrow of my brother, her father, her mother
and the family -- her aunts, uncles, cousins, and me and
my husband.

My niece Chloé died suddenly in early October.  She was
beautiful, kind, intelligent -- a wonderful young woman.

She posed for these two portraits in my Dance Series, and
I will be grateful to her for doing that forever.

Miss you Chloé.  Our love and thoughts are with your
Mother, Father and my brother's wife.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

More on New York plus saved by the garden


Toy boat on the pond in Central Park, New York City
I had an amazing time in New York City.  City of art and light
and entertainment and festivity.  I remember before I showed in
New York the first time that I was warned that New Yorkers are
cold.  I'm sure that cold New Yorker exists.  You may even know
him by name.  But I have never met a cold New Yorker.  What
I've met is warm, lovely people from all over the world, who
make that city their home, and who love to talk.  We had
conversations about art of course, and about music, and
food, and of course worried discussions of climate change
and the horrific hurricanes battering the southern U.S.

A couple shares a quiet picnic in Central Park

Now I am home.  As well as the people I miss glorious Central
Park, which I'm sure is one of the most ideal urban parks on the
planet -- so large, so filled with benches and quiet nooks, precious,
gorgeous trees, animal life, flowers and absolutely welcoming and
rich in beauty.
Dance by Matisse
at the MoMa in NYC
Plus I miss the galleries.  I miss the MoMA and the Met. Especially the
Met this time, which we visited twice.  I stared at Sargent's portrait of
Mrs. Hugh Hammersley for probably the 20th time, and was struck anew by the
strange and magical techniques Sargent had used painting this woman.
 I loved the Portrait of Theodore Duret by James McNeill Whistler,
and Mary Cassatt's Portrait of a Young Girl.


Portrait of Mrs Hugh Hammersley
By John Singer Sargent
The Met, NYC


Portrait of Theodore Duret 
by James McNeill Whistler
Met Museum, NYC
(I love the discussion on the link about
why the woman's evening cape was
needed for contrast.  But looking at the
painting I saw a dutiful mate waiting patiently 
for his wife or girlfriend at the end of 
a gala evening, and that made me smile.)

Portrait of a Young Girl
by Mary Cassatt -- The Met Museum NYC

 I came home feeling terribly sad to have to say goodbye.  I'm
probably an artist who would be happy living in a hotel.  But I'd miss
my cats (the siamese is calling at the moment asking to be held),
and my dog, and this week the garden.  My Japanese Anemones,
taller than I am at 5'4", are a blaze of white blooms against their dark,
green leafy base.  So perfect.  And the Morning Glories are the size
of saucers, maybe even larger in a blue that's impossible to
replicate -- one of the most joyous, soulful colours I've ever
seen.  My gallery director in NYC helped me out with my acute case
of homesickness for her city.  She told me I could not have the life
I have here in Toronto in New York, with a small house and a garden,
and the peace to create the art I make.  She's right.  Few people in downtown
New York have even a small backyard.
Japanese Anemones in our little garden -- a super cheerful sight.
She turned my heart back in the direction of home, and now back with
my family and friends my sadness is gone and I'm happy and content
with my memories.  For now.  But I'm coming back New York.
You can count on it!

Have a loving travelling for art day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Leaving New York City -- the long goodbye


Saxophone player in front of the Metropolitan Museum of
Fine Art, New York City.


For the rest of this week I will be saying goodbye to New York
where I've just spent five wonderful days.  Tonight after
arriving home in Toronto I am both happy to be back in
my home town with my family, and Toronto friends, and
sad to leave one of the best cities I've encountered in the world
so far.  So I will feature New York this week, and share some of
what I love about the place.

I figure five days would be all I need to live somewhere else,
and feel -- "Oh yeah -- this is my home."  I was totally
getting that way in New York City until I heard the saxophone
player in front of the Met play "Oh Canada!".  He touched my
heart, and made me realize -- okay Canada is certainly one
of my homes.  I thanked him profusely, and he went on to play
other countries' anthems.  One of the super things about New York
is the people, who are smart, funny, generous and love to
meet and talk to other people.

Have a living-like-a-New-Yorker day.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fabulous opening at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery today

Me with art appreciator and new friend Judith Newfield
in front of
The happiest view 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 60 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(to see the painting photographed 
at a normal angle click here.)
I had a wonderful time at the opening of the group show
I'm in at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.  It was
extremely well attended and the work was fantastic.

Artist Philip Catania and his wife Karen.  I think Philip
and I have been in at least 6 shows together.

 One of Philip Catania's paintings
titled The Swamp.

A gorgeous sample of the wonderful 
flower paintings by Nancy Balmert

Artist Patrick Walsh does amazing collages of
his photographs to make dramatic,
powerful  images.

I enjoy meeting artists, and seeing people who have shown
with me at this gallery before.  It is a superb exhibition, and if
you're in New York City in the next few weeks be sure to check
it out.


Me with Gallery Owner and Director
Ruthie Tucker.  This painting got a lot
of attention!
There are 13 artists in this dynamic exhibition.  To the artists whose work I didn't
mention -- my apologies.  My telephone wouldn't let me take photos, so all
I have are the photos my husband took!

My extreme gratitude to Ruthie Tucker the director, and her assistants, Torie and Valeria.
What a pleasure to be part of this.
Happy discussions in the room with my paintings.
Have a going-to-wonderful-art-shows day.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gratitude to a hero -- the luminary influence of Louise Hay


Inspiration
Acrylic on birch panel
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Before I first read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, I know
I was already trying to be a positive person.  But all artists/writers/people
get the blues, go through hard times, and doubt themselves.
Louise Hay popularized the idea that it is okay to love yourself.
And in fact taught that all decent, kind behaviour to others begins
with accepting and loving yourself.

This was a major shift in thinking.  She wasn't proposing narcissism,
but trying to reform our natural tendency to self criticism.  That
doesn't mean that signing on to her ideas, and believe me they
were like magic for me, ended all my self scrutiny and worry.
But she gave people tools for transforming a bad day, hard
experience, and crippling lack of confidence into something
brighter, stronger, more resilient.

I will always be grateful.  A few years ago I did some small
portraits of some of my heroes to put up in a show I was in
here in Toronto.  I didn't intend to sell the work, and did not.
They were for me -- as recognition of a fantastic experience
I'd had meditating about meeting some of my favourite people
while my husband was having an acupuncture session, and I
had to sit with him quietly.  Naturally one of those portraits
was of Louise Hay. I would have loved to meet her.

Last week Louise Hay died, and it all came back to me. I wanted
to honour her here because I don't think this blog would have
happened, or that I would be an artist who's been featured in shows
in Europe and New York, without her influence. I think that the
happiness I enjoy with my family and friends, the wonderful people
I've met in my art and teaching career, and even my relatively good
health cycles back to the groundwork for joy in her teachings.  And I
just want to say thank you Louise.  Since you've been gone,
I keep hearing a quote from you.  "In the infinity of life where
I am all is perfect, whole and complete."  I love that and I
know that wherever you are that is true.

Have a caring for others and loving your life day.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

New York bound -- a joyous journey

No Contest -- Nature Wins!
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches

Barbara Muir © 2016
This is the last painting in the trio celebrating the beauty
of Nova Scotia, that will be on display on September
9 at the champagne opening and I'll be there.  So if you're
in New York City then, and want to come out -- see the
art and have some fun, let me know.  You know that party
you are always wanting -- this is it.

When I am in Nova Scotia, clouds, the landscape and the
sea dominate my vision.  But I am strongly attracted to
cityscapes too. So I love this little corner of commercialism
with the clouds doing a happy dance above, and of course
being more spectacular than anything below.  Truth to tell,
just around the corner there are fields and horses, about six
blocks away are some of the most beautiful, majestic houses in the
Maritimes, and along the road, and around another corner you
can see farmland as far as the eye can see, rolling in gorgeous
shades of green and yellow, and then the ocean.

I am missing all of it, and the wonderful people I know
there.

Have a loving-what-you-see day.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A continuous high -- the ecstasy of clouds


The happiest view 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 60 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Today's painting will I hope be the centerpiece in my New York
exhibition next month at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.  Finishing
it made me so happy -- because the scale (quite large) really gets
across the magic of clouds over the ocean.  It's almost like clouds,
dance, and stretch and breathe into the most gorgeous and luminous
sculptural shapes when they have the space -- over rolling farmland,
or the wide open ocean.  They get both opportunities in Canada's
maritimes.

And we artists on the ground looking up are in complete awe.  I felt
like I got that with this one.  And I love it.  So once again -- if you
are in New York City when my three paintings are part of a group
show at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Chelsea.  Let me know
and I'll send you an invite to the champagne opening between
3 and 5 p.m. on September 9.

Thank you for all your support.  We artists and collectors and curators
need one another, and I feel so lucky to get to do this work.

Have a marvelling at clouds day.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sending Nova Scotia to New York


At the Boat Launch -- Port Philip
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016 - 2017

I first painted this painting last year and revised it when I came back from
our recent trip to Nova Scotia.  The experience of walking down the
boat launch and seeing masses of brilliant yellow flowers and red, red sand
was still vivid in my mind, and demanded some changes.  Paintings
do that.  They look at you and say "Really?" And the next thing you
know you are back in the thick of it.  I'm happy with the results.

The work I'm sending to New York City for a show in September at
the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, is all about my love of Nova Scotia.
Sitting at the dinner table a few days after we got back, my husband
and I were teary with longing for the place.  I painted when I was
in N.S., and visited other artists.   New art projects were filling my mind.
But Nova Scotia is too far from our family, and from the familiar
and friendly art world here.  Still seriously, if you haven't been, you
must go. And if you go to this place on Highway 6, there are magnificent
views in every direction.

I apologize for the photo.  I was in a big rush to ship the work
so it could arrive on time.  More about this, and about the artists
I met on my trip to come.

Have a getting-the-work-out-to-the-world day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Water -- and painting


Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
If you have running hot and cold water be happy.
We have been on holiday in our 100+ year old
school house for the past almost two weeks (with
a short two day break), and it does not have running water.

Most years when we come here we go to a lovely
park on the shore (that we think of as our beach --
although in Nova Scotia no one can "own" the
beach), and fill up our five 20 litre containers there.
It is about 15 minutes away, and we combine
getting water and going to the beach.

But this year the local parks do not have clean
drinking water, and we've been driving about
45 minutes away to a source a friend suggested.

When we get home to Toronto and turn on the tap it seems
like a miracle.  And in fact it really is.

This painting is still in process, and I will finish
it when I get back to my home studio.  I am
working on one here and it is coming along fine.

Have an enjoying your drinking water day.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Unique Vision -- the work of Flora Doehler


Me and Flora in front of a wall of her smaller work.
She is the feature artist this month at the Bear River
Artworks Gallery in Bear River, Nova Scotia.
All works are © Flora Doehler


One of Flora's larger works on view at the 
Bear River Artworks Gallery

I've just returned from a visit to my friends Flora Doehler
and Larry Knox.  I met Flora through the DVAC (Don
Valley Art Club) inToronto. She inspired me then, and does even
more so today.  Flora has painted every subject -- flowers,
portraits, landscapes.  But when Flora paints the results are
entirely unique.  Walking around her beautiful house and
studio my eyes were entranced -- and as an artist of course
I was constantly wondering how she did it.


This painting in the couple's bathroom totally blew me away.
Flora's paintings have an energy and excitement that is
all her own.  Her love of life comes through in every painting. 


This beautiful painting of lupins is 36 x 48 inches 
(I do know that measurement).
Apologies for the blurry photo.

 A landscape in the library at Flora's home.
 This beauty is 5 ft. x 4 ft.
Flora and Larry are major movers and shakers in the
Bear River community, both in the arts, and on other
projects.  Larry Knox makes beautiful jewelry which
is on display  at the Bear RiverArtworks Gallery. They are
part of the reason for the opening of the Gallery.  And they have
a studio beside their beautiful yellow house with blue trim in the town.

I was captivated by Flora's work this visit (as I have been
every time I've visited) and had to take some photos.  I'm afraid
I was rushed. There wasn't time (we were just in town overnight)
to get captions, dates and sizes for you.  But I know you will love her
work -- done with liquid acrylic on canvas,

Have a loving-your-artist-friends'-work day.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Alchemist -- and Dreaming paintings

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(forgive the photograph taken
with my phone.)
The drive from Toronto to our school house in Nova Scotia
is 1,000 plus miles (or 1609 kilometres) (more like 1846 kilometres
on the route we take).  What helps us in the long, long hours on the
road are audio books, and we listened to The Alchemist written by
Paulo Coelho for part of the trip, read by the wonderful actor Jeremy Irons.
The book was both spiritual and romantic -- but Jeremy Irons' voice
gave it a delicious power.  The message delivered by the little
shepherd boy in the story was to be brave enough to live your
legend.  That wasn't about fame, or fortune, but about living
your best life.  A great message.  I started seeing paintings as we drove
through Canada's spectacular landscapes.

Then last night, after being saturated in the beauty of Nova Scotia
I dreamt this painting that I'm working on today.  I want to capture
the amazing light you see here.

Have a loving-books-and-paintings day

Friday, July 21, 2017

Joyous rain -- artists are complicated


Rain Ahead
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Available

Talking to my wonderful friend in the Netherlands
this morning, we touched on rain.  I always find
the divide between what goes on in the studio --
(what really goes on -- painting), and what is
imagined to be happening -- both surprising and
funny.

So my friend said that people assume that when
we artists paint a grey sky, or a rain filled image that
we are gloomy.  But no.  Because we love the look
of rain too!  Landscape painters love weather and
change, and find beauty in nature's variety.

I don't think I've shown you a photo of this painting
 -- Rain Ahead -- capturing the amazing rain my husband
 and I saw driving home to Toronto from Ottawa on our
 anniversary weekend.

Have a happy in rain, or shine day.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The total joy of happy collectors!



A collector's arrangement of Barbara Muir works.  © Barbara Muir.
I love these three paintings which all glorify daily life -- my intention
when I painted them.  And it makes me happy to see that. Thank
you to a wonderful collector.

Is there anything better for an artist than being
taken through someone's house to see the place
where your art is displayed?  No way!  You
dream up ideas in the night, you plan, and paint
and think about your work.  And then in a show,
or a private viewing -- Woo Hoo!  It sells.

Yes.  That is a huge thrill, made even bigger
if possible, by a collector who shows you
how your work looks with wide, wide smiles
beaming with pride.  Whew!  Knock me out!

One such wonderful collector sent me this photo
of my work yesterday.  What a delight.


Have a loving-your-collectors day!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Walking in a dream


Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

The gift of landscape painting -- is that what you love is
around you all the time.  It was the most beautiful
and long spring this year, and is now a magnificent
summer.  This painting is of crabapple trees a short
walk from my house that felt like a fantastic party in
pink at the height of their glory.

Our winter was so grey it was recorded as one of the
longest winters without sun in some time.  So to step
out of the house and see this was like a spectacular
present -- a miracle.

I have loved working on the painting, and it's almost done.

Have a loving-what-you-see day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pop Up Art Show opens tomorrow -- Come on out!




I have three pieces in the Independents Show opening
tomorrow night.  Come on out to 1340 Queen Street
West between 7 and 11 p.m. tomorrow night and I'll
see you there.  Admission is free -- it's a big show --
wonderful work, and this is the party we've been
waiting for.  See you there.  One of my paintings is
in the bottom right hand corner of the ad above.

Have a going to an art show evening (tomorrow).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Anniversary Steven My Love

The two of us in Quebec City
watercolour and marker on
watercolour paper
9 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

Today is our wedding anniversary, and I just want to
thank my wonderful husband for the sweet life we
have together.  I am one lucky woman. I love you
Steven.

A couple of days ago a friend on Facebook posted a
piece about treating each day as your last, and got
me thinking about the opposite, treating each day
as your first!  Eh?  Not a bad idea.  I've been doing
that ever since and enjoying every day so much.

 I wake up in the morning and think -- this is my
first day on the planet, and okay I'm a grown woman.
But wow I'm married to a gorgeous man, who loves
me.  I have a super family -- two wonderful sons,
a daughter-in-law I love, my son's girlfriend, who I
love, and baby Alice who visited today who I love.

Everything in my life seems fantastic -- almost magical
viewed this way.  And of course that is how artists see
all the time -- in some ways. We are quite often high on life,
but this idea takes it to a new level.  Wonder at everything.
And back to this day.  What a treat it is to love someone
with all of your heart, and to be loved back equally.
A miracle. I am so grateful that that's been my reality.

I have been absent from the blog because I agreed to teach
a 7 week course a couple of evenings a week, but it took up
 all of my time.  Don't worry I am coming back.  I had a
wonderful time teaching, and learned a lot.

Meanwhile -- this is our anniversary, so I'm posting a
portrait I did a few years ago of the two of us.  It doesn't
look like us really, but the mood is there.

Have an enjoying-your-life-as-though-it's-brand-new day.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

On the days between -- my love to you!


Before the Dance in the White Dress
Part of the Dance series
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 
(Thank you to my sweet niece Chloé for posing for this one)
I am probably the most cheerful artist you know.  Or one of
them.  Not because of a life free from problems, or because
I am wildly successful, or even because of art itself.  I just
simply am.  Right now the loudest sound in this huge city
other than my typing is a Robin chirping on the back porch.

That could be why I am happy right now.  Or is it the kitchen
table with it's little silver tray crammed with white cream pitchers
filled with purple and yellow pansies?  Or the dog wondering
if I will eat more soon, and if so could she maybe have a taste?
Or could it be that this is one of slowest, wettest, most beautiful
springs in recent memory -- that new spring green just lasts and
lasts captivating me. Or is it -- yes it is -- knowing that you are
out there with your wonderful creativity, your affection, your life
lessons, and inspiration.  Thank you.

Art sometimes is slow in coming.  I am working on a very happy
painting now, but it is not a fast painting.  And when I don't write
I miss you.  What to do?  How about showing you a painting from
my Dance series of a few years back that I am very proud of.
This series was about young people on the edge of life in "Before
the Dance" paintings, and grew to include people "At the dance",
and even "After the dance." I'll show you what I'm working on soon.

Have a loving-your-life day!        

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

An iconic Nova Scotia landmark -- home in Ontario


The House on the Hill #2
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
SOLD ♥ 
This house -- is a perfect example of a Nova Scotia
clapboard farmhouse.  It's a sight I crave when I'm not
in the province. This particular house means that we
are almost there -- almost to the small town of Pugwash,
almost to our school house -- almost home to Nova
Scotia.

I have never met the owners, who would probably be
flabbergasted that I've painted their house more than once.
In fact this painting needs to have a #2 added to its name
because I sold a different view of it last year with the
same name!

What is particularly happy news for me is that the sight
of that house meant Nova Scotia, and nostalgia for a
beloved place to the buyer too.  So even though the
painting will live in Ontario, it will bring the beauty of
Nova Scotia to the collectors who now own it.

A very happy ending all round.  Thank you owners of
this iconic house.  Your house makes me happy every time
 I see it.

Have a loving-what-you-see day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sometimes everything happens perfectly -- grace in action


A Perfect day
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
SOLD ♥ 
One of the things that makes me happiest about painting is
being able to create an image of a place, person or still life that captures
what I feel in the first moment of seeing what I'd like to paint.
As the painting goes on, even if the process makes it appear
simpler, the thrill is in the Aha, of "Yes! that's what I wanted to do!"

This painting has that, and it made me happier than I can describe
properly when a woman came to our This Magic Land show, and
stood in front of this scene caught up in her feeling about place.
The Maritimes landscapes are magical to her, and we share that
feeling.  So she took a photo of my work and went home to see
where it might fit.

Next day she came back eager to buy it, and had to wait until the
show came down.  At which point I packed it up for her, and off she
went.

I love how that worked -- how I felt moved by the scene, and she
did too.  I loved how we talked about the Maritimes, and about the
peace we feel there.  And I love that my perceptions meant enough
to her that she took the painting home and put it up in her house.
In this artist's life that is grace in action.

Have a finding-the-art-you-love day.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Home again, home again to a wonderful new home

In the right place at the right time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
SOLD ♥ 
This painting is a world traveler that's been to places
I've never been.  My lovely artist friend in the Netherlands,
Miranda Brouwers got me into an exhibition called
Kunst in Drimmelin in support of a nature reserve called
the Worp.  The whole painting experience was a delightful
example of international co-operation.  My friend wanted
a painting with my blue skies of her beloved spot.  She
sent me many photos, and I researched the look here in
Toronto at a marsh that looks quite similar.  The result --
my happy painting -- In the right place at the right time.

The painting traveled to the Netherlands rolled up in a tube,
was stretched by Miranda and exhibited in a beautiful church.
It came home just in time for another exhibition.

At the This Magic Land show the weekend before last it
sold to a collector who loved the painting featured on our
invitation, and enjoyed its back story too.  I was so delighted
to deliver the painting to a collector who commissioned a
poignant work years ago of her mother and father.

I know she and her partner will enjoy living with the painting
as much as I loved creating it.

Have a doing-the-work-you-love day!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and children of the world



Some of my paintings of mothers (and grandmothers)
Happy Mother's Day.
One of my happiest roles in life is to be a mother to two sons.
And now the role gets better and better as my boys have
grown into men, and our family has expanded to include
my daughter-in-law, and my son's girlfriend, and to our
son and daughter-in-law's lovely baby, our granddaughter.


Sometimes I am baffled by how intelligent we are as
children.  And something I knew that I wanted to be from
about three on was a mother.  Of course I admired and loved
my own mother, and she was the original inspiration for
that dream.  But I also loved babies and children and
took care of them, and was paid to do so from the moment
I was big enough to hold a baby.

A great thing about the connection to humanity through
your children, is that as your children grow up, you love
every age they reach, which makes you love and understand
children going through all of the stages of baby to adult.
That is very helpful when I'm teaching young and even
older adults.  We all started out as eager, loving, curious
beings.  And the glorious thing about that, is that it is
all still inside us -- that wonder, curiosity and eagerness
to learn.

Much love to my children, my family, my friends, collectors,
and to all the mothers, children and families in the world, and
to my wonderful husband who made my dreams come true!
Thank you.


Having a loving your mother and mothering day

Thursday, May 11, 2017

To the beaches -- we fans can't stay away


Winter at the beach
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
SOLD ♥ 

Coming back to Toronto after being away sometimes
makes me sad.  Take being off in Paris for instance --
seeing truly magnificent architecture and art -- for a few
days Toronto can seem small, and not quite with it.  The
answer to my "other city homesickness" is the beaches.

My husband knows me so well, that at the first sign of
my overwhelming longing to be somewhere else he takes
me to our favourite, quiet little beach in Toronto.  But if
at all possible, on weekends he may try an even more
profound cure, and take me as far as Port Stanley on
Lake Erie.  This is how this little painting came about.

We head to the beach in all weather -- and this is Port
Stanley in winter.  The collector who bought the piece
knows that drive along the lakes well, and is also a fan
of beaches in all weather.  So this quiet scene sold to a
really good and appreciative home.  Thank you to the
collector, and to my dear Steven.

Have a heading-down-to-the-beach 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: 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!