Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Last day of the Month of Love -- Love lasts

My Dad (from his own self portrait)
Charcoal on Canson Mixed Media paper
13 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(My father loved black and white photography --
he had books by all of the greats in
that field.  He took beautiful colour
photos too, but that was not his
passion.  The photo I based my drawing on told
me so much about my father.  His love
of playing with light and his knowledge
about light is so evident.  Plus this
is my father in casual dress!  Yes
he would not leave his house, even
to go to the store for many years if
he wasn't dressed properly. Plus his sense
of humour came through in the merest 
suggestion of a smile.)
Not to end on a sad note, but this day in February
always has a special meaning for me because it was
my father's birthday.  My father died years ago, but
I think of him every year on his birthday, and
probably every other day of the year too.

So it is appropriate on this last day of the Month
of Love to think about the meaning of love on
a deep level.  And here's what I know.  Not only
is my father visible in my face, and in my way
of talking, my love of humour, and the fact that
I have been both a journalist and an artist, like him.
But the main connection I have with my Dad is in my

So the powerful message he would like me to convey
if he were alive on this the final day of the Month
of Love, is that love lasts.  It never goes away.  And
my Dad's love for me, and mine for him is a
wonderful thing, and always will be for me.

Isn't that comforting to know.  I think so.

Have a loving-the-people-who-love you day.

Monday, February 27, 2017

On this 27th day of the Month of Love -- Stephen Colbert

A man IV
black marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

Truth is I could have become quite depressed this
winter.  It seemed like the world had gone completely
nuts. Combine that with illness in my family and
as you witnessed many trips to the hospital, plus
a concussion -- keeping my spirits up -- something
I believe in working on, was not easy.
Drawing of a man
black marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Then I remembered Stephen Colbert.  I love
Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart (who was on The Late Show
tonight), and Jimmy Fallon -- but lately it has been
Colbert who keeps me laughing, and believing for
no clear reason that things will somehow get
Drawing of a man II
black marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Tonight I salute all of the comedy shows
that boost my spirits and celebrate them on this
second to last day of the Month of Love.
Drawing of a man 
black marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
It turns out that in 2009 I drew many drawings of
Stephen Colbert, which I labeled as the man.  I'd
freeze frame episodes of his show and try to capture
him mid-thought, or mid sentence.

I was a big fan then, and am one now. I noticed watching him
tonight, that he now wears dark framed glasses.   The
ties are a bit thinner I think.  But essentially he has the
same handsome, compelling, intelligent and humorous face.

Have an enjoying-the-brilliant-comedians day

Sunday, February 26, 2017

On the 26th Day of the Month of Love -- The Artist Project

Joyce Fournier with a few of her large collection
of bold abstract work. 
Today was a gorgeous sunny day, a big deal in this
grey city, and I celebrate the wonderful exhibition
The Artist Project on this superb day.  My dear
friend, and former gallery director, Joyce Fournier
got me tickets, and we hurried through the exhibition
to see her glorious abstract paintings -- huge and
vibrant and a major departure for Joyce. A band of
our unknown friend here -- sunlight -- snuck across
her painting as I was taking her picture, and the
painting seemed to welcome the attention.
Me with Kim Rempel and her wonderful abstract 
work at The Artist Project
Next we dropped in on my good friend, and amazing
artist, Kim Rempel, who also offered me tickets.
Her abstract work is absolutely breathtaking, and
I love seeing it in person, because I always check
out her work on her blog.  Huge and vibrant and
wonderfully designed I love, love, love Kim's work.
We met in 2011 when we were both in a show celebrating
100 years of International Women's Day, and have been
 friends and supporters of each other's art ever since.
Me with artist Gill Cameron at The Artist Project
Gill Cameron and I go way back as friends and
artist companions who have been in many shows
together with just the two of us.  I love those
exhibitions because they attract our local community
of collectors who cheer us on, support our creativity,
and also love our work.  Gill's beautiful work features
mostly the Canadian landscape, and particularly
the beauty of Georgian Bay.  Her watercolours
are vibrant, rich, unique in style and widely
beloved and collected.
Artist Ramona Nordal with some of her gorgeous work at The Artist Project
I met Ramona Nordal in 2015 and 2016 showing at the Super
Wonder Gallery in shows curated by Daniel Anaka.
Her stylized, vibrant portraits are completely unique
and captivating.  The faces in her work are
mesmerizing, and without a doubt she paints the
most beautiful eyes of any artist I know.  Ramona
was having a great time at the Artist Project and
selling very happily.  I was delighted to see her
work in person, because I follow her works in
progress on Facebook, and the work in person
is even more powerful and compelling.
Catherine Jeffrey with her amazing cityscapes at The Artist Project
Catherine Jeffrey and I followed one another's blogs
before we met in person at the Outdoor Art Show
in Toronto.  I love her cityscapes of this city,
which absolutely capture the feeling of the
different moods brought on by light and weather in
the downtown world.  Frequently when I'm driving
home from teaching at night, I think, 'this looks
exactly like a Catherine Jeffrey painting.'
I love how she captures the colour created by
changes in atmosphere, with fog, snow, or
rain.  She is amazing.

Thanks to all the artists whose work inspired me no end today
as I walked through the exhibition at the Better Living Building
at the CNE.

Have a loving-seeing-your-friends'-art day

Saturday, February 25, 2017

All about Alice

Flowers for Alice
Red and black calligraphy ink, black, 
yellow,  and green markers
on Fabriano watercolour paper
4 x 5 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Today the 25th day of the Month of Love was all
about a dear little girl named Alice, and her birthday
party -- a joyous event indeed.  This was a first for
Alice -- a first birthday party -- with chocolate
cupcakes, presents, family, friends, singing and
dancing.  Wonderful.

Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Thinking about Alice and her Happy Birthday I
drew these tulips in bright colours which I know
she loves.

Have a wishing-someone-a-day-full-of-flowers day.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Monthiversaries, Sketchbox and Meditation

That Peaceful Meditation Feeling
Acrylic ink, gold paint,
white and black acrylic markers
on Fabriano watercolour paper
4 x 5 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
On this the 24th day of the Month of Love, the monthiversary
of when Steven and I married, I am sitting in my kitchen
listening to a thunder storm, happy to know my man has
landed safely in Toronto and is heading home in a taxi.

When I woke up today I originally wanted to celebrate
meditation, and its power to make a day a good one.
I got into the practice at the suggestion of the wonderful
artist Janet Vanderhoof.  And when I've gone a few days,
and sometimes even a week without meditating I can
feel the lag in my energy and my spirits.

When I looked out the window this morning it was another
(NO!) grey day, and there have been way too many.  I felt
a bit down, and uninspired.  Then I remembered to do a
short meditation -- picking a random choice from a
guided meditation on the internet about a good day, and the
day transformed.  It was still grey, but I saw how thick and
lacy the dark, leafless trees were getting, and I suddenly
knew that spring was coming, and we needed the rain,
and the day took off.

I did this small, odd sketch to symbolize the peace that
comes through meditating.  My Sketchbox this time
included a muted pink acrylic ink, and a fine point white
marker that can write on acrylic.  An older box held
gold paint, and a fine black marker.  Janet Vanderhoof
my meditation inspiration is bravely experimental and
thinking of her made me want to just fool around,
and play with these materials.

Have a loving-meditation-and-having-fun day.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Loving colour -- the world is captivating

Ocean tulips (work in progress)
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Here's the work on my easel. Today on the 23rd day
of the month of love, I want to celebrate colour -- the
gorgeous colour of the blue, blue sky today -- a sunny
day, a gift after almost two months of grey sky, of the
tulips I'm painting, people -- the exciting varieties of
people in this city -- Toronto, of the world -- every
single part of what I see cries out to be captured, put
down, locked in and treasured. That is what it feels
like to be an artist.  The complete opposite of boring.

How incredibly lucky I feel to have any ability to
convey this in paint.  And even more lucky to see
with eyes (helped considerably by glasses) that
feel a deep sense of wonder.

Have a loving-the-rich-colours-of-the-world day

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A love of reading -- on the 22nd day of the Month of Love

The best story
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(I was inspired by a post by Danny Gregory
today.  I loved how he began his drawing
with an outline of an entire tea cup
and saucer, and then just kept going.)
Tonight I was looking for a photo of my mother
reading to me and my brother at bedtime, but
couldn't find it.  I did find a photo (probably
styled by my photographer father) of my brother
and me reading a book together.  You can't see
the book, but our intensely focused faces say it all.

That nightly practice in my family has left me
with a love of reading, that is almost all
consuming.  I have to stop myself from reading
full time, but I do still read before bed every
night, and I thank my parents, especially my
mother for that practice, now in the month of love.

My drawing tonight is half the picture -- just me
looking down at the book my brother and I were
reading.  If I have time tomorrow, I'll add
my brother in.

Have a reading-when-the-mood-strikes-you day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Toss Up -- Day 21, Salad plus Bananas

Salad for two
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 
A toss up (pardon my pun)today -- given the day, between my
love of salad, especially the salad my husband Steven makes
which is ideal, and my love (near addiction) to bananas.
Both deserve recognition, on this 21st day of the
celebration of the Month of Love

I am not the chef in my family, but I have brought
some foods into this unit that have stuck, and
one is salad.  My mother, for most of her life was a
into nutrition and a proponent of salad.  She made a
delicious oil and vinegar dressing, and taught the
simple recipe to me.

Naturally I passed that on to Steven, and he has
got that perfected to a T.  One February at least
10 years ago -- which is why the timing is right
for this discussion -- we decided to have salad with
our dinner every night.  And we pretty much have kept
to that rule.  Salad is work.  It takes thought, and effort
and commitment, and chopping, but I crave some right now.

I have painted salad, but so far no bananas.  That doesn't
make sense does it?  Since giving up sugar, bananas
have saved my life because they are filling and sweet.
So I did draw one today. Because this morning I met with
a super group of women in my neighbourhood, and the
conversation got very well... I was going to say 'hot' -- but let's
say animated. Our host said "we need a talking stone!," and
proceeded to hand a lovely ripe banana to one person in the group.
From then on we put up our hands if we wanted to talk, and
the banana went to the next person who was going to get
to speak.

Banana in a bowl
Black marker on Moleskine paper
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
We were discussing how to be tolerant in an intolerant
world.  And that's a tough topic, you realize. But I loved the
banana as a "talking stone", and I loved that we immediately
 took turns as difficult as that was, and everyone who wante
to speak, did so with the full attention of the rest of the group.
 Amazing.  If only we were world leaders!

Have a passing-the-talking-stone-banana day. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 20th of the Month of Love -- Traveling Home

Sleeping in the hotel
Black marker on Moleskine paper
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Today is February 20th, family day in our province in
Canada.  A brilliant holiday on this the 20th day
of the Month of Love.  And we were in Ottawa,
where it was so packed with families that we couldn't
get to the restaurant we love for lunch.

It has been a hard, hard winter so far for us and
we needed the break. We saw some friends,
but mostly just hung out and did nothing. Now,
though we're on a tight schedule for work and projects,
and are back home again -- where the morning starts
super early.

Save the Amaryllis
Black marker on Moleskine paper
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(Our friends' place was packed
with big bouquets of flowers, including this
one sweet Amaryllis  in a jar)
Traveling is one of my favourite things, but there is
nothing to compare with being home.  The contrasts
are what keep life fascinating.

Have a loving-being-home day.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Coffee and lots of it on the 19th day of The Month of Love

Detail (of the coffee)
Salad Obsession
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©
This morning I had room service coffee -- which if you know
me is certainly one of my favourite ways to have the
beverage that powers my life.  Sorry but it's true.  I
run on coffee -- not that much -- but I like it strong,
and need two or three cups each morning to get going.
The beautiful coffee carafe
Black marker on Moleskine paper
5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
The coffee this morning was delicious and strong and
served in a lovely silver carafe which reflected the
gorgeous blue sky out the window, and even had
clouds floating in the sky on its shining surface.
That kind of coffee can make the whole day happier,
and it did.  This has been a super day.
This morning's coffee
Black marker on Moleskine paper
5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
I also spent some time with friends today,
and they make perhaps an even better, and stronger
coffee than the perfect morning brew of this the
19th day of the Month of Love.  And I should
not have had another cup.  I really tried to just
drink half of it, but I certainly wanted it.  So
if I am up all night drawing you will know why.

Salad Obsession
(The whole picture)
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©
Have a making-and-drinking-wonderful-coffee day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Nine years blogging my friends -- Thank you! What a ride!

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008
(One of the things I've learned in 9 
years is how to take better photos.
But this is the original painting I put on my first blog.)

I wrote my very first blog on February 18, 2008.  It's
hard to believe it's been that long -- the whole time
has been like the fast forward with the sound on in
my mind -- but what a time I've had.  I owe it all
to you -- my family, my blog artist friends, my 
collectors, curators -- a long list.  Today on Day
18 of the Month of Love, I love my blog, and the
magic it's brought into my life.

I was thinking about it today, when a character in
the novel I'm reading complained that she was 
supposed to be having the best decade of her life, 
and she wasn't. And I thought this has definitely 
been the best decade of my life -- or best nine years 
of my life. Although I think each decade was wonderful.

But in my art life this decade brought me the chance
to draw Oprah Winfrey on a live taping of her
show, the chance to show in New York City, year
after year, exhibitions in the Louvre and in Florence,
Italy.  Wow!  And most important of all I met you --
either here through the blog, or in art shows here and in 
other cities.  That has been the best, the most
wonderful experience of all -- connecting with 
other artists, and directors, and learning, learning
learning about this amazing artist's life.  Mine
has been truly wonderful, and I know the fun has
just begun. Thank you one million times over everyone.

Have a loving-your-anniversaries day.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 17 -- thinking of Marnix, birthdays and food!

Breakfast at the Skylight Diner, NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

Of course I am missing a vital thing I love -- and that is food.
Food is certainly one of the most delicious things to
paint.  I'm thinking of this today partially because of
a wonderful young man we met in Paris with his
family -- Marnix Leemeijer.  It is his birthday today,
and I am pretty certain that his parents will prepare
an amazing cake.

In recent years I have painted quite a lot of food.  Which
seems right -- and even more so in this month of
celebration of love.  For the next few days I will
probably be showing older work, because there is
a lot going on in my family.

My own story with food changed dramatically in
the past year because I gave up sugar and flour for
the most part.  I do occasionally indulge, however.
It is not about a belief system, or even about health
reasons, I just wanted to get back to my normal weight,
and this diet was effortless, and worked.

But I guarantee you Marnix, if I were in the Netherlands
today, I would be having a piece of cake to
celebrate the big 17!

Have a  loving-the-food-you-eat day.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Day 16 of the month of Love -- To my models

Left to right:  The Daniel, Wonder Water Image #6, The Maharani's great 
granddaughter with her great granddaughter.
acrylic on canvas (see details below) © Barbara Muir
On this the 16th day of the month of love, I was thinking
about what to celebrate -- and then it hit me -- of course
my models!  Thank you to everyone who has ever posed
for me, whether for my own personal work, or for a
commission.  And thank you to the random people in
cafés and museums who gave me permission to photograph
them so I could paint or draw them.  Plus thank you to all
of the people who had no idea I was drawing them,
in waiting rooms, airports, airplanes.  A long wait
is the ideal time to spend drawing.

I love drawing and painting people.  A portrait that captures
the person I'm trying to put on canvas, or paper, is incredibly
The Daniel
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Wonder Water Image #6
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
The Maharani's Great Granddaughter with 
her Great Granddaughter
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

I'm especially happy that I painted my mother-in-law in this last
portrait for a show last year.  I love everything about the painting,
and love that it showed how much my mother-in-law cared
about family, making the effort to dress up, and I recall she 
served tea and had cookies and cake set out on pretty plates.
Plus she adored her great granddaughter.

She died just over half a year after I completed the portrait, and
we miss her terribly.  

Have an enjoying-portraits- day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 15 the Month of Love -- Art Shows

Loving the art
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
On this the 15th day of the Month of Love everyone
seems to be trying to recover from yesterday --
the pinnacle of celebration -- Valentine's Day.
I feel a little tired myself tonight because I
taught my once a week evening class.  The
students were writing and for the most part

I thought about what I love, and I love the buzz
of art shows, especially if I'm in the show, have
been working for months on preparation, and
finally everything has come to fruition and
I get to be part of a vibrant scene.

My drawing tonight is of an opening at the
Louvre.  I was intrigued looking at the photos
of people eagerly looking at art, their coats
bunched up over their arms.  What's strange
is that people can be right beside one
another and so wrapped up in taking in the
art that they barely notice the strangers next
to them.  It is a super thing to see -- people
entranced by creativity.  Yes!  I love it.

Have a planning-to-go-to-an-art-show day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day -- Love Matters to Me

True love means springtime in any weather
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
© Barbara Muir 
Happy Valentine's Day.  I saw this painting at a joyous
coffee Valentine's party at a friend's up the street
this morning. That made me happy, and so did the
lovely group of women, their laughter, their support,
their kindness.

I know I'm very lucky to be a person who loves
life.  And I'm  supremely lucky to be married to a
sweet man, who left a card for me this morning
before work, and brought home dinner
at the end of a long, tiring work day.

We had dinner by candlelight as we do every
night.  And we gave one another a few presents
to celebrate the day, and the fact our love is the
center of our lives.

 I was so happy that a wonderful friend came by
 and helped me with my work too.  Generosity was
flowing for this whole day.  Thank you to everyone who
makes my world go round.  Thank you to my
family and my friends.  On this the celebratory
day of love, I feel beyond blessed by all of
you.  Happy Valentine's Day, and let's keep the
spirit of love going.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

I am with Alyson Stanfield on this -- I think
love matters, and any occasion to celebrate love and
being loving is vitally important. Of course I don't think
we should be loving on only one day of the year.
I think the world, and the world of art needs us to
be loving every day of the year.   What I do think is
important on this the 13th day of the month of love
is to celebrate with everyone who matters to us -- from
family, to friends, to colleagues, to art curators, gallery owners,
collectors -- everyone who is kind and generous in
our world, and to extend those boundaries in the
recognition that it is one world, and we need to see
that love is everywhere for us.

I love hearts and what they symbolize.  I love all of
the wonderful people in my life, who are kind,
funny, loving and supportive to me, to my family
and in the parts of my life that matter.

So this one is for all of you.  On the Month of
Love Day 13, Happy Valentine's Day every day.

Have a loving-the-people-in-our-world day.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day -- Early Celebrations and Art

Robin's Message of Love
8 x 8 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2017
(a very snowy day, and the robin shouldn't be
here, but he and his family felt it was
a vital message --love one another.)
Today was delightful and we had our family over
for a Valentine's brunch.  Steven made delicious
French toast, and bought bagels and deli sandwiches
in case some people didn't want French toast.  Of
course there were cards, hearts and chocolates, and
more than anything love that filled the air with
laughter and happiness.

Tonight I'm posting my current painting for
Valentine's Day.  I have cards already from other
years, but I love the tradition of creating a little
painting as part of the celebrations.  On this
the 12th Day of the month of love, I dedicate the
day to my family again.  They are a treat to be
with.  And I thank them.

Happy Valentine's Week to all of you.  I am a
total believer in the power of love.  Let's use that
power to celebrate together.

Have a loving-being-with-family day.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 11, A love of line -- and from the market

Quick drawings from the Brickworks market today
Black marker on Moleskine paper
Each one is 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

After high school I went to OCAD in Toronto
for a couple of years.  And at the time line was
a major feature of portrait and figure drawing. Our
life drawing classes were based on methods
revived during the Renaissance.

Currently what I love is attempting to draw quick
sketches using just line.  I do love line drawings
and have so many heroes in that type
of art.  Here are my sketches from the market today,
which unlike the hospital waiting room, was wild and
quick with people sitting down and dashing through.
to buy produce, go skating, or meet a friend.
I had a tiny sketchbook in my purse, and tried to catch
as much as I could in the snatches of time that people
stayed in one place.
A little preparation, and 
another line drawing of tulips.
And on the Valentine scene, I painted some paper
this gorgeous red, and tried to remember how to
make a string of hearts something else I love.

Have a loving beautiful line day 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Taking a break -- Plus Music and Day 10 of the Month of Love

Fiona the cat, holding some long notes earlier tonight.
Her love of the piano is quite impressive.
How could I forget?  Well I didn't really, but I love
music to the maximum, maximum.  Not all music --
I do have favourites, but even outside of my favourite
music, I can be surprised and touched.  And put me
in any school concert, or live concert, and there is
every chance that I'll be moved to tears.

Fact is, the music that makes me feel fantastic is always
music I could dance to.  I loved the shows at Super
Wonder Gallery curated by Daniel Anaka because
he always featured musical acts, and played
great funky music throughout the long nights of
his double openings.  Can't wait until Super Wonder
gets going again in a new location.
Music celebrated the great art at this 
Super Wonder Gallery Show last year.

Today my son came over to load my computer
with music I'd like.  Every choice he made, made
me feel like dancing.

Tonight I am showing you a photo (sorry
no drawing or painting today) of the most serious
musician in our house right now.  Both of my children
are musical, and my oldest met his future bride
playing the Tuba in the local high school band.
(She played the Tuba too.) But now that Steven
and I just have the dog Sally, and two cats, Timbah and
Fiona living at home -- it turns out our siamese cat is
crazy about the piano.  I can figure out a tune (barely), but she
composes, plays by walking back and forth over the
keys and sometimes sitting down as in this photo,
to hold a bunch of dramatic notes.

Have a loving-the-music-of-your-life day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hospital Day Thursday -- and the love of words

Only one more visit
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

I don't want to hear the news
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

The news is bad, but Saturday Night Live will be good!
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
I loved it when Michelle Obama said in an Oprah interview
that "words matter."   And they do to me big time.  I love
reading, and love teaching about the power of the word.
So for Day 9 of the Month of Love series, I pick my love
of words. I love how words can transform people's lives,
and make everything seem glorious. In the hospital today,
some of the patients were having their last treatments for awhile.
Random patients who have seen one another once a week for
weeks, were talking like friends, sharing details of their lives.
People were saying goodbye to strangers and wishing them
good health.  It was quite wonderful.

Great -- I can play here!
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Now sleep is a good word
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
And when I think about it, it was the words, kind words
coupled with kind smiles and gestures, a hand on an
arm here and there, that forged as kind words usually
do -- connections -- especially meaningful when people
are going through similarly hard times together.

Thank goodness for my warm coat
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Have a loving words and using loving words day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

For Day 8 -- Nature -- so in love with the world's beauty

Clouds dancing over Toney Bay 
 Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 © Barbara Muir  
(Bringing the outside in -- and the ocean
to Toronto)
Day 8 of the Month of Love, and I see the month
speeding towards Valentine's Day -- perfectly
located mid-way through this magnificent Love
fest. We have had more than our due of grey days,
 but also the comfort -- aside from ice storms like
yesterday -- of squirrelling away inside with our book,
or paints, and in a way retreating from nature.  But soon here
in Canada all of its magnificence in flower and tree
and blue water will be returned to us.

Nature -- no matter what the weather -- is a supreme
and constant inspiration.  And I'd add to that my
artist friends' glorious paintings of nature which hold me
spellbound.  In the past couple of years clouds have
captivated me, almost putting me in danger when I'm
driving alone, and must capture the magnificent view
of clouds ahead on my cellphone.  (Yes I do pull over to take
the photo!)
Clouds dancing over Toney Bay
(a straight on view) 
 Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 © Barbara Muir  
The great thing about paintings of nature is that they
bring the outside in, to lift our spirits all year.

Have a celebrating-the-beauty-of-nature day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Simplicity is good - we love our house

Number 56
Maison De Haute Couleur 
Charvin, Paris Watercolour and
black marker on Fabriano paper
5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(This is half of a semi-detached house.
I kept part of the sketch open so I could
show you the robin that nested on
the post between our houses one year.
A lot has changed since the reference
picture was taken, and sometime soon
the house will be painted white. I will
love that.)
On day 7 of the Month of Love, a tumultuous month so far --
there is an ice storm outside, which makes it logical to think
about loving my own house.  I don't have high end, solid
reasons for that.  The house is nothing fancy -- a narrow,
semi-detached building.  But it has taken care of us and
kept us comfortable for over two decades, so it has got a
definite appeal.

The best thing about it is certainly where it is -- we are
close to everything, and it was a miracle when both my sons
were enrolled in the wonderful school across the street.

For a small house it has a good sized kitchen, and in summer
we live on the covered porch facing the backyard.  Add to
that that the house is full of memories, and art, and I think it
deserves my affection.  We are lucky that the neighbours on
the other side of our shared wall are incredibly kind and
unobtrusive.  Would we move?  Sure we would -- if a big,
white clapboard, farm style house became available in our
neighbourhood, in excellent condition for considerably less
 than our house is worth right now.  In other words for now
that fantasy is just that.  No such house is available.

Have a loving-the-place-where-you-live day.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Day Six -- First Love Yourself

Pictures from my trip to the emergency room tonight.
I hope everyone is fine.  
Black Marker on drawing paper.

Two from the hospital and me in the center with my cat Fiona
I have been ordered to take it easy.
Day 6 in the month of love I'm thinking about something
both Louise Hay and my former boss when I taught a college
positive psychology course agreed on. Before you can love
anyone else -- and most people are hoping to find an ideal
person to love, you have to love yourself. So on day 6, I want
to thank Louise Hay and my former boss for teaching me to work
on caring for myself.

And I do, but I'm more interested today in knowing how you show
 yourself love. In recent years I have been absolutely blessed to
spend most of my time with kind, loving people. Years ago working
 in a corporate office I watched as my manager was kind to every
 single person she encountered in her day. That corporation was big
on status and definitely encouraged the idea of rank. But she ignored
it completely and taught me an invaluable lesson indirectly. Every
person we encounter is equally important. So that includes you.
Be kind to you, and it will be easy to be kind to others. That's what we
need today -- love as the driving force and constant in our lives.

In the interest of being good to myself, and at the urging of
my friends,  I spent 4 1/2 hours in an emergency ward tonight to see
whether or not I have a concussion.  It turns out I do, and I am
ordered to do nothing, unless I want to.  Here are some drawings
from the hospital (a different one) and me in the middle with my
cat, where I will be for most of tomorrow.

Have a being-good-to-yourself day.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day Five of the month of love -- My neighbourhood

A Magic Day in the Neighbourhood
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24
Barbara Muir © 2016

Forgive me for not posting new work, but falling
yesterday made me weary today. What do I love on
Day 5? Of course I love my husband bringing me tea,
and my friend looking up hospitals for me in case I
change my mind and want to go.

Spending most of the day in bed trying to recover,
made me appreciate the room I was in.  It is pretty
-- with a big picture window looking out onto the street.
And above the shutters on the bottom
half of the window I see the view -- three tall
pine trees across the street.  So today for my daily
celebration of the month of Love, February, I choose my
neighbourhood, and how much I love where I live.

We are close to a big, almost wild park where we see
foxes and owls, and other creatures.  There are so many
schools, and I live across the street from one, so the sound
of children's voices accompanies my day.  Plus the
streets are packed with memories, of wonderful times with
my children, and friends and the incredibly kind, and creative
people I've met here.  Just three blocks away is a main street filled
with super restaurants. It is both festive and quiet, safe, and
exciting. It is all good.

Have a loving-your-neighbourhood day.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Falling in love -- don't fall too hard!

My friend the wonderful painter, Gill Cameron 
and me in front of a wall of our work 
at our show in Wychwood Barns
last year.  The piece in the center
is my painting In The City
and it is sold!

Okay. Today I did a dumb thing.  I tried to walk the
dog for about the third time in a year (sore knees).
It was sunny.   I bundled up, and headed out, but
didn't put the icers on my boots.  Long story -- cut
short -- I tumbled head over heels and landed on one
arm and my forehead on concrete.

On this Day Four of the Month of Love, I want to
thank all of my wonderful friends who make me
laugh, love me, and support me in both life and art.
The list is long -- too many to name here -- because I
have to go and put ice on my head.  You are the women
in our local coffee group, my friends in Toronto, Hamilton
Port Hope, across Canada and around the world,
at work, and in the art world, on Facebook and on this blog.
You are such brilliant and kind super women and men.

I hope you know you mean the world to me, and I love you
all.  Without you life would be dull indeed.  So
thank you, and Happy Month of Love.  And please
if you go walking in icy winter, wear icers. Seriously. 

Have a loving-your-friends 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!