Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Loving life in a world of love

Close up of the journal cover
Watercolour base,
black and white xeroxes, painted
cut out images,watercolour crayons
gold sign maker's plastic (one of
my all time favourite things).
This was the cover of a journal I did
for a course called Art Bypass in
2007 to help people get making art
again after a period of not being able to.
I like it because that's my Mom and Dad
in love, and they even have halos.
If they believed in heaven, I hope they
are together.  Tonight this functions
as a birthday card for my Dad's Birthday.
My class tonight wrote about worry, and I realized
that I worry about so many things -- the state of
the world, the cast on my arm for the next two months,
the lady across from me at the hospital who had to
wait all day for her appointment, because she couldn't
drive or take public transit and her daughter dropped
her off at 8 a.m.

But here's the thing -- I don't know if this was always
true, but it is now -- I am blessed with a happy nature.
I love my life.  My husband went with me this morning
to get the new cast on my arm (broken wrist), and he
was kind and supportive and funny!  I love funny.  

My family are calling to see if they can help, and they're also
so kind and funny.  So I think I am lucky to have fun
almost every day -- and you are part of that reason.  You
have supported me, made me laugh, taught me more about
painting, plus helped me understand serious issues.  So I finish
off this Month of Love extremely grateful for my friends
and family, and despite the setback of a broken wrist,
so majorly in love with my life and the astounding people
who populate it.

Shout out to my father today -- it is his birthday.  Thank you
Dad, for giving me an artistic eye.  It has been so useful.
And thank you for being a great writer.  OMG Daddy -- your
letters still floor me when I come upon one of them.  I'm
sorry you had to leave the planet early, and miss some of
the people who would have loved you so much.

Have a loving the world day.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Big Love to my collector families

Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Tonight will be short -- I get a new cast on my arm for
my broken wrist early tomorrow morning, and it's
a bit sore (very) tonight.  But flipping through my
blog I found this wonderful painting.  It's wonderful to
me because this one image has everything I care about in it.
 It's about love -- the happy love between the two parents --
and about family love -- the way the whole family works as a unit.

And it's about happiness.  If you read my other blog on
this series you'll see that this lovely family pulled me through a
very hard time, with the loss of my mother, of my dog, a
family pet, and one of my family members getting seriously

I have painted for many families, and created more than one piece
for several of them.  For a portrait painter that's an incredible
treat -- the chance to get to know a family in person and through

Have a loving the families you work with day. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Writing and Thinking about Love makes me More Loving

Now that looks good!
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
(This painting took a long time
to do, but the title seems
right, both for a Valentine's dinner
on the train with my sweetheart,
and for the idea of a world
of loving, kind people)
What if we woke up every day, as I have for these
26 days of the month of February, thinking about how
to be more loving?  What impact would that have on
our lives?  No.  I haven't succeeded every minute of this
Month of Love, in being a pure, loving human being.
But I have had it on my mind, and you know what? -- It's been a
fabulous month!

But what if we could all quit all the hating and fighting,
and realize that we are all one, and fight for each other's
rights, and not stick pipelines in environmentally fragile
zones, and fight for the planet and its sustenance, and
for equal food, equal rights for everyone on this little
planet?  It seems long since time. Way overdue.

Instead we watch people get killed by guns, and debate whether
guns are dangerous.  We know that pipelines fail and
cause enormous damage, and we keep building them.

We decide whether people are worthy based on their
race, ethnicity, country of origin, sex, age and skin
colour.  In short as a planet we are totally insane,
and we need to change and fast.

So what if we could wake up every morning wondering
how to be more loving in each exchange for that day alone?
We could transform this place we call home.

Have a sending love out into the world day.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Loving Art Exhibitions

Gill Cameron and I have shown
together many times.  Her gorgeous
watercolours at The Artist Project
blew me away. 

So great to find Kim Rempel at the show .
I love her abstract work -- in strong design and colour
that she displayed at the Artist Project.
(I made my own sling, because the
pro one from the hospital hurt).

Tonight my theme is simple. For an artist exhibitions are vital.
They're where we get to display what we've created, and also
where we learn about all of the other exciting creations our fellow artists
are making.

Today I attended The Artist Project -- one of the largest shows in our
city (Toronto).  There was so much to see, so many arresting and dazzling
paintings that I was glad that I had some friends to visit, and it was delightful
to get caught up on their superb work.

Yay! Joyce Fournier  was there! She's a fabulous realist and an amazing
abstract artist.  I am sorry if my iPhone jiggled a bit Joyce.  One
handed photography is not the best!

I love this painting by Ramona Nordal, which she'd
just sold and she was feeling pretty happy about that!

I also saw the lovely work of Catherine Jeffrey, but did not get back to her
to get a photo.  If you click this link here  and scroll down you can see her
wonderful city scenes.

Have a visiting art shows day!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

For the love of paint -- The Artist's Life

New Day
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(The painting I was finishing
when the Oprah Winfrey Show
producers called, and asked
me if I'd like to draw Oprah via Skype!
Answer? YES!)

In the black dress before the dance
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 24  inches
Barbara Muir © 2006
(I love the paint in this)
I have no idea how I'm going to paint in the next few weeks,
which is too bad -- because it's sort of what I do. (Laughs).
Yes it is what I do. I love paint, and painting.  And nothing
makes a painter love that activity more than not being able
to do it.  I dream (on slightly stronger painkillers) of paint
splashing onto canvas. I will figure out a way -- maybe when
I'm not alone in the house, and someone can open (and close!)
the jars and tubes for me.

When my gloomy self chimes in with how long this is
going to last, and how am I going to move the canvas when
I can't lift anything, my dominant, cheerful self answers back with
,"think how happy you'll be when it's over and everything is
back to normal."

I will -- meanwhile, everyone from random people on my
street, to people in stores, to bank employees are offering
sage advice, and endless tips.  So I better stop talking about
it, and move on to the beautifully written, disturbing book on racism
I'm reading by Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in 
Power: An American Tragedy.

And how I hope the American teenagers win and the U.S.
 implements stricter gun laws.  My writing class here in Canada,
made up from people all over the world, unanimously
declared that they see no reason that there should be guns in the
world -- at all.  So that was our young people. I'm with them on
that one.

Have a thinking in new ways day.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The kindness of friends -- Flowers in the Month of Love

Late evening tulips 
Acrylic on birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Today a dear friend came for tea, to cheer me up on this
the 23rd day of the Month of Love, and first full day in what
may be one month, or even two of wearing a cast.  And she brought
flowers -- tulips -- which are so joyous and lighthearted.  They speak
of spring, which really is just a month away now!
Kitchen Tulips
8 x 8 inches
acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2009
So it's going to be another short one tonight.  My wrist in
the cast is pretty good during the day, but gets quite sore
as the evening progresses.

I'm showing two of my favourite tulip paintings tonight.
And may you have a delightful, love-filled Saturday.

Have a picking up some flowers day.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Loving love -- the joy of resilience

True love means springtime in any weather
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2012
Yesterday as my kids would say I "literally" tripped over my
cat, and fell in my own kitchen -- crunch on my own left
wrist.  Good news -- I'm right handed.  Bad news -- the wrist
is broken.

But let's go for good news instead.  My husband was out of town 
on a work trip, and my son drove me to the emergency ward.
In a few hours I saw a doctor, had an X-ray and found out that my
wrist was badly injured in that fall.  I will go back to the fracture 
clinic at the hospital next week and get a second cast.  And my
American friends all of that was, and will be free! Health Care in

Plus on the positive side my husband came home and helped me with
all the things a one-handed person can't do.  And we were so happy to
see each other after a week apart, that we are still happy even with 
quite a lot to figure out for this artist and teacher.  We'll do it.  Thanks
for the support.

It is the monthaversary of our first date, which we acknowledge every
month -- so I give you this yellow bird of love to celebrate.

Have a looking on the plus side day! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Loving teaching on the 21 Day of the Month of Love

Young Love
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
This will be a short one. I had a terrific day in class tonight.
My students are smart, on the ball and enjoying themselves.
I bought groceries on my way home, and was making my
dinner, when I tripped over my cat and fell full force on my
forearm, wrist and left hand.  My family rallied on the phone
advising pain killers, rest and ice and I made a rudimentary
sling out of an old pink scarf of my mother's.

If the swelling doesn't go down by the morning my son will
take me to the emergency ward.  I was too tired tonight for the
standard 5  hour wait.

This is a photo of an iPad drawing because my iPad won't let
me export it.  I drew it at the start of the month, and it was supposed
to be about young love.  It feels especially poignant with what's
taken place in Florida.  Power to the students!

Have a taking care of yourself day!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Art Talk #2 How to get over the blues in the Month of Love

An exciting thing that's happened this month for me is
the start of video talk with my friend the wonderful
expressive artist Georgia Fullerton.  Georgia is a
trained art therapist, who will create a painting for
you that both reflects your soul, and deepest concerns,
and will heal your worries. Quite miraculous.

So today our subject is the blues that plague you as
an artist at any time of year -- maybe especially in
the grey days of winter. Today in Toronto it's balmy --
so warm after sub zero winter temperatures -- but also,
grey and foggy, and a bit gloomy if you'd prefer
the sun.

What I didn't suggest in this video is going for a walk.
Because even here in the north, as the snow melts
on a wet day brilliant greenery is coming up through
the damp earth!  We will be hit by snow again, and that has
its own beauty.  But a short walk can lift our moods,
because when we're walking outside we're in the moment.
And that's the only place our physical body can ever
be -- so incredibly walking makes us feel at home if
we can just observe what we see.

Have a feeling more yourself day!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Thank you -- and love to everyone for 10 years of blogging!

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2008
(The first image I ever posted on my blog.
The photo could use work, but I still
love the painting, part of my
Dance series)
Today I am celebrating 10 years of blogging!  What can
I say?  Blogging has changed my artistic life in so many
ways I hardly know where to begin. Let's try for five to start.

1.  I have been blessed to connect with amazing artists all
over the world -- to learn from them, get support from
them, and over the top amazing -- to meet them in person.
You in person.  Thank you.  I wish I could hug every single
one of you, and let you know how much seeing
your work, and reading your thoughts on art and life
have made me sooooo happy.

2. I've been invited to show in wonderful places by
curators who've seen my work online, and have invited me.
I cannot ever begin to express how much that has enriched
my artistic experience -- showing in Florence, New York
City, Paris, and the Netherlands with such talented and
warm, and exciting artists.  Thank you to the max to
everyone involved.

3. I've received some dazzling press coverage from
newspapers and TV shows in Canada, includingThe
Globe and Mail, and HGTV, and also been featured
on the Oprah Winfrey show as a Skype artist.  Oprah's
 people found me through a Youtube interview conducted
 by journalist and then Skype Blogger, Howard Wolinsky.
I am eternally grateful to Howard, and to Oprah -- who
I think is one of the most talented, intelligent, kindest and
influential people on the planet.

4. I am constantly trying to learn and keep up with
changes in the technology of putting images online.
I'm still the farthest thing from a techie, but I have
learned so much, and keep learning.  In ten years
I have come a long way -- though I know I need
to learn so much more. But the logic of what might
work is infinitely more available to me now, than it
was a decade ago.

5. I have sold quite a bit of work through people
finding me online, through my blog, and the blog's
links to Facebook, and Twitter.  And of course that's
one of the primary reasons I paint. To sell the work.
No it isn't the first reason.  But being an artist is a job,
and a great job, so it's definitely part of it. Thank you to
everyone who has helped make that possible.

Okay -- so there are my first five.  I love blogging,
because I love sharing my art, and writing and hearing
from people. Plus I love reading people's blogs and
comments.  If you read this I'd love to read your comments.

Have an enjoying your passions day.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Major Love -- travelling -- Let's Go (to Paris!)

First stop Paris
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet, but I love,
love, love travelling -- especially if there's an art show
at the destination.  Why?  Well it's always wonderful
to meet artists and make new friends in a new venue.
Plus if you are in a show in a new city -- you are part
of it, even though you've never been there before.
Making magic in Montreal
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I love that.  I love it in New York City, where I've
shown enough times that it feels like home.  I know
where to eat, and that I want to go to Central
Park, and to the MoMA and the Met to see
amazing art.

I love it in Paris, where I've shown in the Carousel
du Louvre show twice, and loved every minute in
the city. I now know the man who runs the lovely
art shop near our hotel, and the waiter Mustafa at
the café around the corner that makes an amazing
omelette, and the lady in the gorgeous scarf shop.

I loved it in Florence, where I've shown twice at
the Florence Biennale, especially staying in an
apartment, where over a 10 day stay for the
duration of the show, we acquired a neighbourhood,
and could have adopted a city.
On the road in Fredericton
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
My big dream for this year is to go to Paris.  All
I need is to sell some art so we can go.  I
think if I think about it hard enough my dream
will come true!  And that my friend is a perfect
dream -- and a great end to another wonderful
day in The Month of Love!

Have a travelling in your dreams day!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Love birds -- and Love Lovebirds

My latest Lovebird acting as a banner.
The original (on the left) is 
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
This month has inspired me in recent years to create my
own Valentine card.  What could be better on the card
than a bird and a heart?  The reason for me is simple.
I love birds.  When I'm out for a walk and see sparrows
chirping in a thick hedge, so close I can almost count
their feathers, I feel charmed.

So what could be more natural than birds symbolizing
lovebirds.  This month I was teaching on Valentine's
Day at night, and didn't quite finish my 2018 bird.  But
never fear I thought -- I do have cards from past years.
Plus it's a whole month of love, not just one day.
(Fierce opponents of the idea of Valentine's Day point
out that we need to love each other all year -- true).

Ours is a celebratory family -- thank goodness, and if
a celebration wanders into our consciousness, it sticks.
So Happy Month of Love.

Spread the love.  Goodness knows the world needs it!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Meaning -- loving to capture people's true selves

Catherine Scott
acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 

Love -- the lasting kind -- is a deep feeling, compelling,
nourishing, and rewarding. Some of my favourite portrait
commissions were created to add significance to the sitter's
life, and to capture who they really were.

In the case of my portrait of Catherine Scott -- one of
my favourites -- her friends wanted to fulfill her dream
of having a meaningful image of herself to live on and
represent her after her death.  She was dying of cancer.
I was honoured to be picked to paint her.
Catherine Scott (detail)
Barbara Muir ©
She sat for me, and was so vital, funny, present --
that I really thought there was no way she would die.
Her portrait was the special gift her friends gave her
on what turned out to be her last birthday.

Every item she wore, every piece of jewelry, every
detail in the painting was to her specifications.  And
I was more than happy to make her happy.  She
was delightful to work with, and sat for me for
many sessions so that I could get it right.  I know
that tired her out, but she was a brave woman.

I was at the birthday party when her friends
unveiled the portrait, and that moment will
stay in my mind forever.

Have a cherishing the people you love day.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Loving the world

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Apparently Louise Hay, who cured herself of cancer at
60 and went on to live an ultra fulfilling life until she
died at 90 last year, liked to say, "Life loves you."

I found this an inspiring quote when I read it yesterday.
And around the month of love -- it's clear, that not
everyone has a special person to love.  But I believe
that if they want that to happen, it can -- having seen
so many examples of people falling in love at
every age.

Meanwhile, there is a world to love that really needs
our input, and purpose and drive, to care about others
and eliminate senseless cruelty on a personal and
widespread political level.  We have a world to
fight for, to protect its environment, its creatures,
our ecosystem.

This little painting, a ways from finished is of a park
on the west end of Toronto that Steven and I find
beautiful at any time of year, and have visited this
year (2018) in the coldest weather.

Have a loving-the-world day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day -- and the excitement of loving art

My wonderful friend and super artist, Georgia Fullerton and I thought it
would be fun to have video talks on a very casual basis about art.  Georgia
doesn't ever drop the ball.  We got the idea last night.  She started today!
My first Art Talk, with Georgia Fullerton.

So here's my first try.  I am not techie, but my message is simple.  Loving art,
being an artist, makes your life wonderful!

Have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Coming up on Valentine's Day

Me and my sweetheart Steven, with some 
Valentine's Day bluebirds.
Today was the first I heard of Galentine's Day,
and I wish all of my women friends a very Happy
day.  In my house the day before Valentine's Day is
as almost as exciting as the day before Christmas.

Decorations have been up in the house since the
first day of this glorious month -- and they continue to
multiply (did you know you can cut post it notes into
hearts -- cool way to get some hearts on the walls).

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.  I love the day
and the lead up.  I love hearts and flowers, and
love.  I think it is true.  Love makes the world
go 'round.

Have a lovingValentine's Day.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Love to the max -- my neighbourhood!

A Magic Day in the Neighbourhood
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24
Barbara Muir © 2016
"Here's the thing," as a former boss of mine used to say -- I love my
 neighbourhood.  For so many reasons. We live across the street
from the public school where my two sons had such a good time.
We're still friends with the teachers, long after our children left
the school, finished university, started their separate lives.  Plus
we're good friends with all of the parents who fought to keep the
little alternative school inside that school alive, and now
even with some of the people who fought so hard to have it
shut down.

Snow scene on Cherrywood
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

The snow scene is the view out my window facing the street, 
right now in a very wintery winter. And it is quite beautiful.  
We have had so much fun here -- so much support, so many dinners,
 and parties, and gatherings for causes, and just for.  So tomorrow as I 
meet with some of the women from that little alternative school, 
who still get together once a week if they can get away from work, 
I'll tell them that I said I love my neighbourhood, and make them smile 
-- because so do they.

Backyard Cherrywood afternoon
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Nightfall Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Sunny winter afternoon on Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

And looking for images for this theme, I see that images of our
neighbourhood are popular!  Good -- I'm spreading the love!

Have a loving your neighbourhood day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Did I mention coffee? I love, love, love coffee!

Breakfast at the Skylight Diner NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(This painting was first exhibited
in the Carousel du Louvre show,
in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France)

After Breakfast -- More Coffee?
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I think I fell in love with coffee at university, where the coffee
shop was an integral meeting place during the day.  At
night it was the pub, but I never really got into beer.  Coffee
is perhaps my only addiction.

I love it when health magazines put out information that
say coffee is good for you, makes you more intelligent,
extends your life -- but I think I've always known that.

So I dedicate this 11th day of the month of love to the delicious
beverage that gets my day started, and to all of the wonderful
breakfasts I've had in hotels in Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec
City, New York, Paris and Florence -- that began with a toast
and a clink of coffee mugs to the beginning of a new day.
Wonderful coffee
in Paris by the Seine
© Barbara Muir 2015 
And I couldn't do that without dedicating this 11th day also
to the wonderful man who brings me my coffee on the weekend
mornings so I can stay in bed reading my book.  Coffee, reading
and romance go together so beautifully.
Coffee at 8th Avenue and 23rd Street, NYC
charcoal on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Blackbird on a coffee cup
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
© Barbara Muir
Have a loving your coffee, and the people you share it with day.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Day 10 -- Big Love to the people at the market

At the market
acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Today is Saturday, and that means a couple of things.
One: we get to sleep in -- incredible luxury.  Two:
I get coffee in bed if Steven's home.  A long standing
ritual.  I read my book (yes I always have a book), and
he brings me first a cup of coffee, and then the pot,
and the cream jug.  My dog waits anxiously for a piece
of the banana Steven also brings with the first coffee.

Then I either read on my own, or we read together -- and
before we know it it's time to hurry up and get ready to
go to the market.  Our preferred one in Toronto is the
Brickworks.  And three of our favourite market vendors
are Jan Marriott, the vintage fabric lady, who we help
pack up every week if we're there, PegAnn the flower
person with the amazing bouquets of flowers she grows
herself, and the people at Marvellous Edible Farms who
we buy our eggs, vegetables, and delicious quiches from.
October's bouquet
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Right now Jan and her husband are in New Zealand,
PegAnn is taking the winter off (because it's hard
to grow flowers outside in February), and the Marvellous
Edible Farms are at the market almost every week.

Have a loving your local market day
Funny fact:  Last year someone posted a bit on
Facebook about disliking it when people take eggs
out of the carton out of order.  Ever since we read that
Steven and I very deliberately take the eggs we eat out
in a random order -- guaranteed to make the other
laugh when we open the carton.  Yes we are silly, and we
have a million ways to have fun.  Helpful in February,
and the rest of the year.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Thank You to my wonderful teachers!

Poem by the Don
Acrylic on canvas (diptych)36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008
Love, love, love -- day Nine.  Thank you to my teachers, and I send
love out to all the inspiring teachers in my life.  When I started
drawing in school, I was like all the people who tell me I can't even
draw a stick figure.  Why do people think a stick figure is so
simple.  But within months I was drawing very competent life
drawings.  I reeled in shock as a 17 year old girl when the first
male life model came out -- a huge middle aged man with a
cloth bag over his privates.

It took great teachers to bring young innocents who grew up
in the dull suburbs, like me, into the exciting, confusing,
wild world of art, and they did it.

My teachers at university pulled me into the world of literature
opening doors to what would be a life long love of reading
and writing.

And more recently the workshops I've taken in person and
online have taught me so much about art, that I am sometimes
so dazzled I don't even know where to begin.  But isn't that
a good thing?   My brother's current philosophy is to ask,
"Is it true?"  Constant learning sets us up in front of that
question every day, and for sure makes life just as exciting
as it was when I took my first art lessons.
Reading with Heart
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir 2010
As a very part time teacher myself, one of the great pleasures
of the job is learning all the time from my students -- and
trying to help them get their fantastic experiences down in

Have a loving learning day!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

To My Friends -- All My Love!

Flowers for you
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Dear friends,
In my town, my country, the world, on the blog, Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, in person, in my work life -- everywhere.  Thank you.
You make life a constant delight.  Thank you for being there,
inspiring me, for all the laughter and unbelievably great times
and enjoyment you've given me in so many ways.  Thank you.

On this the eighth day of the month of love, I send you this little
bouquet I painted a few years ago.  It is one of my favourite 
paintings and it sold -- and the visual gives you all the love
I send to you now.

I hope you are having the best February ever.  I am having a very
good one myself. I promised to honour my love of Valentine's Day,
and of February by writing every day.  And Woo Hoo!  So far
so good.  Even when the world is troubling, friends brighten up
my day and make me believe that the world is a good place.

Have a loving your friends day.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Love yourself first -- a big lesson in the Month of Love!

For David Lobenberg
Self portrait
acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(I did this portrait for David Lobenberg's
June Paint Off in 2009)
You can read about it here
A fact of a portrait artist's life is that if there is no one else
available to paint, you always have you, so of course I've 
painted and drawn myself many times. Some of these images stick 
and make me happy.  

When I taught Positive Psych one of the first things we said
to students was that if you don't know yourself, you won't love 
yourself, and if you don't love yourself you can't love anyone else,
and you won't be happy.

This was not a popular idea when I was growing up -- loving 
yourself smacked of narcissism.  But in fact nothing could be 
further from the truth. If we love and accept ourselves, the world 
is less about us, and more about the people we love.  It's when we 
don't love ourselves that we go around hurting other people, don't end up
doing what we love, and generally don't enjoy our lives.
I credit Louise Hay, excellent therapy and Frank Daley, who
helping me get that concept, and then of course the constant work of 
quieting the ever present inner critic to keep the idea going. 

Self-portrait: The Happy Artist
acrylic on canvas
36 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

Self portrait at the year's turning
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

One more cup of coffee please
Self portrait
Watercolour and black marker on
Arches watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
(this is perhaps the most me of
the bunch.  I run on coffee, and
am not quite in the day until I've had
I've included a few of my favourite self portraits to underscore the
idea of loving the self.  I know I'm lucky.  I love my life, my work,
my family, my friends.  Today I stand out in Toronto because I
even love snow (well I said I love February).  No one is more 
excited than my dog in snow -- I tried to make snowballs for her
today, but the snow that fell all day was too fluffy.  Still she leapt
and barked and yelped with glee at the possibility.

Have a loving yourself day.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

100% Love -- the animals in our house

Sally the dog
Acrylic on canvas
5 x 7 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2014

I'm so lucky that I grew up with pets.  They really are
a joyful addition to any family.  Yes -- like babies --
they are demanding, sometimes messy, expensive when
they need care -- but also like babies they are wonderful.

Our animal family is a dog, Sally, and two cats -- Fiona
and Timbah.  Sally is still a bit crazy after 4 years -- especially
around other dogs (she was attacked by a Great Dane one
of the first times that we took her to the park).  Plus she
had four owners in her first year, and we are the fourth.
But she is totally calm in the house, unless you ask her
to sing -- then she will accompany you with great gusto on
any song for a cookie.
Outside then please
Acrylic and marker 
on bond paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Timbah was a shelter cat. When our cat Max died we were
devastated and wanted to get a new kitten like him.  But
kittens are only available about twice a year.  We went to
the PetSmart that fostered animals, and Timbah, who was
one and a half, grabbed my hand through the bars of his cage.
 I was hooked.  He was very nervous at first too, because he'd
been a street cat -- but he is incredibly affectionate now -- so
 he got over it.

Acrylic on mounted birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
On the mohair throw
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
(This is also Fiona -- and one of
my favourite iPad drawings)
Fiona, the Siamese cat, is my familiar.  She gets me, and
she always wants to play.  So she forces me to get off my
chair when I'm writing or marking, and away from the
easel if I'm painting to throw her tiny toy shark, which she
tosses in the air, catches, and brings back to me.  Plus that
girl loves the piano, and we have to admit that's why we
have a piano.  The cat likes to play.

These three add so much love to our family.  They are
the best.

Have a loving the animals in your life 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:
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!