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.


Marilyn Flanegan said...

I agree, 'loving yourself first' is initially complicated to discern, but so necessary and formative. May your portraits of many mediums elude to your many levels of self-acceptance? :) Thank you for continuing to inspire us!
Hugs to you,

verna vogel said...

I love snow too! If I were a dog I'd probably act like your dog, yelping and gleeful in it, hehee.

I also lovelovelove your self-portraits, all of them. Such a good point about loving yourself first, and then the world comes into perspective.

Thank you for inspiring us all with your wonderful blog posts and your wonderful art!


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thank you so much. I guess I just paint what I see in self portraits -- in the mirror, or in a photo. I don't know
that I am very many-leveled. I have all the critical voices there at the ready, that everyone does. But I think it
was Louise Hay who said look in the mirror and say "I love you!" At first that's hard to do, but after a while
it's like brushing your teeth, anda bit of an autocorrect. I will be eternally grateful to her for that.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Verna,

Thank you so much. I love it too. I'm glad I have icers so I won't fall again if it's icy. But I love the look of it, today
the feel of it soft, and the weather much warmer because it's snowy, and it's about one million
times prettier than the landscape without it right now. In March I will be ready for that stuff to
go. But meanwhile my dog and I are in a kind of aesthetic heaven.


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!