Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Birthday Chloé

In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
(I wish we could have visited this lovely place together
Chloé. I'll think of you when I go there.)
Dear Chloé,

It will be the birthdays you miss that are the ones we wish you were
here for.  This is the first. I can hear your happy voice over the
phone saying "thank you Barbie." (the name only my siblings
and their children use).  I must have sent you a little money, and
you in turn would send a lovely thank you card.  You would
accept our bad singing over the phone, and the dog barking Happy
Birthday, and laugh your wonderful laugh.

I wish you were here -- on the planet, ready to take on the next
chapter in what I am sure would have been an exciting life.
But clearly you couldn't imagine it.  We miss you.  Poor, sweet,
beautiful, intelligent, talented, funny girl.  That's enough for now.

Happy Birthday.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Don't stop believing

For you today
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Here's the hardest thing for artists -- no matter what their
stature is, or their income, or how many shows they've
been in, or where -- it's believing in their art.

But in some ways that's so simple. I tried to find a photo
today of my son Christopher painting outside with a huge
piece of paper tacked to a fence when he was two.  And
my younger son, Sam, used every one of my materials,
and made fabulous art too as a little boy.  So we know we're
artists when we're children -- but something -- a mean teacher,
lack of time, the constantly nagging inner critic frightens us.

After a year like the last one, with so many stars losing
their lives, it seems obvious that this is a short trip -- the
whole thing. And belief in self is a powerful fuel for
the journey. We need it.

I'm posting another iPad drawing.  It's a holiday, and
I do feel like playing and celebrating spring.

Happy Whatever  Holiday you Celebrate.  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Holiday time -- the earth comes alive

All this in Blue
iPad drawing
8 x 10
Barbara Muir © 2018
In this city, things shut down tomorrow.  No matter who you
are it's a day off.  Even so I may continue blogging and
painting, because is there really such a thing as a day off
from art?  The answer is no.  If our eyes our working, we
are working, and that is the truth.

Tonight I'm showing you a simple drawing I did on my iPad
today.  It was a great pleasure working on it, and I
may add a few things at another time.

Meanwhile Happy whatever you are celebrating.  For
my husband and me it's a Good Friday, because he has a
day off, the stores are closed, and that means we can pretty
well do whatever we want. Wishing you a great day too.

Have an enjoying the day, day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On a tulip kick

Parrots for Peoria
Acrylic on watercolour paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

My first show was of flower paintings, and that is
in my blood I think.  I love the look of flowers, and
capturing them in any way has been a pleasure
for me as an artist.

This painting -- one in a series, I like because of the
texture and play of paint, and the parrot tulips, which
are my favourite.  So it's late, a spring night, and
I've been teaching and am falling asleep.  But thought
I'd give you inspiration for a brilliant day ahead.

Have a painting what you love day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Speaking of Happy -- this was a pleasure from start to finish

Water Image # 4 Wing on the beach
Acrylic on canvas
20 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

My eternal gratitude to Wing -- fabulous costume designer
and cutter for commissioning, posing for and buying this
portrait. It went home five years ago today.  

Wing's career just continues to skyrocket in the movie and
TV business, and that makes me so happy.  From reading
his Facebook posts I know a few things about Wing that
I didn't know before.  He loves New York at least as much
as I do.  He has a niece on the west coast in Canada, and makes
her beautiful clothes each time he visits.  He loves flowers
and delicious food.  And he loves beaches all over the world.

I am looking forward to one day painting a big portrait of
Wing on the beach! 

Have an enjoying the world as much as Wing day!

Monday, March 26, 2018

# 18 Keep going!

Dutch Tulip Field Dreams (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
20 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Small inconveniences like a broken wrist are an opportunity
to learn something.  For me it's that it will happen when it
happens.  It takes it's time.  I have been so lucky to have my
husband who's helped me with every household task I
can't do, and driven me to and from school for the
weeks that I've had a cast, because I can't carry anything.

And I've been so lucky to have friends who have driven
me places (I'm not driving yet), brought me dinner, and
flowers, and cheered me up with phone calls and visits
and tea.  Plus I've kept painting, and blogging.

Here's a painting I'm working on inspired by the joyful news
that a friend of mine in the Netherlands, who has been
having a very hard time because of an injury, is feeling
happy and getting back to her normal vivacity.  I went
to sleep the night after I heard this news, and dreamt of
a painting of tulip fields.  It is totally abstract in the main
because I have never seen the actual fields, or been to the
Netherlands, but I would so love to go and see them.

It's not completely finished, but I feel happy with it so
far.  Painting with a broken wrist in a cast has been a tricky
proposition -- but possible, and that was a very good thing
to discover.  So let's all keep going.

Have a keeping it all going day.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

# 17 Play

Flower play
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

The world is a serious place, and artists feel that at least
as much as everyone else.  So what should we do?  We
all started out in art playing.  For me it was with Mrs.
Jordan when I was five, in kindergarten class in Ottawa.
Mrs. Jordan was super strict until it came to painting.
There she was a blast. I painted stories for her,
and she wrote them down on the back of the paintings
 for my parents' amusement.

But one of the things that's helpful to an artist who is
backed into a corner by a work that insists on a
mysterious something, that the artist doesn't get right at
the moment, is to play!

 Play with the cat, go for a walk, sing (yes even badly)
at the piano, or as I have here, draw something on your
iPad if you have one. So much fun.  Brilliant colour.
You use your fingers. (I bought the one with the pencil,
and don't use it! Not as much fun!)

Have a remembering to play, day.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March for Our Lives

Happiness framed
Black marker on moleskine paper
4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
It was hard for me to find an image for my blog today because my heart
and mind were with the brave students, parents and teachers
marching for gun control in the U.S. all over America, and all
over the world in support of the students demanding change to the
gun laws. . As far as I'm concerned that's the big news.  This image of
photos of a beloved child seems right.  Because every parent has these
framed photos.  And so would the parents who've lost their children in
 a school shooting, or war, or family violence. The message is the same
 -- we need to get rid of the guns.

We all deserve to live in a world without gun violence, and I am
so proud of everyone who marched, spoke, sang trying to make this happen.

Have an ending the acceptance of gun violence day.

Friday, March 23, 2018

#16 -- Talk to artists

One of my favourite photos from the Florence Biennale in 2015 --
My friend the superb artist, Miranda Brouwers and I talking about art.
(One of the super things about
being in a large art exhibition is
meeting wonderful artists and talking
to them about what they do.)
Few things are more inspiring when an artist is in the
midst of working on creating a painting than talking
to other artists.  Ideas and methods, and information
about how to accomplish what you want, and where
to buy what you need -- other artists' work to look
up, courses -- it's endless.  And so fun -- the interactive
back and forth on what you're doing, how it's going,
how your friend in a completely different medium
is handling things.

Plus there's the bond -- who can imagine it -- between
people who are trying to do the same type of work.
Trying to figure out what they need to do to get
an image onto the canvas.  And artists often share
a similar sense of humour too -- a pleasure in a world
that sometimes doesn't get what art is, or that it's a
job on top of everything else.  

One of the best things I ever did as an artist was join
an art group that held regular model sessions, brought
in guest speakers and hosted regular exhibitions.
A great way to get into discussing art with artists.

Have a talking to artists day!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

#15 I've got the power

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

This portrait of Daniel Anaka, was one of those portraits that just
fly onto the canvas.  Maybe it was because Daniel was such a good
model, and could hold a pose perfectly.  Maybe it was because Daniel
had been my curator for a bunch of super shows by the time I
painted him, and so there was that happy connection.  I don't know.

Daniel, who is outrageously funny, incredibly creative a super artist
and curator, decided to give me a serious face for this painting, and
I'm happy with how it turned out.

The title tonight is about power. I was talking to a friend on the phone,
and the power went out.  I couldn't find the flashlights, my cell
needed to be charged.  I found my iPad and that was my light.
A few minutes later the power came back on, and whew, I felt
so happy.  A reminder that I do have the power.  The power to be
creative, the power to be loving in the world, the power to paint
what I need to paint.  And also about how grateful I am to have
power to plug my lights in and get at it.

Have a loving your power day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#14 -- Noticing what you have

Flowers in a Dutch Jug
iPad drawing
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

The three lemons in the small antique china bowl on my
kitchen table, are a reminder of how lucky I am.  We
went to one supermarket looking for lemons and they
were all a mess, small, old, lumpy -- the opposite of
beautiful.  But at the second supermarket -- all the
same problems and 3 perfect lemons.  They sit between
two candleholders, and are actually something my son
taught me to do to decorate a table when I didn't
have flowers.

I have restarted my Happiness Blog, Smile First,
and it's making me think about Shawn Achor and
his advice to think of three things you're grateful
for every day.  I am so grateful for you -- for
this community.  For your inspiration and the
shows I've been in with you, and found out about
through you, and for the work you've bought from
me.  Thank you.

It's late and I taught tonight, so I'm posting another
iPad drawing, that photographed because my
iPad (brand new) cannot send images.  And that's a
problem for another day.

Have a enjoying the abundance in your life day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

# 13 Happy Spring -- Hey Canada it's here!

Flower Frenzy
iPad Drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Here it is the day we've long awaited -- the first day of spring!
In my part of the world we've learned to take every bit
of blue sky and sparkling sunshine minute by minute, because --
it could still snow.  But on a day like today -- perfection in every
respect -- it's impossible to worry.

The cats are begging to roll around on the back porch, the dog is
running pretending to catch squirrels, and the whole yard is
abuzz with birds, birdsong and a feeling of "it is Happening
people!"  So we roll with it, and feel insanely cheerful.

Here's a little drawing I did on my iPad, which won't let me
send it anywhere else, so I photographed it on my iPad!
Don't let technology get you down! This drawing has the
celebratory feeling of spring for me.

Have a ridiculously happy enjoying the spring day!

Monday, March 19, 2018

#12 The UN International Day of Happiness

Cloud Magic (detail -- all will be revealed soon)
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2018
Happiness is a learned emotion. True it helps if you grow up
around very happy people, and it helps to be a person who seeks
out that good feeling.  But I found an exercise I did with my
class in Positive Psychology helped students (and me) think in
positive ways.  So for the International Day of Happiness here's
my current take on it.

It's called:
10 Reasons to be Happy 

1. The doctors say my arm is healing -- and I get the cast
off in 3 weeks and one day! (Unless something is wrong
and they have to put a new cast on).
2.  It was a beautiful day and I sat out in the cold, on the
back porch looking at the sky for a few minutes.
3. I am happy because I have a loving husband.
4. I am happy because I have a loving family.
5.  I am happy because I have kind, funny friends around
the world.
6.  I am happy because I'm an artist, and I love making art.
7. I'm happy that I get to teach, and that I meet amazing people
every year in that job -- even with one night a week.
8. I'm happy that I live in Canada -- deleriously happy about that.
9. I'm happy that I've learned how to be happy, and am
still learning, and think I will learn more and more for the
rest of my life. And I'm grateful for all that my blog friends
and Facebook friends have taught me on the subject
10. I'm happy that I've learned to love myself enough to
choose only to be with kind and happy people.
11. I'm happy that I don't believe in horoscopes, superstition
or most dogma.
12.  I'm happy that I love to read and I have a wonderful
13. I'm happy that my artist friend Janet Vanderhoof 
encouraged me to meditate, which brings me back to
happy when I get off course.
14.  I'm happy that I could keep going here all night, but I

Most of what made me happy a year ago, is what makes
me happy today, and that makes me happy too!

Have a Happy International Happiness Day.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

#11 Letting go of fear -- heroes like Bob Burridge

Night tulips
Watercolour, acrylic, marker on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
The person I'm thinking of when I write this is Bob
Burridge, who I'm sure I've talked about before, and who
puts out new art videos on how to be wildly creative
every week.  He is filled with ideas, happy (super
happy) and inspiring.  I haven't taken one of
his on site seminars yet, but I love the guy for what he
offers to artists.

He helps us step off the fear Merry-Go-Round and
into possibility.  He regularly paints so many paintings
in the space of a 10 minute talk, that one painting
seems like a much easier task.  And his are all good.

Plus he simplifies things like how to paint a wine
bottle.  Here's a little drawing/painting I did about
a week ago when my Sketchbox arrived.  It
uses watercolour, a white marker, a green marker,
a black marker and acrylic paint.  Intense - like
the tulips themselves. I knew I had to capture them
right away at their peak, or they'd be finished. I was right.
The next morning the luscious petals I'd drawn and
painted had fallen to the floor.

Have a letting-go-of-fear-and-experimenting day!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

#10 -- Open to change

Ray (art group sketch)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

It is St.  Patrick's Day, and Steven and I decorated, or he did
and I supervised.  We thought about going out to a great event,
but waited too long, so we will attend another year.  This year
we took it easy, drank our green champagne, and watched a movie.

Looking through my files from past March blogs I found this painting
of a journalist who'd just moved to Canada from the states and modeled
for my art group one night.  A few years after I sketched the original in
our group, I changed the colour of his T-shirt and the background, and I
liked what happened with it.  Ray is wearing a green shirt, which is
of course what you wear on St. Patrick's Day.  I hope you had a good one.
And I read that the original colour for St. Patrick's Day was blue,
so he's cool no matter what.

Being open to changing what you did in a painting (within reason)
is usually a good thing. And in life we need to be ready to move
with what's happening too.  I hope you had an amazing day.

Have a being open to change in art and life day.

Friday, March 16, 2018

#9 -- Celebrations -- Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Kitchen dress up
12 x 16 inches
acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2011

No I am not Irish, but way back some of my ancestors
fled France for Ireland, and then Ireland for Canada.
One year when my children were small we -- a very
celebratory family -- bought them green toys and hula
hoops, and green candy and had green ginger ale, and
green champagne for the adults, and a tradition was

So Happy St. Patrick's Day.  My family is not entirely
certain when we'll celebrate, but we will have a bit of
a green fest and that seems right with spring coming on
soon we hope.

Have a joyous St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

#8 Heads Up! Praise works!

Untitled (detail) Work in Progress
Acrylic on canvas
20 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
The big learning for me about blogging, was that it's a positive
environment.  If you don't like what an artist does, you move
on, and don't comment.  If you love what they do, you tell
them!  Oh Boy! That is revolutionary!  Because all over the
world (except perhaps in Finland -- which I hear has an amazing
education system), parents are taught not to praise children
too much!  This still happens.

But here's what praise does.  Everything.  If people praise
your work, you feel empowered.  Seriously.  You feel like
getting back at it.  You feel like doing more.  It may
not directly affect how you're working, but it definitely
keeps you working.

In the lovely world of art blogs for some reason this is
understood through some secret unspoken code.  And Hurray
for that.  So go ahead praise an artist, your kid, your romantic
partner, your boss, whoever you possibly can.  Oh -- and
part two -- mean what you say!

I'd add -- also give yourself a pat on the back.  Acknowledge
each time you've done something you're proud of and reward
yourself.  It doesn't have to be a trip to France (I am ready),
but a phone call to a friend can make your day.

Have a praising what you love day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#7 Taking time to leave the room

Dreaming of Florence
Charcoal on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(It would be lovely to step out
to Florence for a bit of inspiration -- I must
do that again one day soon!)
I've read this so many times from artists -- that they are
obsessing about a painting, and it's driving them nuts.
They can't get it right.  I was inspired by something a
friend posted recently about an artist saying just go and
be in the studio, read your book in the studio, don't
leave the studio.  True in part.

But I think the teachers I loved the most told me the
best thing about drawing and painting -- and that was when
it's possible, stand back.  Get away from the thing.  True
across the room is good -- space for realizing what you
could do differently.  A better plan?  Get out of the room,
leave the floor, go upstairs, or downstairs or even better
out of the house.  Give that growing, magnificent work
that suddenly hit the curve some air to breathe, and the
bounty inside your brilliant creative mind to flourish.

I taught tonight and spent some time at the hospital
about my broken wrist today.  So I am tired.  I think
I'll leave the room, and go to sleep.

Have an enjoying a creative break day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#6 The infinite joy of friendship

Through the fields (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Number 6 in 18 influences is my wonderful friends. We are more
like an 8, than #6,  like a Möbius strip, looping around and back
on itself.  That is friendship, and the gift to my art, in this month
and every month from my friends here in the city, across this country,
and across the world is unmeasurable. But like the Möbius strip we're
a giving and getting continuous loop of joy, happiness, ideas, kindness,
comfort, humour, and love.

I spent part of today with wonderful friends who've met for coffee
every Tuesday when they aren't working for more than 20 years.
And we all met when our children were going to an alternative school
in the public school across the street from my house.  These are my
support.  They come to my shows, help me when I need it, care about
what is happening in my family, and I care about them and their lives,
the highs and lows.

Being with them inspired me to start painting today, and then
I had lovely conversations with two of the artists whose work
I admire.  It was an inspiring day.

Thank you to all of my friends.  You matter to me more than
you will ever know.

Have a loving your friends day.

Monday, March 12, 2018

#5 Jennifer Hinrichs and belief in art

Portrait of a man -- Life model session
Don Valley Art Club
Acrylic on paper
24 x 18
BarbaraMuir © 2008

I'm afraid I may be all over the place with these eighteen people in 2018.
Obviously my husband, my children and their families come first.  But I
wrote about them in the month of love, and it seems right now to honour
other people who've had a tremendous influence on my artistic life.   Jennifer
Hinrichs has been a key person in my life as an artist.  

I had my very first art show ever in Jennifer's house.  We set up a show
mostly of botanical watercolours, and sent out invitations.  It was one
weekend long, and the beginning for me of being immersed in the
world of trying to figure out where and how to do this art thing.

Jennifer and I worked at the same art magazine and met a lot of Canada's
top artists in those jobs -- me as assistant editor, and Jennifer as the designer.
We also taught a course, called The Path of Change about positive thought,
and from that experience I got to teach School Success, basically 
positive psychology for 10 years at a local community college.

Plus Jennifer introduced me to the Don Valley Art Club, and I started
getting regular drawing sessions and a series of group shows because
of that association.  

Jennifer winning an award
at the Don Valley Art Club
I love Jennifer's work.  I have never had the guts yet to do her 
portrait, although I'd love to.  But she is so beautiful, strong and 
wonderful plus very busy, that I've been a bit overwhelmed at the
thought.  So I'm posting a photo of her instead.

I love this photo from the Grand Manan Artists' site.
If you want to study with Jennifer in Grand Manan
this summer click the link.

Have an honouring the people who helped you day!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

My sweet brother #4

Shorelines, The Gatineau River
My Brother Andrew
Acrylic on canvas
12" x 12"
Barbara Muir @ 2008
I switched from talking just about women in 18 people who've
influenced my life when I thought about my brother Andrew. He
is without a doubt one of my best friends.  We are as different as can
be, yet share a love of writing, of art, of talking about ideas. This
wonderful man has had me in hysterics since before he could talk.
 As children we used to spend time in the strange outdoor world of
 nothing to do. Our parents expected us to "play" outside in all weather
 and we did. I think that's why we both love animated conversations now.
Frequently there was nothing to "play " with and we would just kind of
hang around and talk!

Anyone who knows us knows that we still have that ability. And
that early banishment from living indoors did teach us an indelible
love of nature, and the ability to be creative. Still to come -- 99 toys
you can make with an acorn! Maybe it taught us to love the screens
that now run our lives too, because we were highly limited on how
much TV we could watch. Nothing would have made us more
thrilled than a TV you could hold in your hand!

I think my brother is braver than most people I know. He is
also kinder, and I love that about him! And despite tragedy in
his life is still funny and compassionate.

Have a loving your brother day.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Art of my father -- #3

A great day on the farm
© W.W. Muir
Oil on board
16 x 20 inches

My father should definitely have been #2, or combined #1 with
my mother, but like many artists I changed my mind.  And instead of
just writing about women, I'm writing about people.

The more I look at the photos that remain of my father's work,
the more I so appreciate his art.  I'm glad I own one painting,
and I hope my brother Andrew owns another.  The rest were sold
off in a job lot (not by me) for next to nothing, which breaks my
heart, so let's not go there.

My Dad was a stern, somewhat harsh father of young children,
and had four.  In that line up, I think the younger two may have
had less discipline, and perhaps more parental affection --
and as the second youngest I definitely saw my father's softer
side.  I had no doubts that he loved me, and he started painting
in part because of my interest in art in high school, and the
fact that I went to OCAD (The Ontario College of Art and Design).

He was entirely self taught, and his innate talent astounds me more
and more.  His eye for colour -- trained in photography first, his
art form before painting -- comes out in every painting.

My father was an amazing writer.  His letters take my breath away.
I thank him for any talent I might have.  And I also thank him big time
for taking us to a summer cottage every summer, and for living on the
Ottawa River, so we could visit and enjoy the dazzling countryside.

I miss you Daddy.

Have an appreciating your parents day

Friday, March 9, 2018

Out of the blue and #2 My sister

Out of the blue 
Avery graphic material on Styrofoam
32 x 32 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
I'll call this mixed media piece Out of the blue, because I went to
work on another painting, started cleaning out a drawer in the studio,
found the Avery Graphics material, and decided to cover this piece
of packing styrofoam.  This piece of styrofoam has been a cat gate in
 our kitchen for a few years, every weekday morning since
the stuff came into the house protecting a painting shipment.

It is grey pink, an all time not favourite colour of mine, so I know.
It works, it fits the opening to the hall, and stops the cats coming upstairs and
waking me up horrifically early in the morning.  But today I suddenly
decided to change it.  My broken wrist makes so many things hard to do,
but this was perfect.  The piece of styrofoam is light, the Graphics material
in scraps had its own shapes.  One side is done.  I may do the other

#2 My sister Sally

The Blue Sweater
acrylic on canvas
24" x 36"
Barbara Muir © 2005

I decided today that I won't just write about women, although I could,
and I won't make it dependent on having painted their portrait -- but I
have painted my sister.  My sister is an amazing and brave woman -- kind
and generous to a fault, funny beyond what you can imagine, a wonderful
mother, superb therapist, and super wife.  Plus she can really write.

But in my life she was at least as influential as my mother.  She often took
care of me when I was a little girl, and when I was older I couldn't wait
to travel to wherever she was living to talk to her about books, movies,
politics.  She has always been so much fun.  She is a keen supporter of
my work, and has bought many of my paintings over the years. Most of
all she is someone I love and who loves me.  She is there if I need her,
and there if I just want to talk and laugh.  Right now she's living in
California -- a long way away, but when I talk to her on the phone the
miles vanish.

Thank you Sally for all that you've taught me, all the love you've given me
I love you to the max.

Have an enjoying playing with art day.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Eighteen people who inspire me in 2018 -- #1

Isabel Muir
by Christopher Muir
Christopher Muir @ 2007

I have to start with my mother, and I don't have a painting of
her -- I wish I did.  I have a photo by my son, Christopher,
which shows her strength, her beauty, and the nature she protected
with letters, her voice on call-in radio on CBC, in protest marches even when
she had a serious chronic lung condition, and with donations.

A couple of weeks before she died, I sat with my mother, who
was totally blind, helping her fill out cheques to organizations she
believed in that protected the environment -- wolves, whales, parkland.
Those weren't her only passions -- she gave to women's shelters, money
for hurricane and famine victims.  Small amounts to be sure -- but this mattered.

She was a good, kind and supportive mother. Sure she could be
critical, but in small ways that didn't matter at all. Because what
shone through with her was her love for her family, her intellect,
her concern about the future of the planet.

Mommy -- you were and are an amazing role model.  I wish you
were here today.  You're number one with me on this International
Women's Day!

Have an honouring the women who inspire you day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Georgia's Art Talk #3

Georgia Fullerton -- Art Talk #3 on healing

Hi everyone.  Georgia is one of the busiest people I know -- an artist, an
expressive arts therapist, a TV personality -- so I was so happy when she
took the time today to talk on the subject of healing and art.

A friend on Facebook responded that when you can get back to your art,
and get in the moment, you create new neural pathways that override the
old pathways that lead to grief and sorrow.  I loved that information.
Everyone's lives hit roadblocks and very sad chapters and it is so hopeful
to know that the activity of doing your art can help pull you out to a
new dimension.

I'm including a couple of pieces that had that effect on me.

Winter tea at the art gallery
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I started this painting in the late fall after my mother died.  I was 
absolutely heart broken, and we'd lost our family dog too.  This
painting in colours much more muted than my normal bright 
palette brought me back to the feeling that so many things in life
are beautiful.

Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017


Last fall I lost my niece, and her death had a very clear impact on
my creative life.  I hardly even knew it on a conscious level, but
I couldn't work until I got this sweet commission and hit the easel
again.  I am very grateful to this sweet dog for helping me face
my sorrow, and feel the happiness of playing with paint.

Yesterday's blog has my little video about art and healing.  

Have a getting back to your true self day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Art Talk #3 -- Healing and Art

Art Talk #3
Hi Everyone,

The artist Georgia Fullerton and I decided to make regular short videos
on the topic of art called Art Talks.  This is the third one.  I broke my wrist
almost  two weeks ago, and have been given at least 8 more weeks to
wear a cast -- so healing seemed like the right topic.

Let us know your thoughts.

Have a loving art day!

Monday, March 5, 2018

More from the Happy Art Award

I've spent the day happily painting inspired by the work
of the artists on my blog list, and my Facebook and Instagram
friends, and by artists around the world.  My painting of
a Toronto beach scene is not done, but I made great progress
and do feel happy.

Suddenly I remembered this -- The Happy Art Award.  Actually
The Barbara Muir Happy Art Award -- a kind of Oscar
for artists designed by me.  But why me you ask?  And why
not?  I reply.  I thought it up one day in response to the many
blog awards going around at the time, and sent it out to all
the artists on my blog list.

Forgive me now, but if you're reading this, you have won the
award, and one day when I am very rich there will be a
monetary prize attached.  But for now to all my artist friends,
collector friends, art appreciator friends, art inspiring friends,
galleries, and art show curators -- to everyone in short who
helps me get this job of art done -- you win my lovely
award.  Your art, friendship, support makes me happy and
that's why you win!

Have a loving art day!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sunday discoveries

I want it (Work in Progress)
Pencil on Pentalic paper
5 1/2 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Every now and then I scroll through the "see all images"
part of what's available on Google under my name
(Barbara Muir).  Naturally I wince at the images of
paintings I didn't think worked, and feel fond of the
photos of portraits and landscapes that went well.

But scrolling through the paintings by me today
I ran into the paintings of an Australian artist, Michael
Muir, and felt an instant affinity for his work, and
even watched a small video about him.  His work ethic
is more than impressive and he has three small boys.
I so admire the paintings of Nancy Boynton Hartley,
whose work uses similar high key colour and abstraction.
Perfection in every image.

I also looked up the portrait work of Alistair Adams,
whose portraits impressed me so much when I was
mostly painting portraits.  It was a busy day, but looking
at his portraits inspired me to start on this little drawing.
I hope I'll finish it tomorrow and get on to more

Have a being inspired by art day.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Happy Marching to market

Children's garden tomatoes in a glass bowl
acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2007
I don't think I included this painting in my recent
posts, but I always feel proud when I come
across it.  Especially in the collector's kitchen
where it has a happy home. Today was market
day -- and I'm eternally grateful to the market
people who not only take my email orders when
I go to sleep, and forget to send them in until the middle
of the night, but also wait for us to arrive.  And we
are always late in the market scheme of things,
with people, including the farmers we buy our eggs,
quiche and lettuce from, packing up like crazy.

These were tomatoes grown in what used to be
a children's garden at the time of this painting,
and has now become a community garden -- an
excellent plan.  So baby farmers grew these
baby tomatoes, and I do recall that the tomatoes were
particularly delicious.  A nice thought at a time
of year before the growing season starts. I saw two
robins in a tree today -- a sure sign that spring is

Have a dreaming of summer day.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Stay active -- March is on the move!

Untitled (Work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2018
Although March has 31 days it speeds you through to full
on spring.  Everybody who isn't already in love, starts falling in
love.  Birds start coming back to the park, and their
songs are beautiful beyond compare.  The mood is one
of solid expectation and joy.

Tonight I thought I'd give you a glimpse of the big one
I'm working on.  Plus you get to see my fancy artist's
sling -- a De Serres bag.  Hard to bother that fancy sling
if paint should start flying.

Casts and slings are not fun.  Let's not pretend, but life
still insists on joy, so it's all about learning. Just between
you and me.  I love the painting behind me. More
to come -- stay happy.  I am.  Thank you to Steven
van Schaik for lifting this huge heavy work for
me, and for helping me with everything.  He is
my left hand man (get it?).  You do!

Have a loving-what-you-do day!  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

One gorgeous day at a time! Happy March!

My studio friend
(self portrait)
Black marker on Pentalic paper
5 1/2 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
March means spring is coming.  Spring means everything growing
at a fantastic rate. I am resolved to take it one day at a time, for
the duration while this big, blue cast sits on my arm.  Maybe not
the same one -- but I've been told I'll have a cast for 2 months!
Did I paint today? Yes.  Can I show you?  No.  Things progress so slowly.
They always do, but now every movement has to be considered.  So I've
done that, and I am happy at the end of this day.
Fruit on a footed plate
Orange markers on Pentalic paper
5 1/2 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
I've loved blogging every day in February, and I'll keep going for as
long as I can. Tonight I'llshow you some recent drawings.  I have a very
big painting dominating my creative mind -- but drawing is always
there -- happy to step up and make some art.

Clementines in a glass bowl
Marker on Pentalic paper
5 1/2 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Sending love out to my early drawing teachers for teaching me to
have such pleasure.  Happy March!

Have a feeling-spring-in-the-air day!
Sorry Toronto -- I hear it's snowing, but spring is coming!

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!