Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Day 7 and one of my favourite places

Summer clouds Wallace Bridge
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2014

I don't have a great photo of this piece, and it's been living the
high life in a featured position in its wonderful owner's house.  
It captures the wonder of a Nova Scotia cloudscape.  This summer
Toronto has been giving Nova Scotia a run for its money with 
some spectacular clouds -- but nothing can really top (pardon
my pun) the clouds in Nova Scotia.  When I am there I'm dazzled
by one view after another that absolutely knocks me out.

So it's appropriate on this the last day of the challenge, that
my thoughts are straying to that gorgeous place -- where I'll
 go before the summer is over.  As we head into August
I catch myself filled with nostalgia for a summer so packed
with work that there was barely a moment to breathe, let
alone enjoy all that nature has to offer.  Still as an artist
I am drinking the beautiful images in any chance I get.

Have a loving your summer days day. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

The one day dream -- a room full of my ocean series

Wonder Water Image #6
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
This is the 6th day in the challenge I was invited to join by
the amazing sculptor, Gabrielle Fischer Horvath.
I am incredibly lucky to know an amazing bunch of women,
including this brilliant and beautiful woman, Etana, who
dropped by today.  My portrait of her is certainly one of my
favourites because it captures both her beauty and her serious
side.  She is committed to  helping Canadians work together on
saving the environment, on human rights, and on figuring out how
 to get people engaged in caring about their communities.

Her portrait has (appropriately in my opinion) traveled to be
part of the Florence Biennale and to New York City. She is
delightful, and I'm sure that my affection for her comes
through in the painting too.

In Florence, Italy the painting showed with another portrait
and a large diptych of an ocean scene.  I managed to say to
visitors to my wall that these paintings were about saving the
ocean, and these young women, Etana, and Emily on the other
side of the large ocean scene would be the ones to do it.
I spoke just enough Italian about saving the oceans
that more than one visitor stood in front of Etana's
portrait, and then Emily's portrait, very moved.  It was lovely to
witness that.

It is one of my dreams to one day have a show of my ocean series.
These portraits are very special to me.

Have a loving what you are trying to express day.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Still Life and the Flower Queen

Breakfast at the Skylight Diner NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
This painting took me to Paris, where it showed in
the Louvre in the Carousel du Louvre in 2015.  It got me to meet
the fabulous Russo brothers, Francesco Saverio Russo, and
Salvatore Russo who were hosting the show in the Louvre,
and my dear friend Alessandra Mascitti who worked as
their translator/curator, and who is one of the funniest people I know.
So I am very grateful to this painting, inspired by a romantic
breakfast I had with my husband in NYC.

I started loving painting still life around the time when I
met the fabulous artist, Flora Doehler, who has yet to exhibit
her work in Paris, and New York City, but I think the time is long
overdue, because Flora's work is amazing, and beyond amazing,
astounding.  She can make flowers sing the way they do
in real life, and make you feel over the top wonderful.

I met her at a show in the Don Valley Art Club, went to
her incredibly vivid and artistic house in Toronto, and I
think I was responsible for getting her to visit the Maritimes
(no she comboed it with a wedding).  Whatever our lovely
time in the Maritimes maybe 10 years ago, when she visited
our little school house -- lead to her and her husband, a
fantastic ceramic artist, Larry Knox moving permanently
to the small and picturesque Nova Scotia town of
Bear River. And she and Larry have been loving their brand
new Maritime life there ever since.

But back to the painting.  Wow.  Paintings can take you
anywhere.  And this one gave Paris a bit of NYC.  All
in all an international vision fest, and incredibly wonderful
time.  Thank you painting, and thank you Steven for the
delicious meal that inspired the painting, and thank you
Flora for constant inspiration. And thank you Russo brothers
for inviting me, and thank you Alessandra for being the best
twinie anyone has. (our joke).

Have a loving your artistic life day.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A shared love of the environment -- Day 4 of the challenge

In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
For day Four of the Seven Day Challenge I've been invited to 
take part in by the amazing sculptor, Gabrielle Fischer Horvath,
I choose one of my favourite paintings.  So much of what I paint
is energized by love, the love of what I see, of who I talk to,
of who I'm painting for.  This painting was created to celebrate
a nature reserve in the Netherlands, and was in an exhibition called
Kunst in Drimmelin to to honour that area in Drimmelin -- the Worp
I was invited to join the show by my friend the wonderful artist,
Miranda Brouwers.  I shipped the painting rolled up and she and
her friends there restretched it for me.  It came home and sold! 
Miranda sent me many, many photos of this area for reference,
and wanted my blue sky and clouds in the painting.  I am eternally
grateful to her for getting me into that wonderful exhibition. 

Have an enjoying loving your art day.

Day Three -- a chance meeting and a happy painting

Tobias and the tigers
acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

Today's painting in the 7 paintings for 7 days challenge I was
asked to join by Gabrielle Fischer Horvath, is a
painting of a little boy named Tobias, that I did for the HGTV
show Pure Design in 2009.  The whole experience was a delight,
and one lovely part of it was that Tobias's mother Carm cried
when she saw the portrait because she loved it so much.

Today Steven and I decided to go and sit on a park bench
on the hill at our local park-- to have a little relaxation
time for ourselves before dinner at the end of a long
work week.  While we were there Carm, and her daughter
stopped by and said Hi.   They were going to meet Tobias (now 11).
So amazing because I was thinking about the painting the other
day, and have not seen Carm in a few years.

The short conversation we had reminded me of the treat
of making this painting, and the joyous reaction from
Tobias's family -- the best possible outcome for a portrait

Have a loving what you do day.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Capturing Love -- the best part of portrait painting

The Maharani's Great Granddaughter with 
her Great Granddaughter
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Today is day two of the seven paintings in seven days
challenge I was invited to take part in by the amazing scultptor
Gabrielle Fischer Horvath.  This painting is one of my
favourites because it captures a sweet moment with
my lovely mother-in-law and her great granddaughter.
My mother-in-law Daisy van Schaik is dead now, and
I am so happy I have this image to remember her by.
She was so delighted with this beautiful baby, and the
moment lives on in my painting.

I'm grateful to Gabrielle for this challenge, and for making
me think about what matters in my art.

Have a loving the people you love day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Artist friendships -- a bond that both inspires us and drives us

First stop Paris
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I've been asked by an artist friend, the amazing sculptor Grabrielle Fischer Horvath
to post a painting a day on Facebook for seven days, and invite a new
artist each day to participate too.  I am very grateful to Gabrielle,
because I've been meaning to blog again as promised, but
have been wildly busy with an exciting, complicated and demanding
teaching job.  This ends next week, and I will go into full art production then.
But for now, I will happily answer Gabrielle's challenge and post seven
of my paintings.

Today I'm posting First Stop Paris -- a painting I did in 2012 -- six years ago.
The model, Shaniece, was a super young woman, and posed for a few of my
favourite paintings.  Here she perfectly expressed the joy I feel each
time I land in Paris, and know I am in a city I love.

Have a loving your art friendships day.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The yellow farm house and Joni Mitchell

The artists' yellow house
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

I started this little painting of my friend Flora's farmhouse
in Nova Scotia today.  It was a lot of fun -- I have a few
things to change, but I could feel how it would be walking up
the path to this amazing house -- how glad I always am to
be there to see Flora and her husband Larry -- both awesome

In the supermarket today I heard a Joni Mitchell song, and
the part that captured me was, "on the back of a cartoon
coaster, in the blue TV screen light.  I drew a map of
Canada. Oh Canada, with your face on it twice."
Nova Scotia is a part of Canada I miss with an almost
bodily ache, and Joni was really good at singing that feeling.
Oh Canada indeed.  How I love you.

I hope I have some time to tweak the odd thing on this little
painting tomorrow.  Meanwhile Canada and Nova Scotia,
"Oh you are in my blood, like holy wine." To me that
is always sweet.

Have a painting what you love day. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

In charge -- the feeling of knowing you're there

River Run (work in progress)
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

What do I mean?  What a great day I've had today -- powered
 by the connection with you.  Just getting back to blogging
made it seem like anything was possible.  Okay yes within reason.
I decided to do what I've done for a long time -- work on
painting whenever I can.

And I began thinking about the pieces I've begun and need
to finish.  Here's a little 5 x 7 inch painting I'm having fun with.
But every part of today was smoother, more creative, more
logical, and happier -- and I know it's the connection with the
wider painting world -- you.

I'm reading an article on Eudaemonic well-being -- Eudaemonic 
well-being, inequality, and health: Recent findings and future 
directions by Carol D. Ryff. Basically it's about happiness --
a subject that fascinates me.  Apparently blogging and connecting
to the artistic world I love is part of what makes me happy.

Have a doing what you love day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Missing you. Thank you for getting me through to today.

Black marker on Fabriano paper
6 x 8 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Here's what happened!  I broke my wrist in February -- falling on the cat.
True.  Late at night after school, making my supper, with a cat spinning in
circles under my feet.  I was working on my big painting for the Water for
Life exhibition at the Niagara Falls History Museum, opening in May at
the time and running until September 9. And for awhile most action stopped.  
Opening a tube of paint hurt, opening a jar hurt.  Opening a cat food can was impossible.
Yes my valiant right hand still worked.  But every small task was like climbing 
a mountain.
I know
Black marker on Fabriano paper
6 x 8 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

So when I was offered intensive teaching work -- for some reason I accepted it.
( I do love teaching).  My sweet husband Steven drove me to work.  I couldn't
drive, or carry my bags holding the class assignments. I needed help with just about
everything.  Luckily I was much better at the wonderful opening of Water for Life in May,
and could go without the splint my doctor recommended after the cast came off.  Now at the beginning of July, I am almost completely back to normal.  Naturally my urge to blog
has returned.
The studying jam
Black marker on Fabriano paper
6 x 8 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Meanwhile I've taken on teaching a super demanding, fast-track course, so all of my 
time is squeezed.  Now I intend to manage that, and painting, and talking to you.  
Here are some drawings I did at the end of my last school term. I'm inspired by people who 
say I should draw every day.  I'd like to now.  It's hard to concentrate when you need pain 
pills every four hours, but that is finally over. Hurray!  What did this teach me beside 
watch that cat? (who I love, and who is fine).  Enjoy moving, and every single bit of health and happiness you have.  Life is precious, art is wonderful, everyone who helped me is so kind and
special. And enjoy yourself.  I so enjoy you.  And thank you for your inspiration and
help, and affection.

Key search in the small purse
Black marker on Fabriano paper
6 x 8 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Have a loving whatever holiday you celebrate 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!