Thursday, December 13, 2018

The 2005, 2006 and 2007 things I learned this year

A collage of some of my portraits
© Barbara Muir
I put this together, because listening
to myself -- I would like to get back
to painting portraits from time to 
time.  Landscape has become my love,
but people are so compelling,
and fascinating. 

The 2005th thing I learned: Listen
Continuing the challenge from Howard Wolinsky to come up with
2018 things I learned in 2018, I work in part in a talking industry,
maybe entirely in talking industries.  As artists, we have to pull
ourselves out of our studios, get on decent clothes and stand in
front of something we painted all alone listening to music or our
own thoughts, and talk about the work.  As a teacher I tell stories
to try to keep my students engaged.  But what everyone in the world
wants is to be heard.  So we talkers have to be quiet and listen.  There's
a peace in that too.  As a break from trying to compose
something special, we can go out and listen to nature, take the
head phones off, shut off the phone and listen.  Which is why
I love the ocean.  It insists.  You have to listen, and it is the rhythm
of the planet, in and out like our breathing that calms us down.

The 2006th thing I learned (again):  Trust myself
This one's easy.  If something seems wonderful, and all of my
instincts tells me it's true -- I go with it.  But speaking of
listening, if everything both inside and outside of me says,
"No!  This is a bad idea, this seems really crazy."  I
am probably right.  At least I am about 80% possibly
right about this for me.

The 2007th thing I learned (again):  Read
I just listened to a CBC program on how populist politics gain
control, and erode democracies -- and the speaker suggested that the
main way, especially with younger populations, is that people don't
read.  Add not reading to not traveling, and you have a formula
for ignorance. Reading changes that dynamic, and as a voracious reader, I am
working on pulling myself away from just reading novels, and reading
about what is happening in the world.  I know many people
who would rather not know what politicians are doing, about
climate change, about racism, about global hunger problems.
But we can't change things -- about ourselves, and about the
world unless we know.  So that will continue.  Reading has
been a major force for learning for me in 2018.

Thank you to Howard, and thank you to everyone I know
both in my town, the art world, and here, for being my teachers.

Have a learning something new day!


Louise said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Wise words and wiser still because you have learned them “again.”

Barbara Muir said...

Thank you so much Louise,

Yes some lessons keep going. You get that AHA moment, when you realize
-- now that's a good idea (again!).

Happy Holidays,


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!