Friday, July 19, 2019

Happiness is catching

At La Rosa
Acrylic on mounted birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
A few years ago -- (OMG 5!) -- we had
a family member who had to visit Toronto Western
Hospital frequently.  At the time one of us would
head over to La Rosa Bakery and either hang out, or pick
up sandwiches for when the treatment, or appointment
was over. We loved the people there.

I did this little portrait of Lisa who worked at the bakery, but
when I went back to show it to her, she wasn't there.
Since then we've rarely been back in the neighbourhood,
and I hear the bakery closed.  So sorry.  I did a few portraits
of people who worked at, and visited La Rosa --
all great people.

I think this woman's wonderful warmth and humour
comes through in the portrait.  I've been thinking of
and planning portraits all day, but have nothing
concrete to show you.  This painting is one I'm
proud of.  Small, and it's all there.

Have a loving what you do day.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Happiest of days

Pansies in a silver vase
Watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © date unknown
It is a gorgeous, if frighteningly hot day, and I had the
distinct pleasure of packing this painting up,
and sending it off to its new owner.  She sent me a
cheque, which I cashed with pleasure.  I parked the
car a couple of blocks away from the bank and was
filled with joy, and the beauty of the flowers along
my walk.  Yesterday we had heavy rain, today bright
sun -- the plants are very happy.

I'm really glad this painting is heading up to
northern Ontario to a super collector, and fan of
my work in general.  Thank you to everyone who
helped me -- to the wonderful woman at De Serres
who mounted it beautifully in a mat and packed it
for me.  Thank you to the sweet woman at the post
office who figured out prices and proper mailing

Off she goes.  Wishing you a happy day filled
with beauty.

Have a loving your work day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Happy Story

First sighting -- coming home
Acrylic on watercolour paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

So much of the news is hard to take.  And I've had some kind
of bug, so here's a happy story.  This painting, painted from
memory of one of my favourite places in the world in Nova
Scotia, went home the other day to a very special collector.

For an artist, knowing your work is with people who love it
is a big deal. Sometimes it all comes together perfectly
through circumstances and connections.  I love that.

Have a loving what you do day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How to talk to artists

At the  Carrousel du Louvre exhibition
at the Louvre in Paris, France -- June 2015
Guests enjoying the show.
I’ve been to some great art shows lately,
and have been noticing what gets said. If you
visit exhibitions as an artist or guest here are some
of the lessons I learned from the blog world.

Art bloggers are an incredibly supportive group. In
my 11 years of blogging I’ve had one negative comment.
Why? Bloggers comment when they like your work,
and don’t comment if they don’t. This is a civilized system—
all unspoken, yet understood. It’s hard enough having
the confidence to put your work online, or in shows. And
artists are their own worst critics.

If you visit a show say what you like. If you don’t like
a piece, hold your fire.
Loving the art
Black marker on Fringe drawing paper
9 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Artists need to make money, and they are the lowest paid
group in this country (Canada). The last stats I researched
put the average salary for a full time artist at $8,000.
Not a living wage. So most artists want and need to sell.
If you really like a work of art, find out if it’s for sale.

Sometimes artists can make payment arrangements, and
sometimes they can’t. Whatever you do, don’t talk
about other artists' whose work you’ve bought recently
if you aren’t planning to buy work by the artist you're
talking to. Put the focus on the artists you're visiting.

As an artist I know I've talked to exhibiting artists about my
art at shows I wasn't in.  Not a good idea, unless the artist
asks you about your work.

Also basic courtesy— if you’re at a friend’s show, buy
your friend’s work, not another artist’s work in a group
show, unless you buy your friend’s work first.

Don’t insult other artists’ work in a group show. It doesn’t
make your friend feel good. It's just embarrassing.
Once again compliment the work you like.

Finally never give unrequested advice. I had the perfect
art advisor friend, who would come to see my work before
a show and give me advice. Everything she said was both
sensitive and right. That’s a talent few people have. She moved
away and since then I’ve gone it alone.  Unless someone
wants your opinion of what to change in their work, don’t give it.
Even if you're an expert, you're not the expert about that
person's work.

So please go to art shows, and please compliment
work you like. And by all means buy art!

Have a being good to artists day.

Monday, July 15, 2019


No Question about it in life one of my top sheroes is Oprah
Oprah Winfrey Skype Sketch
from the show Where In The Skype Are You
willow charcoal on Canson Mi-Teintes paper
11 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
And in art one of my sheroes is 
Mary Cassatt (painted from a black and white photo --
photographer unknown --colours imagined!)
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

I have so many women heroes. The two above matter so much to me.
And today I must add the four American congresswomen (Alexandria Ocasio-
 Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar) American
President Donald Trump racially targeted and told to "go back" to the
"crime infested" countries they came from. Three of the four were born
in the U.S., and the other is a U.S. citizen.  I am so proud of them for
standing up to Trump, and for saying that his full on racist remarks are
a diversion from the critical issues of the children being held in disgusting
conditions at the U.S./Mexico border, and climate change -- the most
serious world issue now.

I have painted many women, and many of them are my sheroes.
Who are the great women who matter in your life? Three cheers
for the four congresswomen.

Have an acknowledging your sheroes day. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Dreaming of a vacation

Now that was good!
Black marker on notebook paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
We started making plans about our vacation today, and
I can't stop thinking of how much I love hotels and
hotel room service breakfasts.  So that's what I'm showing
you tonight.

I can hardly wait -- even though I have to.  It's a few
weeks off, but woo hoo.  This is one of my favourite drawings
of a hotel breakfast.

Have a dreaming of vacation day.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

At the Toronto outdoor art fair

Visitors enjoy Joyce Fournier's art at the 
Toronto Outdoor Art Fair
at Nathan Philips Square today

Today we visited the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, which is
on for one more day Sunday, so hurry down if you want
to see a lot of beautiful art.

We were there to look for artist friends.  And this
year the fair is huge!  Luckily we bumped into Paul
Fournier, Joyce Fournier's husband, and he directed us
to Joyce's booth.  Her abstract pieces are fantastic and would
liven up any space.
Kim Rempel discusses her
beautiful art with a guest. 
I also really wanted to see Kim Rempel, and she did a
clever thing on Instagram, highlighting where she was
near the front doors of City Hall.  We found her easily.
Her work is absolutely amazing, and it's abstract too.
After we said goodbye to Kim, we walked along looking
for other artist friends, but didn't find them.  We wish
everyone showing at the exhibition great weather, and
super sales.   If you're in Toronto tomorrow (Sunday),
pop on down.

Have a going to an art show day.

Friday, July 12, 2019

One part of "the scene".

Art Group Sketch (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir ©
Being an artist is a bit like a juggling act.  How do
you keep all the pieces moving?  Today I took some
paintings to be matted, delivered a painting to its
forever home, (More about that another day), saw a
world filled with possibilities -- artist's eyes -- click, click,

And worked on this painting started in my art group.
The model is gone, the reference is very vague, and
yet I find I'm drawn to the piece and want to work
on it a bit more.  For fun.

This isa glimpse of it on the easel.  Yep this is where part
of it happens.  The painting part.  As my friend the artist
Verna Vogel writes (laughs!).

Have a deciding to buy art day.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hang loose and keep on painting

Young Man Reading
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir ©
I found this painting in one of many stacks of work
around the house, and I really love it.  It isn't wired, and
probably was never shown. One of my blog and Facebook
friends Janet Vanderhoof is working hard at painting in a loose
style, and I love what she is doing. I tend to rocket between loose
and highly descriptive, but love the times when I am more free
with my paint.

I have been lucky for my entire artistic life to have a super
supportive family.  This painting is of my son Sam who
posed for me many times during his late teens when he
was living at home and a ready subject.  Christopher,
my son, my daughter-in-law Megan, Steven, my husband
and our various animals have all posed. And I am grateful
for them.  Big time.

Have a loving what you do day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

11 years ago on this day I talked about the Power of the Positive

In the kitchen
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 

Tonight I felt curious about what was going on on this day 11 years ago
when I started the blog.  As it happens on July 6, 2008 I broke my
ankle walking my dog on the slick,  newly watered grass on a hill in
our neighbourhood park.  My dog at that time, Zoey, (she was a great
dog and died at almost 14 in 2013) pulled on the leash when she saw
another dog, and I fell off balance and landed on my ankle with a crunch.
The pain was through the roof.

I had started blogging, so I described my recovery.  It blows me away
to this day to read about valiant Steven, my husband wheeling me in
a rented wheelchair over to the park so that we could take our routine
"walks" together.  What a guy!

By July 10 -- four days after the accident I was determined to pick it
up and be positive.  That is something I appreciate about the people
I admire, and who have been wonderful examples in my life.  They
work on being positive.

And thinking about that time eleven years ago, how lucky I feel that
I was dancing in the kitchen today with the cats.  Today we had the A.C. on
because it was super hot outside.  And I felt jubilant every time I turned
away from the brilliant flowers and heat in the garden into the cool of
the house,

I'm showing a painting I did early on in my life as an acrylic painter.  It
was probably 2004 or 5, before I started blogging.  The model was
a wonderful woman, and she posed for me in our kitchen with her
coffee.  My painting has changed so much since then.  I can still feel
the watercolour influence in this one.  But I love the expression and

Have an enjoying the Power of Being Positive day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The importance of joy

Pugwash Flower People
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012


I've been teaching tonight, an activity that like painting
definitely brings me joy. I feel like sharing this painting
I did some years ago, and then revised adding in the woman,
Maxine.  These two -- Ken and Maxine -- are the Pugwash flower
people, and in many ways they have transformed the gardens in their
area of Nova Scotia, and all the way over here in Toronto
with variants of petunias that didn't exist before.

We discovered Ken years ago just after we first starting going
out to Nova Scotia every summer.  Then Maxine came
on the scene and she is also a vital part of the flower
business, and of creating new types of flowers.  They
are a treat.  I am thinking about Elizabeth Gilbert and her book
on creativity, Big Magic.  She believes that we need to
approach creativity with "stubborn gladness."  I love that

I wrote about this before -- how my mother was one of
the most valiantly cheerful people I ever met.  I'm grateful
to her.  She stayed delighted by the world, especially by
nature, through serious illness in her final years, and
increasing blindness.  Somehow I got a heaping helping
of her positive energy.  She was critical too, and would
have been devastated about what we're doing to the planet.
She was ultra conservationist.

Soon we are heading to Pugwash and I hope to see this
couple who are adding to the beauty of the world every
day.  They definitely have the concept of stubborn gladness down.

Have a looking for the positive and changing the negative day.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Winter Road Trip and Photos from the Windows Opening

Winter Road Trip
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
The opening Saturday of the Windows exhibition at the Heliconian
Club was wonderful.  This is the painting Winter Road Trip that
was behind me in the photo on yesterday's blog.  It was both in
memory of a wonderful Valentine's Day road trip to Ottawa, and
of the winter I spent finishing the painting.

Here are some photos of the exhibition opening at the Heliconian Club.
I did not take many photos myself.  I was busy talking to my visitors.
I'll share what I have.  It's a beautiful show and runs until September
My new friend and artist Mayya Chykalovets (in
the turquoise dress) sent me this photo of
left to right me, Georgia Fullerton, Mayya, and
Pooja Chauhan.  Georgia and Pooja were my guests.
We are sitting in front of three of my pieces in the show.
Claire Bonenfant with her
found art sculpture constructed
being Red Dress, and in the background
her combination sculpture and
painting the Red Dress through Window

Guests (left) Bill Sparks, Patricia Brady (center) and me
in front of Winter Road Trip.

Mayya Chykalovets with her wall of
Window abstracts on glass.

Thank you Pooja Chauhan and Mayya Chykalovets for the photos.  If anyone has other
images with artists' names please send them on to me, and I'll include them.  I had a 
great time, and would love you to see the art.

Have a loving the art you see day.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Super Opening at the Heliconian Club

Me with my hands in the air
at the opening of the Heliconian Club
Windows Exhibition yesterday.
I am in front of my painting,
Winter Road Trip
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
(salute to Miranda Brouwers and
the Happy People Group at the
Florence Biennale in 2015. Hands in the
air means you are happy!)
Hi Everyone,

I'll post more pictures tomorrow, if they come in. It was a super
opening at the Helconian yesterday.  Wonderful art, great guests,
delicious treats, gorgeous venue.  Perfect in every way.  Thank
you to all of our visitors, and to friends and family for coming out
to see the art.  And thank you to all of my fellow artists in the
exhibition.  It is a wonderful show.  It's up until the beginning of
September. Contact the Heliconian Club at (416) 922-3618 to find
out about their schedule and to see when it's possible to go and see
the exhibition.

Have a caring about the arts day. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Today's the opening day!

See what I mean?
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
If you're in Toronto today, please come out to the opening of
Windows, an art exhibition at the Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton
Ave. This is one of my five paintings in the show.  I will
be there from 1 -  4 p.m. and would love to see you there.

Have a going to an art show day.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Crazy excited about the opening tomorrow and computer problems again

Up the hill at the end of the day
Watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©
This painting is not in the group show, Windows at the Heliconian Club
tomorrow, but it expresses the superb happiness I feel about being
part of that show!  The venue is beautiful, a century plus old church,
and the oldest women's art club in Canada. Woo Hoo!

Come one, come all.  I am bringing cookies.

Got to go to bed now, but hope to see you there.

Have a going to an art show day.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy July 4th to my American Family and Friends

All dressed up for you
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
(one of the paintings I'll have
in the Windows show opening
July 4th).
We had our big celebration on Canada Day, July 1.  For our
family this is a big week, as right after Canada day it's my
son's birthday, and then all of our American family is
celebrating July 4th.  So it is a terrifically jolly week.

I took 5 paintings to the Heliconian Club today to
get them installed for the July 6th opening this Saturday.
The celebrations continue.  Claire Bonenfant came with
us, and installed her amazing sculpture and companion
painting.  Claire is an amazing artist with a totally unique
imagination.  I love her work.

Please come out to the opening.  There are so many wonderful
works of art by the Heliconian members in the show, Windows.
See yesterday's blog for details.  It runs from 1- 4 p.m. Saturday
at the Heliconian Club (the beautiful converted white board and
batten church at 35 Hazelton Avenue in Toronto.  I'd love to see
you there.

Have a wanting to see more art day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The work of preparation -- Getting ready for the Heliconian Club Windows Show

In a park by the lake -- happiness
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Hi Everyone,

If you're in Toronto please come out to the Heliconian summer art show, Windows
at the Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Ave.The opening is from 1 - 4 p.m. this
July 6 Saturday.  I've been having computer problems, but will post this as soon as I can.

Meanwhile Happy July 4th tomorrow to all of my American family and friends.

Have a preparing for fun day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Please come out to the Windows exhibition at the Heliconian Club

Hi everyone,

If you're in Toronto this Saturday afternoon, July 6, please drop in
to the Heliconian Club, at the address shown on the invitation above.
I have five landscape pieces in the Windows show, and I know that all
of the artists are excellent, and it will be an amazing exhibition.

Come and see me in this beyond beautiful space between 1 and
4 p.m.  I will be there, and would so love to see you.  This is my
first group show with the club since I joined this spring, and I
am very excited about being part of it.

Have a planning to go to an art show day.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happiest of Canada Days -- sold one of my favourite paintings

Wonder Water Image #2
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Happy Canada Day.  Yes I love my country.  Steven and I walked
the dog wearing our corny Canada Day cowboy beach hats that
we bought in Pugwash Nova Scotia a couple of years ago. The
hats lead to wonderful conversations all through the park with
people about Canada Day, Nova Scotia, and even Newfoundland,
where we would love to visit.

My big news today is that this painting I love of a wonderful
young woman named Solana sold.  She has already hung it in
her apartment and it looks perfect there.  I'm so grateful to her
mother, who bought portraits for both of her daughters.  I showed
you the one of Etana earlier.

Right now I'm working on landscapes, but the urge to do portraits
is emerging powerfully.  Watch this space.  And Happy, happy,
Canada Day.

P.S.  Try not to use plastic bottles, or release balloons.  Let's keep
this country green.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

An absolutely perfect June day

View from the porch
watercolour crayon on
drawing paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

This was the quintessentially perfect summer day.  I sat on
my back porch drawing the scene in front of me, after a
glorious walk in the park.  Last week at the National Art
Gallery in Ottawa, I bought what I thought were the
crayons they'd had in the Gaugin exhibit portrait room.
In that room we had great big coloured soft crayons to
draw our portraits with.  I posted mine a week ago.

Turns out these brilliant, wide crayons are watercolour
crayons, and I was playing with them today to
create this scene.  A treat all round.  So here it is.
After this was finished we went to the park to feed the
swans.  The swans love Steven and other visitors stand
aghast as the mother hisses and lets Steven feed her by
hand.  That is true friendship.

And now the fabulous month of June, the month of
bloom is finished and we're sorry to see her go on
this her most glorious last day.

Have a loving your summer day.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A double meaning -- why this time of year is exciting.

My son Christopher as a newborn
blue ink on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir

Canada Day and the celebrations always make me feel happy
in meaningful ways.  My firstborn son was born the
day after Canada Day, and I went into labour with him on
Canada Day.  My husband found this drawing in a box of
old sketchbooks in the garage years ago.  I did the drawing
in the hospital, and am amazed at my determination to record
 this lovely person.

So I am always happy for my country, which I think is
a great one, and for our family -- because the real beginning
of our family was the day after Canada Day with the
arrival of one of the most wonderful people I have
ever known.  He is sweet, funny, talented, and
well loved by all who know him.

Happy Canada Day.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Canada Day weekend -- officially play time!

Canada Day (sketch on palette paper)
Acrylic on bond paper
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Thanks to Harry Stooshinoff I think about my palette
paper as something to use again.  Tonight I took what
was a big yellow space, and some black and a wonderful
circle of blue and decided to make a light hearted
Canada Day painting.  Here it is.

Last weekend I was in Ottawa eating my delightful
breakfast in my hotel room, looking out at the parliament
buildings, and so many Canadian flags.  Do I love my
country?  I do.  I have seen a lot of it, and
it is absolutely beautiful.  It is my heart's home.

Are we doing things that drive me crazy, like putting
in pipelines when the world has to stop using oil
and gas?  Yes. But all around me I see evidence of
passionate concern about the environment in the
people I meet.  Everywhere in this country the people
 are wonderful.  I seriously hope that together we can
solve our major problems -- global climate change
and social inequality.  So Happy Canada Day weekend.

Have a loving to play with paint day.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Agreeing with Elizabeth Gilbert -- the artist's life is a good one

Table top (sketch
Dry erase marker on Mokeskine paper
5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
The life of art is a good one, rich and meaningful, fun and
distracting, powerful in every way.  Perhaps this drawing 
doesn't show it, but I drew it one night this week while
I was waiting for students to show up.  There is a lot
of waiting in most lives, but almost none in artists' lives.
We have stuff to do.  In this case, I looked up photos
on my phone, got my largest marker and set to work.

Now here's the magic.  The photo was of the arrangement
of fruit, flowers, wine and champagne bottles on the table
in my brother's house in Chelsea, Quebec that we visited
last weekend.  When I got home from school my brother 
had posted a drawing of the exact same still life.  His was 
much better (because he was there looking at it and I was
in Toronto working from a cell phone image) -- but the whole 
coincidence was cool.  

Elizabeth Gilbert hates the idea that artists have to suffer.  She would
have gone right up the wall listening to Marina Abromovic's speech
at the 2009 Florence Biennale when Abromovic repeated three times 
for effect that "the artist must suffer."  Many artists listening to that talk
were disappointed, and left the room.

Suffer?  I know Abromovic did.  But the majority of artists
at the Biennale were in Florence, Italy enjoying the company
of other artists, loving Florence, eating great Italian food,
and drinking both wine and coffee at the café right at the
end of the stage.

Art has taken me everywhere, and continues to light up every
moment of my life.  Thank you art. And thank you Elizabeth
Gilbert for pointing out how lucky we artists are.

Have a loving the art you see day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The world of challenges, and keepin' on blogging

Timbah wants up
Acrylic and black marker on
bond paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
The painting tonight is one I did on reused palette paper.
I don't think I'd even seen the inspiring work of Harry
Stooshinoff then.  If I mention him a lot, it's
because he dazzles me every time he publishes a new
painting -- and he does that practically every day.  But
Harry does reuse his palette paper making gorgeous
collages, and fresh paintings.

The first time I posted this five years ago I was going
through a dense working and painting time, yet I
wanted to keep my hand in with blogging.  That's
true today too.  Yes history repeats itself, which
in this case is comforting.  My challenge since I made
the decision this year, has been to blog every day.
So here I am.

I love this painting of Steven and our cat Timbah, because
Timbah continues to climb on Steven's (and anyone
else's who will tolerate it) shoulders.  He likes to be up
there lying curling around Steven's neck purring while
Steven eats his dinner.  In this painting Steven is working,
and his constant and faithful companion is on him.

We have three of those faithful companions: Sally the dog, and
 Timbah and Fiona the cats. They make us very happy.

Have an honouring your pet companions day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Learning and the power of galleries

Ode to fields (sketch)
Acrylic on bond paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Thinking about learning -- I think every time a painter
paints it is something about learning.  We have magnetic
eyes.  We see everything.  I'm watching a TV show
about the American government and I see the grass outside
the window and notice the shape it makes.  And I notice
the rugs, the portraits, the colour of people's ties -- everything.

So painters see the works of other painters and even without
formal lessons from that person, it goes in.  Directly like
lightning hitting the brain.  My little sketch tonight
references the huge abstract works I saw in a gallery in
Ottawa, by an artist whose name I failed to get as my
crew was galloping along to the next adventure.

I got home from class tonight, and thought I have to try
that.  I just want to see how it feels -- which by the way
is great.  So thank you Ottawa artist, and all of you out
there, and every artist whose work I've ever seen.  It goes
in and influences me.  And I am grateful.  No I'm not
going to go full on abstract, but yes I love how that
fellow painted.

Have a loving to see art day.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Happy Anniversary to my darling husband

The two of us in Quebec City
watercolour and marker on
watercolour paper
9 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
(I must do a current portrait of us.  I will
one day, but for now -- this is us.)
Today is our wedding anniversary and we spent a good part of
the day on the road coming home from a delightful trip
to Ottawa.  We stayed in a magnificent room overlooking the
canal and the parliament buildings. Each morning we had
breakfast in our hotel room (my favourite) at a table set with
lovely linen and china.  And we marvelled at the beautiful
scenes below.

My brother and his wife celebrate their anniversary two days
before ours, and it's become a bit of a tradition to go out
for dinner together to mark the occasion.  This time we
had two dinners out, and had so much fun.

The views along the highway today will no doubt become
the subject of future paintings.  The entire world seemed
vibrantly alive and begging to be painted.  On top of
everything else, that is an effect my sweet husband has
on me.  He does make me feel vital and alive, and is
probably the reason I am moved to paint what I see
in our journeys together.

Have a celebrating your art filled world day.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Gaugin exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada and a self portrait

Self portrait sketch 
at the Gaugin exhibition
crayon on art paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
We have been in Ottawa celebrating our wedding anniversary, and
today visited the Gaugin Portrait exhibition. What's great about
the National Gallery of Canada in addition to hosting superb
exhibitions (I think this one is magnificent), is that they often add
a fun element to the exhibition.  The story of Gaugin, which is
explored in great detail in this show, is often somber.  He was a
very serious person.

But the gallery encouraged visitors to have fun with what they'd
seen by creating a self portrait room with chairs and a mirrored wall.
Plus they provided good paper, and crayons so art lovers could create
their own self portraits. The docent on that room was a wonderful
man with a great sense of humour.  While my family finished
visiting the extensive exhibition, I drew in the portrait room,
creating this very simple self portrait, which was placed on the wall
in a frame for me when it was done.

Now the concept of that is pretty exciting.  I know the minute
I was gone, someone else's image would go into that frame, but
for that brief moment, it was quite satisfying having work in
the National Gallery!

Have a supporting the arts day.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Celebrations and serious talk about the environment

Kitchen China
Acrylic on canvas
24" x 48"
Barbara Muir ©

We are visiting family in Ottawa.  At our celebration dinner
today for two wedding anniversaries, conversations got
mighty hot about the environment.  We all care
passionately about the environment, and are staring the
severity of global climate change in the face, but don't know
what to do about it.

I love this painting because it has everything I care about it
in it: celebration, hearts which I cannot get enough of as
a symbol of love, and a young person enjoying life.  How
do we protect the young people growing up today in the
oncoming climate crisis?  And it is a crisis getting more
intense every minute.  Yet on holiday in every store and
restaurant we see that people are still selling water in plastic

What do you think we can do to reverse the current
damage we've done to the planet?  This is the conversation
everywhere I go, yet politicians and big business don't
seem to be even looking at it.  They are distracting us
with discussions about everything else, but this is
the main issue we currently have to deal with, so
that the girl in my painting can continue to eat cake
and so that she can have a long and fulfilling life.

Have a thinking about the environment day.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Elton John is given France's highest civilian award -- I met his song writing partner

Bernie Taupin
Black marker on drawing paper
10 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
We are on the road, and when I heard on the news tonight that
Elton John received the Legion of Honour from France's
President Macron, I immediately knew what I wanted to put
 on my blog tonight. I had the honour in June of 2013 to meet
Bernie Taupin, the song writer partner to Elton John's wonderful music.

Bernie Taupin had an exhibition of his paintings at the Liss
Gallery in Toronto, and I was invited to attend.  Taupin was
humble, friendly, a very good abstract painter, and allowed me
to get a photo with him.  Plus I did a black and white pen sketch
of him afterwards from reference photos. I haven't met Elton John, but
of course I'd love to.  His music is fabulous, and he is deeply
involved in working on fighting AIDS.

I do not have a drawing of Elton John, but if I ever get to meet
him in person, I certainly will do his portrait.

Have an honouring your super experiences day.  

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The allure of reading -- and a timeless drawing

In the kitchen researching for the doctorate
Black marker on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
When I first did this drawing I was up to my ears in
teaching. This was a superbly busy working week
so it seems appropriate to put this drawing on the
blog.  Plus I love it.  It is of a girl named Julia,
who was actively working on her doctorate while
I drew her.  She was a neighbourhood girl who
helped me with all kinds of things in my home and
studio.  Brilliant and beautiful, Julia is now married
and has children.

I loved being around her.  She was quietly capable, and
clearly just trying to keep her genius on the quiet.  
We shared a love of cats, flowers and words.  

Now it is time for me to take off to bed.

Have an enjoying your busyness day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Happy Birthday to Daniel Anaka -- an inspiring curator and great artist

From the market 
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

I was going to go without blogging tonight when I
realized that it's Daniel Anaka's birthday today, and I
wanted to wish him well. A few years ago Daniel was
a curator for amazing shows at the Super Wonder
Gallery, before the gallery moved and changed
directions.  I think I participated in six shows with him
at least, producing different types of work for every

His exhibitions were amazing, plus he put his considerable
creative energy into making sure every artist got a fair
break. I loved that, and loved the music, vitality,
excitement that was a feature of every opening that
Daniel managed.  So thank you Daniel.  I'm just
putting some flowers on tonight, but I love this
painting -- I think it has an edge in the flower field
because of meeting you, and because of the amazing
artists I met when I showed with you.  I know I was
also urged to open up my colour spectrum by the
wonderful artist Franco Mbilizi especially on this
particular painting. So I hope you have a great birthday
Daniel (I will be working), and that you start curating
exhibitions again.  The artists miss you.

Have a wishing your friends a great day, day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pansy wonder. More from the treasure drawers.

The real thing
Watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12
Barbara Muir © date unknown

It is a busy week here, and Raptors fever has not diminished
very much.  There is so much excitement around the team's
win.  I feel like I was down standing waiting for four
hours to see the bus come by, like some of my friends.
But that's just exhaustion from an intense week of work.

To the rescue another sweet painting of pansies from the
deep art drawers in our cold room.  And I appreciate how
miraculous that is.  It was full on summer today, and
my pansies in pots at the front of the house are drooping.
I'll water them of course, but if it stays hot, they will give
up.  And my long intensive study this spring of these
glorious flowers will come to an end.

I am grateful to the lovely woman at the convenience
store who sold me my very festive pansy pots going up
the front steps of the house in April.  These flowers don't mind
cold, and they hang in with our weather's ups and downs.
But heat is the absolute enemy of pansies, and it's coming.

Have a loving the flowers you love day.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Rich finds in the art drawers

Pansies in a silver vase
Watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © date unknown
Until recently our store room was so thick with what
doesn't fit anywhere else, that I could hardly get
at my art drawers.  These are the treasure trove of
older watercolours and drawings, ideas for paintings,
art by my children, house designs.  They are big
drawers, and deep, so a nice thick stack of paintings
and drawings can safely hide in one of them.

Tonight rifling through for something to show you
I found this beauty on the theme of pansies. It is
certainly from a few years back, and it made me
marvel at how my style changes.  Even the bud vase
showing off these pansies has been given away to
someone because it wasn't my thing anymore.
But I love it here.  I love the moodiness and richness
it conveys.  It makes me happy just looking at it.
And if you're interested -- it's available unframed.

Have a loving your work day.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

To the fathers -- Happy Father's Day week -- you matter!

Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
I'm showing you this close up from a favourite family portrait
I did five and half years ago.  These children will be so much
more grown up now -- a shocking thought, but that's how fast it
happens. Which is why celebrating the special moments in our
families matters so much.  I am so glad we could have our
Father's Day dinner a day early to fit one of my son's
work schedules, and that we could enjoy a meal together
in honour of the two Dads there.  June is a big month,
and I notice that it's so packed that in past years, I frequently
didn't blog at all in this busy month.

But I love this detail of the father cuddling his little boy.
Children are so special, and make our lives so rich with
song, story, and affection.  I love being with my
children and the family as it grows.

Have a loving your family day.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Happy Father's Day -- to all the great fathers in the world

Portrait of my father 
black marker on bond paper
7 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
Happy Father's Day
I'm glad that this portrait of my father is one of the nicest
drawings I've done.  I know in the reference photo he is
smiling at Christopher, my older son.  Sam had not been
born yet.  I miss my Dad every day.  He is still such an
absolute part of my life, of me.  He was a writer,
a business man, a painter, and a photographer and good
at all of his roles.  As a father he was very strict, and
that was difficult when I was younger.

But we developed a bond over art, over family, and
got along very well at the time of his death from lung

Tonight we celebrated the fathers in our family now
at a wonderful dinner.  And it was so much fun.
My father would have loved it.  He would have been
delighted by the way our children have grown up
into amazing people, and of how our family has
grown as a  result.

Happy Father's Day to Steven my sweet husband,
and to Christopher my oldest son.  He and Megan, his wife
have a beautiful daughter -- three year old Alice.

Have a loving your family day.

Friday, June 14, 2019

A painting I love in the Month of Bloom

The Red Tie
18 x 24 inches
acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2003

Tonight I am thinking about my son Christopher and
his wife, who have been together since high school, and
are celebrating tonight.  I painted this portrait when
Christopher was a teenager.  He was already in love
with the girl, who became his wonderful wife.

But I don't think that they were going out when I
placed the mystery figure behind our back door in
the painting. So -- I'm so delighted that they fell in love.
They are a sweet couple, and both of them make the
world a better place.

Have a celebrating your family day.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Loving this city in the Month of Bloom -- and the Raptors Won! Yay!

Untitled -- Work In Progress
Acrylic ink and black marker on
watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches

We are experiencing one of the most beautiful and prolonged
springs in recent years.  The lush greens, and the brilliance
of the flowers, is incredibly inspiring.  It's definitely
a "stop the car" kind of spring, and I am happily gathering
images to paint.  And tonight the whole city is celebrating
because the Toronto Raptors Won the NBA Championship!

I was drawn to the scene in this painting by the gorgeous,
vibrant lilac bush on the corner of this property. I was also
thinking of my friend Rita, who would love the rich, and
vivid mauve of this lilac.  I have never seen the lilacs
do this well.  And they are seeming to last much longer into
the season as well.  And to my over-the-top Raptors fan friend --
Raylea -- I say, "Hey we won!"

Have an enjoying your neighbourhood day.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Drawing from the iPad -- always a surprise

The Tree
iPad drawing 
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
It's a crazy busy week, coming up on the end of term
in my fast track course (2 nights a week), working on
finishing some paintings (almost there), and I am so
glad I remembered my iPad drawings.  I don't draw
on my iPad regularly, but when I do I always have so much
fun, because I do the drawing with my finger, and that feels
like being a kid again.  Then I forget all about those
drawings -- which means they are there when the time
is right.

Tonight I found this one, which I like a lot.  The thought
of walking in the country with the youngest member
of my family is sweet.  She would have so much
to say, and notice everything.  Also the theme of my
current class today was all about pollution and how to
save the planet.  And this tree seemed symbolic to me.

Have a loving the trees in your life day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The drawing I did on the Oprah Winfrey Show -- and hopes dashed with the cancellation of Oprah's Toronto Event

Oprah Winfrey Skype Sketch
from the show Where In The Skype Are You
willow charcoal on Canson Mi-Teintes paper
11 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
I was very sad today to get an email from the ticket
agent saying that Oprah's Toronto event this Friday
was cancelled.  Apparently the NBA needs the Scotiabank
arena because of ongoing games with the Raptors, and
Oprah couldn't do her show here.

I was quite down for awhile, but luckily I'm reading her book.  I
could go to Montreal on Sunday to see her, only I can't
because I teach on Monday, and also when I did buy the
tickets here, the whole stadium sold out minute by minute,
so I know that the best seats in Montreal would be gone.

Because the book is about Life speaking to you, I knew
that it would be wrong to waste my time feeling sorry
for myself and my husband.  But we were both really
disappointed because we did so look forward to seeing
Oprah and hearing her talk about her book, and her life.

So I got to work on one of my current paintings, which is
almost finished, and when it's done I'll show it to you.
Meanwhile here's the drawing I did when I was featured on
the Oprah Winfrey Show.  -- I had 45 minutes and worked on
drawing Oprah when she turned in my direction.  It was like
trying to catch the wind (there were 10 Skype Interviews on
that show), but I did my best.

Have a getting back to art day.

Monday, June 10, 2019

New Week in the Month of Blooms -- Going to see Oprah!

Oprah and Sadie
charcoal on paper
14 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
How is this for an exciting week? On Friday I have tickets to go
to see Oprah live.  So I am psyched my friends about getting to
see Oprah in person. I was so lucky to be chosen to draw her in a show called
Skype Around The World 10 years ago.  This is the drawing
I submitted to her staff, that got me the opportunity to draw
Oprah live via Skype on that show, an experience that absolutely changed my
life. To say I'm a fan is putting things a bit mildly.  I have to admit that I am
 a super fan.  I think Oprah is an amazing,and absolutely wonderful person.

Here's a photo from the taping of the show
back in 2009. The woman with her head down
drawing beside the Skype symbol is me.
I am trying to capture Oprah when she looks
in my direction.  I've never been quite as excited and
scared at the same time.

I'm reading Oprah's book The Path Made Clear.  I love the idea of
thinking about your purpose in life, something I've been working on
teaching whenever I get the chance. I also love the idea of thinking
about what we are here for -- individually, and as a country, and a planet.
That was partly the subject of my class tonight.

Have a getting excited about your life day.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The best news ever -- a happy home for a beloved painting

Wonder Water Image #6
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
One of the purest joys for an artist is creating a work
you are proud of.  And an even greater happiness
fills an artist's heart when the painting continues to
resonate over time.  This portrait Wonder Water Image
#6 is high on my list of favourite works, generating
so many wonderful experiences.  It has been shown
in Florence, Italy, in New York City, and here in

My model, Etana, is one of the nicest, most intelligent,
people I know.  Integrity could be her middle name.
She cares passionately about the country, about our city,
about people.  And in this series was one of the people,
and will be one of the people to try and save our
oceans from the havoc we're putting them through
with our endless mountains of garbage, and plastic,
and pollution.

So the painting went home yesterday, and I will
miss it, both for how much I loved the painting,
and for the lovely person it portrays.

Have an enjoying all that's right with the world day.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Sentimental Saturday

A Boy and his dog
watercolour on watercolour paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2003

Yesterday we had a visit from a three year old, and a four
month old baby -- so lovely.  Being around those little people
made me feel a sweet nostalgia for the time when my children
were little.  I'm not saying I'd like to go back, but I did love
raising children.  We were lucky that our boys were
healthy, smart and funny, and a treat to have around.

This painting of our son Sam and our dog Zoey stirs up
memories.  I painted it at our school house in 2003 -- 16
years ago.  At the time Gameboy was one of Sam's passions.
As he slept on a big queen size mattress on the floor, the
dog, who wasn't allowed on couches, beds or furniture, could
lie down beside him.  They loved going to the beach and
playing ball, and loved just hanging out when we got to
the school house. We had so much fun.

Sam is grown up, and Zoey died six years ago.  Sally our dog
today is too nervous to travel, so she stays home when we head
out east. I'm glad we had time at the beach with Zoey, who loved
the water.  Life is good, and children are a blessing.

Have a loving the art you keep 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!