Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The joy of seeing

See what I mean?
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I'm talking about this, because I just got new glasses
for reading and for distance.  Miraculous.  How does that
connect with art?  I think maybe one of the gifts landscape
painters can give to their viewers is the absolute delight
in the natural world -- in what the artists see.  I certainly feel
this, and see it in all of the landscape work I admire.

This painting has taken a while to get to where I can call
it done.  All along my idea was to transmit the incredible
joy I have seeing scenes like this in a park out on the west
side of Toronto.  Getting the colour right for me took awhile,
and then it needed more.  Welcome the total strangers
who posed for me unknowingly, and have completed the
piece for me.  I am over the top grateful to them.

Have a loving what you see day. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Happy Victoria Day -- this painting seemed right

At Lake Muskoka 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches (3 x 4 feet)
Barbara Muir © 2011

I have been thinking on and off this weekend of this
portrait -- which was a complete pleasure to paint
eight years ago.  The sitter was genial, posed well,
and enjoyed the cookies I serve to people when they
come to pose for a portrait.

The theme of sitting by a lake seems perfect for
a Victoria Day long weekend image (though
today you would need that blanket at least).  And
that is (or has been) Canadian summer for us --
long weekends and holidays by one of our many,
many lakes.  Here's to that!

Steven and I sat tonight on a very cold and windy
beach on Lake Ontario, dressed in full winter
outfits, complete with gloves, down coats and hats,
and still enjoyed the fireworks display in honour
of Queen Victoria's birthday.  Hats off to you queen.
Some of us might not know much about you, but
your birthday still gives us a holiday and we're grateful.

Have an enjoying your life day!

On the trail -- Sunday scene on the holiday

On the pansy trail
Acrylic ink and black marker
on MoMA paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
The word "trail" has been on my mind lately -- maybe
because I've been thinking about the environment so
much, and thinking of the trail we leave behind us ecologically.
We are trying very hard to lessen our impact on the

But then I thought artistically we leave a trail too.  This in
a different form -- and here on my blog you can track
that trail, and of course see that in recent weeks pansies
have been one of my obsessions.  That's a trail I can be happy 
about.  I finished another painting of the morning pansies I drew
the other day.  

The pansies depicted here are sitting with me now, not quite 
as perky as they were the other morning, and insisting that 
it is now time for bed.

So goodnight my friends.  What kind of a trail are you
leaving behind you these days?

Have a wonderful Victoria Day!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sunday-- Today is the last day to see the DVAC show at Todmorden

Higher Love
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
If you haven't seen the DVAC (Don Valley Art Club) spring show Illusions,
do yourself a favour and head over there today, Sunday May 19 before 3 p.m.
The sign says Noon to 4 p.m., but they've changed that to Noon to 3 p.m.
There are 100 paintings in the exhibition, and there are many magnificent

Plus the grounds make for a pleasant walk, and parking is free.  Bring the
kids. It's a large space, with lots of room for families.

Did I mention that I have a painting in the show?  See it above. I will
be there myself to pick up my work at 3 p.m.  So if you're in town,
head over and I'll be delighted to see you there.

Have a checking out art shows day.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Today I beat my goal -- and more pansies

Morning pansies cheer you on!
Acrylic ink and black marker on
MoMA sketch paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Last year I broke my wrist -- and that affected so many
parts of my life.  This year I vowed to take back my blog,
and beat my last year's record.  Meaningless to everyone
else, but meaningful to me because of living through a
year of not being able to do all of the things I enjoy.

Another painting of pansies has decided to show up
for the celebrations of making it one blog past my last
year's record.  Now I can relax, quit blogging, have a nap.
No -- I'm kidding, but I also know that however many times
I blog for the rest of the year, I am besting my last year's record.

This little glass of pansies was sitting on my bedside table
begging to be drawn when I woke up this morning.
Later today I brought the pansies to the studio and
finished this painting.  It is the long weekend
here, and everybody's psyched to have a holiday
free from winter's grip.  The pansies cheer for that
idea too.

Have an enjoying your holiday day.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Pansies crossing the line

Pansies in a tangle
Acrylic ink, watercolour and marker
in watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Back to pansies today -- admittedly an obsession, and a
pleasure. The long, glorious spring that everyone in my
city is complaining about has been perfect for these
beauties.  Now the pots out front are packed with pansies
that get larger and more beautiful every day.  I come
home and see them on the steps, and I want to
paint them.

So I did again.  This time these wonderful flowers crossed
the cut off line on the watercolour pad, and I don't care.
Soon I will have a wall of pansy paintings behind me,
in a photo like the wall of daschunds behind David Hockney
in a book I got for my birthday.   -- At this point in this post
my computer bumped into the cream jug holding the pansies
(yes they are real), and the water covered about half of
our kitchen.  Cleaned up now!

Time to say goodnight.

Have a loving the flowers in your life day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Catching The Moments -- Rain Ahead

Rain Ahead
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
Strange weather today, very wet, heavy rain, bright sunshine
after the rain, then thunder, hail and heavy rain again.  I
missed the last sequence because I was teaching in an interior
room, and had no idea so much drama was happening
in the city outside the college.  This painting on view now
at the Catch The Moments studio/gallery in Niagara Falls and
for the next month is all about driving into weather -- very wet rain.

I am a fan of rain as long as it's not a dangerous storm  --
maybe that's the Scottish part of my heritage.  Rain doesn't
bother me, but I do like to be prepared. I bought two umbrellas
in the past week, (and lost one). Umbrellas have been a necessity.

If you're in Niagara Falls this weekend check out the
incredible sculptures of Gabrielle Fischer Horvath,
Manny Martins' gorgeous photography, and my

Have an enjoying the weather day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The importance of play

Moon view
Acrylic ink on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Last week was thick with things to do:  two openings - one
at Todmorden Mills in Toronto, one in Niagara Falls (read
about it in the latest posts), the first week teaching a fast track
course, meetings and Mother's Day.  Sometimes in the
midst of a whole lot going on we need to stop and take
a deep breath.  And for painters it's important to play.
The big ideas come out of small steps.  Amazing new
beginnings happen every day.

Here in the month of Fresh Starts I have been treated to
being one of the first artists to show in a brand new, gorgeous
gallery space as part of Catching The Moments. Pretty Fresh.
Today I painted this painting in honour of the moon.  Why?
Because the moon rules the tides, and the tides rule our holiday
near the ocean, in Nova Scotia in August.  We will
plan our getaway around the time when the tides are
low during the day, so that we can walk for hours on the
beach.  What a delicious thought!  Hold onto your free
time, for sure it feels like every minute counts.

Have a taking some time to breathe day. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

More show talk! Happy times!

The fields between
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Here’s another painting currently showing in Niagara Falls at
Catching The Moments— The Fields Between. I love this
painting that's part of my obsession with painting fields (and clouds!).
For a city woman the expanse of sky and fields in the Maritimes is so
inspiring. To the farmers they represent hard work, and production,
but driving by they speak to those of us ruled by enclosed spaces,
and towering buildings on a romantic level.  Their beauty combined
with the amazing action of glorious Maritime clouds is often
overwhelming, and Steven is remarkably patient with me when
I suddenly say,"stop the car -- I need this!"

I needed this.  And the theme will no doubt continue.  If you
are in Niagara Falls and go to the Catching The Moments studio/gallery,
you can see it too.

Doctors in several cities in Canada are taking people to art
galleries, because being around art improves people's health and
well-being.  So buy some art and see how great you feel.  (Yes
that was a pitch.  Forgive me. ;-)

Have a taking in an art show day

Sunday, May 12, 2019

More from the Catching the Moments show

Sky high summer joy
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

An wonderful weekend and fast paced week.  This painting is another of my
works in the Catching The Moments show in Niagara Falls that opened
yesterday.  I finished this painting in mid-winter, dreaming of summer skies
-- lush clouds and the gorgeous colours and textures of fields that we see on
our long, long drive (2,000 kilometres, over 1,000 miles) to Nova Scotia.

Part of the view of the new Catching The Moments Studio/Gallery
with my work on the wall.  
It looks super on the wall in the gallery with its other cloud work, photos
by Manny Martins, and of course glorious sculptures by Gabrielle Fischer
Horvath.  I hope you all had an fabulous Mother's Day.  I was still basking
in the pleasure of knowing my work was in such a beautiful space.

Gabrielle Fischer Horvath and her daughter Candice Fischer
at the opening.  Candice is a Marketing Business Coach
and involved with the gallery. 

If you are in Niagara Falls make a point of checking out this gorgeous space.

Have a going out and seeing art day.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Amazing Opening at Catch The Moments Studio/Gallery

Gabrielle Fischer Horvath and Joanelle Murray cut the ribbon
opening the Catch The Moments Studio/Gallery at
4444 Queen Street in Niagara Falls as Lori Lococo
City of Niagara Falls Councillor stands ready
to give a plaque of recognition to the
gallery.  Ms. Lococo has a particular interest in encouraging
the arts.

Catch the Moments Life Casting studio + gallery is one of the
most beautiful galleries I've exhibited in.  The partners
Gabrielle Fischer Horvath and Joanelle Murray have done an
incredible job renovating and decorating a beautiful, welcoming
space --perfect for workshops, wonderful as a gallery, and
all set for a wide range of sculpture and art adventures.

Here's a link to a little video I made of the day:

I felt so thrilled to be invited to show there for the grand
opening complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony and
a representative from the mayor's office giving a speech
and a plaque.  Everyone who came into the space was
thrilled with the beauty and vision of the partners.

Today and for the next month the gallery features the
work of Gabrielle, gorgeous photography my Manny Martins,
and paintings by me.

Have a very Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Come out to the opening -- this painting will be there!

Moody Beauty
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

If you're in Niagara Falls on Saturday, May 11 (tomorrow) please head
straight for 4444 Queen street for the opening of Gabrielle Fischer
Horvath's grand opening of her Catching the Moments studio/gallery.  I
am in that exhibition, which will be up for a month, and this
is one of the pieces in it.

The theme is more moody than my usual landscapes, and it's
called Moody Beauty, because every mood in the Maritimes
is beautiful, especially on a summer drive.  I am captivated by the
landscapes there

As Mother's Day approaches I wish I could thank my parents for
teaching me a love of landscape, and getting away on holiday.  And I thank
my children for pushing me and Steven to try and give them a
similar experience -- a place to go to every summer, and somewhere
rural to love. Our one room school house although ultra rustic did the job,
and amazing people as neighbours in the towns nearby made
the whole experience a pleasure and a treat.

Have a loving your drives in the country day.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Five paintings in Catch the Moments opening Saturday!

The moon's out early
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Hi everyone -- this is quite the week!  On Saturday between
2 - 4 p.m. I'm in sculptor, Gabrielle Fischer Horvath's
studio/gallery opening -- Catch the Moments at 4444 Queen
in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  The photographer Manny Martins
is also in the exhibition.  It is going to be fun.  If you're in
the Niagara Falls area, please come over and see us.

I will have five paintings in the show -- the painting
above is one of them.

A reminder:  tomorrow I sit the Don Valley Art Gallery spring
show, Illuminations at Todmorden Mills between 12 and 2 p.m.
See the map in last Saturday's blog. I'd love to see you there!

Here's the ad for Catch the Moments in Niagara Falls this

Have a taking in the art shows day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A super opening at Todmorden Mills. So much fun!

Me in front of my painting
Higher Love,
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
at the Don Valley Art Club
Spring show opening tonight.

Quite a busy day today with an evening class, and
an evening opening! But what fun.  If you haven't
made it to the Don Valley Art Club spring show
and sale, Illuminations, you want to because there is
 so much to see.   I took some shots at the opening,
which I dashed to after teaching my class, but my fatigue
was obvious, because most of my shots aren't good, and the
photos of some of my friends' work straight up
didn't work -- sorry. I'll get those photos I promise.
My husband Steven took this picture of me tired in front
of my painting -- beautiful work on either side of me.

I will be sitting the show on Friday from noon to
2 p.m., and would love to see you there if you're in
town (Toronto).  I promise to get some better
photos then.  There are 100 artists involved in
this show, which gives you a lot to choose from
if you're looking for a Mother's Day present.

Here's a sample of my  shots.  Mostly no names

Amy Chen with her painting Backstage.

Have a going out to an art show day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Come out to the first opening of the week!

Higher Love
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Tomorrow night from 7-- 9 p.m. the Don Valley Art Club is
holding its spring show opening at Todmorden Mills in Toronto.
100 artists are displaying work in the exhibition.  There will
be drinks and food, and free parking and free admission.

I have a painting in the show that I really like.
(Always a good feeling when you are an artist.)
It is a painting of the pond behind the Brickworks,
or inspired by a particularly beautiful day there.
Everything I'm mentioning is in Toronto, so if
you're not familiar with Toronto, or Canada, rest
assured that these are quite wonderful, popular

If you do plan to come out to the show to see me, I
will be there for the last half hour because I am
teaching a class tomorrow too, and have to keep
my students happy!

Have a coming to the art show day.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Hey universe -- thank you! More from the pansies

Pansies break on through 
Acrylic ink, watercolour and marker
in watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

I'm sorry if you're getting sick of pansies, because I am
not. When Sunday was so warm men wore shorts, the
pansies said,"finally!"  just like every other person in
Toronto on every street.  And to celebrate they popped
out some bigger beauties in the pots on the front porch.

I started teaching a fast track course tonight, such great
students. So I'll tell you more tomorrow about a show
I'm in this weekend.  I'll be at the DVAC opening Wednesday
night at Todmorden Mills in Toronto that I'm dashing to after class.
See you there from 8:30 until 9 p.m.   I have one piece
in that show, and I think it's a beauty.  See my Saturday
blog for details.

Then on Saturday May 11 I'm going to have a number
of pieces in the grand opening of Gabrielle Fischer
Horvath's studio gallery in Niagara Falls. I just
found out about that yesterday! And I'm so excited.
I will give you the details on that tomorrow.

Things are moving and shaking. Super happy news all round.

Have a shaking up your world day.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Super day in the city

Pansies toast the spring
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Wow.  Went for a walk in the park today and the colours
were incredible.  High, pure sky blue, soft bright green
buds of leaves on the trees, and people most definitely
high on life.  Couples walking holding hands of all
ages and descriptions.  Love was in the air.

The sweetest thing I saw was a young couple who'd climbed
up into a tree and were perched up on a big horizontal branch
smiling down on the world, and proclaiming it a magnificent day.

So here's another pansy painting to honour spring in
her magnificence.  The radio announcer says the main
thing you smell in Toronto now is cigarettes.  Not here, it was
barbecues -- everyone's dinner wafting across the backyards.  And
the main sound aside from birds, was the excited laughter
and happy screams of children playing tag.

Have a beautiful day today.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Illuminations Show Opens on Wednesday

Hi everyone, 

I am going to have a landscape in the Don Valley Art Club show
at the Papermill Gallery, at Todmorden Mills, opening Wednesday,
May 8 from 7 - 9 p.m.  I teach that night, and will be there after class
from 8:30 - 9 p.m.  Please come to the opening.  There are 100
artists participating, and it is going to be magnificent.

If you'd like to see me there please wait until the last half hour.
I'm looking forward to it.

For more information read the note below.  This information
is from the Don Valley Art Club website.

Have a really wonderful day.  This is all for tonight.  We went
to see the movie Long Shot, and it was very funny.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Good cheer is what happens when you let it

Saint Hilaria -- saint of humour and good cheer
(disguised as a portrait of me)
Watercolour crayon, watercolour pencil, watercolour, 
acrylic ink, regular pencil, markers, acrylic pens.  
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Okay.  Great day.  I am going to be working extra hard in
the next month and a half with a bunch of projects.  And
miraculously today I am somewhat organized for it, and
ahead of the game.

I was reading the other day about the root of the word
hilarious (one of my favourite words because of the
feeling of laughing so hard you can't stop -- the best).
And I found out that the Romans had holidays called
Hilaria - maybe after bad things had happened, but as
part of spring celebrations.

So with all that is happening that is cheerful, and
happy, I painting myself as Saint Hilaria.  As a teacher
I am not entirely bad at making people laugh.  My
husband said, "isn't it princess Hilaria?", and I said "no.
But okay.  If you like."

This was inspired by the fact that David Hockney painted
himself often, that many painters are using stencils, because of
my love of Florentine art, heavily loaded with halos.
I used so many things that I can't list them all in the caption.
Watercolour crayons, watercolour pencils, pencils, watercolour
ink, acrylic pens, markers.  So there you have it -- Saint
Hilaria, otherwise known as me.  One variation.  It does
not really look like me, but tomorrow is another day! LOL.

Have a truly hilarious day (which by the way is guaranteed for
me if my family and friends are in a good mood.)

P.S. This has nothing to do with Alec Baldwin's wife, Hilaria.
She is lucky to have a great name.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Remembering Water for Life -- in the Month of Good Cheer

Reading on the dock
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
One of the major highlights of my life last year, and especially
last May was the Water for Life International Exhibition at
the Niagara Falls Museum of History in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The theme of that show was about getting clean water to everyone.
And for me it was also about saving our rivers, lakes and oceans, 
which has been a feature of my Ocean series, that I've shown
in Florence, Paris and in New York City in the past decade.

I love this little painting, of the delight children feel when they get
to play, and hang out near water.  A young man came to the
door the other day for Save the Children, and he invited himself
inside to analyze my work in the hallway.  It was an interesting
conversation as he tried to figure out what colour of grounds I'd used
to begin the painting.  I think I've documented all of that here on the blog.  

In my mind Saving the Children, and saving our water from plastic,
and chemical pollution are the same project -- which adds up to
saving the planet.  We have to ask politicians, governments and 
businesses to change their ways right away.  The time is now.
And in the Month of Good Cheer, nothing would make me
happier than if you wrote your government officials, business
leaders, grocery stores right now and said get rid of plastic entirely,
and make the priority of everything you do about saving the

Have a saving the planet cheerfully day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Celebrating the month of Good Cheer

Pansies lead the cheer
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I like the idea of setting up expectations for the month of
May to be a Month of Good Cheer. And in that spirit I went for a
walk with a friend, and her sweet dog in the May wind, organized
notes for my class, worked on this painting, and took reference photos
for a larger work. In general I made the decision to be happy.

It's a bit like deciding on a direction you want to go with a
painting.  The happy decision to paint something you love
is always a good beginning.  And here we are -- May first.
In Canada the start of spring really beginning.

Wishing you a glorious month of over the top good cheer.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Enough of that applesauce -- family

Happiness framed
Black marker on moleskine paper
4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
I am not domestic.  Period I guess. I tidy, sweep, change my bed, cook when
I have to, but would do none of it if I didn't have to.  I'm lucky I married
a man who loves to cook, loves to chop up veggies for stir fries and salads,
makes cookies all the time.  But I am not that way.  So you will understand
that I love my husband, Steven, so much that I chopped up a bag and a half of
apples today, to make one quart jar of applesauce.  This is his passion.  His
family had a bowl of applesauce on the table at every meal.  Ironically one
of my father's polite sayings instead of the current rude slang, when he 
thought what we were saying was wrong, or nonsense, was -- "That's enough
of that applesauce."  And today it is.  Just enough.  Tonight Steven will help
me with endless paperwork, and his reward is a jar of one of his favourite
foods.  I'm including some art featuring my family, because family and
their stories matter.  Have some applesauce -- the homemade, not nonsense, or
b.s. kind.

The Maharani's Great Granddaughter with 
her Great Granddaughter
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

After the dance reading the paper
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

Sam on Mother's Day
Black marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

The applesauce I made today,
and the source -- a bag and a half of
these babies.

Have a making your own stuff day.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Brisk winds and ocean dreams

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic and acrylic ink on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

This painting grew out of straight up longing for a view of the
ocean.  It is still a work in progress, but I was singing
painting it (you don't want to hear), and so ridiculously

In fact I looked outside when I took a break and there
were giant snowflakes falling against a landscape that
is increasingly green!  Really.  I couldn't stop laughing,
knowing full well it wouldn't be funny if we had
Calgary's snow.  We didn't.  Rain followed.  But all
of it was accompanied by a strong, cold wind.

Ah for the ocean, the Pugwash beach, the jolly days
away from everyday life.

Have a dreaming wonderfully day.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

10 things I've learned so far in the month of Fresh Starts

Pansies win the crown
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

1. Thank your friends.  New ideas and methods, and
opportunities come flying in from some of the most
wonderful people in the world -- your friends.

2. Make your own rules.  Listen to other people's
thoughts, and suggestions.  But no one else can
do you.

3. Have as much fun as possible.  I get emails from
Tut.com daily -- Notes from the universe -- and I
think he said that's one of the most important things.

4.  In the face of controversy (and there is some!),
try to be loving.  Even when your first impulse is
to hate, hug yourself mentally and muscle on with
your kindness.

5.  Sleep.  Not on someone else's schedule, but

6. Spend time with the people who love you the
most, near and far.  They deserve time with you,
and also make you feel great.

7. Roll with the waves.  Creativity, and all of
life comes in and out like the ocean waves. Let
it if you can.

8. Try going for a walk.  Birdsong, flowers (they
are starting here, and even your friend's dog can
make you feel blissfully happy after 20 minutes.
(Remember that book on raising children that
pointed that out. Write me if you do.)  Raising my
children I used that method, on both my sons and
my husband.

9.  Read a book.  Sometimes even a sentence or
a word can set off a chain of ideas. But books are
lovely for escaping too.

10.  Dance.  A singer with a lovely voice, Sara Bareilles,
was on Saturday Night Live last night, and Steven and I
were so moved, that we looked her up and then
danced to her amazing song.

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Rescue Me in the Month of Fresh Starts

Pansies in a blue glass vase
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
One thing you might not know about artists is that we
don't like waste.  We especially dislike wasting our own
work. That's why this former watercolour (now watercolour
plus acrylic ink) painting was bothering me each time I
looked at it.   It's in the pad of watercolour paper I've
been using for my pansy paintings.

Ta Da! (Trumpet sound!), today I worked on it.
Not sure it's 100% better, but it has some of the depth
and richness pansies deserve.  I keep talking about the
weather, and I hope you don't find that irritating, but it
is quite cold here again.  I am certainly getting my wish
for a prolonged spring.  And my poor pansies outside
are struggling.

Looking for this painting on my blog before the fix I
found nothing. It never made it into publication, poor thing.
What I did find was soooooooo many pansy paintings.
Clearly a passion.  So accept it please.  The obsession
was planted ( ;-) by my mother, and a wonderful art professor.

I also found this discussion about how we artists think.
I'd met a lady walking my dog back in 2010 who said that
I was lucky I was a painter, because I had something to look
forward to.  (Rule #1 for artists, never reveal the total dread we
sometimes feel going into the studio to try and finish a
piece.)  And I wrote this in response to her remark.

"This statement confused me at first, and I walked
down the path overwhelmed with the thought --
what?  But the truth was so far from that sentiment
that I might have required a full orchestra and a movie
crew to describe it.  Yes I do have something to look
forward to.  I realized as that phrase washed in and out
of my brain that I really, really do!  For instance on
that walk, each flower, each leaf, each shade of green, and 
brilliantly coloured stem, the sky, the other dogs, people 
like the woman I met on the path, every single bit of it was
 something to look forward to.In fact each day, despite the 
odd bit of fatigue, and sadness for others, and bone weary sorrow
 over the world's ills, and some of our tendencies to not want to
see them, is so filled with things, events, joys, songs, laughter,
love and detail, detail, detail, all absorbing -- that the very phrase
 left me gobsmacked. "

Have a loving each detail day!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Dreaming of escape in The Month of Fresh Starts

Breakfast Quebec City style
Watercolour and black marker
on Arches watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
Last summer I promised myself I'd go easy this summer.
This winter I forgot my promise to myself and have
arranged a very busy summer indeed, and half of the
planning isn't complete.  But this year I think I can
handle it.  (Last year I had a broken wrist.)

Thinking about what to show tonight, on a day when
I ran around getting paperwork done, I thought of this
painting.  Our breakfasts in the beautiful hotel in Quebec
City on our way to and from our Nova Scotia school
house will stay in my mind and heart forever.

Everything was done so beautifully.  Plus I think in this
particular case we'd been upgraded to a magnificent room
with windows facing the old city and the harbour.  Amazing.
And the servers who brought the breakfast treated us
like royalty, setting the table so elegantly.  Some of that
disappears the moment you start to eat, but what a way
to start the day!  I know I've told you before that I think
breakfast, especially in a lovely hotel room, is a very
romantic meal.

Here's to your own romantic dreams this weekend!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Right now pansies rule

Gather ye pansies while ye can!
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
Spring is tilting into reality here.  The trees still
aren't in full bud, but forsythia are starting to 
show their yellow blooms, and scilla carpet 
lawns in the most beautiful blue.  Occasionally
this week it has been warm enough for people
to walk around in shorts.  This make me feel
nostalgia in advance for the pansies.

I bought some more, and stuck them on my front
steps.  But it's been too cold at night and they're
not producing many flowers, so I pick them as soon 
as they bloom, and today I'm painting them
again.  They don't like hot, and don't like cold.
Right now it fluctuates between warm and cold, but
I know I don't have long. 

What's the line from the Robert Herrick poem?
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may."  Make that
pansies, and you've got the sentiment.

Have an enjoying what each day offers day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Happy sketch of the neighbourhood -- and Fresh starts

The best kind of day -- Happy
Acrylic ink and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

In the Month of Fresh Starts I am trying to see things in new
ways.  In my art practice that's simple.  Or at least could
be.  Walk out of the room and walk back in, and everything
looks different.  A magic trick right?  And sometimes it

Today thinking about what to post, I went through my
watercolours to find this sketch in bold ink with
acrylic ink used as colour.  When I first worked on it a few
weeks ago I quit. It wasn't doing what Iwanted it to do.
And I put it away.  But today I saw what to change, and
liked how it deepened, the colours got richer,
and the whole process made me happy.

I have done a few paintings on canvas of the schoolyard
in our neighbourhood.  One sold in New York City.  This
is just another view, and maybe one day I'll paint this larger.

Meanwhile have a great rest of the week, and thank
you for being there.

Have a looking at life with new eyes day. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Seeing in a public setting -- painting with my art group

Summer thoughts
Art Group Sketch
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2019

As part of my plan to get my act together in the Month of
Fresh Starts I've been making sure I go to my art group's
session with the model. I'm doing more teaching
in the coming semester, and might not be able to make
it on Tuesday nights.  That thought makes me sad, because
I love working from the model with the group.  The talking
and joking makes me feel energetic about painting.

Tonight I noticed that I can stare and stare at a pose, and
after about 50 minutes I see what I need to see.  Of course
I paint every minute the model is posing, but through
painting I start to see more.  Just as it was all coming clear to
me, it was time to go home -- I could only stay for an hour
and 15 minutes.  I wish I'd had longer, because the model
was wonderful, and very engaging.

Have a seeing what you want to do day.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Saved by the pansies -- and the bell

Pansies in a hotel ware cream jug
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
© Barbara Muir 

A super night tonight -- the final night of my wonderful winter
class.  Every Monday night has been another night of
pleasure being with these great people.

So my pansies from a few years back, quite a few as it turns
out, stepped in to fill the possibility of an artistic void.
More on that another day.  It was also a lovely holiday
weekend, with a fabulous dinner on Sunday night with the
family.  All in all I am grateful to the universe for so
much fun.  Pansies get that.  They are a happy turn of
the season flower.

Have a saved by the bell (you made it!) day!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Crazy Busy Easter! The Best to you and yours!

Happy Easter
Recyled palette paper, black marker, acrylics,
acrylic marker
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
(The colour is much brighter,
but can't get it right on my phone,
or from my camera!  As the song
says Moving On.)
Hi there everyone.  Whether it's Easter or any other
celebration I hope you are having a good one.
We are the hosts, which means a busy, fun filled day.

This is a card I made from palette paper in the studio --
recycled.  It's for a young, very artistic guest, who
could make something way more exciting I'm sure.
But today it is definitely the thought that counts.

That thought is be Happy.

Have a joyous day!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Easter, and Happy Every Celebration

Harold and the blue eggs
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2013
Steven and I have been helping the bunny who seems
absolutely worn out this year, but still working hard
at the joyful celebrations people who love the bunny

I'll make it short.  Have a very Happy whatever you
celebrate. Wishing you a great day with family and
friends for Sunday.  The bunny says that the hard work
is over.  Let the fun begin. Okay.  We're ready bunny.
We are actually going to watch a movie about rabbits.
And that seems appropriate.

I thought I'd add this piece from a former blog.  It tells
a tale about Harold the rabbit.

Wishing you great celebrations with your family.
(I put Harold, the bunny rabbit on my blog every year
since I painted her (yes a she), and think
happily of the time a university boyfriend, not
knowing how innocent I was, gave me
a marijuana plant for a present.
Harold, my bunny, ate the plant,
plus a massive chunk of the sheets and blanket in
my rental room!  The young married
couple I was rooming with was not impressed.
Neither was I.  I had to pay for new sheets and
a blanket. But the whole story makes me laugh
every year when I think of Harold).

Have a super day!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Freaky Friday in the Month of Fresh Starts

Pansies prepping for the parade
Watercolour, acrylic ink, and
black marker on Strathmore 
mixed media paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

I'm proud of all the people who took the day off.  Not
so here at this house.  Two tired workers plodding
away at -- wish we could be doing anything else. Maybe
it's my artist's nature, but getting organized is one of
the most annoying, tedious, and time consuming jobs.
Especially when it involves paperwork.  Or computer paperwork.

Enough complaining.  It's all about getting my act together
as I said in the first blog of this month.  I worked on this
painting of pansies to give myself a lift. Yes!  And it did.
The paper is Multi media, and acrylic ink works
differently on this stuff.  I needed to use more ink for
a similar result.  Good to know.

I hope you had a good Friday.  If you're religious,
I hope your observations are happy.

Have a getting it all together 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!