Monday, September 16, 2019

Super day -- great class and talking to artists

Self portrait 
(person in progress! :-)
graphite on Pentalic paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I'm a fairly sunny type.  I want to be positive -- work at
it, enjoy life -- and that's not always easy when it feels
like the world, the planet is in big trouble.  Today was
one of those perfect days that make life worthwhile,
vibrant and whole.  I had a lovely walk with a good friend
and her dog (reasonable on leash -- a big plus).

That checked off my minimal exercise quota, and set me
off in a happy mood.  Papers edited, printing done,
coffee made for class in the wonderful mug sent by
Oprah's staff with her name on it that I use to make
coffee for Monday night's class. I pour the brew into
a thermos from the huge Oprah mug. Coffee keeps me
"on" for class. And my new class is funny, brainy.
So much fun.

Then late tonight I got a chance to talk to one of
my favourite artists, and we laughed until I came
to write to you.  Isn't that the best?  Laughing with
friends.  I love it.

Here's a little self-portrait I started.  I could go
further, or turn the page and start another one.  I
dedicate this one to my students who always see my
two pairs of glasses (one for close, one for far), and
give me infinite vision advice.  Which is fair.  I give
them infinite vision advice in a different way.  True
sometimes I have both pairs on at once -- like this.
Happy Monday, and have a wonderful week.

Have a starting off in the right frame of mind day. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Not to forget New York City -- and a wonderful art director

Model posing for a shoot in New York City

There's no doubt about it -- one of my favourite cities in the
world is New York City.  It's almost like a country unto itself.
Vast, vivid, incredibly vibrant -- New York is a city of art
lovers.  When you show in New York, you're not competing
with blown up prints of paintings in Winners or Ikea. You
are competing with artists in the 7,000 NYC galleries.

One of my favourite photos of me with Ruthie Tucker
in the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, NYC in front of my 
paintings of a Skype Interview with the artist, Henriette Sonne. 

But art is a key focus in the city, and I've almost always sold
there if I wanted to.  Ruthie Tucker, the owner and Director
of the Amsterdam Whitney gallery is a miracle worker.  There
is a fee to show, but I figured out years ago that it is less than half
of what it would cost me to show in The The Peter MacKendrick
Community Gallery at the Barns in Toronto for the same duration
(a month), and there are critical differences. Ruthie Tucker throws
 a champagne opening with delicious treats and elegant atmosphere.
Experts in Art History act as docents in the gallery full time, and
Ruthie is almost always there herself.  She is super kind, affectionate
and supportive, and on for her artists like crazy both at exhibition
openings and for the duration of a one month show.

At The Peter MacKendrick Community Gallery (a public gallery)
in my neighbourhood in Toronto, where I also love showing --
you hang your own work, sit the show yourself, host your
own opening, and pay for all the wine and treats at your
opening. Plus you pay a hefty fee to do so.

So vive la difference!  When I walk out the door of my openings
in New York City, I am in New York City -- Chelsea to be exact.
it is a super hot gallery area, and I love seeing what other artists
are doing.
Beautiful flowers are always on view at
the Met (and at the MoMA too)
But that's not all.  I love New York City.  The MoMA (Museum
of Modern Art), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Times
Square, going for walks, meeting people -- and you always meet
people because people are so warm in New York City.

So on this busy Sunday my thoughts are frequently escaping
to dreams of New York.

Have a buying some real art day.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

In the mood for Paris -- the urge to travel for art

Me with Alessandra Masha Mascitti
in front of my painting in the Carrousel du Louvre Exhibition
Dream Selfie -- Wonder Water Image #7, Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Travelling for art shows is not free.  Immediately people
I know who always know what to do in every situation
chime in with, "you could do this...or you could
do this!"  The facts are -- yes I know very well what
the options are, AND, I'd still like to do it.

Notre Dame in Paris before it 
suffered a fire this year.
So.  Today if I were throwing a dart at the globe spinning
before me -- I would choose Paris.  I am straight up with
no holds back in love with Paris.  I feel for Paris taking
a hit on its iconic cathedral -- Notre Dame, and I would
really like to go there again.

Me with Miranda Brouwers in front of
her painting in the Carrousel du Louvre 
exhibition in 2016
The Russo brothers were wonderful to exhibit with in
their EA Effetto ARTE Gallery booth at the Carrousel du Louvre,
and I count their curator, Alessandra Masha Mascitti as a friend.
Yes we would want to see her very much.

I love the people, the Louvre, the Musée D'Orsay, gallery,
the Seine, the food.  The last time we were in Paris we hung out with
my friends Miranda Brouwers and Rolf Leemeijer and their
sons Marnix and Hugo, and had the best time. I would
love to do that again too.

In short it's almost fall -- it's time to travel, and to plan the
delights of the coming season.  Paris.  I miss you.

Have a loving art shows day.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Dreaming of Florence -- filled with memories

My work in the Florence Biennale in 2015
at the end of the hall.
Wonder Water Series
polyptych, acrylic on coordinated canvasses
6 feet x 9 feet
Barbara Muir © 2015
Today -- perhaps because it's fall, and when I was showing in
Europe in Florence, and in Paris too -- several times the preparation
and anticipation was in the fall.  I am not, as far as I know,
going to Europe this fall, but believe me, if the opportunity
arises and I can get away for art and love, I will be there.
A courtyard in Florence
Florence is a surprise every minute.  I've been there twice --
for 10 days at a time, which is long enough to wander
around the old part of town, and be amazed in every corner.
It's also long enough to find favourite places to eat, and to
visit them again and find they are just as magnificent as you
dreamed they'd be.

A street view in Florence with the Duomo in the background
Plus Florence and the Florence Biennale fostered friendships
for me that I think will last a lifetime.  This is probably the
most exciting part of going to international art shows.
The fees are outrageous, the shipping insane, the cost of
flights, hotels, meals -- ridiculous.  The pleasure?  Infinite,
and it stays with you as though it was tattooed into your heart
and brain.

Have a going to art shows day

Thursday, September 12, 2019

From the Encounter exhibition -- Sara Craig

Sara Craig's work displays a variety of
techniques and visual approaches.
Her work is at the front of
the Heliconian Club in the Encounter exhibition
on at 35 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto
until October 2.
Sara Craig is an interdisciplinary artist trained in a wide
variety of artistic techniques, including acting, dance, and music
(as a singer/songwriter she was nominated for a JUNO award.)

More of Sara's work in the Encounter 
She is passionate about figure drawing, and is an active member
of the Helconian Club's Monday Sketch Group. In 2017 Sara won
first place in the "People's Choice award at the group's annual show.
Her work is perfect for an exciting entrance to the exhibit with a
wide variety of types of work to enjoy.

Have a going to art shows day.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

More from the Heliconian Club, the work of Patricia Bello

People gather around Patricia Bello's 
beautiful art. Patricia is
standing at the left side of the photo
talking to guests at the opening of
the Encounter Exhibition.
Patricia Bello's rich, bright paintings are beautiful.  I only
have one photo of her paintings, and I think it's telling.
Her corner of the show was so warm because of her
paintings, that everyone was hanging out there, and
talking, happy as can be.

I planned to write up every artist in the Heliconian Club
Encounter show on now until October 2.  I was not 100% on
on the day of the opening because I was recovering from a
nasty cold, and on antibiotics.  So I wish I had better photos.

Thank you Patricia for your wonderful work in the
Encounter exhibition, and I will make a concerted effort
to get better photos for our next exhibition.

Have a loving art shows day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

September 11 -- and what it means to me

My father with me and my son Christopher
the summer before my father died.
My Dad really loved Christopher.
Half of my family lives in the United States.  Some have
dual citizenship, some are Canadian and live there.
So September 11, which means so much to Americans,
resonates with me. Also New York City is one of my
favourite cities in the world, and I can't help thinking
about the horror and lasting impact of that day, every
time I show my work there.

But even more heartfelt to me is the fact that my father,
who I loved so much died before 9/11 on September 11.
My father died of lung cancer, and was way too young
to go.  He'd been a smoker, and was exposed to dangerous
levels of radiation when he was in the navy as a very
young man.

So the day is a day of double loss, and double sadness.
I do hope that we figure out how to give peace a chance,
and that we discover a cure for cancer.

I miss you Daddy.  You gave me my talent in painting,
and in writing.  I miss your humour, your warmth,
your kindness, I know I'll always have your love, and
you mine.

Have a remembering the people you miss day.

Monday, September 9, 2019

More from Encounters at the Heliconian -- Carolyn Grand

Paintings by Carolyn Grand in
the Encounter exhibition on at the
Heliconian Club in Yorkville until October 2nd.

In the current exhibition at the Heliconian art Club, at 35 Hazelton Avenue
in Toronto, I am lucky to share a wall with the wonderful artist, Carolyn
Grand.  Carolyn's illustration and design background comes through
loud and clear in her beautiful portraits and scenes.  She says that she
is trying to, "slow life down," by capturing life events, and visions
that are special to her. A big fan of summer she enjoys that season year round in the
beauty of northern, Ontario and in Naples, Florida.

More work by Carolyn Grand at
the Encounter Exhibition on now
at the Heliconian Club.
Carolyn loves the joyous spirit of childhood, and the cheerful feeling
of possibility that comes from happy, sunlit days.  Her joy in both is
beautifully portrayed in her work.

Have an enjoying art shows day.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

More from the Encounter show -- Faye Jordan

Faye Jordan with her wonderful
Nature as Cathedral mixed media series.

This is my second show at the Heliconian club with among
others the super artist Faye Jordan.  I didn't do a good
job photographing the Windows show in July, and after
my second opening for the Encounter show Saturday I
understand why.  While the opening is on, there
are so many people to talk to, and so much excitement.
I get carried away and forget to document what's happening.

The first time I saw the Encounter show, was when I arrived
for the opening.  I was absolutely dazzled with both the art,
and the wonderful job the hanging committee had done
arranging the work.

But after the opening, almost as I was heading out the door,
I remembered. 'Oh yes, take some photos.'

Faye Jordan's paintings and mixed media seem to ask us
to pay attention to nature.  They are mystical and
moody, and very moving.

Here's what Faye has to say about this series,
"Nature as Cathedral is an autobiographical body of work,
the continuation of an ongoing theme of conveying the spiritual
presence in environment. I walked and sat with my dog for six years
 in urban High Park in downtownToronto with the mighty
black oaks.

The inspiration for this series began where I experienced nature
as my cathedral. From this realization, images of my rural childhood
Landscapes and childhood place of spiritual nurturing, the Community
Church in Cambray, Ontario, began to appear before me, speaking to
me of a structure or armature on which one’s present is supported
by the past. Just as Monet’s Cathedrals were Described as “armatures
on which to hang colour”, I envisioned the architecture of the church
as a structure to build the urban landscape on. Each supporting the other,
neither being independent of the other."

Have an enjoying art day.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Wonderful opening -- The Encounter Exhibition

Me and my work with Carolyn Grand's work
(We took this shot after the show).
My paintings are the ones featuring
clouds (a constant obsession).

What a great time I had at the Encounter exhibition opening
today.  Thank you to everyone who came out, and thank
you too for all the compliments on my art.  It is a wonderful
show.  I just joined the Heliconian Club this year -- and it is
a super group.  Everyone there is so helpful and cooperative.

We were a group show of five new members today, Faye Goldman,
Sara Craig, Patrician Bello, Carolyn Grand and me (Barbara Muir).
The people who hung the show did a marvellous job, and I was
very happy when I arrived and saw how my work was displayed
on a wall intermingled with Carolyn Grand's lovely work.

Me with Cloud Magic
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 ft.,
Barbara Muir © 2018

I may do more blogs about the show this week.  It's up until
October 2, and if you want to see it, let me know, and I'll
contact the club and take you in.

Have an enjoying art shows day.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Come to the show -- Saturday 1 - 4 p.m.

In the studio working on 
In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Today I'm just going to write about the magic of the
art world.  It is absolutely magic.  I was looking for
photos of my studio.  I love it when artists post
pictures of their studio, but mine is never in that
ideal, photographable state.  I have what used to be
the living room and dining room of my tiny house.

Anyway I found a picture of a painting on the easel
which I'm showing you.  It is in the more orderly
part of the studio, so I can let you see it.  And
looking at that photo brought back so many memories.

In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
My wonderful friend in The Netherlands, Miranda
Brouwers, who I met at the Florence Biennale,
sent me photos of a nature reserve near her home,
called the Worp, and helped me be in an exhibition
to raise awareness of the Worp.  This painting was
put together from the photo reference, and my knowledge
of similar spaces near me in Toronto.

Then the work flew in a tube, off its stretcher, to
Miranda, and she and her husband stretched it,
and transported it to the exhibition.  When it
came back to Toronto, my friends at DeSerres
restretched it, and I sold it in a show with my
friend Gill Cameron.

If I hadn't met Miranda in Florence, Italy, when we
both showed at the Florence Biennale, it would
never have happened.  The painting wouldn't have
happened, it wouldn't have travelled across the
ocean, and back, and it wouldn't have sold to
a wonderful collector in Toronto.

Have an enjoying the magic of the art world day,
and come to the show -- September 7, 1 - 4 p.m.,
at the Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Ave.,

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Let it go -- artists and their creations

Across the highway
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Last night Steven and I packed up two big pieces and two
smaller ones to go to the Encounter show in the Heliconian
Club this weekend. Please come out from 1 - 4 p.m.
on Saturday afternoon to 35 Hazelton Avenue in Toronto.
I will be there, we'll have goodies to offer in the beautiful space.
This morning a wonderful taxi driver from Beck Taxis
with a van showed up and we whisked that work down to the club.

Everything looked so bright and happy in that gorgeous space.
Our job as artists is to make the art we want to make, to
follow our heart's desire, and to hope someone else will
want it, and take it home.  The pieces I'm showing seem
like the essence of my landscape paintings and are all
about the Maritimes.  This is the new members show
for the Heliconian Club, and I just joined the club this
year, so I get to be in it.

(If you do end up buying a big piece I recommend the
lovely and reasonable taxi people to help you transport it home.)

Our house of course looks strangely empty, with bare spots
where the art has been, but there is more, more, more
art coming.  Promise.

Have a going to the art show day.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Revised for the new show

View from the Highway
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir ©  revised 2019
This painting has been in a couple of shows, and I wanted to change
it before it went out again. Here's a better photo, though it could still
be better.

Please come out to the show (see yesterday's post) if you're in
Toronto.  It's going to be great.

Have an enjoying your work day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Please come to the art show! This Saturday

Here is the invitation to the Encounter group art exhibition at the
Heliconian Club in Toronto, Canada.  I would love to see you there. I have
four pieces in the show.

So please make our art part of your Saturday afternoon.  Thank you
in advance for coming out.

Have a making plans to go to an art show day.

Monday, September 2, 2019

On the road again -- literally

No Contest -- Nature Wins!
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
(This piece seems perfect
for my joyous and relieved
mood today.  When we were
in Nova Scotia a week
ago I was looking at this scene
in the flesh and marvelling that it
sold in New York City!  A 
happy art story for a happy day.)
Today was a happy day.  I am better. We went to our favourite
park on the west side of the city and saw the swans.
A little boy was dancing as he and his family fed the ducks and
swans, and one swan wiggled his tail, in what looked like a
joyous response.  When we got home a neighbour up the street
asked us in for a glass of wine.  What a treat.

I have been thinking about art all day -- I will have four
pieces going into the Encounter show at the Heliconian
Club on Hazelton Avenue in Toronto this Saturday. The
opening is from 1 - 4 p.m.  I will be there all afternoon
and would love to see you.

Have a planning to go to an art show day.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Make this cold go away!

Napping with the cat
Watercolour and marker 
on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
I love this painting of Steven trying to recover from a cold with 
a cup of hot lemon, and the cat.  That has been my story today.

Still a deep frightening cough when it comes, and pain.  I want to
wave my wand, and be done with it.  

Have a staying healthy day.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

The saga continues

Hot lemon
black marker on paper
5.5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
When the doctor on call tonight saw this drawing, she was
all excited because I'm an artist.  That made me
feel good, even thought I have a horrendous cold,
and am now on antibiotics.  Because this was
all I could manage today, and it's a drawing of my
hot lemon drink.

The doctor said that hot lemon with maple syrup and
cayenne pepper, which I was drinking was much
better than cough syrup.

And once again I'm glad I live in Canada, where
a doctor will come to your house when you aren't well,
and treat you, and it is free.

Have a working on feeling good day. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

A beautiful day to have a bad cold

After the nap
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Sitting on the back porch, with a huge list of things I must
do today in my mind, I hear a loud chorus of cicadas, almost
drowning out the construction of two new houses up the street,
and the roar of airplanes in the air show at the CNE (Canadian
National Exhibition).

Our siamese cat Fiona is bathing on a chair in the sunlight she loves.
The wind whirs through the trees, and I am writing to you.
I have a very bad cold all of a sudden.  A deep barking cough.
And my friend in the Netherlands says I have a good voice for
a horror movie. Funny.

Some bed art seems appropriate for today.  I'll go inside in a minute
and work on my work, drink gallons of hot lemon, and meditate
on getting better. Meanwhile all is well with the world for the
next few minutes.

Have a taking breaks when you can day.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Life lessons -- my art is about the world I see

The Pumpkin Farmhouse
Maison De Haute Couleur 
Charvin, Paris Watercolour
on Fabriano paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(The farmhouse is gone now,
and I think there's a mall there.
When the boys were young we used to
visit the farm to pick our Thanksgiving and 
Halloween pumpkins).
Looking back on my posts on beauty, I found one that really said it all. 
Artists who produce work honouring the beauty they see on the
planet matter. Today Greta Thunberg is in the United States having sailed
across the ocean sometimes in very high seas in a sailboat.  Why?
 She loves the planet and wants us to save it.

Thinking about that, I realize that the poet John Keats pretty
well summed it up. Here's what I said in a former post:
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all Ye know on earth, 
and all ye need to know."John Keats -- Ode on a Grecian Urn.
I was raised on Keats; my mother could quote any poem she ever read, 
and did. Plus I studied English Literature at university, and the 
teachers who taught us about the Romantic poets were some of 
the most inspired and engaging professors I ever met...

During a stint of horrendous work in a small Ontario town
at a pizza restaurant, with an unscrupulously cruel boss, 
heard that the town was a mecca for artists. One day
 I was  introduced to a young woman artist, and I was invited to her 
studio to see slides of her work. She created "art" out of dead animals
stuffed in awkward poses by a taxidermist, standing in shattered glass.

I thank her now because her work depressed me so much that
when I added her disturbing art to the mix of bad work, and no pay
I was dealing with, I left the town and never looked back.

 I can also thank her, because she helped me decide that art could
 be beautiful, and that creating appealing work was a calling
every bit as important as shocking and horrifying the public.
In short she sent me crying for mercy back into the pages of John
 Keats, where I now live celebrating the beauty I see any chance I get."

Have a saving the beautiful planet day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The month of pure happiness -- one of them!

Untitled (Work in Process)
Acrylic and acrylic ink, and 
marker on canvas
11 x 14 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2019
This has been an astounding month.  Vibrationally, if you
get my meaning.  Driving along in the car with Steven,
through our magnificent country.  Holding hands sometimes,
and singing.  So incredibly lovely, despite being doggedly

I bought the silver jug in this painting at a garage sale.
The man asked for $20 and I said, "that's too expensive,"
so he said "what isn't?"  And I said "$10."  It is really
beautiful, but was tarnished of course.  Dipped into
boiling water in an aluminum foil lined bowl, with salt
and baking soda, it's gorgeous luminous beauty was
revealed instantly!  Woah!
Untitled Work in Process
The beginning 
I was thinking of the fabulous
portrait painter Simon Davis when
I painted the canvas in a warm wash.
Then I planned to draw with a pencil,
but I needed more clarity so used a marker.
Today it's filled with flowers from my garden, and is a
vibrant reminder of the transfixing beauty in this world.

Have an enjoying the happiness of the day, day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Should, should, shoulda -- Back to work

The fields between
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
(Currently on view at Catch
the Moments Gallery 4444 Queen St.
Niagara Falls. Check it out!) 
When I hear "you should," come flying out of my mouth,
I try to switch to "could." I realize that I really can't know
another person's reality.  In art there are constantly a lot
of shoulds.  Most are self-delivered.

So I make my lists, should, should, should, and cross them
off.  There are days (today could have been one of them),
when all I want to do is ignore every should that pings around my
head like a fly in the night. is time to take care
of all of the things that needed to be done while I was
on a very long car trip, a short and delicious stay, and a
very long car trip.  Thank you to all of the wonderful
people we met along the way. You are amazing. I did
start a painting -- in the very earliest stages.  But this painting
speaks to me of where I've just been -- out in the magnificent

And as it turned out I am joyously happy, which I "should
be", because I met our newest family member today.  So

18 days on the road, and we made it home last night.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Seeing it again -- the reality that sparked the work

Moody Beauty
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018
This will be brief.  We've driven a total of 6,000 kilometres,
or 3,728 miles.  Far in other words.  For most of the drive
out to Nova Scotia and back I was snapping photos which
will be the jumping off point for new paintings.

Suddenly somewhere in Nova Scotia I saw trees on top
of a hill, and thought -- those are the trees in my painting,
this is where I saw that image.
That made me crazy happy. (Yes I am given to being that
way). Then I realized I'd also done a sketch of the same
image last summer, before I worked on the painting.

Have a loving everything you see day.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Almost home -- the delights of Ottawa

Nova Scotia Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

We have had a marvellous trip from Quebec City, and
are so happy to be in Ottawa.  Our room looks out to a
spectacular view of the parliament buildings and the canal.  The
young fellow on the desk upgraded us to a very nice
room (that is always wonderful), and the fellow who
brought our bags to our room, sang a Stan Rogers song
beautifully when he found out we'd come from Nova
Scotia.  He had an exceptional voice, and I was afraid I
was going to cry, but I didn't.  Whew.

I'm posting a painting from 10 years ago of the kind of
flowers my friend Paula leaves in the school house for us
each year.  She is wonderful, and the small bouquets from
her own garden are such a lovely surprise.

Have a loving your friends day.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

To Quebec and the long beginning of the road home

Ocean play
16 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir ©
Leaving Nova Scotia is hard. Today we took the longest drive of the trip
from Wallace, Nova Scotia to Quebec City.  Rolling through endless gorgeous
scenery, is both thrilling and nostalgic.  We know that we probably
we won't see this incredible part of Canada again for a year.

But we stopped and had dinner along the way, and sang to the songs
on our favourite radio station, played through my phone.  And now
the longing to be home, to see our family and the dog and cats,
and to be in our house is the pull.  Travelling demands subjecting 
yourself to the pull of going, and when it is time, the equally strong
desire to return home.

I love this painting of Steven and the boys playing in the ocean
at the beach we love in Nova Scotia.  They are all grown up now,
but I'm sure they love the ocean as much as we do.

Have a looking forward to being home day.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The last day in paradise

Wonder Water Image #5
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
We love it here.  If we ever did move to Nova Scotia
for good, this is where we'd settle.  Here where each
tree, each farmhouse, each field, the beach we love, and
every view of the ocean pulls at our heartstrings.

We have in the past 20+ years that we've been coming here
travelled the entire coast of the province, and nowhere else
feels like home to us.  Like a second home.  The entire
province is beautiful, and every place has its charms,
but this place is the one we love, and now it's time to

Someone we were talking to the other day said that
we should move out to Pugwash because we have a
group of friends here already, and we'd be happy.
On this visit to Nova Scotia one endearing quality
in almost everyone we met was that they love their
province, their towns, their homes.

I get it.  It is beyond magnificent.  It's time to go
back to our family, and work, and friends in our
community in Toronto.  We leave with so much
gratitude to everyone who has helped us,
entertained us, fed us, delighted us with laughter,
art and song.  It has been the best time ever.

The model for the painting above which went to
Florence, Italy, and New York was my son Sam's girlfriend,
Emily, who is a wonderful person and a talented
artist too. This portrait sold in New York City.
Emily is one of the people we look forward to seeing back
in Toronto.

Have a loving your home day.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The month of pure happiness -- and more to come!

Invitation to the New Members show at
the Heliconian Club on Saturday, September 7.
Please come out if you're in Toronto.  That's
one of my pieces on the right side of the invite 
Cloud Magic.
I realized that I've been on a roll of naming each month,
and then here in one of the most spectacular months of
the year, I haven't named it.  Pure happiness seems right,
because it has been such an amazing month.  

We've spent time with so many wonderful people,
seen the most gorgeous scenery, eaten delicious meals.
Just fantastic.  Thank you to everyone who shared their
time with us this month.  I feel like I'm in the midst of
the most delightful summer, and know at month's end the
good times will continue.  Check out the Heliconian
New Members' exhibition invite.

I will back to Toronto next week, and back to work -- but I
look forward to new experiences, and I'll be inspired by everything
that happened in this month of pure happiness.

Have a savouring the moment day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The last few days in gorgeous Nova Scotia

Ken's Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
I found this photo of a painting I did ten years ago that
says it all.  Ken and Maxine Lander grow, and develop beautiful
 flowers for Proven Winners which are featured in Martha Stewart
Magazine.  Their beautiful varieties of petunias are sold everywhere
from here in Pugwash to Toronto and the states.

Tonight we went to a wonderful dinner in the Lobster Factory.
The building is a community hall in Pugwash, and tonight
there was a special Italian themed dinner.  We went with Norene
and Greg Smiley, and met Louise Cloutier and Richard Dittami there. 

It was an amazing dinner, so delicious.  And we sat outside
watching herons and eagles flying over Pugwash Harbour. Magical.

Nova Scotia is beautiful, and our overwhelming emotion here
is straight up joy. This painting says that for me.  I hope you get
to be somewhere that makes you feel that way soon, if you aren't
there already.

Have a loving where you are day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The place for beauty

On the Fundy Route
Acrylic and acrylic ink, and black marker
on watercolour paper
3.5 x 5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Today has had its definite ups and downs.  We had
a lovely time in Bear River, and when I was leaving
I was suddenly dizzy.  I had a cup of tea, and
felt a bit better, then we drove for an hour and got
some Coca Cola, and I felt a lot better. (I don't usually
drink Coke, but it helped today.)

We kept going, wanting to get back to our school house
by nightfall. Frequent stops in the spectacular
landscape revived me, and by the time we hit Tatmagouche
I was better.

Tonight I did a little painting in tribute both to Flora
Doehler and Larry Knox for entertaining us in Bear
River, and to the gorgeous scenery we drove through.
I so love Nova Scotia.

Have a taking care of yourself day.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Getting unstuck -- visiting Bear River

Some of Flora Doehler's work in her studio
in Bear River, Nova Scotia
I know it's strange to accuse a couple who've travelled
3600 kilometres of being stuck in the mud, but we are
definitely habit driven.  And we love our school house
in Wallace, Nova Scotia, and the Pugwash, Nova Scotia
area.  It is in fact our second home.  And once there
we are incredibly reluctant to move.

The beach near Pugwash is one of our favourite
places in the world.  So to leave and go to the opposite
end of the province today was a big deal for us.  We were
happy reading our books, figuring out where to eat, and
visiting friends.

And yet luckily we were compelled to take one of the most
beautiful drives we have ever taken to visit our friends
Flora Doehler and Larry Knox in Bear River.  The picture
tonight is of some of the art in Flora's studio.  As an artist
she gets more experimental and adventurous all the time,
and is in her element here in beautiful Nova Scotia.

We had a wonderful night together this evening.  They
treated us to an amazing dinner and we had so much

Tomorrow we take the same gorgeous route home.  I
know I will be charged by all of Flora's great ideas about
art until we see her and Larry again.

Have a loving your travels day.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Beautiful P.E.I. and an unwelcome guest

The Yellow Field
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
Today we drove over to P.E.I. to have dinner in Victoria
at the Landmark Oyster House.  Everything was delicious
(Wine, beet salad with greens, grilled salmon over mashed potatoes,
creme brulée, coffee ).  P.E.I. is beautiful, and if we have time we'll
go back, but what a treat!

We got back to the school house to the sound of frantic banging
against the downstairs floor.   The reason?  A porcupine trapped under
the school house.  We tried everything, and eventually Steven
created a space for Mr. Porcupine to get out, tempted him
with some lettuce, knocked on the school house floor, and
went to read about porcupines.

Very educational and the poor fellow left.  Steven patched up
the exit space, brought in the lettuce, and as far as we know
that's the excitement for tonight.

Have a learning about the world day.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A beautiful day, and sketching

Clouds -- sketch
Acrylic ink, black marker and watercolour
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
When the real holiday mood sets in out here in the
school house, it is sooooo peaceful.  I guess you could
say we're blessed with erratic Internet.  That has forced
us to read our books, in the absolute silence that is life
here --unless of course the highway is busy.

So we've done that.  And I've started sketching.  Plus
we went to the beach we love and walked on the wide
sand at low tide.  Then we drove as fast as possible to
reach the Sandpiper restaurant before the 8 p.m. cut off,
and made it.  Supper was delicious!

Other than that every drive in the car -- and it's a long
car ride to groceries and water (no running water here),
and almost everything -- is a symphony of overwhelming
beauty.  This is without a doubt one of the most
beautiful places in the world.  And I am doing research
for all the paintings that will follow.

Meanwhile -- have a taking it easy day.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dinner with the artists

The Last Stand
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
From the Back to the Land exhibition in
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, in July
Norene Smiley © 2019

We were so delighted to have dinner tonight at
Norene and Greg Smiley's house.  The artist
Louise Cloutier, and poet Richard Dittami came
for dinner too, and we had great conversations
over a delicious meal.

Norene's work has inspired me since I first saw it
at the Chatterbox Café in Pugwash, Nova Scotia.
I first saw Louise's work last year in a show in Oxford,
Nova Scotia that combined her work with poetry
by Richard.  It was a wonderful exhibition and
collaborative venture.

Riders on the storm
 Acrylic on Canvas
Louise Cloutier © 2019
Louise has added a huge spark of life to the arts
community in Pugwash with her ArtQuarters
Pugwash art school.  And Norene will be teaching
a watercolour workshop there tomorrow.

Have a talking to the artists you love day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Settling in

Cherries with a full moon
iPad quick sketch
Barbara Muir © 2019
Here's a rough iPad sketch I did tonight of cherries.
I had a great conversation with a couple shopping
at the Maxi in Lévis outside of Quebec City.  They
were buying cherries, and so was I.  In my bad french
I told them that I'd read that cherries helped you sleep.
Each time I ran into the couple while I was shopping,
the man would laugh, and pretend to snore.

Speaking of snoring, I am super tired from the long
drive yesterday.  So this is it for tonight.  I hope to have more
to say tomorrow.

Have a taking it easy day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Our second home

The House on the Hill #2
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(I started shouting when I saw this house
today, and scared the hell out of
Steven.  But this house means we are
almost there.  I was delighted to see
it.  Ecstatic even.  We have arrived.)

Today was the final lap of our journey out to Nova Scotia.
It's amazing how the details of the route are etched in our
minds -- like a living map.  Iconic in our memory and
imagination.  This is the place where our spirits feel
so joyous.

Thunder storms, high heat -- all this was predicted before we
left today.  But reality was completely different.  Paradise.  We are
in paradise.

Okay we don't have running water.  And the facilities are outside.
And the furniture is from yard sales and in rough shape.  But it is
all ours.  We do have wonderful friends, can eat on real china in our little
school house, and add to that we're close to the ocean. We had dinner
tonight in one of our favourite restaurants, looking at the ocean.
Can't beat that.

Have a loving where you are day.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Our big, beautiful country

View from the highway
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
The great thing about travelling by car across this part of
Canada, is that we see again how incredibly beautiful, and
vast our country is.  Even this part, a fraction of the whole.
And of course it is the perfect time of year -- the whole
drive lush and lakes and rivers shimmering in the light.
Amazing.  We hit one heck of a thunder and rain storm
tonight, but got through it and ended up driving under an
almost full moon in a clear sky.

Aside from the gorgeous landscape, the people we
meet along the way are the life of the journey.
Great conversations everywhere.

I have painted so many paintings of views from the
highway.  It's wonderful to travel a route so often that
you know where things are.  I love that here, and I
love staying in the same place in cities like Paris and
New York, so we get to know people.

Today was the longest leg of the journey, and we're
now ready to arrive at our destinations, and be walking
 on the beach.  All good.  Can't wait.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Half Way There -- an amazing journey

Self Servewatercolour on watercolour paper

9 x 12 inchesBarbara Muir © 2011 

(I love this series.  I love the light, and
exuberance, and observation of
what's happening at a gas station. 
Observation is key.)

Okay we have travelled 1,000 kilometres.  Half of the way to
our little school house in Nova Scotia.  While we've been
travelling we've been over the moon about news of the birth
of our newest family member -- a baby girl.

At the same time we've been with family going through the
loss of their dog as the dog slowly died.  Hard and very sad.

On the road we listen to the radio and sing at the top of
our lungs -- sliding through landscapes so deliciously lush
and green I just want to stop every five minutes to capture
this, and then this, and then the best yet -- this.

Today I saw a complete rainbow -- the total arch just outside
of Quebec, and for our pleasure in Quebec City the very
heavy rain had just finished falling, so we could have a beautiful
walk along the boardwalk after dinner.

Have a counting your blessings day.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The pleasure of languages -- travel rocks!

Making magic in Montreal
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
There is so much talk now about why we can't get along,
why we can't abandon our differences, and then there
is the Food Court in downtown Ottawa, where people
from all over the world grab and eat their lunch, talking
the whole time.  A buzz of international culture, and one
of the reasons I love travelling.

Maybe we could start by all sitting down and eating together.
A camaraderie arises over shared food that is unique I think.
One of my students researched that there are 6500 languages 
in the world.  I would so love to know how to speak all of
them, instead of one language, with smatterings of one other,
and phrases here and there of a couple more.  Along with
visual art, language is definitely one of my passions.  And we need
to start speaking to one another, finding out and enjoying how
much we share, and how little we know about this big planet.

The woman who modeled for this painting was joyous, 
beautiful, confident, and loved to travel at least as much as
I do.  It radiates out from her face -- her sheer enthusiasm for
life.  We are still on the road, and will be passing through
Montreal tomorrow, so this painting that sold in New York
City when it showed there is perfect.

Have a loving learning something new 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!