Thursday, February 28, 2019

Reading Carol Marine and Happy Birthday to my Father

Clementine Bliss
Acrylic on canvas board
6 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Last day of the Month of Love, and it has been wonderful.
So much to love, including the view of very deep, brilliantly
white snow out my window. Thank you for celebrating with
me all month.  Although my father died years ago, I think of
him all the time, and especially on this day -- his birthday.

This morning I was lucky to be Reading Carol Marine's book
Daily Painting. I got it out of the library, and am going to buy it. So
much great information.  Carol is the reason I took a break from
my larger piece to do this joyful little still life. I absolutely love
the look of these Clementines.  I first saw them complete with
leaves in a market in Florence, Italy. And to me, everything about
Florence is romantic.

Portrait of my father 
black marker on bond paper
7 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
On this day I always say Happy Birthday to my father, who is
no longer with us.  He developed a passion for painting, and was
incredibly prolific. Daddy admired the fact that I was going
to OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) in Toronto.
And although he never took a single class, he produced
some rather wonderful art.  I miss him.

Have a loving the art in life day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

To the love of learning and wonderful models

Poem by the Don
acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches (diptych)
Barbara Muir © 2008
It's the second last day of the Month of Love,
and my commitment to myself to honour this month, by
posting every day.  I woke up wondering what to write
about. I have a few large pieces in transition -- still working
on them.  I went through my draft blog posts, then looked
at photos of my work online and randomly came upon
a wonderful blog by Bas van Houwelingen,  called Reading 
and Art, that honoured me four years ago by featuring my
paintings of people reading.

The blog didn't include this painting of one of my favourite models,
who was wonderful to work with.  She came to an exhibition
in the fall with her husband, and looked so grown up!  I painted this
work eleven years ago.  So it was amazing and wonderful to see her.

Last night we entertained one of the youngest members of our 
family, three year old Alice, who already has our family's passion
for reading.  For most of the 3 1/2 hours of her visit, we read to her. 
And she loved it, asking for another book the minute one story
was finished.

The affects of coming from a reading family are clearly
evident to me when I'm teaching.  Vocabulary, curiosity,
even self confidence are deeply improved by reading.
I'm glad that reading's featured so often in my portraits.
Subliminally I was both attracted to the look of people
reading, but also secretly trying to urge people to read
more often, to enjoy learning.  Once again we have perfect
reading weather in Toronto today -- lots of snow coming down.

Have a reading a superb book day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

For the love of technology in the Month of Love

The wonder of tulips
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
(If anyone out there knows
how to get my iPad to transport
drawings from Sketchbook let
me know.  I had to photograph
the drawing with my camera to share
it.  Technology eh?  It was easy on
my old model iPad. Not so now.)
I know,  I know -- technology is a curse, ruining our old life, killing
 the planet.  The evils of technology become clearer every day, but
 some technological benefits in my life are impressive.  Computer
technology fuels the blog world, the Facebook world,  Instagram, and
 Skype -- the app that let me talk to my children when they were far away.  
These systems changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined.
So on this the 26th day of the Month of Love, I give thanks for all of the
miracles transforming my life because of technology.

Today I'm posting an iPad drawing of tulips.  It captures the
delicious, beautiful hope for the world flowers. Drawn
with my finger on my iPad -- the image says tulips -- hinting at their
beauty,  and the happiness they bring to a room.

Have a recognizing what is good in your life day.

Monday, February 25, 2019

For the love of snow in the Month of Love

Snowy day in Toronto
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
If you don't like snow, Canada is not the right place for you.
In my city, Toronto we got off easy in December and January
right up until January 28.  No snow to speak of.  But people who can
acknowledge climate change (and there are frightening numbers
of people who don't, or won't), know that that's not right.  We need
snow for the spring crops.  Yes we need it.

Luckily the snow goddesses and gods prevailed and we got some.
In fact we got a couple of very strong hits.  Schools and businesses
closed. We didn't get as much as our friends in Ottawa, but quite a bit.

This morning as I drank my coffee, I looked out the window and at first
random flakes of snow fell one at a time.  They looked so light and magical.
Then the real thing began -- flurries the weather people call them, if they
don't go all the way to snow storm.

I grew up in Ottawa, where snow was the norm in winter.  And
although I don't love driving in it, I do love the look of it.
My drawing today, is an iPad drawing of the backyard with snow.
I draw these with my finger, which makes it look a bit simplistic,
but it gets the feeling.

Have a loving snow day.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Whirlwind of wonderful art weekend!

Me with my great friend the wonderful artist -- Georgia Fullerton.
I'm holding the painting "Happiness" -- which I bought at the Full Fine
Art Collection and @homerbrowncollection pop up show
at 876 Dundas Street West yesterday.What could be more
appropriate? I love this painting, and Georgia always makes me
feel happy! So much fun at her show yesterday!
Photos courtesy Georgia Fullerton. Thank you Georgia.

Watercolour and mixed media
8 x 10 inches
Georgia Fullerton © 2018

We were so lucky to get to the Artist Project on Friday night.  See
my last blog to see some of the artists' work and click their links.
Our Saturdays are packed without anything out of the ordinary,
but yesterday we went straight from visiting our favourite farmer
at the Brickworks Farmer's market, to the pop up show at 876 Dundas
Street West.  The show was only on for one day, and I wish
it had gone on for longer so I could send you there. The work
was gorgeous. 

My dear friend, and wonderful artist Georgia Fullerton 
exhibited some lovely pieces with her friend Homer Brown.  Homer's
work was also magnifient.  Homer does both paintings and ceramics.
Georgia was displaying one painting that I'd wanted for awhile, so I bought it.

When you go to art shows and see your friends' work, it is such a positive
charge.  For visual people, seeing what artists do is so inspiring.  It makes
 us understand why we paint, and also want to do more.  We are part of an
incredible community of creative people. 

Have a getting out to the art shows day!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

For the love of art -- The Artist Project

Last night we went to the Artist Project, a huge and fantastic
art exhibition at the Better Living Center at the CNE in Toronto.
Whatever type of art takes your fancy, it was there.  So much
beautiful art, and so many wonderful artists.

Joyce Fournier's powerful and exciting abstract work,
and sculptures were my first stop.  Joyce kindly
got me tickets to the event, and I am so grateful to
her for that.  The show is dazzling, beginning with Joyce's pieces.

Joyce and Paul Fournier.
(speaking of the Month of Love --
these two are a sweet couple. )

Romona Nordal with her work in
the background gets a visit from
Artist/Artistic Director Daniel Anaka.

I love the work of Eleanor Lowden.  I'm
sorry my photo is blurry.  She was so
delightful to talk to that I got distracted.
Eleanor's work at The Artist Project is wonderful.

When I work on landscape painting Andrew Sookrah is 
one of the people I think of.  I love his work -- his design,
colour intensity -- his work is fantastic.
We visited as many booths as we could, and I'm happy to
feature some of them tonight.  The show is on tomorrow (Sunday)
too, and I recommend that you check it out.  Here are just a few of
the people I visited.  Wishing all of the artists involved great sales,
and a superb time surrounded by such beauty!

Have fun going to the show.  Sunday February 24 is the last day.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Monthaversary of our first date -- always special

Winter Lovers' Sunset
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Steven and I have two "monthaversaries" per month in addition
to two anniversaries a year.  Each month we celebrate both our
first date, and our wedding day, sometimes just by saying, "Happy
Monthaversary!", and sometimes with something more -- champagne, 
and a date.  Tonight we went to The Artist Project to see the work of 
several friends.  It was amazing.

We will never forget our first date -- today's Monthaversary.
We went dancing that night, and at the end of the evening Steven
walked me home.  Something certainly clicked, because we've
been together ever since. 

One of the places we love to visit for any excuse is a fantastic park
on the west end of the city.  We are entranced with it, and always
love every minute there.  Here's a painting I did of a sunset
at the park. 

Have a loving each other day!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Loving the fruits of your labour

The Fruits of Love
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(Available -- email me
if you want it!)
I walk by this work every day in my front hallway.
And it is one of many paintings I've done of oranges,
lemons and limes.  In the depths of winter, especially during
the short, dark days, the brilliance of citrus fruits in one
of my footed glass bowls is a cheering sight.

In fact my son says that one day these are the pieces
I'll be known for.  So today as I work away on another
painting -- large and slow, I offer you the fruits of my labour --
a painting that gave me great pleasure to paint, honouring
the beautiful oranges, lemons, and limes that brighten our

Have a loving what you see day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The love of reading -- intelligence is vital

Reading before the dance
(Part of the dance series)
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008
I was going to say that reading is sexy, or that intelligence is
attractive.  But we face a growing environmental crisis, and
sadly political and business interests are deliberately
avoiding the responsibility to make critically radical changes
immediately. So it's not enough to say that people who read
are more interesting.  They are in most cases, but we all need
to read.  We need to care deeply about each other's stories and
about issues facing the world.

The move from books to snippets on smartphones, texting, and shorter
and shorter articles is hurting us.  I've been a teacher as my side
job for long enough to see smartphones steal students' attention,
and stop their intellectual curiosity.  I'm so happy that on the one
night I teach now the college supports a no cell phone rule. It
means that people can read, and write and talk to one another --
the whole point of being in a class.

I love the painting that I'm featuring tonight.  For people who
love reading, books are an ever present reality.  Books, newspapers,
magazines, tablets, laptops, smartphones.  For this reader
books still rule.  If I fall in love with a book reading it online,
I head out to buy it, because I like a real book better.

Have a loving reading and saving the world day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Love and coffee go hand in hand

Blackbird on a coffee cup
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
Ah!  Coffee -- an appropriate topic for tonight because this
evening I met with a bunch of women in the neighbourhood
who I've known since my children were very little.  It's a long
and powerful connection fueled by coffee (and tea) and tonight
wine.  The group creates friendships, supports each other's interests,
discusses everything from politics, to culture, to art, to volunteering,
to child raising -- and is wonderful.

I started a new painting today -- quite large, and will not
have anything to show you for a few days.  But for at least
the past three years I've posted every day in the Month of
Love, February and had to continue the tradition.  I mean
love is that important. So I was excited to find this little painting
of a Red-winged Blackbird on a coffee cup.  I do love both
the bird, and the delicious coffee he is guarding.

One of the first and most joyous signs of spring when we
walk in our local park is the sound of blackbirds singing.
Woah!  Our hearts lift.  This is it my friends -- spring!
We aren't quite there yet, but soon.  Meanwhile have a
coffee with some friends, and have fun.

Have a singing for your coffee day.

Monday, February 18, 2019

For the love of blogging -- 11 years today!

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2008
(the painting is at
Seneca College in King
City, and I do not have a 
better photo -- must get one)

This is an amazing anniversary.  I started blogging 11
years ago today.  What's happened since then?  It's
changed my whole life that's all.  The chain of events
is too long to list here, but at the top of the list is
the artist friends I've made from all over the world,
who comment on my work, share their own work,
teach me techniques, tell me where to show, help
me get exhibitions.  So wonderful.

My blog got me on TV, on the Oprah Winfrey Show
via Skype, and media attention on several other shows.
It got me recognition in Canada's major newspaper.
That list is too long to share here.

But on top of that -- the blog helped my art to be
invited to travel to show in the Florence Biennale,
in Florence, in the Carousel du Louvre in Paris,
and many shows in New York City.  Plus I
had a piece go to the Netherlands without me, and
fly back to Canada to be sold here.

I am beyond grateful for the world of opportunities
and super friendships opened up for me through the
blog world.  Thank you to all of you.

Have a loving the blog world day.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

There's nothing like family love

Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Some of my favourite commissions have been of families. There
Is such power in the love that bonds families together. For a
portrait artist this means getting to know the family, learning
about their passions and what they're proud of.  Sometimes
even the youngest members in a family have things they
want you to know as the artist painting a work that will
record a memorable phase in their lives.

In the park
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Babara Muir © 2012
It's Family Day tomorrow (today depending on where you
live) in Ontario -- an official public holiday, and that's a
wonderful idea.  To mark this joyful occasion in the month
of love, I am posting a couple of my happy family portraits.
Thank you collectors.  And if your family needs a family
portrait, I would be more than happy to help you with that

Wishing you a very Happy Family Day!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Over the hills and far away

View from the highway
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(So much of my 
work is inspired by my
travels -- this was not the
view today, but it gives me
that same feeling of glee
at being out and on the road --
away from the familiar --
thinking about the art
in the current view.)
In this month of love, let's talk about the love of travel.
It makes me sad to think that in parts of North America,
people never leave the town where they grow up.  But in
Canada travel is a big part of our culture -- partly because
so many of us come from another country, and also
because we feel isolated and cut off in winter and have
to Get Out!

The escape day was today for me and Steven.  We got out
on the highway, and kept our motor running,
heading to Ottawa for some culture -- big political
debates, fantastic talks about the environment, and
our doomed planet (it's Family Day weekend here).
But we also thrilled at the sheer pleasure of seeing the scenery --
endless fields glowing in the sun covered in snow,
with golden crops shining through.  For a long
way the lake (Lake Ontario) sparkled -- a luminous
blue band of colour far away past the fields, while
small clouds sat motionless in a perfect sky.

Have an enjoying your family and a road trip day.

Friday, February 15, 2019

In love with the light

Winter light Cherrywood
Acrylic on birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
In winter so many of the views you see, are those just outside
your windows.  In February this year that has been especially
true, because lots of snow, and very cold weather has made
staying inside very attractive.

For Torontonians -- the return of the light, and the play of
light in winter is a primary focus.  I started this painting of
the view across the street in the late afternoon light a while back.
It captures the feeling of the time of day when light leaves one part
of the street and still shines on house rooftops, and distant trees.

Have a loving the view day!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day! It was wonderful!

Thank you to everyone I met today in my travels.  It didn't
matter whether people had someone to call their Valentine,
or not -- people were being loving.  The woman who came
out of the school parking lot while I was cleaning off my car
(for an hour) carrying donuts for her children at the school,
and then hurrying back over the icy sidewalk because she
forgot the candy.  The grandmother going to pick children
up from school.  My husband who not only brought me flowers
and treats and card, but got my car out of six inch deep ice
encasing the wheels.

In the store I visited, people went out of their way to help me.
When we went out to our normal take-out Thai restaurant and
actually sat down, dressed up everyone was delighted and
acted like this was a big event.  I guess it was.  I was in a dress,
Steven wore a blazer, and we did sit down.  All of the regulars
who are there when we do take-out (lately once a month) were
sweet and funny and touching.  Some of them live alone, and
come to the restaurant to watch TV with friends. Very down
home. They even gave me a single rose, which I hope to give
to a neighbour tomorrow.  We have got some flowers.  We certainly

It was a Happy Happy Valentine's Day.  In parts of North America
the day is still going, and I wish you a day of love -- love of
every kind, including loving yourself.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

From the Heart -- My Love to You -- On the day before

Valentine of Tulips rising in a snowy landscape
© Barbara Muir
(I grew up with bird freaks.  My father built a
swallow house, my mother loved birds.
And now my husband Steven,
the sweetheart of my life, is 
an absolute bird devotee -- probably 
single handedly keeping our neighbourhood
birds fed -- which is why I associate birds
with the magic of Valentine's Day.)
Hi everyone.  Here it is the day before Valentine's Day.
People are getting nervous.  Our local Loblaws is filled
with red roses.  Some people try to say that this is just
a commercial holiday.  But is it? Apparently there were
many Saint Valentines because Valentinus was a popular
Roman name.

For our family the heart definitely symbolizes love, and
my husband and my children are romantics.  Guaranteed
they will make a fuss about showing their affection on this day
with their special someone.

I am happy to be certain that love is the most important
emotion in our world.  We need to express it, share it,
be kind, be loving, be passionate about ourselves,
our families, our friends, our significant other.  We
need to think about the planet.  And we need to have
fun! I am wishing you a wonderful day, and I will write
you again tomorrow on this the fantastic Month of Love.

Have a loving the Month of Love day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Month of love -- inking it in

Play Tulips for Flora
Acrylic Ink, and acrylic pen sketch
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Today actually was a Snowmageddon and schools closed in
Toronto for the second time in 8 days!  Wow.  I trudged through
the snow to a meeting and back, which was actually fun.

I dedicate tonight's play time sketch of tulips to Flora Doehler
who taught me to use Acrylic Ink.  She didn't really teach
me, as you can see.  I have a long way to go.  But she inspired
me, because her work with ink was exactly what we need
in a dense snowfall.  Brilliant colour, and sheer beauty.

Flora is one of the artists who has changed my life, over and
over.  She wanted me to start this blog, at least a year before
 I actually did, and she is always trying new things. I love that.
Thinking of her so far away in Nova Scotia in this the month
of love!

We are very different.  She lives in the country, I'm a
city girl.  She and her husband Larry Knox, grow their own
vegetables, and freeze and can their food for the winter.
Plus both are amazing cooks.  I am not a cook, and garden
as simply as possible.  But we connect massively on art.
Plus Flora and Larry are two of the kindest, funniest, most
supportive people I know.  And we love spending time with

Have a loving your experimental friends day.

Monday, February 11, 2019

This spring thing is not that far away

Pink in the city
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Here we are on day 11 of the Month of Love.  I taught my once
a week college class tonight, and gave them all Valentine's postcards
featuring one of my Valentine's designs.  The class -- about writing and
public speaking -- was electric tonight.  There is something in the
air, maybe spring, maybe just straight up joyful intelligence.  Maybe the fact
that Valentine's Day is this Thursday.  Whatever it is -- class was so much fun!

The painting tonight is of the view on a street in my neighbourhood
when the crabapple trees come into bloom.  It feels like absolute
paradise -- a little gift from me as Toronto heads into another snow
storm.  I have been joking that it will be Snowmageddon tonight, but what
it could be is a lot of snow.  This painting is available, and if you'd
like it for your sweetheart for Valentine's Day, I will deliver it in
person in the Toronto (Canada) area.

Have a loving where you live day.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Love of community -- visiting an artist's work

Wonder Water Image #2
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I feel very lucky to live in a kind and supportive community.
Plus there is always something going on close by.  The
painting tonight is a portrait of a young woman, Solana
Cain, who is a friend, and a friend's daughter.  Solana
very kindly helped me with this painting of her for
my ocean series, sending me many reference shots and happily
describing her ideal ocean setting, featured behind her.  

Today we visited an exhibition From The Ground Up that 
she is part of just west of us in Toronto, in a gallery called 
Our Gallery. The show is part of Black History Month.
and you can check it out from Monday to Thursday this week
from 12 - 5 p.m. at 1444 Dupont Street, Unity 31.

Solana is a superb photographer. Her theme was mothers 
and their babies, and the shared experiences of mothers in giving 
birth to and raising infants in our society.  There is a great photo as 
part of her exhibition of Solana's mother Carolee holding
Solana as a baby.  

Solana's photos were evocative, as was the whole show.

Most of my photos didn't work out today, but I got one okay photo of
an extremely moving piece by James Yeboah.
Have a checking out great art shows day.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Bluebird of Love and its love story

Happy Valentine's Day from the Bluebird
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Maybe you're having your Valentine's weekend celebrations
this weekend, and maybe not until next weekend.  In Canada
we've mixed next weekend all up with Family Day, which
is yes about love -- but more all of us together, than romantic
love.  We will celebrate locally on Valentine's Day, and then
perhaps head north to Ottawa, or Montreal where the true
romantics are.

This bird was inspired by the only time I ever saw a bluebird
in our local park.  Right after my mother died, my friend
Suzanne took me for a walk with her dog to try and get
me out and into beauty to comfort me.  And there sitting on a
branch was this beautiful bird.  It felt like a sign from my
mother who loved birds, and it flew right into my heart and
mind, and popped up on this card.

You may have already guessed that we are Valentine's Day
freaks over here in our house.  There are hearts up all over
the house all year.  I usually do a painting for my own cards,
and hand cards out to everyone I missed at Christmas.  This
year I haven't painted my Valentine bird yet -- but maybe I
will.  In the meantime buy some chocolates for the ones you
love, in Ajax just outside of Toronto where I live, sign up for
Georgia Fullerton's paint party, and all over the world, tell
people you love them.  You really can't say it enough, even
if they tell you you're overdoing it. Yes.  Go ahead and overdo
it.  Overdo love?  At the moment that's not one of the world's
biggest problems.

Have a  getting ready for Valentine's Day day

Friday, February 8, 2019

Speaking of love -- here's something!

Breakfast at the Skylight Diner, NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I wrote this description a few years ago when I exhibited this
painting Breakfast at the Skylight Diner the first time I was
in the Carousel du Louvre exhibition in the Louvre, Paris.  A wonderful
part of sharing love in my happy marriage, is sharing meals.  We've just
finished a candlelit dinner talking and laughing with each other
as the winter wind howled outside, rattling the windows.

The description for the Louvre show (slightly edited)
Part of the pleasure of a static image in a world of constantly 
moving images is that it lets us stop for a minute. Maybe grab a 
coffee, eat a strawberry, have some toast and marmalade, smile
at one another with sheer overwhelming pleasure at the magnificence 
of life. I've been thinking about still life, and how sensual it is.  How
images of the moments of our lives shimmer in memory when we work on 
recording not just how that moment looked, but the feeling of delight 
we had being there. Everyday objects and rituals are quite beautiful 
– and in this case breakfast -- my painting Breakfast at the Skylight
Diner NYC. 

As an art student I was drawn to Claes Oldenburg's large public sculptures
 based on daily life, featuring -- a typewriter eraser, a spoon holding a 
cherry, or an ice cream cone crashing into a building.  If [when] I keep 
going on with this series, the food will turn into characters and start to speak. 
What would it say? "There I was under a beautiful stainless steel lid, when 
suddenly I was right out in the open, and a couple was staring at me as if I 
was a work of art!!!" That's how a perfectly served breakfast strikes me.  
It's a work of art, like a vase of flowers, or a beautiful room.  Breakfast is 
served, and I defy you to look out the window and concentrate on anything else. 
This breakfast was so memorable, and brilliantly delivered to our table, 
that it had to be writ large.

Have a planning for, and eating a beautiful breakfast day

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Loving nature -- and welcoming change

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Today I brought this painting down to my studio thinking
"I don't know."  It didn't look anything like it does now.  The poor
thing was faithfully trying to recreate a beautiful view, and it wasn't
working. It was too timid, too dull. Once again a social media friend --
in this case Veronica Funk -- changed my day.  On Instagram she talked
about wanting order, and inspired me to spend a good hour or more
sorting through old  records, papers, bills, and letters from the past.

How liberating! When I looked at the painting again after this
intense work I just felt free, and changed almost everything.
It is definitely a work in process, but now I know it will
get finished soon, and I'll love it.

The current version pulses out of the feeling I have for that
beautiful park where these trees live.  The light and colour
now, is all from memory -- and feels right so far.  Nature
is certainly one of the most romantic parts of my life.  Steven
and I long to get out to the lake, to see these trees, and the
entire magnificent park along the water.  Some of our
happiest times are spent just adoring this amazing planet.

Have a loving the nature surrounding you day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Family love -- so wonderful!

Katie and Sam
Watercolour on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir ©
I was thinking about what to say today when a collector
brought me this portrait of her children that I painted when the
kids were young. They are now all grown up.  The painting
took a very minor hit a few years ago at the collector's house, when
the hook it was hanging on pulled out of the wall.  The glass in
the frame smashed, and cut the watercolour in a few places.

Robert Genn, whose blog I followed once recommended that if a
an artist's work is damaged, the artist is the best person to repair it.
I've vowed that I will fix this work many times.  Some day.  For me
2019 is definitely a year of taking on the "some day"s.  I felt so happy
seeing the painting again, because I think it captures both the beauty of these
two young people, and the happy relationship they have with
each other.  Plus as cutting or scraping was one of the techniques I used
making the piece, it was no big deal to repair it. Katie and Sam come
from a loving, kind family -- a lucky blessing, and one to treasure in this
 the month of love.

Have a loving your loving siblings day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

For the love of Tuesdays

Untitled (art group sketch)
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Tuesdays in my neighbourhood involve a stimulating morning meeting
I look forward to all week.  And to people in the art group I belong to, 
Tuesday night means drawing from a model. I love the morning group
meeting,  and the drawing nights are a treat.  Tonight the model, Ben, 
was a pro -- relaxed enough to hold a pose, plus grill the artists on facts 
about Oscar winning movie titles.  Apparently 13 Oscar winning movie titles 
since the model's birth started with the word  "The." His Oscar themed 
questions made the short time I spent with my art group this evening great fun.  

Have a loving your Tuesday activities day.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Love of the lost -- the power of art

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic, acrylic ink, imitation gold leaf, 
and real silver leaf on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Before you read this please know that I'm not sad.  I am lucky
to feel joyous in my life.  Still I can't talk about love -- my blog
topic for this whole month of love -- without touching on how
deep love is.

I don't know if there's a heaven.  No one really does.  And
I'm not religious, so that's hard.  But I certainly hope there
is a special wonderful place for the people in my life who are
gone, and who I miss so badly. In this month of love, this is an
important topic.  Clearly the most vital part of love is to be
loving to the people actually in your life who can receive your
affection, kindness, overwhelming attraction, care, joy, hilarity,
and time.

But the power of love extends beyond this world.  Because
we love the people we love so powerfully that they are with
us, in our metaphysical hearts even after they die.  They
stay with us.  They speak to us inside our heads.  My mother
still criticizes, and instructs me like she did when she
was living.  And she also says I'm doing a good job, and
calls me darling in a way that only she could, with so much

I'm thinking of this, because I wish my niece, the subject of
this painting, was in heaven, or some place wonderful.  That's
in part what this little portrait is about.  I loved that girl,
and wish her a happy time wherever the soul goes.  Like my
mother this sweet young woman is with me always. Painting
her portrait is making me see so much more about her.

Have a loving the living, and the people you've lost, day.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Love of Place

Untitled (Work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I dream of travelling always. To me travel is always romantic. Paris, France, 
Florence, Italy, New York City, New York, The Netherlands, California,
London, England -- you name it.  Steven and I were playing a guessing game
with each other yesterday guessing where we would really like to go, and
 all of these places came up.  But the place I feel the most relaxed in, where
my creative self flourishes is right here at home.  I love this place, this
neighbourhood, this community, and this city.  That in no way takes away from
my urge to travel, and the delight I feel in learning about new places.

I've been working on this painting of the field behind the school across the
street from us here in Toronto for a while.  I love the colour, how it is abstract
and yet also true.  It's very close to being finished.  A brave, bold move for me is
not having a cloud in the sky.  And that was part of the point of the painting.
We get these spectacular blue sky days here, and they definitely bring on
a feeling of supreme happiness.  I totally love clouds.  They lift my heart,
and I love this kind of day too.

Have a loving your neighbourhood day.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Take love on -- and celebrate

Reading with heart or
Reading in the kitchen
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

I have been interested in studying happiness since
I learned about Louise Hay years ago.  There is a
constant push against happiness in society, as though
trying to be happy is a mistake, or something dreamed
up by advertisers.  Nope.  Take a look.  No push for
obsolete climate harming fuel, no huge SUVS, not even
toothpaste, or laundry detergent.  Happiness is
absolutely free.  You choose to have it, and it chooses
you.  Even people in desperate situations, in war, in
prisoner of war camps have made that decision, and
been happy.

If those brave people can do it, so can we.  And
as for love -- the theme of this month.  Love
definitely makes the world go 'round.  It is
the most fulfilling feeling.  And you don't need
a special other person to share love.  You just
need to be a loving being, and voila --there it is.
Love knocking on your door, asking to what?  Oh
no! -- make you happy.

So come on make some Valentine's hearts, make
some plans to treat the ones you love, call a friend,
call your family.  And a miraculous thing will happen.
Even if you are the worst skeptic, a doom and gloomer,
you will feel happy.  Walk with a happier step, smile
at the people in the grocery store line.  Improve the
planet's chances.  I thank you in advance.

Have a being loving and happy day.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Raise a toast to February -- the month of love

Heart love to you from me.
Paintings © Barbara Muir
In preparation for February our city dressed up in a whopping
thick coat of snow.  It said -- "just look around Toronto!  It's the
end of January, you haven't had a speck of snow.  You look
tired and drab, and frankly not Canadian, and certainly not
Torontonian. I have a present for you." Drop.  Snow everywhere.
And then okay very cold weather -- but sunlight sparkling off the
snow.  Neighbours shoveling each other's walks.  City ploughs
helping my husband dig his car out (after a neighbour shoveled
the snow from his driveway all over my husband's car) (by accident
right?). People outside laughing about how cold it is, and inside
recovering and sharing coffee, tea, meals, drinks together.

And here it is.  The month of love. Twenty-eight days to think of
some way to be loving every day.  I love it.  It makes no sense that
I do, but my husband and I are hopeless romantics.  We are friends
of the symbol of the heart.  Tonight I hung the huge tissue paper
Peony heart on our kitchen door that I made years ago from
instructions in a Martha Stewart magazine.  My husband and I toasted
the month and each other with champagne at dinner.  And so it begins.

We usually go away sometime around Valentine's Day -- frequently
 to stay somewhere even colder than Toronto.  One year we were in
Montreal, where our beautiful hotel was connected to an underground
pathway to a mall, and we only ventured outside once in four
days,  (it was - 40 degrees celsius) -- to take a taxi ride to look at the sites.
We had so much fun!  But then Montrealers are romantic.  Very.

Happy first day of the Month of Love.

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!