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!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Salute to Pip in the Month of Fresh Starts

Pip the Lionhead rabbit delivers eggs
8 x 8 inchs
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2015
Each Easter I look for my bunny paintings.  I only have two,
and they've been sitting on the mantlepiece over the fireplace
in my studio, perhaps calling to me.  This one is Pip, the
Lionhead Bunny.  Her breed doesn't look anything like
the rabbits I was used to when I was younger.

I have only seen them in Moncton, New Brunswick
at the Chapters, when we stopped on the way to our
school house. A very devoted young woman
was displaying the bunnies with a children's book she'd
illustrated about them.

Easter for us is bunnies and chocolate, combined with a
family gathering.  We're not religious, but the very grown
up children like celebrations and chocolate.  A young
bunny fan I know goes to sleep at night with a ring of about
ten bunny toys around her head.

Have a getting ready for the rabbit day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Creativity and movement in the month of Fresh Starts

Untitled (Work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
When people get stuck in my writing class, I sometimes
suggest a short walking break.  After five minutes of
movement new ideas surface.  A good thing to remember.
I'm still working on this painting.  I came home from a walk
and changed it again, and it is definitely moving in the direction 
I want to go.  Not entirely done, but getting there.

It is a stunningly beautiful day here.  The birds are singing
so joyously.  The sun is out, and everything in the backyard
is moving, shaking and growing. My neighbour's forsythia
sends a message of yellow blooms across the fence.

Have a moving towards a new idea day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dramatic painting changes in the Month of Fresh Starts

Are you ready?
Artists' Group Sketch
acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

I had no idea when I got home from my art group tonight,
that this woman -- no doubt a saint for posing perfectly
for a large group of artists -- would turn into a saint on
my canvas, or an angel.

Blame the influence of some friends sending gorgeous
photos of Florence home via Facebook.  I had a massive
temptation to put halos on everyone after Florence.
So this very quick sketch done with my art group moved to a
level of intensity it didn't expect in the short time I spent on it
here at home.

Now of course I could fix that halo.  I could work on this
sketch some more.  But she stands now in the spirit of
a big religious weekend, and maybe my thoughts were on
Notre Dame in Paris.

Still for someone who is not religious, this painting took
an odd turn.  I like it.  It is compelling.

Have a following your spirit day.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Pansies for hope in the Month of Fresh Starts

Pansies for hope
Watercolour, acrylic ink, and
black marker on watercolour paperBarbara Muir © 2019

I was on my way to school when I heard that Notre
Dame Cathedral in Paris was burning.  At first the news
was very bad -- nothing could be saved.  Now people are
offering money to help rebuild this Paris landmark,
and touchstone for people all over the world. And
if anyone can rebuild an 800 year old building, it
will be the people of Paris.

So sad, I came home and painted another painting of
the pansies currently gracing my front door steps.
Outside they are not at all happy as it's been cold
and windy, but sunny today.  Inside they thrive.

We need to take joy and happiness where we can get it,
in the face of so much sadness. Paris is one of the cities
in my heart.  And Notre Dame is in the neighbourhood we've
visited three times in the past decade.  It is in "our"
neighbourhood. A place that feels like home because
the people there have been wonderful and welcoming
to us. Thank you to the firefighters, and to everyone
working on saving Notre Dame.

Have a creating hope in the world day. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Back inside in the Month of Fresh Starts

Pansies shaking off the rain
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Watercolour, acrylic ink, and 
black marker on watercolour paper
Barbara Muir © 2019
Today was busy with chores, phone calls
and prepping for class tomorrow.  It rained all day 
which made me happy for my brave pansies on the 
front porch steps, because it turned mighty cold.  
Yesterday people were out in shorts, and today
 back in ski jackets.

In between other kinds of work, I drew this drawing 
pansies that I brought in, and painted it. I love the
intensity of the acrylic ink.  It can go the distance
with the vivid, deep pansy colours.  The pansies
were closed up like a rolled up umbrellas when I
arranged them, and as I drew and painted them they
unfurled.  The way flowers move when arranged
fresh cut in water always surprises me.  

I hope you had a delightful weekend.  I am happy
to say that I did.  Sometimes routines are exactly
what you need, and that was today.

Have a welcoming a new week easily day.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Market and amazing day in the Month of Fresh Starts

More from the pansies
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Watercolour, acrylic ink, black
and gold marker on watercolour paper
Barbara Muir © 2019
Our Saturdays start with coffee and reading and wishing
we could hang around longer  -- but off to the market.
Today the Brickworks was hosting a dog market, and
it seemed like half of Toronto was squished into the space
with their dogs.  So many different types of dogs -- all
well behaved.

There was going to be a dog fashion show, and some of the
tiny dogs were happily wearing Tutus, and wings and
other costumes. Our dog is not social, and that would
have been her nightmare. But we enjoyed seeing how
insane people are about their dogs. (pictures to follow).

In the late afternoon we went for a walk, and all of the
flower stores and small convenience stores were
selling pansies.  To me they are one of the most
jubilant flowers.  So I did this sketch.

Have a loving your weekend day.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Dancing into the middle of the Month of Fresh Starts

Pam in New York
36 x 48 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2011

I'm not sure why this painting of Pam is on my mind.
I hope that all is well with her, though I haven't seen
her in more than a year. This painting (a commission)
could have been (should have been) part of my dance series,
because unlike almost everyone else in the series Pam actually
is a trained ballet dancer, and professional dancer.

Today I wanted to see that energy.  Was her dress really
striped like that? No.  But when Pam posed for me she
had an energy zinging off her like lightning bolts.
It was almost wrong to ask a woman with so much
physical energy to sit down.  And for me that energy
continues into the background, the cushions everything
seems ready to move.

I just finished reading The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce,
an absolute treat of a novel, which got me thinking
deeply about music, and playing a lot of the pieces in
the book.  Maybe that's why Pam came to mind, because
I love music you can dance to, and I believe Pam could
probably dance to any type of music, and seemed
to be dancing even sitting down.

Have a can't stop dancing weekend.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Kinney kind of day in the Month of Fresh Starts

Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

I'm not allowed to say that this is the cutest dog in the whole world, 
because that is a title reserved for our own dog, Sally.  But my 
brother suggested putting this sweetheart on my blog today,
because I spent the afternoon at the dentist, and won't have time
to paint before I post tonight.

This was a touching commission for my son's girlfriend, Emily.  The
dog is beyond adorable, and beloved.  Plus painting it pulled me
out of the non-creative doldrums after a family tragedy.  So I'll
be grateful forever to this dog.   

We are having a cold blast, and had snow and freezing rain today.
I bought pansies from the lady I bought them from last week,
and she scurried to put the little planters in my car trunk because 
Wow was it cold and ice was hitting the flowers.  Expect more paintings of
those beauties if they make it through the next few days.

I hope you have a Kinney(dog), or a Sally (dog), or a Timbah (cat),
or a Fiona (cat), in your life today.  They save you from 
worrying about things like weather as they concentrate on the
important things -- food, play and sleep.  

Have an enjoying your food, play and sleep day. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

That's what we're waiting for!

Forsythia at the pond
iPad drawing 
8 x10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
People waiting for Fresh starts in April, are waiting for signs of
spring.  I thought I'd show you this iPad drawing of a pond a few blocks
away, because in another week or so it will look like this.  Forsythia,
blue bells, just sooooo beautiful.  There might even be some ducks.
There were Canada geese there the other day.

Meanwhile, it is supposed to snow tomorrow. Yes really.  So I'm glad I
went for a great walk with a friend today and saw crocuses and snowbells,
the first brave flowers of spring.

Have a dreaming of perfect weather day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

My art group takes a northern turn in the Month of Fresh Starts

Kurt of the North
Art Group Sketch
16 x 20
Barbara Muir © 2019
A year or so ago when I'd go to my art group on Tuesday
nights, it would be portrait one week, and figure the next.
On figure night the model would be nude.  Under the old
regime tonight would have been that night.  So when I
walked into the room and saw our model, not only dressed,
but dressed for the arctic, I was a bit surprised.

As I'm more of a portrait (dressed) person than a figure
drawing artist, I was happy.  And what could offer more of
a costume than this heavy and complicated coat?  It was
definitely spring here in Toronto today, and the rest of us were
much too warm, with our spring gear on.  I felt sorry for the
model, sitting under the lights. He must have been very hot.

But he was an excellent model, and in one hour at the club,
with two ten minute breaks I created this sketch.

Have a getting ready to be surprised day!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Straight up addicted -- to art

The red roof 
Watercolour, acrylic ink and marker
on Canson Watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
There are addictions that are easy to explain -- coffee,
alcohol, dope -- but art is a whole different story.
How do you explain it?  Something hit you over the
head with a passion to paint and draw, and you
can't ditch it.  I know almost no one who has
successfully quit drawing and painting.

The desire runs deep.  Even when it doesn't work,
even when we've got no time for it, even when
we need a break.  Even if we don't paint, or draw,
or sculpt, or take photos or one other arty thing --
it is there.  Planted deep in our skulls, brains,
hearts, probably in our blood cells.  This incredible
urge to make something.

I have dashed off a little watercolour and pen sketch
tonight.  It was a teaching night, and I seriously
thought.  Nope.  No blog.  Too tired, and then?
Here is is a little sketch.  So much fun to do.

Have a listening to your passions day.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Looking forward to what's next in the Month of Fresh Starts

Self portrait
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

Science points to the idea that we are
all renewing ourselves every minute of every day.
Our physical bodies renew, and it seems to me
our inner life, souls, and intelligence, renew,
refine, improve and expand every day too.

I'm posting this self-portrait I painted 10 years
ago -- perhaps for a David Lobenberg contest.
Thinking about what to post tonight, after working
on a small drawing I couldn't complete on time
for you,  I thought bam -- that portrait over my
husband's desk.  It says exactly how I feel.

Tonight I felt completely happy and content, having
immersed myself this weekend in art
shows -- the Heliconian exhibition I wrote up
yesterday, the York Artist Guild show in the
Unitarian Church that I visited just after noon
today to see the work of friend, Cheralea
Gilbert, and then the Art Gallery of Ontario
this afternoon -- very briefly, but enough to
be ever more excited about art.

In the swift changes of a decade, I'm sure
my outer aspect is not at all the same as
this, but here's the thing.  The past ten
years, like the past day, have been the best
years of my life without a doubt.  I have had
more fun, met more wonderful people, traveled
to more gorgeous places, and exhibited and
sold more work than ever before in my life.
So I'll let the former me's obvious joy say it all.
And I thank you for this magnificent ride we've
all been on.

Have a wonderful first day of the week,
and first day of a week of Fresh Starts.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Art Opening at the Heliconian Club -- and I'm a member in the Month of Fresh Starts

This week I learned that I've been accepted to be a member
of the Heliconian Club -- Canada's oldest club for women in
the arts.  That is the quite the honour.  And today I visited an
exhibition there featuring three magnificent artists: Catherine Maunsell,
(one of my sponsors) Susan Power, and Kye Marshall.  Catherine
 and Susan are painters and Kye is a photographer. The show is stunning
 and there was a good crowd out to the opening this afternoon which
ran from 1 - 4 p.m.
What did Gwen see?
Acrylic and ink on paper
27 x 30 inches
© Catherine Maunsell
(one of many gorgeous paintings
by Catherine Maunsell in the exhibition.)

Little Yellow Basket
Watercolour on paper
14 x 19 inches
Susan Power ©
(Susan power has many beautiful
watercolour paintings in the show
including still life, and figure studies)

The Iris: An Exploration
Series 1#2
Archival Pigment Print (Photo)
Kye Marshall © 2018
(Kye Marshall's entire
photography exhibition 
is based on the Iris. And she is displaying
are many exquisite photos on this theme.)  

It is a superb exhibition and I strongly recommend that you
contact the club to find out the times when you can see it.  The
space is used for many activities. 
It was a great opening -- work was selling very quickly, and guests
were having so much fun.  If you would like to see the show you
can get the information about how to contact the Heliconian Club, 
by clicking here.

Have an enjoying art shows day!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Old tech/new tech in the Month of Fresh Starts

Lunch on the love train
iPad drawing (with my finger)
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
(The old tech?  Drawing with my finger,
the new tech -- drawing on an iPad.)

I found this cheerful drawing on my iPad, and loved it, and
finished it, because I have no photo record of this meal on that
train ride, and here it is.  I must have been drawing on my 
iPad on the train recording the vestiges of a happy lunch - train style.

It was Valentine's Day weekend, and we were heading to
Montreal travelling first class!  I mean.  Well you know we
care about Valentine's Day. So aside from constant refills on
our wine, there was more than one delicious meal on
the way up to Montreal, and the same happy situation
on the way back.

I was touched that the meal(s) were on the Valentine's
Day theme.  Hearts and red napkins, and the whole mushy
love message.  Just perfect for us -- sweet suckers for
sentimentality.  I wish you that this weekend.  Sweet
and wonderful affection.  And if you take the train,
take the love train.

Have a loving your journey day!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A second opinion, in the Month of Fresh Starts

Rain Ahead
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(Love this painting which is
about one of the most dramatic
rain storms I've ever driven through.)

I keep thinking I'll take a break from the blog because
it's taking me so long to finish the current paintings, but
I'm addicted to talking to you, so here I am.  I was
recently diagnosed by an eye doctor as being close
on blind.  Funny I thought, I think I'm seeing well with
my glasses.  The wonderful people who create my glasses
didn't believe the prescription.  So I went to an
ophthalmologist (just a step up the eye care ladder) today who
said I had, "no major worries." Wow!  The changes in
my vision are minor! Moving on.

I still have the drops in my eyes, and they last a good long time
(5 hours) so tonight I'm posting this image, which I love even though
it's not new.  Weird about art that way eh?  Wouldn't
Leonardo Da Vinci be surprised.  (No I know I am not him!)

The point of this post is to get a second opinion.  If you are
worried about your work, or your health, or what to do.
Don't listen to the first (and maybe the scariest voice) you
come in contact with.  Get a second opinion, and trust your
gut in this Month of Fresh Starts. A new and more comforting
opinion is a Fresh Start. And for me part of getting my act
together (the serious work of the month) is getting to doctors'
appointments. Done. Check, and now back to painting happily
with my perfectly good eyes.

Have a trusting your gut day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

In praise of art teachers everywhere

Pansies in a cream jug
Acrylic ink and black
marker on Canson paper
5.5 x 8.5
Barbara Muir © 2019

One of my favourite art teachers painted watercolours
of very depressing cityscapes.  I say that to underscore
the value of appreciating beauty.  Because every spring
when the pansies arrived in flower stores, he produced
flower paintings of pansies. That gave the rest of us total
justification to do so. If a painter of grim realism could
paint flowers, everyone could.

Pansies in spring are really a gift of hope.  I love them,
and tonight when I had time for a sketch that's what I
worked on.  Thank you to my dear friend Flora Doehler for
introducing me to acrylic inks, which are phenomenal
to work with.  And I can't imagine any other paint
getting the rich purple of the pansies in this little cream

Have an appreciating your art teachers day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Art group inspiration -- focusing on spring

The Wisdom of Spring
Art group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

In the month of Fresh Starts, I wanted to join my art
group tonight.  I was so tired, that I could easily have gone
to bed instead.  Early this morning a crew was making
a ferocious noise on our street. Whatever it was I did not
get a proper sleep.  But hey -- fresh starts! I planned to join
my Tuesday night art group.

So I did.  In advance I knew I wanted to try different colours --
do something not to just straight capture the model.  Although
I think I did with perhaps 40 minutes maybe 50 total to
paint in the hour I was there.

As I looked at the model I was thinking what if spring,
although it represents renewal, was also about wisdom and
understanding?  Then wouldn't this woman in her dark green
robe symbolize the wisdom of the planet, and how the earth
knows when the seasons should occur, and has a complete
understanding of their significance and meaning?  I think so.
Maybe that explains her serious expression.

Have an enjoying your fresh starts day.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Welcome to the Month of Fresh Starts!

Time for school
Pastel on drawing paper
Barbara Muir ©
I'm thinking of April as the month to clean up my act.
Not that every month isn't about that.  But this month is
cresting more powerfully into spring every day, and
it is the right time to take a good look at what's been
happening in the winter months, and to plan for the
spring and summer.

Here's a portrait of a little girl I did that I found in a drawer
of drawings. I'm touched by the seriousness of her expression.
She seems to be considering her next steps carefully.  As we all
should, as the world leaders should.  I'm going to call this the
Month of Fresh Starts, because all of nature renews itself in
spring, and we can too -- creatively, psychologically and spiritually.

Happy first day of the Month of Fresh Starts.

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!