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.


Verna said...

What a great story Barbara! I too believe that the best art is about beauty, and delight, and love.

This morning JP and I were checking out some of the upcoming film festival's offerings, and although many of the highlighted films looked superbly interesting, we found that every one of them in some way was about world problems: environmental, social, individual, gender, the "unseen truths" etc. etc. Although I think it's important to be aware of what's happening in the world in order to make positive change, I also truly believe that the mind's focus creates the world's reality. And if there is no deliberate focus on beauty and delight and love just for their own sake, then where is the future?

Sorry, that is a bit of a rant maybe, and perhaps it comes off a little too black-and-white. But it is a trend I see, which concerns me.

Love your work and your thoughts and your spirit, always.


Barbara Muir said...

Dear Verna,

I agree. I spent two weeks in Nova Scotia, not listening to the news. I'm not completely surprised that
I got sick when I got back to it. It's a fine balance. I want to know what's happening, but I also
want to rejoice in the world's beauty. I am devastated with the news of the fires in the rain forest, but
thrilled with Greta Thunberg and her campaign to try and get us to save the planet. My philosophy in
part is that we have to see what we have, to be inspired to save it. Rant all you want. I love your thinking,
painting, writing.


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!