Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Great New Year's Eve Party at our house!

Yum.  It looks like the New Year will
be super!
Happy New Year's Day everyone.  It is very
late, and our party just ended.  It was delightful
and thank you to all of our friends who
came bringing food, and wine and gifts.

The art for tonight is the last feast food of the
evening - a fantastic chocolate cake with
gorgeous icing.  I like the chunk out of it,
representing that the year is already in full
swing -- and it is delicious.

Have an enjoying what's offered day!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Last year's lessons hold true in 2019

This was my most popular image on Instagram in
2019.  Me with my painting Cloud Magic at
the opening of the Encounter exhibition at the
Heliconian Club.  Meeting the wonderful
artists who are members in the Helconian Club,
was one of the highlights of this year.

Last year here's the gist of what I wrote on December 30th.
But today let's make it 2019 things I learned in 2019.
The first 2000? Life continues to be miraculous in 2000
ways.  There are 168 hours in a week.  I sleep 7 hours a
night - times 7, that means for 49 hours a week I am
not observing the planet, or I'm reviewing old stuff,
or making up amazing worlds (lately this is super
true) in my dreams.  That leaves 119 hours when I'm awake,
that I'm amazed every minute.

But let's just take it hour by hour. By my calculations in just under
17 weeks of the year I've been dazzled  for 2,000 hours. So that takes
care of the first 2,000 lessons -- life is astoundingly riveting, and
absolutely delightful.

Now moving on to the 19 to continue to try to fulfill the challenge
given to me last year by the wonderful writer and photographer,
Howard Wolinksy to write about the 2018 things
I learned last year. Some I have relearned in 2019.

 I learned (again and again) -- let's make that 14 times
(metaphorically -- in reality it was probably at least
14 times a day) to:

Be Happy!  Doesn't that sound simple? It is, but we
lose our way over such ridiculous things -- like
traffic.  Hardship and sorrow come into every life --
and of course have been part of mine.  As well as
the richness of discovery, love and an exciting life,
there are the hard times, the silly arguments, the occasional
sleepless nights, and worry about other people's health and
happiness. This year I've tried to listen to a voice in my head
 that tells me to rethink my attitude (it sounds like my mother),
to notice what is great instead of what is wrong. I'm keenly
aware that our time on the planet is limited, and that
I am incredibly lucky. So in my best moments, and
fortunately they are many, I choose to enjoy life moment
by moment and in the case of enjoying you -- your support,
your beautiful art, and great thoughts -- that is a given.
 I am so blessed that my family and friends are wonderful!

The 2015th thing I learned (again)

Coffee is important.  Don't knock it.  People like
me need three large cups to get moving, but when
we do get moving, we are usually pretty fun to be
around, and get quite a bit done! My new rule is two
coffees before I leave the house.

The 2016th thing I learned

You (I) don't know what's going to happen next.
Who would imagine having a conversation in
Loblaws (a local supermarket) tonight with a total
stranger and very funny man about kitty litter?!  And through
that subject Steven and I and the fellow shared our
cats' names, and how old his kitten is, and then
laughed so hard about the discussion deciding we
were very Canadian.  Friends are everywhere.

The 2017th thing I learned again.

Enjoy this moment.  This is a quote from last year,
"Here I am alone late at night (early)
in the morning) writing to you, and it is wonderful.
The animals and my husband are all sleeping.  There
is absolute peace, and it is fabulous."  This week I've been reading
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, and it is a fun, short,
and inspiring book for creatives.  It's a perfect book for
someone trying to figure out what they want to do creatively.
And I share his belief that all of us are creative, and need
to love our work, and to value our creative pursuits.

The 2018th thing I learned (again and again)

Teaching is a two way street. I teach writing once a week.
How strange from time to time to be teaching people who
are writing professionally, as a professional writing teacher!
I've loved watching my students learn to be brave
and step into their own abilities and power.  The
hardest challenge is learning to talk in front of a group.
And every student this year has perfected that talent.  Plus
I've learned once again about places and customs all over the
world, where I've never been, bringing new thinking,
new ideas and experiences into a windowless room from
everywhere.  Young people are aware of the current dangers
to the planet, angry about it, and actively working on
changing the current policies.  This has been both inspiring
and motivating for me.

The 2019th thing I relearned.

Love matters,  (My thoughts on this haven't changed
since last year.  They've just been reaffirmed.) " I want to
show the world that I love the planet (which is why I
paint landscapes of beautiful places), show the people who love
me that I love them back.  Some people may find it corny
or insincere if I tell them I love them.  But I know that love matters.
I'm a reader, and try to keep up with the news, and know
that politics, climate change disasters, and the brutality of war
have made it another very hard year.  But I am once again so moved
by the kindness people show each other, even in the
hardest situations. And I'm moved by the people in
my life, who care, make me laugh, and will listen
when times are tough. After my mother died I realized
that even though I told her I loved her every time we spoke,
or saw one another, that we can really never tell each
other too often that we love one another.  Love does matter.

Have a loving what you learned in 2019 day.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Looking back on the decade, and forward to the future

Pisa, Italy in December, 2009
Today we had another (the third) family party for the season.
Today it was brunch with frighteningly good pastries, cheeses,
champagne and orange juice, and of course coffee.  And
presents!  How wonderful!  I so love my family.  They are
kind, and generous, and over the top funny.  So it was great.

Thinking back on the past 10 years, they have been the best
years of my life in many ways.  I've traveled internationally
for art shows, met wonderful new friends, been interviewed
on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and on several other TV
shows.  Plus I've painted what attracted me, been in good
health most of the time, and best of all have enjoyed and
do enjoy a loving marriage.

So... this is a view of the Cathedral in Pisa, Italy. And of course
the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Ten years ago in December,
nine days before Christmas I visited this lovely city, on a
side trip from exhibiting paintings in the Florence Biennale in
Florence, Italy. The whole trip was mind blowing, exciting, and
deeply rewarding.

Have a looking forward to the next decade day.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The house on the corner on the way to school

The blue fence 
Acrylic on watercolour paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
This little painting is going home.  That makes me happy
because it's of a house I passed every time I was driving
to school north of the city.  Way north -- about an hour's
drive.  When I'd see this house on the corner about
four blocks from the entrance into the college's driveway
I'd breathe a sigh of relief.  I was almost there.

All I had to do was drive past security, show my pass,
park my car, walk the four or five blocks from the
parking lot, walk very fast through the school, and
go to class.  Whew.

I loved teaching up in the country, getting to see
all the seasons.  And I love teaching in the city,
because it's close.  But I miss the views of these
country houses.

Have an enjoying where you are day.,

Friday, December 27, 2019

Play -- even if you're tired

This is how it looked tonight when I
started a little double watercolour sketch.
So much fun.  
I am reading a little book on creativity.  I'll tell you about it
when I finish it and decide whether or not I think it's
good enough to share.  But it is wrestling with the idea
of how creativity works, and a big point the book makes
is that you make it work.  In other words we artists have
to quit worrying and do something, if we want to have work
we can be proud of.

And the idea of play is hugely emphasized in this and every
other book I've read on creativity.  I didn't have much time to
myself today.  But I took some time tonight when everyone
else was in bed to just think about beginning a painting.
I started a sketch, and started painting it in.  Got to the "that
part has to dry" stage in a watercolour and thought, "Call
it a night and write your blog."

So here I am.  And I feel so happy that I let myself paint.
The two easy buttons are there because a young friend
was making them speak together today, and left them on the
table.  They are funny.

So "That was easy!"  Have a doing your heart's work day.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Joy and sorrow in the holiday season

Ready for joy
Charcoal on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(This drawing was in preparation for
a painting in the same pose.
I really like the drawing. )
This past month I feel I've been blessed with wonderful
experiences.  My gallery in New York treated me like
art royalty, giving me a beautiful wall for my work, and
glowing praise during the opening.  Plus the city itself,
as I've shown you in a couple of videos, was miraculous.

Here at home in Toronto we've had parties with friends
and two family dinners so far.  Yet I am also aware that
some of my friends, and family are going through very
hard times, with loss and grief, that in some ways is even
harder to deal with in a season so packed with memories.

I wish for everyone celebrating the joy of the season,
like Elizabeth Gilbert did the other day, and also as Gilbert
did I wish for everyone going through hard times the comfort
of those who love them.

Have a caring for others day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Holidays

This is not the scene at the park
near us right now because 
we have no snow.  But we have
had earlier in the month,
and will have again.
Meanwhile I love the image.
Perfect for this joyous time of year! 

I hope your day was filled with joy, and that if it wasn't tomorrow
will be.  We have had a lovely slow day at our house, just enjoying
the tree, the music, the animals, and then a lovely dinner with
our son Sam.  Steven made the second delicious Christmas dinner
he's made this week, and it was magnificent.

We are full as can be, and feel entirely blessed to have such a
loving family, and such wonderful friends.  So thank you for
everything.  Let's have some fun, and make this coming year
a special one for each of us, and for this beautiful planet.

Have an enjoying yourself day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Shhh -- I think Santa might be here!

The stockings ready and waiting... 
But what's that I see!
I peeked in to see the stockings hung by the chimney
and thought I heard a rustle.  Hard to climb over
those candles, but I think the fellow in the red suit
had started his work, and I interrupted him.

So I am going to slip very quietly up the stairs and
into bed.

Wishing you all a very HAPPY HOLIDAY,

Have a loving the holidays day.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Celebrations begin

Me getting all wrapped up in the season!
Happy Holidays to you! Thank
you for your friendship and fantastic support
this year! 
The great celebration of family, fun, trees, and fabulous
food has begun.  Tonight we had a lovely time with
some of our family members, and as the week
continues there will be more wonderful times.

This photo is from a few years ago, and appropriate
because we have an Amaryllis about to flower, and we
just bought a few wreaths on major discount because
the flower shop is closing until the spring.

Wishing you the merriest of holidays, whatever
you are celebrating.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The best present - a happy life

Painting in the studio
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

As I write this Steven is cleaning up after making two
pumpkin pies and pumpkin tarts.  The smell in the house
is delicious.  We have a good sized tree.  A friend painted
the back door in our kitchen red, and we realize that it needs to
go darker, but compared to the former inherited brown
stained, and varnished door, this red looks particularly
chirpy against the white trim, and yellow walls.

What I want for the rest of this year, and for the New Year
is more of the same -- a joyous life, with wonderful
friends like you, the opportunity to paint and draw, and
to teach writing.  I love being in shows and selling
my work, doing commissions and studying all the other
artists' work on my blog, on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you for making this year rewarding and fulfilling.
You people rock me, and keep me going.  You make
me sooooo happy, and let's face it happiness is always
a miracle.

Wishing you light and love and fulfilling work now
and in 2020.  And I fervently wish that we figure out
how to fix the many serious issues in our world.

Have a feeling lucky day.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Looking forward, looking back

Frescoes in a chapel in the 
Siena Cathedral,
in Siena, Italy
Ten years ago at this time I'd just returned from taking part
in the Florence Biennale.  The whole experience was such
a life changer.  I met new friends, saw amazing art, fell
in love with a country I had only dreamed of, and heard
of from both my parents and many of my friends who had either
been born in Italy, or had parents who were originally

My ancestry connection is that my great, great, great grandmother
was Florentine.  So being in Florence made me very happy.
Part of the thrill of being in Italy, was taking a bus tour around
the area where we were staying, to Siena, and Pisa.  The image
tonight is a fresco in the Cathedral in Siena.  Our tour guide
used her influence to get us into a spectacular chapel in the
cathedral, and changed my view of art from the period.
It turns out the art that was not damaged (in this chapel very
few visitors are allowed to enter, because breath damages
the colour) is brilliant in colour.  All of the art that was subdued
in colour was according to this guide, damaged.

Woo Hoo.  May bright colour reign supreme.  It was one
of the most beautiful rooms I've ever been in in my life.

Wishing you a very Merry Holiday Season.  Looking forward
would I love to return to Europe. The answer is yes.

Have a loving your holiday time day.

Friday, December 20, 2019

2019 things I loved about 2019

Tulips rising
Black marker on drawing paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Last year Howard Wolinsky challenged me to write about
the 2018 things I learned in 2018.  Great idea.  In 2019
I had a great year.  It's been a hard year for the planet,
making me even more grateful for every day
that went well, every day when people were kind and
generous and funny.  And I am blessed that the people
in my world are that way.

Here is a fast drawing of tulips that I did tonight.  One
of the things I learned over and over in 2019, and in
other years as well is that I love flowers.  My favourite
flowers used to be roses.  But this year I think maybe
tulips have edged out the roses a bit.  Not completely.
But I notice myself feeling ecstatic every time I see
tulips for sale.  They are so spring like.

It has been a wonderful day.  And I hope it was for
you too. So I'd say I learned about the tulip lesson
time 200 this year.  Maybe.  I learned every time I
saw them anywhere that I love tulips.

Have a recognizing what you love day.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

This clever month

One more for the bowl
Acrylic on birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
There's something about the holiday season that strikes
me as brilliant -- I don't mean the presents, which are
lovely, but also make you worried about the planet, and
excess and should we be buying anything, and why don't
we make everything?  No.  I mean the timing.  Especially
here in Canada where snow is part of December and the
end of the year.

A rash of parties, the need for family arrangements, dashing
here and there to buy the odd gift, keeping in touch with
everyone and wishing them love, and joy, and a great New
Year, and Happy Holidays.  All of this makes the month
of December speed by in a whirlwind of mostly happy
if rushed days, filled with music and laughter.  And then --
whammo you're in a new year.  And the light is returning!

One of the things I love about the season is the fruit.
Maybe because fruit also carries with it the promise
of spring, and flowers and warmth. So tonight settling
down for a minute to talk to you, I chose this painting as
a joyous one for the occasion.

Have a lovely day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The day of the tree

The 2017 tree
This is the day that the Christmas tree moves inside.
That's the official sign that the season has
begun at our house on Cherrywood Avenue.

Making space for the tree in our quite small house
is a bit of a deal, but I imagine that's true for many
people in this city.  We were so inspired by the
air of celebration, creativity and beauty in New
York City, that we're excited about starting the season
here at our house.  Still -- moving furniture to accomodate
this green symbol of the return of the crops is tense
making.  Thank you to our son Christopher for his

Here's a photo of a former tree.  Our preferred kind
is Fraser Fir, but they were sold out this year.  We
have been buying our trees from the same people
since our children were very small.  Now the owner
is leaving the selling work to his children.  And
the son who sold us the tree is now a very tall grown man,
who we haven't seen since he was about eight.
What a shock!

Have an enjoying the season day.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Enjoying what makes us happy

This is it -- so have fun whenever it's possible.

I found a bunch of posts I did in 2011 that were just
one word on a video, and then an explanation.  This 
was supposed to be a longer one from that set, but it
didn't work, so I redid it tonight.  It seems like 
a great message -- especially after another day spent in part
trying unsuccessfully to get a short video of New York City
up to show you. Still it's been a lovely day -- coffee with the
women in the neighbourhood, and a party at night with another 
group of lovely neighbours. 

The quote from the former post in 2011 said this:

"There's a tendency in art to worry too much about
whether what we're doing is worthy, or whether
it will stand the test of time.  Ultimately does it
stand the test of enjoyment?  Did you have
fun creating it?  Does it make you happy looking
at it?  The test of time happens after this party
is over.  Meanwhile enjoy the dancing.  It's a
short ride on this little planet.  That's my cat
Timbah.  He works hard at having fun.  A good

I didn't get Timbah the cat into the remake video.  But he
still works hard at having fun.

Have an enjoying dancing day.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Great class and a nightmare on my computer

Tracey Moore of CityLine
Happy Time
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(Glitches happen.  When I was on
the Tracey Moore show 8 years ago
drawing her live, my assistant at the time
forgot to bring all of my materials.  We improvised,
but I have been a list fanatic since that day.)
It does happen.  In the age of magnificent communication
things go wrong.  I have been trying all night to upload a
video for you.  I made a sweet one of shots from our weekend
trip to New York City for the opening of the group show
I am in at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, and every single
thing I've tried to get it to you has failed.

So I will get help, and sometime in the next week or so put it
up for you.

I found a quote from my blog that made me feel super happy
despite these trivial computer glitches and here it is:

"If I had a million dollars -- wait a minute
isn't that a song?  It is -- by the Canadian
group The Barenaked Ladies.  Anyway
if I had multiple millions I'd open up
the Barbara Muir Happiness Center at one
of the colleges or universities here, and have
the experts on how to get and stay happy
help students free of charge full time."

One small change I'd make to that today (I wrote it
in 2015) is just to make it The Happiness Center.
I don't need my name on it anymore.  If I had the money
to create this lovely place, everyone would know
I'd done it.

Thank you to my wonderful Monday night class, who had their
last class tonight.  It was great.  And completely offset any
frustration I'm having with the cyber world.

Have an enjoying what makes you happy day.

Go ahead and be funny!

One of the beautiful paintings I saw at the Museum of 
Modern Art in New York City on Thursday.
We've just arrived home in Toronto.  Our flight was delayed
by 2 hours. So I'm hoping Pierre Bonnard won't
mind me sharing this lovely work -- which was at the
end of a hallway like an afterthought.  
But wow! It is amazing.
Dining room Overlooking the Garden (The
Breakfast Room)
oil on canvas
Pierre Bonnard 
1930 - 31
The first thing I learned in 2019
Looking back on the posts I wrote at this time last year,
I was trying to answer a challenge from the writer/photographer
Howard Wolinsky who did the You Tube interview that got me
on the Oprah Winfrey show ten years ago.  Last year it was the
2018 things you learned in 2018.  So this year it would be
the 2019 things you learned in 2019.

Let's start with this one.  Go ahead and be funny.  The most
memorable person I met today in a sea of people at the
airport was a young man who dared to be funny.   I know
life is hard right now all over the world, which is all the more
reason for funny people to get people laughing.  Nothing
makes you forget your troubles faster than a good shared

So this is one thing I learned in 2019.  Humour matters.  It
matters in the face of climate change, it matters in the face
of sorrow, or illness, or worry.  It can't solve any of the
world issues, but we can't shut it down because of that.

Thank you to the funny people in my life (my whole family
and most of my friends).  You make life more enjoyable
on a daily basis.

Have a wonderful day. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

An amazing opening!

Some of the artists in the exhibition lined up for
a goodbye and Happy Holiday shot in front
of some of my work,with Kristal Hart, 
the TV interviewer on the left 
and Ruthie Tucker, the Gallery director
on the right.  
The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery held a wonderful opening
today -- The Silver and Gold Holiday Extravaganza Fete.
There are 11 artists in the show, with a wide variety of work.
The exhibition runs until February 2020

Kristal Hart from Manhattan TV came, and interviewed me and
the other artists.  Ruthie Tucker the Gallery owner and director
complimented my art in such a kind way saying that because
my art focused on trying to make people value the beauty in
the world, and save the planet, I was on Greta Thunberg's team.
She added that Greta has been named person of the year,
and she declared me "Canadian artist of the year!"  Woah.
That was lovely.

But so many people at the opening complimented my art.  Kristal
Hart said that whenever she sees a blue sky and beautiful clouds
she thinks of me.  An art agent said that I was a wonderful
colorist.  It was a pretty great two hours (the length of the
opening).  I will write more about the show this week.
Me with some of my art that's on display
And don't worry.  I come home to Canada today, will go into
my little studio, and get to work again.  But I must say it's
lovely to put your art out there and get such a positive reaction.

Have a loving what you do day.

Friday, December 13, 2019

The final piece -- winter comes to New York City

Winter Road Trip
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Here is the final piece of the four on view at the Amsterdam
Whitney Gallery in Chelsea, New York City.  Winter Road
Trip is a painting about the excitement of getting out on the
road in winter.  In fact we usually travel to Ottawa and stay
at the same hotel for Valentine's Day.  And part of the
the joy of that journey is being on the road and seeing the

No I'm not trying to bring bad luck to New York City,
where it is currently mild and raining.  But even here I'm
sure winter is going to make an appearance. I wish the city
all good will for all the fun we've been having here.  Serious fun
(of course)! Looking at some of the top galleries in the
world.  That counts right?  The MoMA yesterday where
we saw many amazing pieces and could not miss the
Monet Water Lilies. Today the Met in all its wonder.

If you're in New York City on Saturday December 14, please
come out to the opening at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery
between 3 and 5 p.m.

Have a studying art day.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Quick one tonight -- a magic day in New York City

The tree at 30 Rock in New York City
My photo doesn't begin to capture the beauty!
Happy Holidays

This has been an exceptional day.  So much fun, and we
met such wonderful people.  I will write more about
it tomorrow (if there's time), but one thing that
happened was that I fulfilled a life long dream to
see the Christmas Tree at 30 Rock.  And it is stunning.
Plus that whole area is buzzing with out of sight
holiday goodies.  Stunningly beautiful.

Have a loving where you are day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Another piece in the New York show, opening this Saturday

See what I mean?
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

When you frequent a particularly beautiful park, filled with nature,
breathtaking views of Lake Ontario, and quiet places
where you can sit and listen to the many, many birds, or
marvel at the latest wild flowers, or as in this piece see the
magnificent colours in the trees -- you feel beyond lucky.

It's as if the world, the planet is speaking to you, and saying --
"hey human being -- look at all you've got!  Pretty fabulous eh?
So please take care of me."  One way to take care of the place
is to build awareness about how amazing it is.  Or at least
I hope that's true.  Because in some ways that's what every
landscape painting I create is about.

This is another piece in the show at the Amsterdam Whitney
Gallery in New York City, opening this Saturday from 3 - 5 p.m.

Have a loving where you are day.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

For the love of place -- Toronto goes to New York

The Light of My Life 
Acrylic on canvas
 30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
This happy painting celebrates a beautiful pond in a park on
the west end of Toronto that my husband and I visit as often
as possible.  One view in the park is of Lake Ontario, and further
along a tree-lined path is this idyllic pond.  

The birds in the park know my husband's voice (I'm not kidding),
and the swans in particular swim in from way, way out on Lake
Ontario to see Steven, because he feeds them.  Steven absolutely
loves birds, and of course they love him.

Last week this painting was packed up by a wonderful fellow --
Amin -- at my favourite shipper's place, and traveled to New York
City, where it will be on view in the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery
until February 2020.  I'm pretty excited about that exhibition.  I'll
see it myself this weekend, then I'll be back in a pre-holiday
busy spirit on Sunday to organize my Toronto fun.

Have a loving what you do day.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Beautiful baby goes home

The Happiest Girl
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I know I paint landscapes, but I am also a portrait painter, who
works on commissions.  This gorgeous baby came to me in
image after image, and has been resonating, and working on
getting on canvas for several months.

This is the second painting I did of her.  The first was too small,
given the perspective, to give her lovely face enough space.
So I moved her to a bigger canvas, and she was pleased.

Today the collector who came to pick up the work was
very happy.  She showed me photographs of all the other
babies in her family who I've painted, now in various
stages of growing up.  So exciting.  A super
ending to a joyous story from start to finish.  I have
grown very fond of this little girl.  Working from photos
only, it's important to feel a bond, and I did.  In fact
I miss seeing her on the canvas in the studio, and I wish her
every happiness in her beautiful childhood and beyond.

Have a loving what you do day.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

This happened -- Happy Holidays -- The Eiffel tower lives on Cherrywood

Our Eiffel Tower is up
Let the holidays begin!
(Seriously I am working until 
the 22nd probably, but we can
dream -- right?)
In recent years holiday decoration has meant the Eiffel Tower
I bought a few years ago.  It has to be put together piece by piece
every year, like building a sculpture, and that requires a lot of
patience on the part of my husband, who does the building.
(Thank you Steven!)

Plus now, all of the original lights have long since quit the
game, and Steven also does all of the arranging of the lights
on this beauty.  Done.  She is out on the front lawn
announcing to the world -- that one of our ideas of a
holiday includes Paris.  Yes!

When I first bought the decoration Steven was surprised
at how popular it was with the neighbours.  Which is
so nice.  Little kids make their parents walk by our house
so they can see it.

And it is pretty.  Happy Holidays.  

Saturday, December 7, 2019

An addiction -- to beauty

Breakfast in the hotel
(the star of the show)
Upper right section
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
I suppose this is true.  I absolutely must have beauty -- but
before that I must have coffee.  So I've been thinking about
writing about Paris tonight, because Wing Lee a friend and
collector is in Paris this weekend and posting deliciously
beautiful photos that make me long like crazy for that gorgeous
city.  What is it about travel -- knowing you are going somewhere
exciting, that makes you think of every other exciting place
you've ever been?  It stirs up memories so vivid and wonderful,
that you realize it would good to travel more often.

The image tonight is of one corner of a 4 piece painting.  I was
listening to David Hockney when I painted this -- and Hockney
prefers to go large.  He frequently puts smaller paintings together
to make one huge one, and that was my goal here -- big!
And beautiful.

But more importantly one aspect of travel that I love, which won't
be happening in New York on this upcoming visit is breakfast in
the hotel room (the hotel we're staying in doesn't feature room
service).  This painting was inspired by two amazing hotel
servers who wheeled a table of food into our room, designed it,
made sure everything looked beautiful, then pulled out our
chairs for us, and put the glorious, blue linen napkins on our laps.
I mean.

The coffee was hot, the food delicious, the mood romantic. Perfect.

Have a day filled with memory making beauty.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Friday night -- Florence is on my mind

One view from La Terraza (our apartment)
It was a warm day for
December, and we could imagine
that in summer the flowers
would be spilling over flower boxes,
everywhere, but it was still magnificent.
Hard to believe that it was 10 years ago.
Thank you Florence.
Here's the great thing about international art shows.  You meet
amazing people -- absolutely wonderful people and they change
your life.  It's true.  I am thinking about Florence, because I met
such super people at both the 2009, and the 2015 Florence
Biennale.  Those people changed me.  The first time I showed
there it was December, and mighty cold. But it didn't matter.

The kindness and support, and friendships that extend across
the ocean and over time through Facebook, and Instagram and
the blog world are overwhelming.  These are people who are
both outstanding artists in their field, and superbly warm
to the people who share that fascination with making something

There is a downside.  No it isn't the expense -- which is considerable,
but worth it from a life experience point of view if there's any way
you can figure it out.  Not it isn't the travel time, or all the
arrangements you have to make to ship your art, and have people
take care of your house and animals while you're gone.
It is that you don't get long to spend with these great people,
and when it is over you feel that loss.  Quite severely.

Luckily we all do our best to at least heart messages on Instagram
if we can't actually comment.  And we continue to care.  And that
is huge.  And some of us keep in touch via letters and the phone. All in all
that is amazing.

Have a loving the people in your line of work day.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Happy Birthday to this wonderful model

Wonder Water Image #5
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
The people who tell you that portraits don't sell are wrong.  This 
painting travelled in a collection, which put together was a large
ocean scene, and two young women who will have the job of 
saving the oceans in their lifetime.  "Because they are oceanographers,"
you ask.  No because that job will be every human being's job.

The audience liked that idea in Florence, Italy, at the Florence Biennale
in 2015.  In fact one woman stood crying in front of the portraits, so
worried about the young women and the oceans.  

Both of the women I painted for that combination are strong, 
amazing people, who take on challenging jobs.  They modeled for
me because I knew them, not because they do that full time.  I have
no doubt that they will change the world.  After Florence, the paintings
 showed in Toronto, and then in New York where this painting sold.  
The other portrait in the set sold here in Toronto.

Today we're celebrating Emily's, birthday and I wish her a joyous day, and
thank her for helping me get my message out to the world.

Have a helping each other, and enjoying your day, day.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thinking about dreaming -- the good life

Coffee, a magazine and lilies
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 
I worked until very late last night, and feel the effects
today.  The idea of dreaming is filling my brain
tonight, and searching through my blog I see that I've
had some great ones.  It seems like one requirement for a good
dream is an iconic setting.  For me that's often the
beautiful beach we visit every day when we're in
Nova Scotia.

That setting has brought me Oprah, Deepak Chopra,
Louise Hay and Stedman in one dream, and artists
artists -- Mary CassattEmily Carr (I don't think
they ever really met), Vincent van Gogh,
Matisse, and Gaugin in another.  In both cases
the people were walking down the beach near Pugwash
toward me.  With Oprah and her friends we went and
had tea under a beautiful canopy up on the hill.  The artists
got into vibrant discussions with me about colour, and told
me to stay bold, not to go for quiet, dull colours.

And I've had lovely dreams set in Paris and in New
York City too.  And some of those were based on
reality.  It is magical for me as an artist to have work
on display in either of those two major art centers.  But
I have been incredibly lucky to actually have that

The painting I'm showing you tonight captures just
about everything I love -- a wonderful model to paint,
flowers and my kitchen -- one of my favourite places.

Have a dreaming about what you love day.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

What is it about winter?

Winter at the beach
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
People say that the snow makes things more quiet in the
city.  Maybe that's it.  Or maybe it's that if you take the same
walk in winter that's your normal route in summer, you
most certainly get more exercise.

All I know is that on this gorgeous winter day, after
handling some of the day's work, and enjoying a great walk
with a friend, I crashed and slept for an entire hour in
the late afternoon.  Get to know me.  I rarely do this,
but I did.

Now it could be the list of what I have to do -- which
grows and grows exponentially it seems.  I tried the
old trick of listing things I'd already done, and
crossing those off. (That's supposed to make you feel
more accomplished.)  But after I was back in action I
noticed that one thing on my list was "Read and sleep."
Done and done.

This painting reminds me of the crisp, good day beach
walks my husband and I used to do mid-winter at
Port Stanley when there was an amazing restaurant there.
Maybe it's time to go back and see if there are some
new ones.  But first the list.

Have a getting 'er done day.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The city is decorated in lights

Snow scene on Cherrywood
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
In Toronto, especially this year, the winter celebrations
make sense.  The whole town is coated with an idyllic
layer of snow -- outlining every tree branch, every leaf still
clinging to some of the trees, making our town look
like a winter wonderland.

It is time to write the holiday cards.  And whether you like the
cold or not, or had to clean snow and ice off your car just
to get your day on the road today, it is still magical.  Driving
to school tonight we drove past such beautiful light displays.
Fantastic.  On top of being gorgeous, all the lights are
practical on dark streets at night.

Although I am not a fan of cold, I am awestruck by the
magnificence I saw on this the second day of December.

Have a loving your environment day!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Snowy day -- perfect for work

Golden Sunlight Cherrywood
acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
The first day of December launched with an appropriately snowy
day.  Not fun if you were out on the roads, but pretty to look at from
inside the house where I spent the day working on a commission.

I had a good day painting, and taking breaks reading a great book
my sister sent me.  All in all a pretty wonderful Sunday.  
This painting of the gorgeous end-of-day light I see across the street
in winter, sold nine years ago at the Don Valley Art Club spring
show.  The man who bought it liked the happy feeling of the 
painting.  That made me feel wonderful, because in most of my work I'm
trying to convey my delight at what I see in the world.

Safe journeys on the way to work tomorrow if you live where it's
snowy.  It's definitely time to get the snow tires on. Happy December --
the month of celebrations.  

Have a loving what you see day. 

Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!