Monday, February 24, 2020

Some quick sketches

Concentration -- 3 quick sketches
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
Barbara Muir © 2020
I'm a big fan of James Edward Clark.  One of my favourite
things he does is fast sketches of people on buses on
subways, and then he finishes the sketch in this studio.  Every time
he posts a little video on Instagram of how he creates the sketches,
I watch it over and over trying to learn how.
Concentration -- sketch #2
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
6 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Tonight I just happened to have three sketches I could try
and work on in a similar way.  They are done with a
marker and acrylic ink.  Thanks James for the inspiration.
I love sketching too.
Concentration -- sketch #3
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
6 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Have a loving what you do day.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The delights of a winter escape

Winter Road Trip
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Thank you to Caitlin Grandison and Shiobhán Mulcahy for
making it possible for Steven and I to leave the herd
(two cats and a crazy dog) behind and take a short trip
to the Ottawa region.

So much fun. There is something incredibly freeing about
getting out on the highway and leaving all of your routines
(okay most of them) behind.  It was a beautiful weekend,
and we got to see friends in Ottawa, and meet the sweet
dog I put on last night's blog.

I did have work to do, and took it with me.  I did some
drawing, and made sure to talk to you here.  And I
felt such profound freedom.  It doesn't even make sense.
It's been a lovely winter so far, and I've enjoyed  every
minute -- but the road, the endless gorgeous scenery --
soooo inspiring.

Have a loving your travels day.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The happy world of dogs

Black marker on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A dear friend in the U.S. who loves her dogs -- two German
shepherds, once advised me to adopt the dogs' motto,
"Forward, forward, forward."  I loved that, and notice that
my own dog, Sally,  follows that advice and is happy most of the
time.  She gets anxious when it's time for supper, or a
walk, but cheerful is her modus operandi.

So although I've been a cat person most of my life, now
that we're raising our second family dog, I cannot
imagine life without a dog.

Yesterday we met my brother and sister-in-law's new dog
Finn -- a West highland terrier.  So adorable.  And although
he's sometimes a bit nervous, he is one cheery little dog.
Only about four months old, he already knows so much.

So for all the dog lovers out there, who no doubt spend a
bit more time with your dog(s) on the weekend, here's
a drawing of Finn.

Have a loving your dog day.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Pansies go big! So much fun!

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic ink and marker on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A big thank you to Flora Doehler -- yes I know I thank her a lot.
With good reason.  She is a mover and shaker in mine, and
in her local art world.  She's an amazing artist, and wonderful
friend.  Flora is the one who turned me on to acrylic ink.
These magical inks go over, and under acrylic, and the colours
are vibrant and glorious.

When you're painting flowers, one of the issues is trying to
in any way replicate the intensity of their colours.  It is
nearly impossible.  And pansies, which I've been painting
as long as I've been an artist probably, are a particular
case.  Their colours are so rich, they defy capture.

Last year I was so excited about discovering acrylic ink
that I did a whole series of pansy paintings.  These
were on watercolour paper, and the lovely thing about
the ink is that it flows like watercolour.

For this painting, I gessoed a canvas three times, to get
a smoother surface, and of course the ink behaved in a
completely different way.  But it is still intense, and I am
excited about taking one of my smaller paintings, and translating
it onto canvas.  Turns out it doesn't matter how you use
the ink, it is a treat.  This is a work in progress, because the
canvas requires more ink to get a similar intensity -- so
there will be more to show you.

Have a loving what you do day.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Opening night at the Artist Project on all weekend

Gill Cameron was clearly having a great time,
and her beautiful watercolours made
a vibrant display.

Eleanor Lowden's work was a must see.
I've been watching her develop
this cheerful series on Instagram.

Mike Rachlis's huge portraits are amazing.

Andrew Cheddie Sookrah was one of the artists
whose work I absolutely had to see.  I've
been watching the development of some of
the work he's installed in the exhibition and his work is 

Dalia Elcharbini's work is mostly graphite on 
paper, gilded with real gold.
This work is graphite on canvas, and is
beautiful and dramatic.

Ilinca Ghibu brought her gorgeous, large flower 
paintings to the show from Montreal.
They are stunning.  

Steven and I were excited to get out tonight for the first
night of the Artist Project at the CNE.  I have several
friends and artist colleagues in the show, and was
eager to see their work.

It was so exciting.  I love the variety of work -- true
there are so many wonderful artists.  It's like going to
a huge art gallery.  So inspiring.

I took a few shots (above) for you to enjoy, but if you're in
Toronto, head on down!  There is so much more to see than
I could possibly include here.

Have a going to an art show day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Last night with my art group -- what a pleasure

Woman in blue
art group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A good friend in my art group reassured me that the night
was on.  I was so happy.  I packed up and went out for
the planned hour.  That was all I had.

The model, Alyson, was wonderful -- so much mood
emoted from her, which for me in a fast situation seems
to be the magic.  She had it.   Plus I had fun with the
group listening to good music and seeing people's

Here is the result.  I think if I'd had longer, she might
have resembled a long ago queen.  She had the
dignity and composure I'd associate with such a
character.  Royal.

Have a painting with your friends day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Happy Twelfth Anniversary for my blog!

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2008
Wow!  12 years -- I can hardly believe it.  I have been part
of the blog world for 12 years, and it's been a magical
experience.  I cannot imagine what life was like before
I was a blogger.  This site catapulted me into a world of
surprising media and TV recognition for my work, international
exhibitions, and friends across the world who like me, love making
art. Steven and I drank a toast with a bit of champagne to

The international shows lead to strong bonds with all of the
people I showed with in major exhibitions.  And they add
to a life filled with inspiration, exciting possibilities and fun!
I am so grateful. Thank you blog world, and Flora my friend
who insisted I had to blog, Christopher, my son, who helped
me start blogging, and to everyone who has supported this blog
to the point of 511,000 + hits, on 2404 blogs!  Amazing.  Thank you.

A toast to all of you, and to artists, collectors, and
art lovers everywhere! 

Monday, February 17, 2020

For Family Day -- one of my favourites

Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Today was Family Day in Ontario, our province in
Canada.  I've got to admit it's one of my favourite
holidays, because all you do is hang out with family.
Yesterday we had my older son's daughter over for
dinner, and saw my daughter in-law, son and the
baby on the pick up.

Today we went to our favourite park on Lake Ontario
with our youngest and his girlfriend.  A lot of family,
and all of it fun.  Thank you to the government for inventing
that day -- a great mid-winter break.

I love this painting, and the family it depicts.
The parents' love story was wonderful, and the
whole family was a treat to paint.  Endless reference
photos, Skype calls, discussions and three paintings
-- a series -- as a result.  I love all of them.  The family
purchased this one.

Have a loving your family day. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Family thoughts on the Family Day weekend

The Maharani's Great Granddaughter with 
her Great Granddaughter
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
It is wonderful to grow up in a warm, loving family.  When
I was younger I took my family for granted, my parents, and
our wider family.  Only as I got older did I understand the
importance of having, and being a loving family.

And as for my parents-in-law.  I knew I loved my husband
almost from the first time I saw him, which I believe was
at his sister's wedding.  We didn't actually start dating until
a few years after that.  I am an agnostic, and have been
forever, and his parents, staunch Catholics found me hard to
take.  Looking back I'm sure I was.  I was probably full of
myself, judgmental, defensive -- everything I've tried to
get over in my life.

I'm showing this picture tonight for Family Day, because a
lovely miracle happened in our family.  When my mother-in-
law, Daisy was older we bonded.  She understood that I
made her son happy, and she had always loved my children.
I learned to love her, and she learned to love me.  And that
was huge.

I will never forget the day that inspired this painting.  We
brought my granddaughter Alice to meet her great grandmother,
and Daisy was so sweet with the baby and moved to meet
her.  I am so happy that my mother-in-law got to see the
painting hanging in a show, and that she loved it.
She died in 2016, and I got to see her and hold her hand
before she died.  And we both told each other that we
loved each other.

The more I learn about her, the more I admire her.  And once
again my message here is love.  Thank goodness we got
to share that emotion.  She was a brave woman who had
seven children in eleven years, and continued to work as
a nurse.  She was amazing.

Have a loving your family day.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Flowers are always right

Each image is a separate painting
Acrylic ink and marker on
watercolour paper
Barbara Muir © 2019

I sit in my bright kitchen on one of the coldest nights
this winter.  Maybe last night was colder.  The kitchen
is yellow, and our new red door sports the huge heart
made from tissue paper peonies (once a much brighter
pink.)  The huge white double lilies feel like a celebration
all on their own in an antique china jug on the hutch.

And on the table in front of me lemons and oranges in
a glass bowl emanate cheer.  And beautiful yellow roses,
with random edges of a deep red sit at the end of the
table.  Happiness, and a love of nature sing out all
over this room.

Which brings me to these pansies.  These line drawing
and acrylic ink paintings all done on 5.5 x 8.5 watercolour
paper are available, and would cheer up someone's
wall.  Contact me if you're interested.  Meanwhile
enjoy whatever beauty you can see.

Have a loving your world day.

Friday, February 14, 2020

At the core -- love rules

Stand Back for the Pie
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
Happy Valentine's Day.  It was a super day.
I got to talk to some of the people who've made
a difference in my life, and to tell them how
grateful I was.  Plus I went out to dinner with
my sweetheart.

One of the people I talked to was a former boss
who got me to teach a school success course
that was actually Positive Pscyh.  Under his
guidance we did a brave thing. Brave in an
environment terrified of emotion.  Looking at our
student group, who were mostly late teens up to the
thirties, we correctly deduced that the main thing
everyone wanted was love.

And add to that success.  And the main blocker?
Not loving the self.  Now it's almost mainstream
to teach students to love themselves -- to start there,
but at the time it was not.  And guess what?  It
really worked! Marks shot up dramatically,
students started getting along with their parents,
and taking care of themselves -- getting out
of bad relationships, getting help when they
needed it.  It was brilliant.

So today on the day of love, in the month of love
I encourage you.  Please be kind and loving to
yourself first.  Quit reading this, go and do something
you love.  Pick the five kindest people in your life and
spend time with them in the next few weeks.  You are
at the core of the entire life you live.  So love you, and
you will end up loving your life and others.

Yes.  That was a bit like a lecture.  Now back to
painting.  Oh and let yourself have some pie if you
feel like it today.  Celebrate.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Love's lessons -- worth learning -- Happy Valentine's Day!

A Valentine's Day card for you from me

I have been lucky to be loved by my family and friends all of my life.
I am so grateful.  My husband is without a doubt the love of
my life.  He is a wonderful person, and the center for sure of the love
I care about, and the love that powers our family.

I learned a lot about love when my mother died.  It was a sharp, painful
set of lessons, but despite the horrible loss, those lessons have made
my life happier than ever.  

#1.  You can never give out enough love to the people you love.
You can never say it enough, show it enough, overdo it.  Life really
is short, so let people know you care about them.  And I care about
you, and am grateful to you for your kindness and support.

#2.  Don't let people stay in your life who don't love you, and
care about you, or who are unkind to you, your family, or your
friends.  Once again life is short, and you deserve to be loved
while you're here.  

#3  Yes of course there are 100s of lessons -- but number 3 is
key -- love is everywhere.  Enjoy your love for the planet, and the
love you see around you.  Love is an enormous gift, 
and it's there for you.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Love really helps. Believe it.

Time for love
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir ©
Coronavirus, horrific climate change, world leaders more
concerned with pleasing billionaires than taking care of
their citizens, and narcissistic, silly and irrational
people dominating the news.  There is still love, and maybe
if we can make our passion for caring about each other
dominate our choices we can solve some of these giant

I feel sorry for people who say they don't like Valentine's
Day.  Why?  To say the day is commercial -- so what?
Make your cards then, or like my mother make chocolate
fudge for your children, or your love.  My husband and
I have just started decorating the house -- putting up
the banners of hearts, and Valentine's decorations we've
saved for years.

Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate.  Celebrate whatever love
you have.  Your cat, your friends, your family near and
far.  That love really is the answer.

And your kindness and love for me that you show me
all year 'round helps me to think of the world as a
place of possibility, and affection, to feel like miracles
can happen.  A little bird told me.

Have a spreading the love day. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

40 minutes with my art group!

Captain Valentine
(art group sketch)
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Thank you DVAC for the wonderful model who posed
tonight.  I had an hour to paint, and it was fun.  With two
10 minute breaks, it was about 40 minutes.
The portrait makes me happy because the model sent out
stories through his expression, and posture.

I decided to make him a sea captain, and as it's Valentine's
Day on Friday, and we're big fans of that day and month
in our house, he became Captain Valentine.  I don't know
the model's name, but he was good.  And I am grateful for

Have an enjoying creativity day.

Monday, February 10, 2020

More on the New York City opening

Left to right: artists in the exhibition -- Robin Kang, Ian Clyde, Ryan Michael Ford, 
Lightning Yomeku, and Katie Cercone with the show curators, Lena Liu
and Apelles Zhou beside one of Apelle's wonderful paintings. 
This past weekend was pretty spectacular for me --
an opening in Toronto at the beautiful Heliconian Club,
plus an opening in New York City at the Wall Street Art
Space.  And both happened at the same time on Saturday
The art show band added a musical dimension
Last night I showed you a super photo of Katie Cercone
performing in front of my work in this show. We were celebrating
the same thing -- the vitality that arises from light and love—
me in landscape, and Katie in magnificent Yoga.

The show looks beautiful. Apelles Zhou has collected a
dynamic group of artists working on the theme of  Victory
of Light.   The band played music to intensify the
theme. And the whole concept is perfect for this time of year,
when each day is filled with more and more light.  But this
exhibition was also designed to welcome a more peaceful, light
filled and love filled world.  We need it.

People enjoying the art: visitor Shakespeare Guir,
artists Robin Kang, and Ryan Michael Ford with 
and a guest.
Please check out the exhibition during business hours on week
days. It is at 2 Wall Street on the 8th Floor.

Have a going to art shows day.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Super opening at the Wall Street Art Space

At the Victory of Light Opening at
the Wall Street Art Space yesterday
Katie Cercone, performed an
ethereal starseed flow in yoga in front of
 my works The light of my life (left),
and The heart of the neighbourhood (right).
How perfect!  The heart symbols
on the floor add a super touch. 

Big thanks to Apelles Zhou, co-curator of the Victory of light
exhibition which opened yesterday at the same time as
the opening for the Life Drawing exhibition at the Heliconian.
I featured the Heliconian Club's Toronto opening last night.
And tonight I am showing this beautiful image of one of the performers
at Victory of Light,  a yoga performer Katie Cercone doing one of
her moves in front of my two paintings in the show.

Tomorrow I'll write more about the Victory of Light
exhibition opening.  It was wonderful!

Have a going to buy art day.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Super Life Drawing Show Opening at the Heliconian Club

Steven and me in front of my portrait
You can't keep a good man down
(Acrylic pen and acrylic on canvas
3 x 4 feet)
at the opening of the Heliconian Club
Life Drawing Exhibition on at 35 Hazelton Ave. 
until the beginning of March
Thank you to all of my friends and family who came
out to the opening at the Heliconian Club today.
I had one piece in the show, and I was very happy
with how the people in charge of hanging the show
placed it.  As a friend said, "beautiful frame" meaning
the gorgeous walls of the Heliconian.

Some of the work that caught my eye
clockwise, Ruthia Pak Regis,
Susan Powers, Dougal Haggart,
and Gary Fogler.
(I tried to put them together
using Facebook as my
computer will no longer
work with my former app for this.
Gary's work got badly cropped,
so see the full image and a few others below.)

Gary Fogler's painting

Friends looking at my work

Detail from drawings by Sara Craig

People enjoying the show.

Have a going to an art show day. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Contemplation of line drawings, and the comic heroes who save us

Drawing of a man
black marker on watercolour paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(not the image I'm showing tomorrow.
See that below. 
This was a drawing of Stephen Colbert
 from a stopped video frame.)
Tomorrow the largest pen drawing I've ever done will
be featured in a Life Drawing Show here in Toronto.
Come out and see it if you can at The Heliconian Club,
35 Hazelton Ave between 1 and 4.  I am bringing
delicious cookies!  I have already posted the work
twice, so I'll show a small version below.

My friend Flora asked me to talk about what I learned
doing this big drawing.  Good thought Flora.

1.  The drawing is on canvas and is done mostly with
acrylic pens.  I learned that canvas is not smooth.

2.  I learned how to gesso a canvas three times with it
flat on a table, and then scrape the liquid gesso smooth with
a metal utensil used to smooth plaster. Layer over layer the
canvas became soooo smooth it was a delight to touch.

3.  I learned that canvas, unlike paper, bounces. It's one
of the things I love about working on canvas, the
bigger the better.

4.  I learned that if you put your finger against the canvas
close to where you are attempting to draw fine lines, the
canvas will not bounce.

5. I learned that 3 x 4 feet is a really large drawing.  It
took me most of the month to complete it.  And yet it
looks simple.  Art eh?  It's meant to be an illusion.

6. I learned that I love my husband more than ever, because
after the expression on his face in the portrait was right, every
time I walked in the room I smiled.  That was my sweetheart alright.

7.  I learned you can't do it all.  I was tempted to fill in the
suit, but my son the film director said "No.  It's enough."

Tonight I'm showing you the drawing of what I might have
done if the drawing like the one above was on paper, smaller,
and I had more time.
You can't keep a good man down
Acrlic pen, and paint on canvas
3 x 4 feet
Barbara Muir © 2020
Come and see this work tomorrow.  It looks pretty good.

Have a loving what you do day.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A joyous tale of two cities

You can't keep a good man down
Acrylic pen, and acrylic on canvas
3 x 4 feet (.914 x 1.29 metres)
Barbara Muir © 2020
This weekend I have the pleasure of being featured in two
art openings, one in Toronto, and one in New York City.
This is beyond exciting for me.  So a heads up, if you're
in Toronto on Saturday, I have a large portrait drawing
(see above) on canvas in the Life Drawing Show at the
Heliconian Art Club.  This promises to be a wonderful exhibition.

The heart of the neighbourhood (left)
The light of my life (right)       
Acrylic on canvas
Both are 30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

And in New York I have two landscapes in the Victory
of Light exhibition in the Wall Street Art Space.  I can't
be there and in Toronto (we humans haven't figured that form
of travel out yet!), but if you are in New York, please
go to the Wall Street Art Space, and send me photos.

So that's tonight's story.  Two cities, two galleries,
two different art forms -- and the connection is your
friend -- me.  I hope you can picture me sitting here
happy as can be that this lovely story is taking place.

Thank you to the wonderful people at the Heliconian
Club, who believe in me, and encourage me to keep
trying new things, and to Apelles Zhou in New York
City who invited me to be in the dynamic show he's
organized.  Both shows are on for the month of February.
Visiting the Heliconian is by appointment only after the
opening. The Wall Street Art Space if open during business
hours on weekdays after the Saturday opening.

Have a planning to see art shows day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

New ways of seeing -- always exciting.

Primulas in a blue pot
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
I love Primulas, one of the first signs of spring
in the flower stores here.  A huge winter storm
is predicted tonight, so nothing could be more
appealing than thoughts of spring.

A fact of life in an artist's world is that if you keep
painting and drawing you will accumulate work.
Every now and then you find a canvas tucked
away, and think,"whew!  Why am I keeping that?"

That happened today.  I pulled out a little painting
of primulas in an antique bowl. (I love antique
china, but this combination didn't work in the small
painting.)  The bowl was an awkward shape, and
vague.  "Aha," I said.  I'll change that."  So I did.
I amplified the pot of flowers, made it into one pot,
instead of three, ditched the awkward antique
bowl, spiffed up the flowers a bit. And now I'm
 happy with the painting.  A happy day.

Have a seeing the possibilities day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Fun with my art group

You mean the wedding's off?
Art group sketch
acrylic on canvas
18 x 20 inches
Tonight I went to paint with my art group.  I just had
one hour, and there was a ten minute break, but I was
so glad I went.  My friend Sharon By the way(not her
real name), who calls me Barbara By the way (we have
become the By the way sisters) was there.  She is not
only a super artist, but very funny, she also plays wonderful
music on the stereo to motivate everyone to work happily.

Sadly I'm not a fan of hats, and the model was wearing
a large hat, fine straw with a big straw bow. I did my best,
then came home and painted the hat out.  And you know
what? It was much better with the hat.  The title came to me
during the pose, and I couldn't get it out of my head,
so it's there.  It feels so good to paint with other excellent
artists.  A treat in every respect.  Hats off to the DVAC for
 these great evenings.

Have a doing what you love day.

Monday, February 3, 2020

I couldn't have said it better -- happy thoughts from me

Reading with heart or
Reading in the kitchen
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 
Today was a completely exhausting and joyous day.  I finally
got my big 3 x 4 foot drawing in acrylic pen on gessoed canvas
(see last night's blog)done, and I was happy with it.  And we
delivered it.  Not only on time (mirabile dictu), but early (thank
you to Claire for opening the Heliconian Club big blue front door).
Driving away I felt a feeling of absolute liberation.  Not only is that big
drawing done, but I am free.  (Meaning I can't keep working on
it, my obsession for the past month).

Plus my work is in two openings this week -- one in New York City, see the 
post from two days ago, and the one here at the Heliconian Club. 
 If I could be in two places at once I would, but I'll be at the 
Toronto opening Saturday afternoon from 1 - 4 p.m., and thinking
about the opening in New York also on Saturday afternoon! 

Now we run straight into the Month of Love (February), one of
my favourite months in the year.  I am blessed beyond measure
to love my life, my family, and my friends.  It's time to dress
the house up with hearts, and get out the Valentine's Day
cards, and maybe even go on a short trip with my sweetie.

I believe in happiness, and felt pure joy working with my
class tonight.  And the class was great -- a very smart group.

So here's what I said last year at this time --
 I loved reading this tonight:
"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 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 loving your world day.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Big Portrait going into the Heliconian Life Drawing Show

You can't keep a good man down
Acrylic ink and acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Please come out Saturday to see this work in person.  It
has been a big job getting it done.  It is acrylic ink on
canvas, and is my contribution to the Life Drawing Show.

If you are in Toronto please come out to the Heliconian
Club at 35 Hazelton Ave. on Saturday February 8 between
1 - 4 p.m. to see some beautiful work.

Delivery is in the early a.m. tomorrow, so I'm going to bed.

Have a doing what you love day.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Big News -- New show in New York City!

Two of my paintings on view until today at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, NYC,
have fallen in love with New York City, and are moving on to a new
show for February.  See the ad for the show above.

The Heart of the Neighbourhood 
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

The Light of My Life 
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Apelles Zhou who is a wonderful artist, curated the exhibition Victory of Light,
and it seems perfect for February, the Month of Love, the movement towards
spring, and what the world needs right now when there is so much troubling news.

If you are in New York City, next weekend, or in the month of February,
please head over and check it out!  I am so happy about this.

Have a loving going to art shows day!

Friday, January 31, 2020

A tiny joyous discovery -- and art that inspires

Summer exuberance
Watercolour, acrylic ink, black marker
on watercolour paper
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
A friend and I met at the Art Gallery of Ontario yesterday --
our large, beautiful, public gallery.  We wandered through a
few shows, marvelling at works we've long admired, and
some we'd never seen.  Things had been moved around since
I visited last, and some of the galleries painted in fresh
new colours.  It made me realize how important background
colour is to how the art impacts me.

But I meant to tell you about something else.  I found a little drawing
today on watercolour paper, that is supposed to be turned into
postcards.  You'd have to be a million times faster at painting than
me to be able to whip off postcard paintings when you were
on holiday, and casually send them to all your friends.  Still
I was captured by the size today when I'm working on a
huge drawing, and had some fun using watercolours and
acrylic ink, to make it more dramatic.

Have a loving what you do day.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A beauty from last year -- summer celebration

Sky high summer joy
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I finished this painting last January (2019) when we had  the rare treat
of a "snow day" and my Monday night class was cancelled.  This doesn't 
happen often in Toronto.  Right now we've as close to no snow as possible 
in January, and the month is over tomorrow.  I love this painting for how well it 
expresses my total happiness driving by summer fields on our way to
Nova Scotia in the Maritimes.  

And of course clouds have been my passion for years.  This month I've
been working almost full time on an ink drawing on canvas -- a portrait of 
my best supporter.  I will definitely be able to show you soon, because it 
goes into the Figure Drawing show opening at the Heliconian
Club at 35 Hazelton Avenue on Saturday, February 8 between 1 and 4. 
 I will be there, and would love it if you came out to see this drawing on canvas. 

I've learned a lot working on this.  More on that later.  Meanwhile if you
could use some summer fields plus clouds in your life, contact me.

Have a loving what you see day

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Small works on a brilliantly sunny day

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic ink, acrylic, and ballpoint pen
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020 
Last year I joined the oldest women's art club in Canada
 -- the Heliconian Club -- a wonderful decision.  I've met such
super people, and been in some amazing shows.  I have been
lucky to be able to show my large works in the club's
beautiful space on Hazelton Ave.  I love working large,
and wish I had a studio space (in my home) that would let me go
even bigger.

I also enjoy working smaller.  This little painting was
inspired by a photo of the overwhelming abundance of
flowers in my house at the end of summer.  In fact my kitchen
looks that way now with miraculous white double lilies,
a late blooming amaryllis, gorgeous red tulips, and a cabbage
rose in full bloom.

But in summer, it's all local, from my garden and a wonderful
gardener who sells at the Brickworks market.

Whatever size I'm working in, I'm aware that the creative life
is a gift.

Have a loving what you do day. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

On the easel -- what I'm working on.

Untitled (work in progress)
Literally photographed on the easel
Acrylic pen and paint on canvas
3 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2020
Happy Tuesday.  It was a day of a thousand mess ups,
until I went for a walk with a dear friend who told
me the trick of deciding to end the conversation about
all that was going wrong right then.  When she said that I
looked at the little park we were walking through and as always
trees and even gloomy clouds are comforting.  I went home
to my studio and tackled the part of this piece that's been
driving me mad -- the face.

Before I did I went to the art store and saw the lovely Anna,
who calls me Anna for fun. She helped me get some great supplies
 -- acrylic pens and brush cleaner. Plus she is funny, and that
was something I needed so badly on this complicated day.
I'm drawing this portrait on a 3 ft. x 4 ft. canvas with acrylic
pens. It's the whole figure, and seems to be a long, slow process,
but I'm feeling confident now that it will be ready in time for a
show coming up!  More on that later.  And I think Anna, and
my friend, and the subject of this portrait turned the day around.
It's been a wonderful night, and I'm excited again about my work.

Thank you as always for being out there. I'm trying this because
I said I would.  And I am learning so much!

Have a loving what you do day. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

How process changes -- finding a reference album

Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2007
(The painting is much lighter
than this.  I photographed a 
photo to get a clearer image
than I had on record in my blog.)

I've talked before about how wonderful it was painting
Sean for a set of three portrait commissions of his two sisters,
Madeline and Elizabeth and him.  The other day going through
shelves of stacks of sketchbooks, and pads of watercolour
paintings, I discovered an album of photos for portraits
and the portraits that resulted from a combination of
sittings and photos.  It was fascinating. All of this information
packed in an 8 x 10 inch photo album.

Today if I take photo reference, I work from large prints
made by a wonderful local printer.  I am working on a large
scale portrait drawing (3 x 4 ft.) right now -- not finished
enough to show you yet.  And the printer made me a bunch of
large scale images to use, that put together would make
one big photo.  I can refer to them as needed, and work from
a smaller image of the whole figure.

The studio in 2007 and Sean the model.
He borrowed the white shirt in each
session from my son.  
Sean was a treat to paint, as were his sisters.
So finding these small photo references made me
realize how quickly technology happens.  I painted
Sean in 2007, the last of three portraits that had
to work individually and together.  Together it
looked like the three children were sitting on a
couch.  The idea was that when they grew
up they could own their individual portraits.  That was
13 years ago, so I think Sean would be 28 now, and I
hope he is having a wonderful life.

Have a loving your life day.

Portrait Artist

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