Monday, August 3, 2020

Peach time -- The best


Peach party
12 x 12 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008

Peaches cause a lot of excitement in our family.  My husband Steven is masterful
at canning peaches without sugar.  And we enjoyed delicious canned peaches this
year until about the end of March.  I like to freeze peaches, and didn't do enough
of that last summer.  But wow I love them. 

I love this painting, which is more of less the exact still life of what I have on my
kitchen table right now.  And marking the stages of the year by peaches tells me
that 1. I think the peaches may be a little early this year, and 2. If not we are almost
at the end of summer, so enjoy every minute.  In Canada, that is a vital suggestion.

I love painting still life works of my favourite food, and favourite meals.  So
I hope you enjoy seeing this piece again.  Happy peach party. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

If we're talking ideal


The gorgeous Restaurant du Musée d'Orsay, in the Musée d'Orsay 
where we ate with my friend Miranda Brouwers in 2016
her husband, Rolf Leemeijer, and their sons Marnix and Hugo.

There is the faintest possibility of a holiday in the offing.  I finish school this
week, and marking by next week. So...maybe we can go somewhere.  Although
going anywhere is fraught right now -- we can go as far as Ottawa, Ontario.
We can stay in our favourite hotel, but there is no room service.  Where to eat
will be a problem, and what to do.  Luckily we have relatives just outside of
Ottawa in Quebec, and in fair weather we can visit at a distance. 

But for now a dream.  This is one of the most beautiful restaurants I've
ever been in, in one of the most gorgeous cities I've ever visited (Paris), and in
an amazing gallery where I can walk by paintings by Berthe Morisot, van Gogh, Monet,
and a sculpture by Degas.  As I recall the food was good too, and the servers
kind.  I mean what more do you want?


Another view.  The tables and chairs are simple,
everything else is opulent. 



Miranda Brouwers and Rolf Leemeijer,
Enjoying a meal in the Musée D'Orsay

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The small leads the way

Summer perfection
Acrylic on watercolour paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

One year ago I did this small painting, which I loved right away.
My love of landscape and for the park in the painting has become
greater over time.  And now if at all possible we go and visit
the park at least once a week.  We feel known there by the birds
we feed, even by some of the people, although the park is huge and
on the other side of town.

A Day at the Lake
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
This year I finished a larger painting based on the same view, and
using the smaller work as a jumping off point.  It's Saturday night.
It's a busy holiday weekend, and I hope you enjoy seeing these
two again.  Both are available if you're in the mood for a
visual escape.  I will deliver them, masked, gloved and social
distanced if you are in the Toronto region.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Dream spaces goes to the Heliconian


Dream spaces
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Thank you so much to Emma at the Heliconian for opening up for me this
afternoon so I could bring in this final painting for the Liminal Spaces
show.  The between spaces idea in this painting is the reality of where we
all are.  We can dream of anything we want, but we are stuck in our houses,
in our kitchens, and longing to cross the divide between now, and the life
we dream of, magically if possible.

The young woman is in her nightie.  This is about the comfort available
to us because we don't have to go anywhere, or dress up for anyone (the
fashion world is in peril because of how irrelevant what we wear has
become).  And it's about the overpowering desire we have for this to
be over, for everyone to wear their masks and wash their hands, and
social distance, and do the ridiculously simple things we know how to do,
so the girl in the painting can drink her coffee, go and get dressed, and
get on with having the wonderful life she deserves. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Stars shining for the Liminal Spaces exhibition

All the stars that shine
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
This painting has been a long time coming.  It was inspired by a wonderful
mother holding her baby in the star blanket, I think six years ago.  The mother
let me take photographs and her whole family came to the house, but none
of the photos had enough detail for the faces, so the baby's face came first,
and then I finally found a model's face I could work from that looked a little like
the mother.

The painting fits in the Liminal Spaces show, because a mother's love transports
both her and the baby into the mysteries of the universe, creation, the cosmos.
It is all there in the mother's arms -- filling the world with wonder. 

The ad for the exhibition was in last night's blog.  I hope you'll figure out a way to see it.
The show runs at the Heliconian Club, visiting by appointment only, from July 31 -- September
30.  


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

An art exhibition at the Heliconian Club -- real and virtual


The invitation to the Liminal Spaces exhibition at the Heliconian Club
Consider yourself invited

Toronto is going into stage 3 in the Coronavirus-19 lockdown reopening phase.  One
exciting result is that my work is going to be in a physical show that you can visit by
appointment.  You will still have to follow COVID-19 protocol -- masks and sanitizer,
but you can go and see real art.

As I write this I am putting the finishing touches on 2 pieces, and I hope to have three 
pieces in the show.  If you're in the mood for art, The Heliconian Club is such a beautiful
venue.  

Plus you can see the show virtually too.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

More about Georgia Fullerton's GASP -- and the magic of fellow artists





Hi Everyone,

I hope this video loads on my old computer.  COVID -19 has shut a lot of
artists down.  We keep trying, and doing this and that, but the impetus
to paint is impacted by the facts -- most galleries being closed, no
meetings with other artists, no workshops in person, and the endless
sad stories connected to the virus.

On June 26 Georgia Fullerton held a Zoom event to introduce her
GASP method of painting people's emotions and histories.  She had
wonderful, inspiring guests.  And I don't know about the effect on
other artists, but it got me back into the studio in a pre-COVID-19
way.  I'm not saying the art I'm producing is great, but I feel super
painting.  The joy of doing it has come back to me.  I credit
Georgia.  Oh and of course my husband Steven who came into the
studio and said he liked the painting I was working on.  We need
that support.

Monday, July 27, 2020

A long time coming -- almost done



Approach (Work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

This painting Approach has to be delivered to the Heliconian Club Liminal Spaces
Exhibition on Thursday morning.  The show was originally scheduled in April,
and now will be opening to limited numbers online and in person from July 30 --
August 25.  There will not be an in gallery opening, but groups of five will be
permitted to go and see the show, and it will be lovely for people to see real art,
not through a computer screen. Of course all of the COVID-19 protocols will be
in operation.

Approach is about longing, and love.  Somehow although my titles
and thoughts about the paintings were submittied last winter, the painting
has new meaning after the times we've lived through with COVID-19.
All of us who have missed loved ones during this hard time, would
like them to come nearer.  So the ocean is the perfect metaphor for
distance, and for the feeling of being so far away from the ones we
love.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The essence of summer -- and a very hot day


The Yellow Pail
Watercolour
22" x 30"
Barbara Muir © 

I walk by this painting in my husband's home office every day, and I always like it. 
 It's almost impossible to get a good photo of it because the room is yellow, and 
the light reflects like crazy off the glass.I painted it from a black and white photo
 of Steven's brother. I love the light, and the exuberance of the paint in watercolour. 
 I'm sure I must have done it after I spent a week studying with Skip Lawrence
 in California just before I switched to acrylic.

Tonight it seems to capture what we'd like to be doing in the summer perfectly. 
We would all love to be at the beach and playing with sand. This summer 
nothing is the way it was in this painting, or even the way it was last summer.  
And we don't know if we can get to the beach -- our favourite one in Nova Scotia
 -- at all. In the United States 149,839 people have died of COVID-19. So we 
know that being  and staying healthy is the main thing, and that we are lucky.


Please stay safe, and stay healthy.



Saturday, July 25, 2020

Dream big


Here's a photo from the taping of the Oprah Winfrey show
back in 2009. The woman with her head down
drawing beside the Skype symbol is me.
I am trying to capture Oprah when she looks
in my direction.  I've never been quite as excited and
scared at the same time.
One of my former students is my friend on Instagram. I don't
remember whether I taught him English or Positive Psychology,
but he was an amazing person.  He'd been through so much already
at a young age, and it makes me so happy seeing that as a young
man he is (was before COVID) travelling the world, and living
a very good and happy life.

Before I was on the Oprah Winfrey show in May 2009 I was
teaching at Seneca College, and the student I mentioned was
in my class.  I was trying to psych my students up to dream big, and
I used to say to them -- "You watch me I'm going to be on the Oprah
Winfrey Show one day!"  Then I used to put my hands in the air, and
say, "Yes!"  Of course what I was trying to do was to be as way
out into the universe as I could possibly be about dreaming big.
I have loved Oprah and all that she does since the first time I watched
her show.

Then the call came.  It was Oprah Winfrey's staff asking if I could
draw Oprah live on a taping of her show via Skype.  Howard Wolinsky,
a Chicago journalist (and wonderful writer and photographer) was
writing a blog for Skype and he did a YouTube interview about me,
which caught Oprah's staff's attention.  After I was on the show there
 was a high time of very cool art assignments and a flurry of
TV and media interest.

The fall after I was on Oprah's show,  I was walking down the hall at Seneca,
going to teach and I met the student I mentioned.  He
asked me how my summer had been, and I told him I'd been
on the Oprah Winfrey show in May.  He went crazy.  He walked
with me down the hall all the way to my class yelling, "No!  You're
kidding Miss.  You are kidding!  This is a life lesson.  Miss this
is a life lesson!"  Then he came into my class and told the new
group how wonderful I was.

I teach at a different college now,  but that is one of my favourite memories
at Seneca, and I'm so happy my student is living his dream.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Bob's tree



Bob's tree.
watercolour crayon and 
black marker sketch on paper
5 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Bob is a very nice neighbour who has lived behind us for many
years.  His house faces the next street over, but his backyard,
backs onto my next door neighbour's house.  He grew the
big tree in the drawing from seed I believe he said, when
a large section of the tree fell down in a tornado type storm, and
landed just shy of my next door neighbour's deck.

We were super upset because we love the tree.  But really
good tree people came, cut that part out, and the tree flourished.
When we sit on the bench next to our garage at the back
of the yard (one of the best and most private places to sit), we look
up into Bob's tree.  A big sheltering maple tree.  Wonderful,
and miraculous.

In fact one day in the spring when this beauty (only a small
part of it is in my drawing) first came out -- its leaves a
crazy, lush green.  I climbed on top of a turned over flower
pot to yell over the fence to Bob (we've rarely spoken) that I
loved his tree.  He was sitting on his deck, probably
listening to music through his earbuds, and didn't hear me.
So Steven joined me and yelled, "Bob!, Bob!, Bob!"
Bob looked up, and said, "what?"  And I said, "I love
your tree."  He looked a bit surprised and embarrassed.
After all we're in the middle of COVID. And he said,
"thank you."

I disappeared back behind his, and his neighbour's high fence.
And that was that.  So here it is in an inadequate sketch.
Bob's tree.  I set out to draw the laundry that Steven had hung
on the line, but the tree caught me, and that was that.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Paris anemones




Paris Anemones
black marker on Moleskine paper
8 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
The anemone is an amazing flower, and we never see the kind I bought in Paris, France,
and in Florence, Italy here.  We just don't.  We grow fall blooming anemones in our
garden, which are amazing and beautiful, and fill the garden with gorgeous white
blooms.

The European variety that I will buy every time I see them, have large red
blooms with white centers, and are knock out gorgeous.

I am tired tonight.  Teaching and painting all day.  This drawing made me
happy, so there you have it.

Have a gorgeous day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A Happy Anniversary in COVID times


Happy Anniversary 2020
iPad drawing with my finger
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

This may seem strange to you, but if you've been
following my blog you know that Steven and I celebrate
the anniversaries of both our wedding day, and the date
of our first date.  And so today our wonderful local
printer put together a sweet book of photos for me to
give to Steven on the anniversary of our first date.

We ordered food from one of our favourite Thai
restaurants, and sat on our back porch hoping no skunks
like Thai food, ate dinner, and talked about how exciting
and wonderful our life is.  We are so lucky, and it was
a lovely day.  We took a selfie of ourselves with our masks
on in the hopes that one day this will be over, and we will
be amazed that we did this.  But for the moment the 
phrase on the masks in this drawing (I know it could
use more work, but it's late) is very true. 

Happy Anniversary to my sweetheart and thank you 
for our life together. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Happy to find this

Pat saves the day
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
I was looking for drawings in a basement room we use for storage, and
found this painting which I love.  It was an art group sketch, and has
all the energy and imagination I associate with working quickly to paint
a model in the midst of other artists working hard to do the same thing.

There is a special energy, that I miss so much since we haven't been
able to do our Tuesday night thing, and paint from a model for more 
than four months.  Almost five months!  I miss those Tuesday nights
so badly, and my talented, funny friends.

I went back through my many art group sketches on my blog and found
the story of Pat from nine years ago.  No model came on our art group
meeting that night.  We were about to give up and go home, when Pat
arrived and agreed to model.  And it is obvious that she did a wonderful
job. I love the palette in this painting, the decisive brush work.  I've been
painting all day, and nothing has quite this vibrancy.  So I'll be inspired
by Pat tomorrow.

Thank you Pat, and thank you to my art group at the DVAC.  I miss
you big time. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

550,000 hits -- Thank you!

Kitchen scene
Flowers, drawing, notebook,
coffee, the newspaper.  
Yep that looks normal.
Barbara Muir © 2015
(I posted this photo last year on this day.  I 
couldn't have imagined a year like this.
This year we don't have nasturtiums because
 garden centers weren't open until late in the season,
and then they didn't have many of the plants
we normally grow.  We did plant nasturtium seeds, but no
flowers -- yet.  We do have roses just like the ones in
this photo,  and flowers that I'm planning to work into a painting. 
So this photo comforted me, because most of what's in it, is 
still going on,and that's a happy miracle.)

There is so much going on that the occasion of hitting 550,000
hits almost passed me by.  But it's a big deal.  In December 2018,
I had 400,000 hits and it took me 10 years to get there.  Since
then I've received 150,000 hits in just over a year and a half. That's
because of you.  Thank you so much. Thank you to everyone who
visits my blog, and who writes comments.

Thank you to everyone who shows, shares, and collects my art.
Thank you to all my artist friends who encourage me and teach me.
What an amazing ride it is.  Even now.  Even in COVID.  The art
world is kind and supportive, understanding and compassionate.
I feel so lucky to be part of it.


My love to you all.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Unmasked reality

2020 and Beyond
iPad Sketch
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

In one of the weirdest years in my memory, the mask is becoming a
way of life. And yet there are still crazy people who don't want to
wear them, when in this province it's the law.  If you are inside
a public space you wear a mask.

I was at the art store I love the other day, and we were having
great conversations social distanced, and masked.  Everyone
there (three staff) (and I was one of 3 customers) agreed that this
will go on for a couple of years, so it would make sense to get
used to it.  That doesn't mean we have to like it, but the
disease is real and we don't want to get it.  I did a number
of sketches of people with masks today, and I'll share them
tomorrow.

Stay safe, and stay healthy.  Yes. Still.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Inspiring artist friends


The right light
Acrylic ink and acrylic on 
cradled birch panel
6 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
I talked for a few minutes tonight to my dear artist friend
Flora Doehler in Nova Scotia, who introduced me to acrylic ink
a couple of summers ago, and I must say I love that medium.
I watched a video of Flora painting and drawing with
the ink the other day, and it inspired me.

I've been looking at these super cradled birch panels, and
wanting to paint on them.  This wooden panel was waiting
for me to make what turned out to be a water scene.  I need
to see and be near water.  Just ask my sweet husband,
who frequently drives me to our favourite park that
features both Lake Ontario, and a scenic pond, home
to ducks, geese and swans.

This is called "The right light."  It is always the right
light by water.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Behind the scenes -- and a drawing


A super face
Black marker on drawing paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Sometimes the behind the scenes work for artists is messy, time consuming
and not wildly interesting.  That was today.  I gessoed a large canvas,
in a painstaking way, and am not finished gessoing it (many layers). So I decided
to do a drawing.

I found a sketchbook I rarely use, beautiful quality paper, and opened
it to find this.  "Aha," I said.  Perfect for a day like today filled with the
dull work of prepping a canvas for whatever excitement is to come. 
The drawing is I'm pretty sure of my firstborn. If not, there's another
person in the world with the identical expression.

That's it for today.  Have a loving the creative life Sunday.  

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Love this enthusiasm for a place I love


First stop Paris
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

I love this painting for the total over the moon joy in it, which
is what I feel today.  Two of my friends have had fabulous news
(which I can't share yet), and I am so thrilled and excited for
them. This painting captures exactly how I've felt on the four 
occasions when I visited Paris.  I just love it. To the complete
maximum, maximum.

I'm super fond of the model too, who showed exactly the spirit
I wanted to convey in this painting.  I can remember the day
when I took the photos that I used for reference for this painting
 -- a bright, sunny day, and we met somewhere and laughed about how
much we wished we were in Paris, not Toronto. 

She sat as a model for several of my paintings, and always captured
the perfect mood.  Thank you Shaniece.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

On the easel --conquering COVID Paint depression

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas 
40 x 40 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

I didn't realize until the weekend that I had been "paint depressed." 
My term. I have had more than one painting on the easel and
been unable to paint.  I come in the room, stare at the 
piece and don't do anything. I am not alone in this.  

But I credit a wonderful Zoom event by my friend Georgia
Fullerton, (an  amazing artist and Expressive Art 
Therapist), and watching her GASP technique introduction 
with saving me.  This is what should happen.  Artists are perfect
COVID-19 isolationists.  We are alone most of the time doing our
work.  But we need each other, need those shared
studio moments, watching each other, learning, being
inspired.

Georgia's special evening gave that back to me, and I
started wandering into the studio and painting.  I started
thinking about my work (which is a lovely escape from
world news, and worry).  And I remembered my
artist self.  So this painting which has been revived from
it's former self is a work in progress, and I like how it's
going.  It is all in transition. And I'm having fun working 
on it and thinking about it.  

Thank you Georgia.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Not just another pretty fruit -- cherries rock!


Studio cherries
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
SOLD 
Love this painting of one of my favourite fruits.  I am very tired
tonight after painting and teaching.  And I just finished a bowl of
cherries.  Delicious.

Sometimes creative people are so caught up in their ideas that they
have trouble sleeping.  I am one of those people, and if you as
fellow creative people do too, I discovered some interesting news.
Pure tart cherry juice (not from concentrate) has great sleep 
inducing properties.  And the delicious type of cherry in the painting
can add to the sleep inducing power of the juice.  I've been eating 
cherries for the past week, and sleeping like a baby.  

I'm on a deadline with my art, and some other projects, so I can
get wired, and restless ridiculously easily. A glass of cherry
juice, and some cherries, and I calm down.  I know you
are going to recommend everything from whiskey, to
the famous weed.  But this works for me.  Wishing
you a creative life, and peaceful sleeps.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Take a break -- and honour the source


Where the action was
At the park by the Lake.
The perfect end to a working day.
Photo © Barbara Muir 2020
I am painting, and it is the slow kind -- paint, stand back,
paint, take a break.  Leave it, come back and stare.  Paint.
All artists know this kind of work, and do it routinely.

Today I knew I needed a real break -- to be somewhere
beautiful -- the source of all of my inspiration --
out in nature.  We went down to the lake, and were
lucky to be there when the geese we both love were
circling looking for people like us who feed them.

So I sat on a rock, and fed them on what had to be one
of the most beautiful days of the summer.  It was
the end of the day -- supper time, and the geese were
adamant.  One goose (in the picture) was almost right
against me.

The closest goose
One of the Canada Geese we
talked to today.
Photo © Barbara Muir 2020
The park we  visited is one of the places that fills my soul, so I decided
to share it with you tonight, and I hope you enjoy it. Paintings to come.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

It was a fine day

It's a fine day sweetheart
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017, and today
in 2020

I worked all morning today marking, and when I was done we rewarded
ourselves with a drive into the country. I have hardly been out of
my house this summer except to go shopping for groceries, and for the
odd walk -- so to see the fields and woods, and glorious clouds was
incredibly exciting.

We sat very social distanced away from good friends at the end of
our journey, and they fed us a delicious dinner.  Amazing, and we
were so grateful.

I felt the strong pull of our Nova Scotia summer trip -- our other
home as we drove along, marvelling at everything, and singing.
It was the perfect reward for the hard part of the day (marking),
and I came home and painted in the studio.  Happily.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

A beautiful and contrary day


From the market 
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
The painting I'm showing you was one that gave me
trouble, because I was working on painting flowers
I didn't know.  At the time I wasn't a fan of purple,
and my dear friend, the wonderful artist, Franco
the Creator, challenged me to paint a little painting
using colours I didn't love.

So I did a little abstract, and purple was one of the
colours in it, and found out that Franco was right,
as an artist all colours can work for you.  Ta Da! I
finished it.

This seems like the perfect story, on what was a
perfect day -- with weather that went from sunny and
hot, to stormy and rainy, to sunny and hot, on and off
all day.  It was amazing. Every time we needed to
go out -- to go to our market farmer's outlet in our
neighbourhood, to do the grocery shopping at the
grocery store, it was sunny.  When we went inside --
rain and thunder.

And I worked on two paintings, and marked papers.
I was telling myself that I could do it, I could finish
my paintings.  So I worked on them, but they're
not finished.

This one is, and it is a happy story of working
through a creative block.  Happy weekend.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Heat and the wonder of friendship


We took a bit of a journey today to see a good friend.  This
year has definitely made us adapt to reality.  So Steven brought
a camp chair for me, and we sat on a concrete ledge, and
I got to sit on the chair, and we had such a wonderful time
just seeing each other, social distance away in the shade
of the tall buildings on a day that reached 40 degrees Celsius
with the Humidex, which is a 104 degrees fahrenheit!

I can't imagine contemplating that last year, and I
couldn't have known that it would be such a rare and
delightful treat.  Talking face to face to a good friend,
even from 10 feet away is such a pleasure.

I hope you had a lovely day.  We saw thunder storms, ordered
a delicious take out dinner, and sat on the front porch with the
animals, until a baby racoon decided to sit in our tree.  That
was too much for the dog, so we went inside and here I am.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

10 Reasons to be Happy


Pugwash Flower People
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
SOLD 
Last year on exactly this day, I was teaching and I put this 
painting on my blog.  I think it deserves to be here as many
times as possible, because it's one of my favourite paintings,
and it's of two people who are changing the world (certainly
in my town -- Toronto) with their flowers.  Ken and Maxine 
live in Pugwash, Nova Scotia where Steven and I are eager to go,
and they most definitely love one another.  And yes the flowers
they have cultivated sell in Toronto, and probably all across
Canada.

Ten Reasons to be Happy
1. I saw our son Christopher today, and we hugged for the first
time in four months.  How wonderful!
2.  I talked to our son Sam on the phone today, and I will
see him soon, that will be amazing.
3. I got to talk to my wonderful friend, and super artist
in the Netherlands, Miranda Brouwers.
4.  My class tonight were brilliant, intelligent, enthusiastic
and funny!  The best.
5. It was incredibly hot, but we ate our supper on the front
porch after my class, and it was beautiful.
6.  I started painting again the other day, and soon I'll
have something nice to show you.
7. Our cat who the vet thought was dying is quite
perky.
8. My family are all healthy.
9. The garden is starting to come together.
10.  I have a real book to read.  (If it's great
I'll tell you the title.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mommy I am still here in NYC



The heart of the neighbourhood 
(one of my two paintings currently
vacationing in NYC)
Acrylic on canvas
 30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

If your paintings are like your children -- two of my paintings
are having an incredible adventure.  They were in a show in 
The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery New York City in December 2019,
and January 2020, and moved into a second month long show in February
in the Wall Street Art Space.  

That would have been considered a good time for most paintings,
but wait!  This work was scheduled to go into a second show
at the Wall Street Art Space  honouring International Women's Day,
and then the pandemic hit.  What have my paintings been doing since then?
Of course they're self isolating, and like everyone else in New York
City they're waiting for things to open up. And when they do
these lucky works of art will move into a new show in the "new
normal."

As for me their artist creator (Mommy), I just hope that they're 
okay, and they know it's fine with me if they sell, as long
as I know where they are, and could see them if I needed to.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The urge to draw -- missing the social occasions


Steven and our student, Sam 
at the GoldenThai restaurant
black marker on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
This drawing was done while we ate dinner just before Sam
went back to school at the University of Windsor.  Looking at
it tonight I thought about how nice it was to sit in a restaurant,
get out my sketchbook, and draw whatever I saw. 

And I thought about how sorry I am that my students can't be in
a classroom with each other, and enjoy the humour and excitement,
that is part of any classroom dynamic.  Zoom is a wonderful 
help in this strange time, because we can meet and share ideas.
But it's not the same.

Sam was drinking a beer, and his hand was blurry. Steven looks
like he might be looking at the bill.  I love the few details
in the background -- the couple and the chandelier.  It will be
so nice when we can enjoy this kind of time again.  Sam is all
grown up, finished university and working.  And we would
really enjoy having dinner with our family as soon as that is a
 possibility.
  

Monday, July 6, 2020

Colour renovation -- happy accident

Parrot Tulips
Acrylic ink, and marker on
11x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

It's very late, and I've been marking.  I found this drawing I
really like today, and thought -- Hey this thing could use some
colour.  So I got out my acrylic inks and added a layer of
punch to it.

I absolutely love parrot tulips, and it would be so much better
to paint them live, but we are in July, and tulips are merely
a memory.  Despite the COVID and all of the hardships of
this year -- it is barreling past.  

I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy summer's beauty.  I
sat on our front porch today so enjoying watching the beautiful
trees across the street. Wishing you an excellent week.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Some forms of missing are in the cells


The artists' yellow house
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
We were watching a series on Babies last night as Steven
coloured my hair (yes I am not a natural blonde.)  What a
revelation that series is for how much we learn before we are one.
And yet I feel like I am lucky that my learning constantly continues.
But another theory about the brain and habit says that if you do something
21 times, it will be a habit.

We have been going to Nova Scotia, every year except the
year I broke my ankle, and was in a cast, for more than
20 years. Nova Scotia is in my blood.  As the city of Toronto
heats up -- it was 31 Celsius today, and will reach 33 Celsius
by Tuesday,  -- my entire being craves Nova Scotia.

The painting tonight is of my friend Flora Doehler's
house in Bear River, Nova Scotia, which had gone partially
purple at our last visit.  I don't know if we'll get to go to
Nova Scotia this year, and that thought is super hard
on Steven and on me.

I quoted Joni Mitchell when I put this image on one time,
and it seems perfect for now, "on the back of a cartoon
coaster, in the blue TV screen light.  I drew a map of
Canada. Oh Canada, with your face on it twice."
I love Canada -- and Nova Scotia has a special place
in my heart.


Here's to the trees

 
The tree story
iPad sketch
 8x10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Here's a sketch from our front porch.  The tree story is that someone
called the city to say that part of our front yard tree had to come
down.  So one day the more than a year ago the city came along 
and lopped off half of the tree.  It was shedding sap.  Squirrels live
 in it.  And maybe racoons. So it was not safe.

Today I drew our tree and the neighbourhood.  The bad squirrel
was sitting happily on the lopped off side eating nuts.  Too bad
for city people who don't realize we need trees.  And they don't
realize trees are part of the answer to saving us from climate change.
And yes!  Squirrels, birds and racoons hang out in trees.  They
are supposed to!

I had fun drawing this sketch, and there is still enough of a tree on
our front yard that we can sit on the porch and have some privacy.
And that's a good thing.

Friday, July 3, 2020

The power of happiness


At the Cottage
watercolour
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008

I found this painting that I did of my son Christopher and his wife
Megan when they were dating.  I wish I knew where the source
photo I worked from was, because I'd try it again and I'm
sure I could improve the result.  But what I do love is the wonderful 
happiness in the image, and the fact that it did catch the love that these 
two had for each other then, and now.

Love is a big deal, and as a friend said yesterday, finding someone
to love, and having love in your life is the only success that
counts.  I'd agree with that.  This has such a holiday feel, and
we've just had Canada Day, now Americans are going to celebrate
the 4th of July.  I hope that everyone around the world finds the
love they want.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Happy Birthday to my first baby

My son Christopher as a newborn
blue ink on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir

For a mother the first moments, and first day of her baby's life stays
vividly in her brain and heart for good.  This is my firstborn's
birthday, and I'm happy that he is not here in the city heat, but
up in the country by a clean lake with his family.  

We had a lovely talk today, and that was wonderful.  I had
to teach, so couldn't have done the cake, and stack of presents
thing anyway.  But it was really strange not to be there to see
him blow some candles out, to have a meal together.

All of that will happen when the vacation is over, and he comes
back to Toronto.  In the meantime we sang Happy Birthday, and
thought about our baby -- now a wonderful, kind, grown up,
talented, happy man -- all day.  

Happiest of birthdays Christopher. 

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!