Sunday, May 31, 2020

In recent weeks it feels like sadness piles on sadness -- still one answer is love

Flowers for hope and change
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
The more I know, the more I know I don't know.
I do not know how to solve the deep seated racism in
North America.  I read everything I can get my hands
on, talk to everyone who cares. I will do whatever I can to help
 in my position as college teacher, in my art, in my life.

As for the pandemic, a huge and unrelenting disease that
we have not solved. I don't know what to do about that.
I read as much as I can on the subject, and follow every
directive.  But it is still out there, and still killing people.

As for the sadness and depression of friends.  I am here
to listen, to cry, to share every moment of sorrow, and
of joy. I am here.  I hold out my hands to you, and the
world. I know we can't actually hug -- we are fighting
a terrible virus, but we can imagine a hug.

The drawing of flowers tonight is for all of us.  We
need the world to change.  We need to listen to and
help one another.  And we need to love.  The stories
people are sharing add layer after layer of sadness
to the whole.  We need to listen, and love, and
do whatever is in our power to do to change ourselves.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

For the love of flowers

Hot Toronto Pansies
Acrylic ink, watercolour and marker
in watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
Flowers are one of the things keeping us all going at
the moment.  Toronto is at a very beautiful point in
the year, with one beautiful flowering tree after
another coming into bloom in succession.  So each
walk, and drive, no matter how fraught with worries
about this virus, still going up in Toronto, is
filled with beauty.  And that is miraculous.

I have a few pots of pansies -- definitely one of
my favourite flowers.  And a couple of pots
at the front of the house got slightly searched
by squirrels (I think).  Solution -- move them
to the back porch where the dog keeps a close
eye out for any animals.  And then some water
and they're back to full beauty.

While they are thriving I'm posting this painting
in their honour.  It was a warm/cold -- not hot
day.  But these flowers are so lovely.

Have a loving your flowers day.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Slow, slow -- fast, fast

Untitled (detail) work in progress
acrylic on canva
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
How does art happen?  My dear friend, and wonderful artist,
 Norene Smiley, in Nova Scotia, says that she needs a deadline.
Me too. This spring I've been working hard, hard at teaching,
because the art deadlines all ended.  Bang.  We all know, and accept
why.  Now I am reminding myself that most of my paintings,
even larger, more complicated ones were done in stages.
Very often 10 minutes at a time.

And true -- even 10 minutes has been hard to find in recent
weeks.  But today I took myself by the hand, and have worked
on a painting -- not ready yet -- in small stages of 10 minutes,

I know that when a painting comes together and feels like
it's happening properly it moves from slow, slow to fast, fast.

Have a getting ready to get going day.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Nostalgia for -- my art group

Figure with blue shawl
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2007

This painting was stacked with a bunch of paintings in
the middle room in our house.  Lately because of
rearranging the room to get the air conditioner in,
the piece moved to the front of the pack, and I see it anew.

No doubt this was begun pretty quickly -- painting
a fabulous model on a Tuesday night with the Don
Valley Art Club art group. But everything about it
says that it was a joyous experience.  The model
looks amazing, the blue of the strangely draped
shawl pops the rest of the painting.

And I like it.  Thirteen years later it rocks for me.
I rarely paint the figure, because I'm more interested in
what clothes say in a portrait, but I'm glad I was there
for this pose, and carried it through. Beautiful.

So I miss my art group, shut now because of COVID-19.
One social habit in my life every Tuesday night, if
at all possible, that I miss like crazy.  I hope
all of you regulars are fine.  Nothing in art competes with
the delight of painting from a live model.
So I am grateful to all of you for the delightful
experience of painting with you.

Have a loving your artist friends day.
And yes if you want it you can buy it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Speaking of great art influencers -- Daniel Anaka

Daniel Anaka posing for his
portrait.  He was joined
by my cat Fiona, and dog
Sally.  They loved him.
They didn't want to leave.

Some of the most exciting shows I ever participated in were run by
Daniel Anaka as curator at the old Super Wonder Gallery on Bloor
Street.  Daniel has endless good ideas about shows -- themes, 
entertainment -- audience participation.  And Daniel really cares about
being fair to artists.  I was writing to the artist Gaya Kairos the other day,
and we were both missing those shows.  They were always so much fun. 
The Daniel
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

I'm putting the portrait I did of Daniel on the blog tonight.  He is
one of the funniest, kindest people I know, but he posed in a very
serious manner for his portrait.

Thank you Daniel.  You are an inspiring curator and artist.  When
this whole COVID thing is over, I hope that you get a gallery
space, and that the excellent art shows and fun can start again. 

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Past the 2500 mark -- whew. Thanks for joining me.

Large version of the award 
(the realistic sized version is 
much smaller)
Barbara Muir © 2015
(When I sent out this
award -- artists were giving
each other awards all the time.
I realized that there was nothing
stopping me from doing the same
thing. So today I offer
it to everyone.  I can no
longer even count all the
people who influence my art
and thinking, and make me happy.
Thank you times more than 2500 blogs!)

A good friend and fabulous artist from Texas sent me a letter
saying that she no longer cared what people thought about
her art, and she didn't care about sales.  I know exactly what
she means, even though I don't feel the same way.  I don't paint
for any specific audience.  When I do a commission I
explain that I paint in my own way, and that's what the
client is ordering. But I love it when my work pleases
people.  And I do care about sales.  I don't think there's
anything wrong with viewing painting as a job, or a

In fact whatever anyone thinks about what they do with
their work is what matters.  I was on a Zoom call with
my brother tonight, and he pointed to a self portrait that
I did when I was in university.  He said,"See that?
Do you think you've improved?"  I looked at it, and
thought, 'yes in some ways', but I love what my eye saw
then too.

What I know is that painting, and blogging here, and being
in art shows in North America and Europe has given me
a magnificent life.  And I'm grateful.

I give you all the Happy Art Award.  You make me happy!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Missing New York -- and a video from Wendy Barrett

Here I am with Wendy Barrett
in New York City in 2016.
Check out her book
a great read for artists.  And
watch her video below.
New York to me is the city of possibilities.  Wonderful and
exciting things are always happening there.  Four years ago
in May 2016 I met the wonderful, and kind artist Wendy Barrett there.
We had dinner with her when I was exhibiting part of my ocean series
at The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery.
This photo sums up my joy at being in New York every time.  But this was
May, 2016. The space was in the same building as the 
Amsterdam Whitney Gallery and was a gorgeous
gallery space.  At the time it made Steven
and me think of my Toronto curator, and friend Daniel Anaka,
and how much he would enjoy New York.
Back to Wendy who is adventurous and came to the U.S. on her own,
visiting different places including New York.  We met through the blog
world and were so delighted to meet in person.

So I wanted to share this fantastic video
that Wendy just put out about the wonders of
painting challenges, and her book on the subject.
Wendy Barrett's new video about getting back to painting.

I hope that when travel is allowed again Wendy will
come to Canada and Toronto, and we can meet.
Thank you Wendy for the lovely time we had in
New York, and this video.

Have an enjoying your artist friends day.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Something old -- something new

I found you!
Watercolour and acrylic ink on 
watercolour paper
11 x 15 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
(If I have time I'll take a better
photo in daylight!)
Today was the monthaversary of our wedding day.  That's right
every month we celebrate the monthaversary of our first date,
and two days later our wedding.  Part of today's big excitement
was getting the upstairs air conditioner in.  That might not sound
very romantic, but it was lovely to be able to cool down. Whew
it was getting hot.  We had to rearrange furniture in the tiny middle
bedroom to make room to install it.

If you live with an artist in a small house, you know that
every available space gets filled with art.  Behind the large
dresser in the middle bedroom was a massive art case I'd
forgotten, and in the case I found this painting.  It must have begun
more than a decade ago, maybe two.  But I pulled it out,
and played with it -- adding acrylic ink to brighten it
up.  It's far from perfect -- I have learned so much
since this piece began, but it is cheery.

Have a finding more work day.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

So sorry to hear about Robbie Beniuk

Robbie Beniuk by Robbie Beniuk
Photo from his Facebook file.
I couldn't sleep last night after hearing that a wonderful,
talented young man Robbie Beniuk had died suddenly.
Robbie used to tend bar at the Super Wonder Gallery
in the location on Bloor street in Toronto where I showed
frequently when Daniel Anaka was curating.  Those were exciting
shows in the big space, with fantastic music, super
artistic events.

At the bar Robbie was funny, kind, sometimes giving
me an extra glass of wine when I didn't have the
money for more.  He was lovely.

Robbie was a talented actor, and in art he did the most amazing
carvings on pumpkins -- an art that impressed me because
Halloween is a big deal in our family.
Saturday night fever carved pumpkin
by Robbie Beniuk
Photo from his Facebook file
My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends.
This is a terrible loss.

Have a loving the people in your world day.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Spring Hope -- an abstract based on spring colours

Spring hope
Sketch in acrylic on Canson paper
11 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
(the three large circles
are a blue moon (the world's
sadness), the sun which makes
the spring flowers grow, and a new
full moon, signalling that all is
I love the work of Calgary artist, Verna Vogel.  A while
back I told her that I save things in the shape of
circles for the day when I may use them to form circles
in a painting.  I love what she does with abstract shapes,
and though I'm not an abstract painter, she inspires me.

It was the most gorgeous day here, and it just felt right
for something abstract.  So I started and kept going.
And Verna I used the circle forms I've kept.  This
abstract painting is called Spring Hope, because
I was thinking of the gorgeous landscapes near the lake,
the flowering trees, and the hope that the virus will

Thanks Verna for your great work, and inspiration.

Have a doing something different day.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Life influencing artists -- Janet Vanderhoof

So As Above, So As Below
Cold wax and oil on board,
12 x 12 inches
Janet Vanderhoof © 2020

Napa morning
Oil pastel on Fabriano paper
8 x 8 inches
Janet Vanderhoof © 2018
(Janet is one of the few artists
I know who can make an 
8 x 8 inch painting look 
 huge because it holds 
so much power.)

I don't even remember how I found Janet Vanderhoof's
work, but I know I was attracted immediately to
her beautiful California landscapes.  I've been following
her work for quite a while now.  And I love all of it.
I love how she keeps experimenting and trying new
things, new media.  I love her colours, her use of paint.
She is soooo good.

A couple of years ago (correct me if this is wrong Janet)
she got me meditating.  She invited me into a month
long challenge where we told one another that we had
meditated each day. We ended up continuing for much longer
than a month. I used YouTube meditation videos -- some very short --
as short as five minutes.  But even the shortest ones left
me feeling so much calmer, and ready to enjoy and handle
whatever was happening.  That practice was definitely
a gift to me.

Now is certainly the perfect time for a short daily meditation.
But that's not all that Janet has done for me.  She also posts daily
blessings on Facebook. Her blessings are so kind, and upbeat
that I love them. Some are about having the courage to be
creative. I read them, and notice that they frequently change
what I was thinking, and set the day along a different, better path.

So I raise a glass to Janet for her beautiful work, her
positive impact on my life and art, and her lovely
daily blessings.

Have a loving the people in your life day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Crazy thrill -- selling in New York

See what I mean?
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
I have been teaching tonight, and am inspired by how hard my
students are trying to work learning writing, and presentation
online.  And I'm inspired by the help I'm getting from fellow
teachers, Steven who is my tech help, and everyone who has

Looking back on my artist's life a year ago, I just finished
this painting See What I Mean?  About a couple loving the
park that Steven and I love on the western edge of the city.
Every now and then we drive out there, and go for a walk.
There are very few people in the park, and we all stay far, far away
from each other.

Yesterday it was cold at the lake, and the waves were high,
smashing against rocks along the water's edge, and sending glorious
spray 20 feet into the air.  As we walked along we saw the
male swan sleeping in the pond, and the female still on the nest.
Overhead swallows flew dipping and diving high in the sky.  And
flowering trees along the path were in bloom.  You could not
hear traffic, or the city.  It was magic.

So that is the place I love that inspired the painting. One day when
this is over we might meet you there.

Selling this painting in December in New York City was amazing.
It makes me happy when landscapes move people.  And even
happier when those people buy the painting! (True.)

Have a loving your life day. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

It will all happen again -- an incredibly happy opening

Gabrielle Fischer Horvath and Joanelle Murray cut the ribbon
opening the Catch The Moments Studio/Gallery at
4444 Queen Street in Niagara Falls on May 11, 2019
as Lori Lococo City of Niagara Falls Councillor
 stands ready to give a plaque of recognition to the 
gallery.  Ms. Lococo has a particular interest in 
encouraging the arts.

Spring was a huge time for gallery openings the pre-pandemic universe.
Last year I was in 2 shows in May.  This one -- the opening of the
Catch The Moments Studio/Gallery was one of the happiest
openings I've been to. Gabrielle Fischer Horvath, the gallery
Director is a magnificent sculptor, and a great friend.  I had
five paintings in the show and they were on view in one of the most
beautiful privately owned galleries I've ever been in.  It is gorgeous.
And I was in its very first show.

This year feels odd because this kind of magnificent event can't
happen right now.  And we don't want large gatherings to happen until
it's safe.  I am so grateful to Gabrielle, both for the opening and for
 a long run in her gallery alongside her amazing sculptures, and photos
 by Manny Martins.

I know that there will be openings again.  And they will be
extra festive because we miss them so much.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Loving the small scale

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
6 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
I've been working incredibly hard marking.  The whole time
I feel the pull of my studio.  There is one large work, I
am slowly moving through when there is a minute or two.
And that is how it's been for quite a few days.  A minute or

Then I looked around, and saw a group of cradled birch panels
and one was gessoed.  How perfect.  This weekend in my
pockets of time I've been enjoying working on this one.

I love working in all sizes.  Big is fantastic and powerful.
Small is great and affordable for buyers.  This is still
a work in progress.  I hope you had a wonderful
Victoria Day (in Canada we get a holiday for Victoria's
birthday -- three cheers for you Victoria.)

Have a loving what you do day.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Art from the other side

Living the dream
iPad drawing 
8 x 10
Barbara Muir © 2020

I found this drawing on my iPad which perfectly sums up my day today.
I have been marking all day in my role as teacher of a fast track writing/presentation
course.  I don't think close marking is anyone's dream.  But what is
inspiring is seeing how quickly people learn. 

I once had a boss when I was a teacher (a long time ago) who told
me to stand at the front of the room, and read to the class from the
textbook.  In college?  Yes.  Luckily all of my bosses for teaching,
(except that one), and all of my art directors,  and collectors have been, 
and are wonderful.  

On this long holiday weekend in Canada, and the U.S. thousands of teachers
are doing just what I'm doing -- close marking (editing) writing,
and every other kind of assignment.  If they are part time like me,
they don't get paid for marking -- the biggest time investment in
the job. 

Why do people teach?  If they are like me, their main job normally
involves hours of solitary work.  Getting out and meeting people
feels good.  Watching people transform by gaining vital skills
is over-the-top exciting.  If I didn't have to go back to marking,
I'd raise a glass to teachers all over the world, trying so hard
to teach in this new paradigm.  As it is it better be decaf coffee.

Stay cheerful teachers.  One day you'll get your classrooms

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Victoria Day Weekend -- what's that I hear?

On the pansy trail
Acrylic ink and black marker
on MoMA paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019
It's the May long weekend, the happy start to summer.
Steven and I usually take the dog, and whoever else
wants to go, down to the beach by the water reservoir way
out east. We bring chairs, and sit and watch the fireworks
at Ashbridges Bay.  And they are fabulous.  But this
year -- guess what?  They are cancelled.  No public

What do pansies have to do with all that? They are the
one flower we could get to grow outside -- and last weekend
it snowed, and we had to bring them in -- so they are
symbolic of determination.

Back to my story -- tonight I walked our dog, Sally.
And luckily she is not frightened of fireworks.  Even
though the city won't be putting on its fabulous
firework display -- everyone else will be.  There
were fireworks in people's backyards all along our
walk.  And people sitting in their yards cheering,
and toasting -- totally socially distanced.

Good job Queen Victoria.  We still get a long weekend
because of you.  And even during a pandemic, people
celebrate in social isolation -- with fireworks.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Two years ago this painting was ready for a super show

Cloud Magic
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2018

Cloud Magic is one of my favourite paintings. Two years ago
during a very hard winter -- I broke my left wrist -- I finished
this painting early in May for a wonderful show. Water for Life
Directed by Antoine Gaber, and curated by Angelina
Herrera opened in the Niagara Falls History Museum, at the
end of May in 2018.

What a treat that whole experience was.  I had such great times
with international artist friends from around the world.
The painting went on to be in two other shows.  It looks
glorious in a big space, and it captures the wonder
of a Maritime cloudscape over the ocean perfectly for me.

In this difficult  time I sometimes feel like I'm losing my courage,
and have to take a deep breath and remember the health workers -- they
have real courage. It still makes me happy to remember that I
painted the largest work I ever created -- with a broken wrist.

Have a loving your story day.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

I am so lucky

Spring Break Shoreline
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2007

I admit  I was feeling a bit down today.  I'm sick of this virus, and
also so worried that the government will ease restrictions, and
that the virus will spike.  Most people are conscientious, but
some aren't, and they are the source of worry.  Steven
cheered me up, by doing what I often do if he's unhappy --
helping me notice all that's good in my life.  And there is
so much.  I should feel guilty for ever being anything but happy.
-- But wait, let's skip the guilt for now.

This painting is in our front hall -- it's the first thing you see
when you come in the house, and that seems right.  This is
a painting of me with our sons.  It's only fitting for Mother's
Week that I include it.  I love how the boys look -- both
so cool in their own stages of life.  And they mean the
world to me.  I remember the day this highlights, and
being down by the water.  My oldest was home from
university, and we all went to the lake.  Paintings
can hold so much -- memory, feeling -- in this case
the love that fills our world with happiness.  

Our family has grown since that day, and just gets
more and more wonderful.

Have a loving your family day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

First Mother's Day in New York City

Coffee at 8th Avenue and 23rd Street, NYC
charcoal on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
When I first started showing in New York, I tended to be
in group exhibitions in May.  What could be more perfect --
new York in May is so beautiful. We'd been there once
before when we were visiting my sister who lived
in Philadelphia at the time.  But that was a kind of
crazy whirlwind one-day drive through with my

To actually stay in a hotel in New York City, wander
around in the neighbourhood, eat at cafés and super
restaurants, and visit the big galleries -- the Met, the MoMa
and the Frick.  Exciting doesn't begin to describe it.

Another surprise was that everybody talked to us.  It
was shockingly friendly, and of course we fell
deeply in love with the place.  To me the couple
in this drawing, based on a photo taken on Mother's
Day in New York City, exemplified the city.  On
the weekend New York men, who are very good
dressers relax by taking off their ties.  They still
go out for lunch and dinner in suits.  Not everyone,
but enough to make an excellent impression.  They
look wonderful.  This fellow still had his tie on.

The couple graciously said I could take their photo.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tulips and some sweet phonecalls

Tulips in a Victorian coffee pot
black marker, and acrylic ink and pen
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

It was so nice today to take a break from marking to
talk to some friends on the phone, while I tried to
make this little drawing of tulips turn into a watercolour

A few years ago I subscribed to a neat art supply
company that sent out a new box of cool things
to draw and paint with every month.  One thing
I'd never tried was this black marker.  So when I
bought tulips a few days ago, I drew them.

Today I found out something.  And that's what we
artists are supposed to do.  When I applied water
and my gorgeous acrylic inks to the drawing
the black marker ran.  As in the black seeped
into the colour and voila.

I persisted using acrylic pens to try and make the
leaky marks recede.  And this is the result.
In this crazy time -- producing something --
still feels good.

Have a making something day.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Memories of Mother's Day in New York

Mother's Day in New York City
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
Mother's Day in New York City is a big deal.  I feel
sorry for New Yorkers this year, they couldn't take
their mothers out for dinner, or swamp them with
flowers, or take them to every wonderful museum
and theatre production.

This drawing is of a woman we saw when we went
to visit The Cloisters Museum in NYC, -- a
fabulous place. But when we left the museum we
realized that there were no taxis -- so we walked down
a hill to try and get one, because we were a long way
from our hotel on Times Square.

And we met a couple with a beautiful baby.  They let
me take their pictures, and this is the mother.  I wanted
to draw the baby, and I did.  But I realized looking at
my photos later that the mother was very beautiful, and
loved her baby so much. She seems perfect tonight for
Mother's Week.

Have a loving what you do day.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day in virus land

The Writer's Life
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
(This seems like the perfect painting
for today -- because everyone is
working from home, and trying
to balance parenting and
work.  Plus the painting was finished
for a show that opened
the week before my wonderful
mother died. )
It was a very happy Mother's Day, but boy does this painting
ever make me long for the days when I could hug my family.
I got to see my family today from a distance, and they very
kindly had take-out dinner delivered to us.  Thank you my sweet
family.  I love you.

I hope that wherever you live, and whatever your social
distancing restrictions, that you had a beautiful day.  It is
really cold here, yet we all weathered some time outside so
we could be together.

It makes me think so fondly of the days when we could
gather in a restaurant, and eat supper together.  I love my
family's sense of humour.  Humour is huge with everyone,
even the 10 month old baby -- Madeline, who laughed
away as her family talked to us from our front lawn.

Have a loving your family day.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in the world!

Mother and Child
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mothers out there.
I feel extremely blessed to have two delightful sons, a
lovely, kind daughter-in-law, a sweet, kind girlfriend of my younger
son, and two adorable granddaughters in my family.  Mother's
Day is wonderful for me every day of the year.

And to my own mother who's been gone now for six and half
years -- I love you and miss you Mommy.  You are with me
every day in my thoughts.

For all of us mothers worried about this crazy
pandemic, many of you working on the front lines --
my love goes out to you.

This is one of my favourite paintings.  I just love how
the painting captures the moment of playful exuberance
and the mother's obvious love for her baby son.

Have a Happy, Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Three cheers for the pansies

Pansies in a jam jar (Work in progress)
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

True we have had some beautiful days here (today was
gorgeous), and also some unseasonably cold ones.
(Today!) It's been zero degrees celsius for a couple
of nights in a row.  Snow was predicted for today,
and my phone says it is currently 4 degrees.  I know
weather is not a scintillating subject -- but it's something
 our pansies care about.

They are still producing beautiful flowers, but not
very many.  And I'm sure they know that they're one
of my favourites. But I've had to bring the pots in at
night to protect them.

I did pick a few (they are not flowering wildly) and
did this little painting a few days ago.  It needs a
bit of work and when I get a minute I'll work on it.

Stay safe and healthy and love your life.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Spring starting to really happen -- such a delight

Backyard Cherrywood just spring
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(We're beyond this stage now.  A 
bit of bright, light green on the trees.
So beautiful.)
Hi everyone.  I hope you are well.  I have been working
around the clock on a new course I'm teaching online.
Today we took a little drive to see some of the blossoming
trees.  Here's what I've discovered.  If you're inside all
the time, especially working night and day, and you go
outside.  Magic.  Everything is magic.  In a car ride.
Everything.  Buildings you would have ignored,
streets you don't usually love -- all magic.  So maybe
we are learning something.

What an amazing, beautiful day. What an
superb treat. The whole world beckons, but except
for the very rare, small drive we can't go.
Still thank you world for calling us.

Have a loving what you see day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Saved by the iPad

Spring face
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Crazy busy day. (Am I saying that too much?)  I see people
on TV having races in their houses by pushing themselves along
the floor on their backs.  But no. Not that kind of crazy.
Just a lot of work in the past few days -- and I know I'm lucky.

So I sat down to draw totally relishing the peace and
quiet of no demands, and this face came into my
mind.  I liked her all the way along.  She was very
simple to start with, and stayed that way.

And for tonight -- that's it.  Tomorrow maybe that
beautiful scene emerging on my easel will go further,
and that will be wonderful.  For now I am grateful
to technology and a chance to play.

Have a doing what you love day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Thank you nature

Feeding the birds
watercolour on watercolour paper
14 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir ©
I am working really hard teaching a fast track writing
course online.  The breaks are few and far between right
now, but so amazing when they happen.  My appreciation
can rise to reverence when I see the gorgeous bright,
spring green leaves of my neighbour's tree against the
super blue sky, and forsythia bushes shining like
magic in the afternoon light. Even five minutes away
from my computer can be a trip into another world.
Nature.  I'm so grateful.

The news is grim, stays grim, and can sink you like a
stone.  So I'm lucky that I'm busy.  Every time I pass
this painting in my husband's office, I feel so happy
remembering that day.  The beauty of the water, and
children scampering in the sun.  And the loud insistent
call of the seagulls.  I love seagulls.

We painters are lucky.  We get to capture and keep
moments that resonate so much more in paint than even
in a photograph.

Have an enjoying what you do day.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Happy Birthday Flora Doehler

A Little Bit of Summer
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 inches
Flora Doehler © 2020

It's my friend Flora Doehler's birthday today.  She is such a 
fabulous artist.  Each year when we go to Nova Scotia we 
go and see Flora and Larry Knox, her husband.  They are 
lovely.  And it is always inspiring to see Flora's art.
This painting is a perfect symbol of what Flora does
 so beautifully.

She not only captures the wonderful look of flowers, she 
bumps up the excitement so that we are caught instantly in
a joyous mood.  What could be better in these hard times?
This is a hard time to have a birthday.  But a good time to
be celebrating if you have one.  I send my friend some
virtual lemon meringue pie -- her favourite, and raise
a toast to a wonderful year with lots of sales despite
the pandemic.

Have a celebrating what's good day!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Meeting art greats -- the power of influence

The Blue Shirt
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2004
Today's portrait is of my son Sam in 2004, 16 years ago.
Sam was a very kind model, who I relied on a lot in those
years when I first switched from mainly watercolour to
acrylics.  In 2003 my husband and I went to California
for the first time so that I could study with Skip
Lawrence and Toph Shink (I see Toph is now calling himself
Christopher.) I learned so much in that week.

When I got home I was so filled with inspiration and
admiration that I couldn't paint for about a month.
Ironic right? Now we are constantly inspired by
great artists all over the world, and that is liberating
for me.  But then my awe at their expertise was
a bit overpowering.

My family stepped in and very patiently sat for me.
Plus I attended art group sessions with the Don
Valley Art Club's Tuesday night Art Group, and
found being around other artists comforting.  I was
tidying today and discovered this portrait, and felt so
grateful to Skip, and Toph, and to all of the directors,
artists and collectors in my life.  And to my family -- who
are always there for me.  Thank you.

Have a loving your story day.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Looking back -- 2015 -- the year of fabulous art travel

My work in the Florence Biennale in 2015
Wonder Water Series
polyptych, acrylic on coordinated canvasses
6 feet x 9 feet
Barbara Muir © 2015
Here we are doing what we are supposed to do -- self
isolating, social distancing, working from home -- you
know.  But the great gift of my blog for us is that we can
travel back in time, and remember where we were when.

In 2015 I had the most amazing year.  We traveled for
art shows to New York City, in May where I had work
in the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, to Paris in June
for an art show in the Carousel du Louvre, to Florence
in October for the Florence Biennale, and back to
Paris for a visit on our way home from Florence.

Sitting in my house in Toronto, flipping through my
blog, I am reliving this at a time when even a drive
in the car is considered a lot of travel and neighbours
cautiously talk about life and gardening at discreet
20 feet distances. I am so grateful that we had those
amazing trips, and met such wonderful artists, directors
and collectors.

Have a loving your art show memories day.

Friday, May 1, 2020

More from the iPad

Clouds over the water
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
Two years ago I was getting ready to be part of the Water
for Life exhibition at the Niagara Falls History Museum,
curated by Antoine Gaber, and Angelina Herrera.  I did
one of my biggest works for that show - a clouds over
the ocean scene called Cloud Magic.  Today's iPad
drawing is on that theme. This is one of my favourite subjects
because in Nova Scotia where we go every summer, those
 scenes are beyond magic.

Today Steven took me out to our favourite park by Lake
Ontario.  It was not at all crowded and we fed the ducks,
and the Swan who loves Steven.  When we first saw the swan
another couple was feeding him, and of course we stayed
far away (social distancing).  But what was funny was that
a cat from the nearby neighbourhood had wandered into the
park and was going right up to the swan who was hissing in the
cat's face, but didn't hurt the cat. The cat backed up a bit,
and the swan kept eating the treats the couple was feeding

Watching the water and the play of nature was perfect for us.
It cheered us up to face the rest of the day feeling like we'd
had a treat.

Have a doing what you love 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!