Monday, August 31, 2020

More on a coffee theme

 The morning begins
Black marker on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Today I gave the breakfast tray arrangement in our hotel room another
try.  There were peaches in the tiny dish of chopped up fruit.  I love the
 look of the coffee carafe.  It reminds me of the birds we love — geese, 
ducks and seagulls.  But those birds can’t make coffee — well at least 
not the ones we see regularly at the park we love in Toronto.

We took a drive out along the Ottawa river, today, and enjoyed a long walk on a
 beautiful trail beside the river.  Just magnificent.  I might touch this 
drawing up when I get home to Toronto. Today I thought I’d try and intensify
the black 
of the coffee carafe’s beak.  I used my eye makeup brush, and some water
In a cup.  It didn’t blur the ink the way I hoped it would, and I did not have 
other supplied with me.

Not perfect, but it is something for my memory of this special, and very 
strange vacation in COVID 19. People have been so kind — all behind 
the mask.  

I hope you had a lovely day.  We did.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

The morning's pleasure

 Some like it cold
Black marker on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

One of the great pleasures of vacationing in a hotel is the room service. 
In fact it's been one of my painting themes.  My biggest painting -- 6 feet by 
8 feet, is 4 canvasses combined to create a large image of one of the best
room service breakfasts we ever had.  

The price isn't the difference, it's the attitude of the hotel staff.  That beautiful
meal was served to perfection by two waiters, who wheeled in a table,
covered in a white cloth, and a trolley with the food.  They carefully placed
two beautiful blue cloths over the white one, then designed the breakfast -- how
the food looked, where the cutlery was placed, how they folded the napkins.
There is no other way to describe the care they put into that meal.

That was served at the Hilton, Quebec City, and that hotel is closed now for
renovations until 2021.  Which is too bad, it is one of the nicest hotels we've
ever visited. But every industry is affected by COVID, and of course the travel
industry is at the top of the list.

Right now, room service is hard to come by.  We called everywhere in the
Ontario, Quebec region, and ended up at the one hotel who will bring us
a cold, continental room service breakfast (with hot coffee!).  I drew this little
drawing, and may 
refine it before I'm done, or try again tomorrow.  We are
camped in our hotel, 
costing $11 more per night than the old Ottawa jail,
which is renting out cells to guests -- seriously.

I'm convinced this is more comfortable. Much more comfortable.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Happy to be in Ottawa, miss you Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

I’m showing you the flowers my dear friend Paula in Nova Scotia always
arranges in the school house in beautiful bouquets to greet us when we
arrive. As we drove along the highway singing tonight, and talking about past
trips in other years, we could feel the pull in our hearts of the feeling of
the long voyage we normally take out east,  but also the absolute delight of the
road.  It may not be a good thing, but in COVID there is almost nowhere
safer to be than your car if you want to see something different.  And 
many people, like us do want to see something different.

The road today did not disappoint — amazing clouds, gorgeous light on
the trees. And when we arrived at the hotel we had a sweet note, cookies,
and chocolates!  It’s lovely being in a place we know.  The staff are so nice,
and all is well back home, so we can go for a walk by the canal, and enjoy 
our surroundings.  

If you’re reading this, we miss you Paula. We miss your laugh, and seeing
you, and Bruce, and the boys.  And we miss the beautiful flowers.  One way,
or another we’ll see you next year!

Friday, August 28, 2020

For comparison's sake

The cut
Acrylic on canvas
5.5 x 8.5 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2020
Okay here’s the drawing.  It doesn’t do justice to me, or to the cut.
My first haircut during COVID.  You try measuring the accuracy of 
bangs or chin length on someone wearing a puffy, paper mask.  Pretty tricky.

There has been quite a lot going on in our family — nothing bad,
and it took a bit of doing to get someone to sit the house and
pets, but all of it came together. Miracles never cease.

I’m tired now, and this is it for tonight.  Happy weekend,
and thank you to all of you for making my day.  Stay healthy
and safe.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The force of play

Sally the dog
Acrylic on canvas
5 x 7 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2014

It was National Dog Day the other day, and it couldn’t come at a better
time.  I didn’t honour our Sally yet, but I should.  People who are
lucky enough to have dogs for pets, have companions who insist
on joy.  The current virus has left us isolated to a great degree and
stuck in our homes watching a continuous loop of the news.

And most of that news is soul destroying.  That’s where dogs come
in.  Play and fun are two elements that are absolutely necessary 
for a dog.  And it’s impossible to play with a dog without feeling
happy.  The horrors of the news, the sadness friends and family
are experiencing, the state of the world, all recede.  It’s as 
much fun as playing with a toddler, but a dog never grows up
in the human sense. I am eternally grateful to our dog.

Happy Belated National Dog Day Sally. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Another big decision -- have a haircut

Before the haircut
Black marker on paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020 
(drawn without glasses, so
actually not bad because I
couldn't really see.)

Okay.  So my niece is a hair stylist, whose infinite wisdom
during the 3 months the salon I visit was closed, was to
not cut our own hair.  But we did.  I cut my own bangs for
6 months badly, and Steven and I cut some of the incredible
length off my hair.  It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad.

Today I went to get my hair cut.  I was so impressed by the salon's
protocols.  They took my temperature, asked me more 
questions than they do at the airport, and all was well.  I wore
a mask and gloves, the cutter wore a mask.  

And it was done.  My regular stylist now works at another
outlet, and I will perhaps look for her, for her incredible 
precision.  But it is a very good feeling to have some of the
weighty length gone.  

Tonight’s drawing is a "before."  I walked the dog in the rain
so you’ll have to wait for the after.

Small positive events are the delight of this crazy time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Nothing like a wonderful brother


Shorelines, The Gatineau River
My Brother Andrew
Acrylic on canvas
12" x 12"
Barbara Muir @ 2008

A recent question from a very young family member got me thinking 
about my brother Andrew.  He is the definition of multi-talented.
The child was asking about a creation from my brother’s jewellery 
design period, when he made money by making pins out of small coloured
pencils.  They were very beautiful, and I still wear one from time
to time.

He also made pins from tiny dried fish that he coated in a resin, and
then attached a pin.  They were gorgeous, and looked like they were
alive. Then as now he was concerned about the ocean, and our wildlife.  

In an earlier art practice he made prints of a character he created called
Hocha, and sold them on the street in Ottawa. 

This whole time my brother was writing, and he’s an amazing writer —
Writing everything, and lately mostly ads.  He’s taken big risks with
his art career, moulding clear forms of plastic figures using his home oven,
then filling a bar with them, and shining a slide show through these 
multiple clear figures.  

So I was thinking of him tonight, of how talented he is in so many
directions.  He hosted a television show about the arts in Ottawa for
awhile, and now occasionally joins his wife Lina to cohost
 a radio show Heavy Friends on a Carleton University station.

He is wildly funny, and kind, and I am so lucky to have him in my life.

Monday, August 24, 2020

The dream view

Across the Highway
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

We dream of going to the beach, we think about it night and day, and
we feel so lucky that we have had this joyous experience year after
year.  The only year since we bought the school house just over 20
years ago that we didn’t go, was the year I broke my ankle. The year
I tore my meniscus in my knee — our wonderful friends down the road, not only
cleaned up the school house before our arrival, they brought over a
double bed and put it on the main floor, because they thought it would
be too hard for me to climb the stairs to the second floor to go to bed.

But this year as we will say over and over to one another, is different.
And this year we are focusing on all that is wonderful both here at
home, and where we can get too.  Ottawa was beautiful, the drive
was beautiful, and our street right here in Toronto is lovely. 

The dog and cats are waiting for me to feed them their night snacks.  Please
enjoy wherever you are, and if you’re in the Maritimes and drive
by our school house on Highway 6, say hello to the building for us.
We love you Nova Scotia.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Love every day

Ocean play
16 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir ©

Could you ever have imagined last year, that this year was in the
offing? I couldn’t. I wish I’d known (but of course I’m glad I
didn’t) when I last saw my friends in the Maritimes that I would
be away from them for a whole year — or more. 

We saw dear friends today, and had a wonderful time, but 
could not hug them, and of course we wanted to.  I came
upon this watercolour from a while back and the message
came in loud and clear to me.  Enjoy every minute of your life.

This is a watercolour of my boys when they were young —
Steven, my husband, and Christopher and Sam.  How fast
does it all go away folks?  Very fast, but I don’t have to tell
you that.  I am going to enjoy every minute of the last of my


Saturday, August 22, 2020

First things first (sketch)
Black marker on notepaper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir ©2020
Sent from my iPad

 Something came through my email today about taking a course

so you could know yourself. A great idea, but in a “normal” life
that self keeps changing.

Today I am my vacation self. I long to be on the road again. This 
longing was heightened by a very loud, whiny vacuum truck across 
the street, which was attempting to fix a clearly serious problem, as the
all consuming noise went on for hours. 

I drew this drawing of the stuff in my bedside table, and even though it
was very quick, I like it.  Wishing you a fabulous day.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Sometimes the small inspires the big

Clouds over the bay
Acrylic on archival canvas board
6 x 6 inches

Barbara Muir © 2014 

(I'll try to take a better photo tomorrow.) 

I found this little painting last night, a study for a painting that has evolved

into a work called Approach.  It is a long way from the final painting,
and it is the view we get on the hill in the park we love, leading down
to the beach.   There is something fresh, and unstructured in the small
painting that I like.

I like when I can paint with exuberance.  And I see that here.  I am
on holiday for another week, which even at home means not much
time for art, forgive me.  We artists are not like accountants, or
soldiers.  We sometimes need a space of nothingness to come up
with the next big thing.  Maybe I am really in that space finally.

Steven and I watched squirrels struggling to leap and swing onto
our bird feeder for a good half hour.  Now their determination,
and Olympic physical agility was inspiring, and a treat to watch
on our back porch.

Still having issues with blogger.  I should write the company!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A drawing from a happy evening

A world of plans
Black marker on Charvin drawing paper
8 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

I am on vacation, so may not write the most inspiring posts. Searching for
 something to show you I found this drawing from 9 years ago and loved it.
 It is of my niece and her future husband making plans. 

 It happened at a great dinner at my husband’s brother’s place. Quite poignant
 now, because some of the people at the table are no longer with us. But these
 two planners went on to get married, and they are very happy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020