Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The love of drawing

Cheerful baby 

Marker on notebook paper 

8 x 10 1/4 inches 

Barbara Muir ©️

 It has been the kind of beautiful day that plein air landscape painters dream of. And artists have many tasks to do in order to keep the art part of their life functioning. That was today.

But I’ve been going through old journals. I’m working on a drawing that I hoped to show you tonight, that isn’t done. I’m cleaning up a bookshelf, and I’m going through my journals. Today I’ve been reading a journal that I wrote when my oldest was a baby. All I could think of then was when was I going to get a good night’s sleep.There are endless journal entries about being woken up at four in the morning. I was happy to find this because I know so many people going through the same struggle with a new baby, and sleepless nights.

I was also happy because there’s a kind of triumph at the end of the journal, when our baby is about 13 months old. He is walking, and running, and the happy  drawing at the top of the page is the baby who sleeps through the night.

Have an enjoying a good sleep night.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Wonderful time with my class

 The happy artist

Acrylic on  canvas

36 x 36 inches 

Barbara Muir ©️ 2009

(Shown in her place on the 

Studio wall.)

My Monday night class just finished, and I realize I’ll be sad when this class is over at the end of the term. The students are enthusiastic, funny, and intelligent, and a treat to work with on Zoom.

 We talked a bit tonight about self-esteem, and what it means to be confident. I’m reading a book about happiness, and this is an important topic in the book – to value yourself, and to realize that you’ve already got it all.

So I’m showing you a painting of me as an enthusiastic artist. I keep this painting in my studio, to remind myself of the joy I feel in doing my work. On the down days my former self’s cheery face reminds me that the happiness of creation is available to me whenever I want it.

 Have an enjoying your own worth day.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

The decision to stop

At the cottage (detail)

Acrylic on canvas 

24 x 24 inches 

Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

I’ve been wrestling with a painting that started as a memory from a picture of the cottage that I went to as a child. With the progress of 2020, it became harder and harder to finish the painting. For one thing we were, and are under the constant threat of a pandemic. So at first the escape to a former time seemed sweet.

But over time the past seemed so disconnected from the present that I found it increasingly difficult to continue. So I put the painting away, and worked on other things. Last week I got it out again, introduced more elements into it, worked on it a bit every day, and last night got released.

  Released? Yes! I am not going to finish the painting. Tomorrow I will paint it out, and start again. But I will show you the part I do like which is the clouds and the horizon. And so it goes. Sometimes the long debate, the restless nights, and endless attempts to finish something, end in the recognition that this isn’t going to work. If that happens to you, do yourself a favor, and let it go.

You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last. And something wonderful will come from giving yourself a break. 

Have an giving yourself a break day.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A quick drawing

Sad Zoom Face
Marker on watercolour paper 
9 x 12 inches 
Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

It’s Saturday night, and I want to watch a movie. So this will be a fast blog. My heart goes out to all of the friends who are going through hard times in one way or another. I hope you can take some joy from the beautiful day like the one we had today. And I actually saw a tree in bloom with pink flowers – the start of the exquisite time of spring.

Here’s a drawing I did that is starting to look like part of a series. The inspiration, oddly enough comes from Botticelli.  I am entranced by the way he paints hair. So the hair in these drawings is a combo of inspiration from him, and my own brain. That’s art isn’t it? And I know this looks nothing like the work of  Botticelli. 

I hope you enjoy everything that you can.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Things I learned in the past year


Better bring the laundry in Bob

Acrylic on cradled birch panel

8 x 10 inches

Barbara Muir ©️ 2017

I was reading Janet Vanderhoof’s latest blog called 7 Questions, and it made me think about what I’ve learned living through the pandemic so far. Like Janet I am blessed to live with my husband who I love. He is funny and a great cook. 

I think we learned to be as nice and supportive as we can be because on many days, we are the only people we see. 

But I also relearned how vitally important other people are, and how critical it is to be able to trust people. During this time I think people who work in supermarkets should be given $1,000 a week more. There they are wearing masks all day, cleaning off surfaces, and being kind to their customers.

I learned that although I always knew that I liked my life before the virus, I now realize that I love everything about my life before this pandemic. I would love that life back. 

Right now I’m tired, but another thing I relearned over and over is that my family, friends, and the blog, Instagram, and Facebook world have meant so much to me.

Stay safe, and stay healthy! 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A toast to swans



Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

It’s been the kind of day when if I weren’t basically cheery person, I might have decided to just go back to bed and stay there for a week or two. But there were highlights, and we live for those. The best thing about today – actually there were two best things – were the wonderful walk I had with my friend, and a visit to the park to feed the swans. 

I had a nice video to show you of the swans swimming towards us across the pond to get the delicious bread we feed them, but it failed to load. And in the process of trying to get that to work, the entire blog got deleted. So here is an abbreviated version, and a photo of the wonderful swans we love so much.

Have a being determined to be happy day. OK

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A great day in art

Zoom face 

Marker on watercolour paper

9 x 12 inches 

Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

 I’m showing you a drawing tonight that I did after I talked to my friend Flora Doehler the artist in Nova Scotia. She’s always so inspiring and full of ideas. I also worked on two paintings today, and may have solved one that has been worrying me for a year. 

It’s amazing how enjoyable it is to immerse myself in art. Even when a painting isn’t working completely the way I want it to, I am learning, and ideas about what to do come to me as I paint. 

Wishing you a wonderfully creative day! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Me in green

Portrait in green

Pastel on bond paper 

11 x14 inches 

Barbara Muir ©️

 It’s been a busy couple of days. In a super large sketchbook I found this old self portrait. It’s in a section called “Me” where I did drawings of myself  in different styles. I seem to have been a sad girl then, although very creative. It was before I met my husband, and I know I was worried that I’d never find love.

How wrong I was! And how lucky I’ve been. I am so grateful that I found love, and have a loving family. 

And I’m so glad that I studied art, and have had such an amazing time in my artistic life,

Thank you for your support, inspiration and encouragement. Wishing you a day filled with love. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Spring wonders

Crocuses in my friend’s garden 


Barbara Muir ©️2021

If you don’t live in a city that experiences winter, you can’t imagine how incredibly exciting the sight of the first flowers in a friend‘s garden is!  

Something happened when I was posting my blog tonight, and the whole thing disappeared. That seems fabulously symbolic, and if I believed in horoscopes, or the evil eye, or anything like that I would say that in some ways this has been a day for that. There have been some very strange things going on, including  my car not going into reverse on a hill.

I am very grateful to my husband and his incredible knowledge of cars for him coming and saving me. And the strange little challenges have been going on all day. But in the midst of all that, I am so excited about the delight I feel going on a walk through the beginning of spring with a friend.

The joy I feel experiencing the beauty of the visual world and  of this new spring coming up in peoples’ gardens as we walk by, far outweighs some difficulties I‘ve  experienced today. My husband, my son, and my friends have certainly helped me enjoy this day. And thank you to my students to who were amazing tonight.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The joy of flowers

 Flower Frenzy 

iPad Drawing 

8 x 10 inches 

Barbara Muir ©️ 2018

This was a magnificent day. I’m glad it was because trying to do my blog on my iPad and my phone is challenging indeed. I may have accidentally figured out how to single space but I’m not sure. At the moment my phone will only allow me to center the type, so forgive me.

The weather in Toronto today was superb. It was like the city desperately needed a break from this grim virus that has been driving us crazy for a year. So it was warm, leaves of flowers are coming up in gardens, and people were out in parks all over the city. It’s my hope that even though there were crowds in every green space, that people were keeping their distance

  We went down to the lake again. Colour of the blue of the lake was astounding and a gorgeous blue sky. We fed clouds of seagulls, screeching in exuberance above our heads as we threw them pieces of good bread. And one Swan came to be fed, swimming as we called it from a long way off. What a treat! We are so looking forward to the time when all of us are vaccinated across the country, and we can walk in the park, and not worry about trying to stay away from everyone.

This drawing seems to sum up the feeling of joy I had today in being in the park after finishing the work I’ve been doing this weekend. 

Have an enjoying the start of spring day.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Happy Spring

Steven and me at our favourite 

park today. Those are the

swans that we love in the lake. 


Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

 I have a friend who is very concerned about whether or not people speak properly on the radio. For that friend I know that spring is not supposed to be capitalized. But maybe the rules are slightly different in the title. And they are different today because it’s the first day of spring!

We treated ourselves to a trip to the park to see the geese, ducks, and swans who we love. It was wonderful. The buds are coming out on the trees, the grass is shooting up through the old grass. And the animals and waterfowl are crazy. It’s spring man! 

Someone left a big mirror up against a tree. It was on the beach, and we turned around and saw it, and thought “hey maybe we should take a photo of the occasion.” If you look carefully you can see the swans that we just finished feeding behind us in the water.

Wishing you a joyous first weekend of spring.

Please forgive all formatting errors. My computer is broken, and my iPad is trying its best!

Friday, March 19, 2021


Portrait of Brenda

Sepia ink and red pen on notebook paper

The 8 1/2 x 11

 Barbara Muir ©️ Date unknown

(I found this drawing in an old sketchbook,

and it made me happy to discover it.)

 I’m reading a book about happiness called The Happiness Equation, by Neil Pasricha

Author of of 1000 Awesome Things. I realize that probably I am lucky in that genetically 

I have more of a predisposition for happiness than sorrow. But I do remember in my late

teens and early 20s being  brokenhearted over something like a break up with a boyfriend.

What I like about the book is that the authors’s theories are backed up by lots of research.

And it turns out that people who are happy, no matter what their circumstances, tend to 

live as much as 10 years longer than people who aren’t. And of course the author makes the 

point that they live a happy life right until the end.

We are still in a challenging time here. Some of my friends have got the vaccine which is 

wonderful. And it will be great when we all do. Canada isn’t doing as well as the United States.

 But hey we did better in keeping the virus down. And we believed that it was serious right 

from the start. So we will catch up and that will be great. I’ve just had a wonderful walk 

with a friend and her daughter. And one of the things that the author says keeps you happy

 is a minimum of three walks a week. So I should be ecstatic because I’ve already had six 

walks this week!

Have a loving your life day.

Please forgive the formatting of the blog at the moment. I dropped my computer, and am 

forging ahead on my iPad. Not quite the same. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Keep going


Self Portrait 
Working on being happy
Marker on drawing paper
5.5 x8.5 inches
Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

Apparently the determination to continue to do some thing even though you are 
facing difficulties, is a sign that that activity matters. Is this true?

If the blog looks a little different tonight, it could be because the computer 
that I normally type it on fell on the floor with a hard crunch. Not good. This 
means that at some point soon I will have to take the computer to be looked at —
fingers crossed it can be repaired. As world events go, especially now, this 
isn’t a big one. But some of the main functions of my working life happen on that 
piece of equipment.

I don’t want to say that I’m addicted to blogging. But it is perhaps one of the simple 
pleasures I have in my day. So if I can, even without my computer being repaired, I 
will try and continue. I’ll also try to respond to your comments, which make me very happy.

Wishing you a worry free and creative day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Steven and Sally the dog
in their St. Patrick's Day finery

Barbara Muir © 2014

I hope you had a Happy St. Patrick's Day.  In non-pandemic times we always 
have a family party -- lots of green.  Green loot bags, candy wrapped in green,
a great meal with something green.  This year Steven and I were on our own
with the animals.  And here's the funny thing.  Even though this photo was 
taken seven years ago, this is what Steven wore, minus the hat and bow tie,
and Sally wore the same hat. Briefly.

We decorated the kitchen, and the Christmas trees still on the porches for
St. Patrick's Day, had a toast with green champagne, and a great dinner.
One of my friends called us celebrants -- well we do like to have special
times.  Neither of us is Irish -- but hey!  On my mother's side a few
generations back there were French Huguenots who left France for Ireland,
and then Ireland for Canada. 

Have a celebrating whatever you can day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Give it a try

Spring Equinox
Acrylic ink and acrylic
on Clairefontaine watercolour paper
7 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir 2021

In March, the month of exuberance, I am working on convincing myself that
I can do whatever I work on doing. It has been a hard year for everyone, and
that includes artists. Still I am so inspired by my friends and artists I see on
Instagram, Facebook, and the blog world, so I want to try new things.

Today I gave abstract art a whirl. I greatly admire the work of Georgia Fullerton,
and Janet Vanderhoof. So I thought why not? The results are nothing stupendous,
but I’m so happy I tried. And it was so much fun playing with colour and a new
way of thinking.

Wishing you a day when you feel brave, confident, happy, and well. Please stay
safe, get the vaccine if you can, and enjoy whatever you do.

Have an enjoying whatever you do day.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Deepak visits Pugwash
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(read more about this here)

Last year at this time we were at the very beginning of this long journey we are on.
I looked back on my post from this day last year, and what is poignant in a way is that
all the same ideas matter.  I called that post Wisdom, Wash, Watch.  And that formula 
still works.  The image is of Deepak Chopra, who I saw speak in Toronto with my
sister years ago.  He is the perfect symbol of wisdom, and a warm, caring and kind
human being.  I did this portrait for myself for my studio to remind me of his 
great ideas.  And he is visiting Pugwash in the painting, because he did once
visit me there as a guide when I asked for a guide in a meditation.  If you click
the link above you'll read that an impressive crew visited me as guides in that

As far as I know Deepak has never been to Pugwash, Nova Scotia, but he would
love it there. It is beautiful -- red sand, blue skies, and blue ocean, plus astounding

So the Wisdom part of the formula was simple.  Be smart, be cautious, social
distance and follow protocols.  Wear a mask, and wear it over your nose!
(What is with wearing a mask and leaving your nose out?  It's your breathing
 that is potentially dangerous to others if you are asymptomatic and have
COVID-19, and your mask over your nose protects you from others.) 
Wash is simple.  Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.  We
wash surfaces, have endless bottles of hand sanitizer for the car, and the house.
We wash all of our groceries -- the hard surfaces with rubbing alcohol, the
fruits and vegetables with soap and water.  Not everyone does that, but
I watched a CBC TV Marketplace episode about the cleanliness of our major
supermarkets in Toronto (not very clean), and I continue to be a bit fanatical. 

And Watch. 
That's where the pleasure that's essential for the emotional survival
of this nasty pandemic 
comes in.  There is a lot to watch on TV that is a delight. 
Now that spring is coming 
looking out the window, sitting outside, or walking
will fill your eyes, ears, heart and mind 
with pleasure.  Yes the world is still turning. 
And yes we are still learning.  We have 
learned so much.  I am so sorry for all of
the people who have lost someone to this 
cruel disease.  And it's for them, and for
the wonderful people we lost, that we must 
carry on the three W's, and maybe by
next year on this day we will all be vaccinated, 
and this story will slip into history
as life rises up and blooms again in full flower.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Happy Pi day and working on the time change

Stand Back for the Pie
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

On this day I always celebrate Pi Day by showing you my painting
Stand back for the pie. I know that Pi day is about the numbers.
Today was all about numbers in every respect. Our clocks jumped
ahead by one hour at 2 in the morning, leaving us feeling unbalanced 

We actually forgot about Pi day, but somehow knew instinctively that
pie must be consumed.  So we had delicious pizza last night, and the
remainder today.  Steven quite often bakes a pie on Pi Day, but
instead we indulged in takeout pizza leftovers.

Here's what I wrote about Pi Day last year:

"I'm lucky to be married to someone who enjoys science
and math -- just like my mother, the bacteriologist did.
I love science too, but am not always the best at math.

According to the Huffington Post Pi Day is named after the
Greek symbol π which is the ratio of the circumference of
a circle to its diameter. The first three digits in Pi are 3 (this is the 
third month) and 14 (the fourteenth day) = 3.14 or Pi.  What
 better day to eat pie if you get the urge. Or even a cookie 
pretending to be pie if you want to. And any way you slice it 
you will not be alone in your pie indulgence."

I went to bed early last night trying to work with the new time, so I wouldn’t
be so tired today. But I think it takes our bodies more than a day to adjust.
Our cats, and our dog will know in one day that it is 6 o’clock in time for
supper exactly on time. So maybe it takes us one day too.

This painting is living in our favourite flower shop on Avenue Road. We
just came out of Lockdown on Monday, so we haven’t had a chance to
visit yet, but I’m sure my painting is still happy there. I hope you had
some pie to celebrate Pi day. And I hope you make the time change
adjustment easily.

Have an adjusting to the new time by eating pie day.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

When life gives you lemons -- what? Say thank you

 Studio lemons in a glass bowl 
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

This is the bowl that sits full of lemons in my kitchen almost
every day.  My son Christopher taught me years ago, that a
bowl of citrus fruit was a nice alternative to flowers, and
except for special occasions we've had this decorative 
arrangement sitting between two silver candlesticks with
white tapered candles for years.

In summer we make lemonade from the lemons, and in winter
they're good for hot lemon drinks.  I love painting and drawing
these beauties, and always feel happy when I see them.

It was another gorgeous March day today.  We went to the park
we love 
to feed the geese, swans and ducks.  Yes that's our happy
place.  The park was not busy, and there are so many paths
that we could be alone most of the time.  Ideal in this
environment.  I took reference photos.  The colours were

Have a loving the time change day!

Friday, March 12, 2021

What makes you happy?


Sunset St. Clair, Toronto
Barbara Muir © 2020
(The sunset last night was spectacular,
turning all the buildings on the south
side of St. Clair gold.  Magic. 
Wishing you a brilliant

10 Reasons to be happy

It seems like a good day for the simple post 10 reasons to be happy.
What are yours?

1. The sun is slicing into my room and leaving bands of brilliant
light on the yellow walls.  Beyond beautiful.

2.  The sky is filled with the kinds of clouds I love, puffy and white
racing across the blue, powered by a strong wind.

3.  I went for a walk with a good friend and her dog, and the sights
were lovely.  Sun everywhere, and people masked and distant 
looking cheery.

4. I am working on a painting of clouds, and will keep working on
it today.

5. I talked to my sister in California, and she is well.

6. I am going to my favourite art store today, and can go inside
and look around. Masked and social distanced of course.

7.  I am buying real gold leaf in case I feel like painting a 
Klimt. LOL. Yes.  Not a copy -- a Klimt inspired peace.

8.  I listened to a wonderful meditation on Happiness by 
the woman from Positive Magazine.  I love her voice, and
felt elated and motivated afterwards.

9. Your work online on the blogs, Facebook, and Instagram
inspires me, and makes me so happy.

10.  Right now I am going to go and work on my painting (No pressure).
My message to myself for today is No Pressure.  

Have a thinking about why you are happy day.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Hearing the call

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

There are so many theories of what makes a piece of art successful.
I'm sure it's different for every artist.  I love working on larger work,
and finally got the nerve to get back to solving one of my bigger pieces. 
I should say the nerve to start working on it again. 

I'm showing you a piece I love that is also based on the magnificent
clouds you get near, and over the ocean in Nova Scotia, our second
home.  This painting is one of my favourites, and still available
if you'd love a dramatic landscape behind you as you make your
Zoom calls.  

The new painting is another large work 36 x 48 inches -- and I
just got started on the clouds today.  Then right before supper --
the power went out. We quickly found candles, and used our
phones as flashlights (handy eh?).  For about 10 minutes we
sat wondering what we'd eat for supper, and were just going to
head out to pick up take out food, when the power came back on.

I made dinner because Steven was tired, and my painting kept
calling me.  I was trying to figure out if I could work on it for 
a few minutes while the dinner cooked.  I couldn't.  I had to make
a salad, and set the table.  But I was so happy to know that
the painting was beckoning me.  I could be wrong,  but I think maybe
that's one thing that happens with paintings that work.  They make
you want to work on them.  

Have a hearing the call day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Scheduling happiness

The cat's flowers (detail)
Sketch in progress
marker and coloured pencil
on drawing paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021
(The benefit of the blog.  I
Just noticed that the cat has
no whiskers on one side of
its face.  Hmm.  That's
what sketches are for. Hmmm.)

 I read somewhere that the happiest couples follow routines. That made
 me feel a good about our very scheduled life. We eat every night by
candle light, and take turns making dinner. What routines matter to you in
 your day-to-day existence? Today I look forward to my walk with a friend.
 I can hear her dog's collar clinking as she walks up the street, so I know that
 will happen soon.

Later:  I had a great walk, worked on a big painting, and this little sketch. 
I'll show you part of it.  In coloured pencil, it goes very slowly.

There was a mood of unbridled exuberance today as the weather was 16 degrees
Celsius (60.8 Fahrenheit) with sun, and people could feel spring coming.  People 
were jogging in shorts! I wore my spring coat and it was too hot!

After his workday was over Steven and I had a walk in the dusk by the lake,
and climbed down onto a stoney beach to see and listen to the waves. A 
glorious sound, and it was still warm enough that we didn't have to freeze
to hear it.

Have a welcoming your day day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

One year since my last classroom class

Concentration -- 3 quick sketches
Acrylic ink on notebook paper
Barbara Muir © 2020

As I started to think about writing this tonight the Barenaked Ladies song
One Week came into my mind. I could sing this blog to that tune, but I
won't. But it’s been one year since my last college class in the classroom.
 That’s quite the anniversary.  When I told a friend this she asked, "What
 are you going to do to celebrate that you've succeeded in teaching your
 once a week class online for a whole year?" I'm actually teaching my fifth
 online class.

I love her kind of thinking -- flipping it completely from the sadness of not being
in a live classroom with my students to, "Hey you did it!" And it has been
wonderful teaching on Zoom, and getting to see people without masks. My students
are funny, and smart and I've learned so much from them.  I hope they've learned
what they need from me. 

YouTube Sketches
Black marker on Pentalic paper
Each one is 5.5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Steven and I are going to drink a champagne toast for our success in making it
through this year. It will be a while before we can count on getting a vaccination,
so all of the protocol practices continue – the masks, the social distancing, hand
washing, and hand sanitizing, and – teaching online. 

Thank you so much to my students for helping me in every way possible. I’m not
a techie, and I do love teaching.

Have a celebrating your life day.

Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day -- Thank you to all the women in my life!

Ready for joy
Charcoal on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(This drawing was in preparation for
a painting in the same pose.
I really like the drawing. )

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful women in my life starting with my
mother, who was amazing, and who taught me a love of language, and nature,
and my sister who continues to teach me about relationships, as she's an
amazing therapist, and wonderful writer, and my family, my friends, my collectors, my
art directors, and all of my women friends in the wide world of blogging,
Instagram and Facebook.  Thank you.  Thank you for your talent, the beauty
and intelligence you bring to the world, for the changes you are working so hard
to bring about, for your friendship, your kindness, and your humour.  And thank
you for all of the love you've shown me. 

I have been cheered on, supported, listened to, comforted, laughed with, by women
who've made a huge difference in my life.  And I hope that as a daughter, sister,
relative, friend, colleague, teacher that I've made the women in my life happier. 
That would be my ultimate wish.  Not only that women would have equality, equal
rights, equal pay, freedom all over the world, and also that every woman I know
could have love and happiness.

Have a celebrating the women in your life day.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Chasing sunsets

 Sunset in Toronto,  March 5, 6:47 p.m.
Barbara Muir © 2021

In a normal year it might not have mattered so much that the light
was returning. I have always loved noticing that the light increases
as the year moves from January, to February, to March.  But this
year for Steven and me, the return of the light has been an obsession.
Every day for the past couple of months we've checked the 
timing of sunset. 

Sunset Toronto, January 23, 5:09 p.m.
Barbara Muir © 2021

And when the sunset time moved past 5:30 p.m. when Steven gets off work, 
we were ecstatic, and driving into the receding light, loving
the incredible beauty before us.  Sometimes we get all the
way to our favourite park -- because the sunset over the water is
the best.  But all along the route today golden light shone
through the trees, and made the plainest buildings look like 

Sunset Toronto, January 16, 4:49 p.m.
Barbara Muir © 2021

So tonight I'll show you some sunsets.  Enjoy the coming of
spring.  I'm not religious, but I understand whey so many religions
focus on light. And it is lovely in this hard year of lockdowns,
and constant news of a deadly virus, that so many people
have kept their holiday lights going.  So that when it does
get dark, there is still beauty for everyone who passes by.  

Have a noticing beauty day.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

More on the road theme

Full Serve
watercolour on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

I love the painting I'm showing you tonight.  It turns out I did
three of them inspired by a very happy vacation in Nova Scotia.  
My husband and I have headed out to our little school house in 
Nova Scotia, driving from Toronto, for the past 20 years.  We
missed one year because I broke my ankle, and last year because
of COVID.  But I sure hope we can go this year.

I love the relaxed pose of the woman in this.  And in the background
is a classic Nova Scotia country house -- and the green that is so
wonderful and dominant there.  

I may take a little break from blogging in the next week.  And I
may not.  But if I do, know that it's just because I'm working on
something that needs my full attention.

Have a dreaming of the road day.

Friday, March 5, 2021

A day about cars -- and the search for beauty

Self Serve
watercolour on watercolour paper

9 x 12 inches

Barbara Muir © 2011 

(I love this series.  I love the light, and
exuberance, and observation of
what's happening at a gas station. 
Observation is key.)

Beauty of course is everywhere.  In this painting the sunlight on cars
is gorgeous.  But in search of the exuberant artist feeling and more
reference images, I went to the lake tonight at sunset.  Magnificent.

I'm showing this painting today because it feels so luxurious now --
the thought of being on the road.  I did a series of paintings on this
theme.  Soon we'll all drive cars that will make this image seem
so outdated.  My imagination can run wild with solutions -- none
of which are probably possible, and none of which exist. But they
will someday. 

Today I had to take my car to the garage I use, to get it checked over
so I can return it when my lease is up. This involved driving to the
garage, taking a taxi home, working on a little book of my art at
home for an hour or so, and then taking a taxi back to the garage
to pick up the car.  The taxi drivers were sweet -- masked and
behind plastic protective screens.  And I was masked.

At supper tonight I was thinking that those are the first two 
conversations with strangers I've had in a long time. I do miss 
that ability. 

Have a loving the life you have day.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Happiness in the Month of exuberance

Irises in bloom
Barbara Muir © 2021
My artist friend Daniel Bordi
talked about the importance
of details on Instagram.
Artists deal with details all
the time.  I did today.
Sooner or later they add up
to art! 
It is a gorgeous sunny and windy March day. I am waiting for a dear
friend to come to go on a walk with me socially distanced, wearing masks
of course. My focus today is on happiness.

Later —  The walk did the trick. Such a beautiful day the sky a deep
gorgeous blue, sun hitting the remaining snow, and a cheerful conversation.
Perfect. If I can concentrate on what makes me happy, I hope that I can help
 other people to be happy.

I’m not sure what I’m going to show you today. We’ll see what gets done.
Later -- a lot got done.  I worked on preparing a booklet for print.  

Whatever happens in your life, I wish you a very happy day. Your work and
your exuberance make me feel great joy. And that’s a pretty impressive
accomplishment in these strange times. 

Have a finding happiness day! 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The compelling need for faces

Yes I'll be there
Marker on watercolour paper
9 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

For the past few years I've been focusing on landscape painting.
That makes sense because I love the scenes I see whenever
I walk, or go for a drive.  Yesterday the lake was sending waves
crashing against the shore, with that gorgeous high spray.

And I have really wanted to draw and paint faces lately.  If I capture
a face properly, the person is there vividly before me.  My portrait of
my niece who is gone, is in my studio.  My sons are the first people I see
when I walk in the door -- because their portrait is there.  

We are living in a time when we rarely see a person's whole
face unless they live inside our house.  So the face has become
more important than ever.  Tonight I'm showing you a sketch I 
did today.  I am also working on a portrait painting.  And landscapes
still make we want to capture them, so I've got one on the go.

Have a talking to the people you love day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Happy Birthday to David Cohen and a portrait of Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir ©
completed 2021
(The newspaper photo
this was loosely based on
has been on so many bulletin
boards that it is riddled with
holes from thumb tacks.
Yet it's still powerful.)

I always remember that it's David Cohen's birthday, which is surprising 
because I barely remember most people's birthdays except for family. So
I called him first thing this morning, and sang Happy Birthday to him.  Then
when Steven got off work we called together with our dog Sally, who
loves David, and loves "singing" Happy Birthday.

David is a brilliant writer, a passionate activist for every cause that
matters, and a 
wonderful, kind and loving person. He's my dear friend
Marcia LaBelle's husband, and the two of them have a very happy marriage.

My friend Marcia and her husband, David Cohen,
the show On The Bright Side at the
Wychwood Barns ten years ago.
(I'm so looking forward to the
time when we can do public
exhibitions again.)

I came upon this portrait of Stephen Lewis, and added a few more details
today.  We attended an excellent Massey Lecture by Stephen Lewis at
the University of Toronto about 15 years ago, and were deeply moved
by his work on trying to get governments to pay for treatments for people with
AIDS.  I know that our friend David Cohen has worked for every cause trying
 to improve the lives of people in his community and across Canada. Like Stephen
Lewis, David is a great Canadian, and I'm sure he admires Stephen Lewis's work.
But to be certain I asked him tonight, and he said that if we ever saw Stephen
Lewis in our walks around Toronto to tell him that David Cohen in Hamilton
thinks he's wonderful.

It was a beautiful day for David's birthday. He said that he had a great time with
his family, who are living together during the pandemic.  And I am very happy to
have finished this small portrait of one of my heroes. 

Have a finishing the work day.

Portrait Artist

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