Wednesday, September 22, 2021

More from the iPad

Portrait of a man
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

Say you’re stuck somewhere without a sketchbook, or even a pen, or pencil.
But you have your iPad! I drew this portrait for the most part one rainy afternoon
on my two week vacation. There really is no vacation from art. 

In fact the whole holiday was research for upcoming paintings. The beautiful
landscapes and seascapes I saw along the way will inspire me this fall and winter.

Happy first day of fall. Today we have the same dramatic rain that we had for
a lot of our vacation out to the Maritimes. It’s quite beautiful. The garden is lush
with green and flowers.  And our back porch is covered in sparrows trying to
escape the rain. Inside the kitchen door our cat, Fiona, watches the birds' every

This is a not great likeness of our current Prime Minister -- somewhat prescient in
a way. His face appeared on my stories and I drew it. What I like about
drawing on the iPad is both how advanced, and how primitive it is. I enjoy
drawing with my finger, and the whole image was done that way. It could use
more work, but I can get back into my studio now that the people working downstairs
have left. Back to more significant ventures.

To answer your question – yes I have an iPad pencil, but I much prefer
using my finger.

Have a drawing however you can day. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Lessons from the process

Sunset on the cove
iPad drawing
(drawn with my finger)
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

Sometimes when you create something you don't think is perfect,
you should leave it. I don't want to have that as my watchword. But.
I'm glad some of you like the image of the Fundy cove I shared the
other night.  Because I tried to make the horizon straight, and used
a painter's tape that was way too strong.  And it ripped the painting
quite seriously.

So I went at it again.  Same size watercolour paper.  A different kind
of masking tape to make a straight horizon line, and all kinds of strange,
non-complimentary results.  I'm also working on improving a painting
from years ago of our beautiful Pugwash shore, that I never got right.
That is actually improving -- slowly.

But man.  That beautiful sunset still haunted me (in a good way -- I'm
an artist).  And I drew this image of it.  Also not perfect, but the colour 
is right on.  This is an iPad drawing.  That is what the water and sky looked
like -- so gorgeous.

The moral is either -- let it really dry.  Or don't mess with it. Or "Hey--
you're an artist.  Learning and having fun is what it's all about!"

Have a loving the world day.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Acquiring bravery

 Sunset on the Cove
(colour sketch
Acrylic ink on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

It may sound strange, but sometimes I love it when messages come flying into my head that
make sense. I realized when I was travelling to the east coast and back for 15 days that I
want to enjoy making art. This trip gave me the inspiration I needed so badly.

About bravery -- all of us who have lived through this continuously surging virus have had
to acquire bravery. Some of us more than others. To my friends who have lost loved ones to
this nasty pandemic I extend my profound sympathy. 

And to the rest of us -- thank you for taking care of yourself and your family. Thank you for
listening to the health experts, and getting your vaccines. I am eternally grateful to you. Just
spending the afternoon today with the youngest artists in our family, I'm fervently wishing 
that they will continue to be safe.

I hope some of the many ideas that came to me on my brief holiday will stick and turn into
something more. It was exciting to be away even under the strange conditions of current travel
 – eating takeout the whole time – still masked. And it’s exciting to be home and to think about
putting my new ideas into action.

Wishing you an absolutely fabulous day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The wonders of travel

Coffee on the patio
Marker on drawing paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

We’re on our way home now, and I’m looking forward and looking back. I feel like my life has been given incredible gifts in the past two weeks.We got to go to our little school house in Nova Scotia. In the middle of a pandemic this has been huge. 

I’ve seen the work of two of my favourite artists in person, and been so inspired. My brain is on fire with possible ideas.  Artistically I know my creative energy has been affected by the pandemic, but this trip has renewed my urge to create. And seeing paintings by Flora Doehler, and Norene Smiley has been so wonderful. 

There couldn’t be a better place to go at the moment than Nova Scotia, where you have to apply and provide proof that you’re double vaccinated just to be allowed into the province. 

And the countryside and small town views are some of my favourite in the world. Especially at this time of year—summer in its final days —lush green, flowers everywhere, the bluest sky, and gorgeous clouds. I’ve taken endless reference shots. 

I drew this young woman from a casual photo I took through a window in Ottawa at a café where we were getting coffees to go. I loved her serious look as she talked to her friend. 

Have a getting recharged day!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Apples across the brilliant lawn

Apples in a bowl
Marker on drawing paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021

Today in heavy rain somehow the grass around our school house was glistening
in the soft light, water shining off the green.  And across the would be field,
(now nicely cut) dotted here and there with wild purple flowers, there are some
apple trees along the edge of the property.  They are looking especially lovely
now.  My friends Flora Doehler and Larry Knox in Bear River have 
some of the most beautiful apple trees I've ever seen, and are picking 
their apples, and making applesauce.

I know I won't have time to harvest our apples -- most are just on
the verge of ripening.  But I did a quick sketch of some small
apples tonight.  It was a lot of fun just fooling around with line.

Have a loving what you see day.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

The pleasure of drawing

Drawing on the road
Marker on drawing paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021
My husband Steven and I had a brief window for a vacation, before
his work gets heavy again, and I begin to teach my class one night a
week. So we jumped at it.  Now we are out in Nova Scotia -- one of the
most beautiful places in the world. People are very careful here about
COVID-19, which is why the province is keeping levels very low.

As I photograph everything in hopeful anticipation of references for
future paintings, my top priority is Steven.  We are staying at a motel
In Smiths Cove tonight, that has a small deck looking out onto the
Bay of Fundy.  Spectacular views of the sunset, and the Big
Dipper over the water tonight.  In the distance a concert is wafting
over the water.  So we danced together under the stars for a few minutes

With my focus on our time together, I am drawing when I get a chance.  
Here is a sketch of a beautiful woman. It is super close up, and could of 
course use more work.

Have a drawing whenever you can day.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Summer sketch

While the oatmeal cooks
Marker on mixed media paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir ©️ 2021

Yesterday as I worked on this rain was coming down hard on the tin roof of our school house.
Today blue skies and sunlight seem miraculous.  I knew when we were planning our
 vacation, which came about very quickly – we had two days to get ready -- that I probably
 wouldn't have time to paint while we were on holiday.

So I decided to simplify my life, and my packing, and bring a sketchbook instead.
I was planning to draw with plain black markers. But in a Winners store in Ottawa
I discovered a package of beautiful coloured markers by Staedtler. 

We arrived in the evening at our school house in Wallace, Nova Scotia, and
were greeted by a lovely bouquet of wildflowers on the table. These were from
my dear friend Paula.

I started drawing them the next morning while my oatmeal was cooking. I loved how
the details of the flowers kept revealing themselves. I think I’m finished. I’ve been
using fine markers, and have rarely drawn with this type of pen in colour before,
and enjoyed them so much.

Have a staying dry and loving your life day. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The colours of home

Sunset on Highway 6
Barbara Muir © 2021

We are currently staying at our 112 year old school house in Nova Scotia,
and haven't been here for two years because of the world wide pandemic.
Nova Scotia is being very careful, but we are double vaccinated, filled
out the application form, and got in!

Our very simple wooden building was invaded by creatures who made
themselves right at home, and we are extremely grateful to our friends
who stepped in to clean up the mess before our arrival. 

The entire trip has been magnificent and uplifting.  After a year of
feeling like we were locked in a box, just the travel through the
beauty of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia has been
inspiring beyond compare.  It's not a surprise that Steven and I were 
singing most of the way.  Amazing.

I have done a drawing of the flowers my friend left on our kitchen
table.  But there is not enough light to photograph it properly tonight.
Instead I'm showing you the sunset we saw as we went to buy groceries
along Highway 6 this evening.  Spectacular. 

More tomorrow.  Thank you to every one of you.

Have a loving where you are 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!