Wednesday, October 5, 2022

International Teachers' Day -- a big thank you


Deepak visits Pugwash
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(I was going to put my own
self portrait on, but found this
and like it better.)

Today is International Teacher's Day, and I'm thinking of all the teachers 
who taught me.  It feels like a somewhat ironic, delightful and comical
twist that I am now a once-a-week teacher at a community college, teaching 
Professional Communication.  

So thank you to all of my excellent teachers for teaching me, understanding me
and uplifting me so that I could enjoy the wonderful life I have today. I don't 
remember my grade 8 Art teacher's name, but I'm sure she's part of the reason 
I ended up spending a couple of years at OCAD, (The Ontario College of Art
and Design) and that I'm showing a painting virtually in the
Carousel du Louvre show this month, and received an award in the mail today
for my 
art.  Also all the teachers at OCAD were amazing. 

I left the school and went on to get an English Literature degree, because
I followed a boy I was in love with to his university. The feeling was definitely
not mutual. In a way he was a teacher too, because because of him I learned that I
deserved to be with someone I love, and who loved me -- #1 most important life
lesson -- 
and my very happy marriage, not to that boy, is the result.

As an adult I'm grateful to Skip Lawrence, Toph Schink and Americo del
Col  -- fabulous art teachers, and to everyone whose art work I follow
through the blog, Instagram and Facebook. And I'm grateful to my
sister the therapist, for introducing me to her wonderful therapy partner.
On the thinking side I'm grateful to Brené Brown, Louise Hay, Oprah
Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, and a long list of inspirational thinkers and
writers.  The message is -- be the teacher you'd want to teach you.

Have a loving your life day

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

In Honour of Chloé

 


Before the Dance in the White Dress

Part of the Dance series
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 
(Thank you to my sweet niece 
Chloé who posed for this one)

On this date 5 years ago my sweet niece Chloé died.  This
painting is part of a series called the Dance series, that I
painted because I was inspired by my students. Chloé -- like
my students was at the beginning of life, but couldn't see that.

Tonight I'm quoting a post I wrote about this two years ago.  The 
loss for those who loved my niece gets harder as time goes on.

My Dance series including "Before the dance",
"After the dance" and "At the dance" paintings
was dedicated in part to my students, who I could
see were at the beginning (many of them) of the
dance of adult life.  And I wanted to wish them well.

Plus for a portrait artist, what could be more beautiful than
people dressed in party finery?  This painting of my niece
stays high on my list of work I produced in that series.
My niece was so beautiful, funny and intelligent.  She
had everything going for her, and yet she is no longer alive.  
She died suddenly in October of 2017.

Adult life as it turns out, is not that easy for some people --
it was not for her.  I find the painting and even the idea
of the series especially poignant tonight.  We -- the whole
world, are like young women, and men on the edge of
life.  Our future, our very existence at the moment, is
a complete unknown.

We have got to take care of each other, help in whatever
way we can -- by staying healthy, by following whatever
few small pieces of advice we get from health authorities,
by recognizing how lucky we are for every day of our good
health.

Unlike the dance metaphor about good things to come (which
was my hope), the virus (still) hitting the planet now predicts the
very opposite.  People talk about boredom.  But boredom
is a small price to pay to help not just ourselves, but
as many people as possible avoid this tragedy.

Have a taking care of yourself and the people you love day."
We love you Chloé.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Crazy little thing called love

Crazy Love
Acrylic ink on 
watercolour paper
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I may have written about this before, but why not talk about
it again? About 9 months ago, our cats both nearly died. Why?
They stopped eating. The vet gave the older cat (13 at the time)
meds to rub on her ear to make her eat.  She stopped because her
teeth hurt. And we force fed the kitten with a tube for a week. She
had gastroenteritis.

Both cats are fine. The kitten recovered with maybe a bit too
much of a an appetite, but my point tonight, is that my husband,
Steven, already pretty blue about COVID, and all of the restrictions
was devastated by the cats' hunger strike.  

So I started writing him love notes every night, that I put in our
middle bedroom where he keeps his clothes, for him to find in
the morning.  At first the notes (usually on cards of my work)
were about the cats. But he loved getting the notes so much I had
to continue.  My notes kept his spirits up, and made him happy.
And we got in a routine of reading them at his lunch time.  He starts
work at 8 a.m., and I'm a night teacher once a week, so we're on
completely different schedules. 

And now I can't stop, and he doesn't want me to.  So tonight's
small, quick painting is on a postcard. Most of my notes are
on cards -- with three pages of copy. And now he loves me
to write in French and Italian too! So I painted this for
tonight's note. Just a postcard of copy! But sweet.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The lure of Inktober

Untitled (detail)
Inktober drawing
7 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I woke up this morning thinking it’s October 2. What is the perfect
thing to do in October? Of course there’s so many things to do --
it’s a beautiful month. But I was talking about what to do in art. I
have some wonderful photos by my father that are portraits of our
family when we were children, and I thought that I'd use one of those
and do a drawing. But when I opened the box where I thought they
were --they were all landscapes that my father printed himself in
black-and-white. Not what I wanted.

So I went into my own photos on my iPad, and found one of our
kitchen table at this time of year covered with glass pitchers and
cream jugs filled with flowers. The very essence of abundance! I
loved the feeling in the photo, and set to work. 

I'm showing you a detail, because it took much longer than I
expected. If I get it finished in the next couple of days I'll show you
the final image.

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Happy Inktober

 

Me in my Full Fine Art T-shirt
Black marker on Canson paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Crazy busy day today, so I'm going to use some of an earlier
post.  I do love Inktober, because it's so much fun drawing with
markers.

This is a self portrait of me wearing my friend Georgia Fullerton’s
Full Fine Art T-shirt. It isn’t a perfect portrait by any
means, but I enjoyed finding it in my Blog files.

"I’m inspired by my artist friends who do so many things
 to promote their work, and by artists in general -- who are
 so much fun to be around, and so inspiring to their artist friends. 

Georgia Fullerton is such an active voice in the arts community.
So that’s it for today -- a drawing and welcome October. I’m looking
forward to this month in our family. It’s full of birthdays, and will
be full of art. (Isn't the word full perfect on this T-shirt.  That's what
we want -- a full life.)  I wish you one.

Stay safe, and stay healthy, and if you’re an artist who enjoys doing ink
drawings Happy Inktober."

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Perfect painting for the day

All dressed up for you
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

The fall cool has begun in earnest at night. But during the day the sun
warms things up, and luckily the garden is still going. We’ve had
some family health matters happening today (all is well), so I'm not
going to talk to you for long.

A friend in Texas is travelling to a state north of her place to see the
fall colours, and the leaves are just starting to turn here.  They are
absolutely stunning.

The first time I showed this painting, a woman (an artist), came up to me
and told me I had it all wrong. Can we agree that unless you're an art
teacher that's not the appropriate thing to say to an artist, and even
then -- not in an exhibition, where we're already wearing our hearts
on our sleeves?

Well for me, the painting has it all right -- the dramatic transformation
of the schoolyard across the street. Always an exciting time.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Inspired by friends

Imagined bouquet
Acrylic ink on
watercolour paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

The painting I'm showing you today was inspired by my friend
Flora Doehler, who first introduced me to acrylic ink. Wow.
I love her work. The other day she posted a photo of her 
studio, and she was working on a bunch of 8 inch square canvasses.
I am not like Flora -- much slower, but I was inspired to paint 
the flowers in my garden, from my mind.  And here's the result.

I started a painting from life of the Nasturtiums from my garden,
and it is not nearly as lively as this imaginative effort. 

Have a loving what you do day

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

More on apples

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

It has been a strange and beautiful day. I had a good walk with a dear friend.
It was a wonderful day, and ideal walking weather. I love it when wearing
a sweater is the right choice, and that was today. The garden, which has had
almost no care from me is at a point of high perfection. The Cosmos that I,
wished were a different colour are magnificent. I now understand my neighbour’s
lecture about flowers. She was right. these magenta and mauve Cosmos dancing
at about 6 feet high are just so inspiring. It’s almost impossible not to be happy
looking at them.

So I brought some in, and put them in a large antique glass jar. They're making our
kitchen table happy. Looking through my blog I found this drawing of apples. It
surprised me because the style is similar to the one I used to make the drawing I
showed you yesterday. I don’t know yet whether our apple trees in Nova Scotia
was struck down by the horrible storm that hit the Maritimes. We were sent a photo
that showed many trees down on the property, but I couldn’t identify them. I hope
the apple trees made it through the storm because they are very beautiful.

Wishing you a gorgeous day and I hope you can enjoy the apples of the season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The apple of my eye


Apple time
sketch
marker on Fabriano 
paper
Barbara Muir © 2022

I am so lucky to live with a man who loves to be make food. A few
weeks ago the theme was peaches. He canned peaches in glass jars
on two separate weekends. Now we’ve moved on to apples. And
soon our cold room will be filled with applesauce in jars too.

Even though I’m eating green apples every time I’m tempted to have
candy or cake -- my favourite apples are Macintoshes. I really don’t
know any other kinds. But Steven is a perfectionist, so his apple sauce
has to have more than one kind of apple in it.

I started this sketch of three different kinds of apples. I don’t think it’s
finished. The challenge is drawing apples in line drawing, rather than
in color. But I like a challenge,

So there may be more developments in the drawing tomorrow,
but for now this is how far I got.

Having an enjoying your apples day.


Monday, September 26, 2022

Happy Birthday to my friend Raylea, and the new baby in the family

Happiness
Acrylic on Birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(Raylea was the model for this.)

Today was a busy and happy day.  So much good news. The roof is
finished, and it is my good friend Raylea's birthday. Happy Birthday
Raylea. And there is a new baby in our family, who looks
adorable. We have not met the baby yet. So all in all Happy Monday,
and Happy September 26.

I taught my once a week class tonight, and am happily exhausted.

Have a wonderful day.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Our school house has received some damage

The school house near
Wallace, Nova Scotia today

Photo: Greg Smiley © 2022
Blog: Barbara Muir © 2022

Whether you heard about it or not, a major storm from hurricane
Fiona hit the maritime provinces in Canada. Yesterday when this
was happening, we were safely in Toronto, listening to the radio,
and watching the news on T.V.  We always listen to Ocean 100,
a P.E.I. radio station in the car, and were getting horrific accounts.

The main thing for us is knowing that our friends are safe. And
so far the friends who've reached out to us, and that we've contacted,
are okay. Whew!

One of our friends braved a highway blocked in places by downed
trees today to check out our school house, and this is one of his
photos. As far as damage goes, we are lucky. Many buildings have
been damaged irreparably.  Still from this distance, this photo
breaks are hearts.

Here is a bit from a post I wrote four years ago about the school
house. It's vital to appreciate what you've got, and the moment 
you're living in.

"As I write this it is very late and the sky outside is
filled with stars and the Milky Way.  Only 25% of
Canadians live where they can see the Milky Way and
we are there.  Steven has rigged up the tripod for his
big star watching binoculars to hold his camera, and
is taking photo after photo.

But the experience is impossible to capture on a camera
in a way, because what we see, and what the camera sees
are so different.  There is the full orchestra effect of the sound
of the wind, and crickets, and the occasional strange night
moaning of a gull on the tidal river, the land behind us
backs onto.

Today we have seen deer, (one was right at the edge of
the road to the beach we visit), a  black bear, far off on
 that same road, a pair of seals, a fox, a flock of small
sandpiper like birds, and a skunk (which was by the highway
and ran off into the fields without incident).

It is hard to imagine this place becoming everyday or
ho hum.  It digs deep into your psyche, which is why
we fell in love with Nova Scotia when our children were
small."

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Finding magic everywhere



Now that was good!
Black marker on notebook paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

My morning started off horrifically early for a Saturday -- the one
day I can sleep in.  The roofers redoing our roof forgot a vital
detail yesterday, and had to come and fix that today. 

Because I was up early, and guzzling down coffee, I was alert
earlier, and looking through photos on my iPad.  I was trying to
delete pictures, and kept finding images I not only couldn't
delete, but wanted to draw or paint immediately. I loved several
photos of room service breakfasts.  Steven and I miss room service
in hotels so much! For us a romantic hotel visit means a delicious
breakfast in the room each day, beautifully served on a little table,
maybe even with flowers.  But lately that hasn't been an
option -- so I'm showing you a sketch of a past room service 
morning.

Saturday is packed, and it's our Monthaversary of our wedding
day. So we went to the market, saw the farmer, got beautiful flowers,
and headed out to get wraps from our favourite short order chef at a
Rabba for lunch. There are some great people at that store, and we
talked about business cards, and my Professional Communication course,
and laughed a lot. 

After walking through our favourite park, and feeding the birds, we
stopped to get gas on the way home.  I talked to the young woman
behind the counter at the gas station for a minute, and it turned out she
was an amazing artist, so I gave her my card, and we are now connected
on Instagram.

Then when I got back to the car, I found out that when we visit Europe
again, I will see my friend, whose name I would love to have as my
own -- Alessandra.  In fact, one of my friends calls me Alessandra all
the time, and I call her Gabriella. That made me very happy.

Wow.  The roofing seems to be over, and we just had a delicious dinner.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Falling for it



Self portrait

drawing
marker on drawing paper
7 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

It was a cold beautiful day, and the roofers were missing material they
needed to finish the roof. So we escaped the roofing noise briefly, I
went out into the garden, and I enjoyed the peace of the beginning of
fall, 2022.

An artist friend says that if you have a pencil, you've got no excuse for not
producing a drawing. Of course I have a pencil, but I also have pens. And
now that it is September 23, I’m well aware that Inktober is approaching.
My friend might also say that if you don’t have a subject for a portrait try
using yourself as the subject.

So I took a quick picture of myself – no make up, in my rough at home
artist’s clothes. If you live with animals, and you’re a painter, you need
clothes that stay home and inside, and clothes for leaving the house.

My artist clothes of course have paint on them – and the same clothes are
frequently covered with hair from my two Siamese cats, Fiona and Monet,
and my dog Sally who is part Border Collie, part Jack Russell and part Kelpie.
She sheds in three different colors. I love having animals, and I don’t really
fuss about the hair, but I am aware that when I go out I need to make sure I have a
different wardrobe.

Following my friend's advice, this is what I produced. I don’t think my
self portraits ever look like me, but I like this one.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The importance of roofs

Market flowers
Sketch
marker on bond paper
7 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

It has been a very noisy day here where I sit to write to you.
I am upstairs, and we are having a new roof put on -- a 
necessary luxury. Our old roof wasn't insulated, and the top
floor of our house in Toronto, Canada, was always very cold
in the winter.  So we hope this will help.

Meanwhile with the glass light in the ceiling where I'm writing
threatening to crack at every slam of a hammer on the roof,
I decided to work on something calming. Drawing is always
that for me.

The farmers at the farmers market have been bringing incredible
bouquets every Saturday, and the flowers last for at least a week.
So this is this week's offering.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

After the market
Watercolour and marker on
drawing paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Once again a rushing around day.  It's the start of the school term,
and although I only teach one night a week, there's a bit of a 
demand. Plus we had roofers briefly, plus I didn't sleep at all
last night. Plus appointments, and so on

Not to bore you, I am putting up this painting, which I like
a lot. New work is coming. Thank you for your encouragement and
support.

Have a loving your life day

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hard day on Cherrywood

 


Talking to Andrew
Marker on drawing paper
Skype drawing
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir ©

Thanks to my brother Andrew I ended today on a cheery note. Sometimes
the wonderful things you do in your life, are hard in the process. We are
getting a new roof on our house. The roofers are wonderful, but the house
is shaking, filled with noise, And disrupting the neighbours' lives.

Not good. This combined with hard conversations in the house, and on the
phone made it a tense day. My brother has the amazing capacity to argue full
tilt. He can claim that he knows more about any subject we discuss than me
including, ones that I have taught. And so I argue back. But the delightful thing
is that when the argument is over, where the conversation ends, usually by phone,
there’s no resentment left over.

So if I called him up again and I’m sad or upset he can switch gears and be wildly
funny. I love that and I am so blessed to have him, and to have all of my kind family
in my life.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, September 19, 2022

A busy day at our house

Before the Dance Sketch #1
Marker on bond paper
8 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©





Before the Dance Sketch #2
Marker on bond paper
8 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©

Before the Dance Sketch #3
Marker on bond paper
8 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©

There is quite a lot going on here.  I have roofers outside my window
putting on a new roof.  And I found out today that I'm teaching my
one night a week course tonight! So very busy prepping notes, and
making announcements, and looking for clothes not covered in 
paint.

I found these drawings I love in an old notebook.  They were prep
drawings for a large painting that I love. And I love the changes in
expressions in the models -- my son, Sam and a friend posing as a couple
getting ready to go to a dance, for my Dance Series.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Something happy to look at

The happiest view 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 60 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Today Steven and I had chores to do to prepare for roofers
coming tomorrow.  It may rain.  It did today, but if it doesn't,
there will be a lot of noise and disruption. 

I was looking through old journals today trying to get the facts
on an event-- so strange to read about my life ten years ago, and
even earlier.  One set of journal entries made me happy, because I
 have so many friends who love challenges, and I don't think of
myself as a challenge person.  But in that journal I was trying to
write three pages (hand written) in a journal every day plus a drawing.

I thought about sharing that with you tonight, but it would
take a lot of time, and it is late. Then I saw people responding
to a memory of this painting coming up in memories on 
Facebook, and I thought, 'that painting is perfect.  It's the
peace I always feel near water.' So I'm showing it to you 
tonight.

Have an enjoying your life day.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

My art goes to the farm


Jens Eller of Marvellous Edibles Farm
with the painting
August road trip
Acrylic ink on 
watercolour paper
and pencil
5 x 7 inches
Framed
Barbara Muir © 2022

Today this painting went to visit Jens Eller
at the Brick Works market. If you haven't met 
Jens or his wife Ayse, they are among other things
former European chefs, and their baked goods
are delicious. And of course they are the farmers
at Marvellous Edibles Farm. 

I buy a spinach quiche (scrumptious) every week
from them when I am in Toronto, and that makes
a super dinner for us, for two nights. 

So Jens said that this painting reminded him of 
the lake on their property -- and that's a good thing.
I know my painting will enjoy its new home.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Wanting fall to wait


Wildly happy flowers
watercolour, acrylic ink and black marker
on watercolour paper
6 x 9 inches

I found this little exuberant painting I did of nasturtiums a few
years ago, and thought it expressed my emotions about this time 
of year perfectly.  Everything in the garden -- which never got
completely planted -- looks absolutely beautiful, and I dread the
day when I walk out and it is all mush, the hand of fall will have
fallen.

My friends all say -- but hey you love fall! I do love the cooler
weather and being able to walk in ideal temperatures.  But
this year Steven I have had dinner on the front porch looking
through the glorious tangle of leaves and branches of our
rose plant, and it has been such a treat to eat there.  Like a 
picnic every night.

Okay. You're right. I better get ready, and my kitchen table will
be happy to take us back. Candles at the ready, our perpetual
bowl of lemons, and flowers.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Nasturtium time, and one tired artist


Night Nasturtiums 
Watercolour on watercolour paper
5 7/8 x 9.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Despite my fatigue I will probably go out in the garden 
tonight and pick some nasturtiums.  They are suddenly
stepping out and asking for attention.  And they are
so beautiful.  

The power went out for a few minutes today, which
seemed like a fitting metaphor for how I was feeling. But
when it came back on I went back to painting, and felt
renewed.  Plus the painting is slowly coming together. So
I can probably show it to you in a few days.

Here's a nasturtium painting that captures the joy I
feel seeing them.  And you have to pick them, so they'll
produce more.  A true gift.  Thank you magical flowers.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Thinking about former models

Fatouma (sketch)
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

A great joy in this artist's life is painting from a live model.
COVID ended all that for quite awhile, and even still I have
not had a model in my house.  Although we now paint from a
live model (see last night's post) in my art group.  We are
all masked, and the model masked the moment she left the
posing platform. 

At a mid-point in the current pandemic history so far, when
we thought if we were vaccinated, we were safe, I did this quick
study of Fatouma on our back porch.

Currently the porch is so think with bees/wasps that we can't
sit out there.  Which is too bad, because the end of day light,
and the view of the garden are amazing.  Thank you Fatou
(her nickname) for posing for me, and for being funny.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Back to my art group

Art Group Sketch
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Some things that help artists create are the exhibitions, classes,
and drawing and painting sessions they have with other artists.
We get inspired by one another, and understand one another in
ways that are unique to the artistic life.

Of course I believe that all of us live creative lives -- that includes
my husband with his gorgeous canned peaches in glass jars waiting
to make us happy mid-winter, or my friend who walks with me, trying
to organize her walk around making grape jelly.

Tonight I joined my art group for forty minutes.  I felt out of touch, and
super disorganized getting ready, and incredibly happy to paint
from a live model.  And the model was magnificent. She gave off a
very dignified and regal vibe.  So this is the result.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, September 12, 2022

 

Three five-minute self portraits.
I cannot get them to line up, but the
first one was done this morning after
one cup of coffee.  The second was
done in the afternoon after a super
walk.  And the third tonight when
I was tired.

My computer does not want to publish this. Okay -- they aren't the best drawings.
They're five minute sketches I did on a little 4 x 6 sketchbook from
France.  The origin inspired me.  And on a day of mostly administrative
work, it made me happy to do them. My favourite?  The middle one. None of
them really look like me, but that's okay. 


Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

For me one story

Portrait of my father 
black marker on bond paper
7 x 9 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

September 11 will always be remembered for the horrific attack
on New York City.  But in my life it is also about the death of my
father much too soon.  So I remember this day.  I remember
my father calling me his nickname for me "my beautiful Bibby,"
when I held his hand as he lay dying.

He died of lung cancer. In his teens he started smoking 
the strongest, unfiltered cigarettes. He gave that up when I was 
a little girl, at my mother's insistence.  But by that time his
lungs where affected. Plus he had worked in the navy on ships
with very strong radar. 

Today what matters is that I love him, and miss him. He
was a very strict parent -- and later apologized in a moving
letter to me about not understanding little children. And he
was also loving. He deeply admired my art, and encouraged
me. And he was a wonderful painter himself. 

I think his legacy to the family is the beautiful photographs
he took, and developed in his darkroom in the basement of
our house in Ottawa. They are amazing.  When we moved to
Toronto, the house was more stylish, and there was no room for a
darkroom. So my father switched to colour photography, and didn't make
his own prints.  And he began painting. 

I think his work life was also much more demanding, and he didn't
have time to figure out where a darkroom would go in a house with a
finished basement.  Plus his children were growing up, and life changed. 

For the last five years of his life he struggled with emphysema and 
pneumonia, and finally lung cancer. 

If your Dad is alive, give him a hug, if not, I feel for you. I 
certainly miss my Dad.

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

A delightful day


 
Swan and friends
Photo
Barbara Muir © 2022

It’s Saturday night and if I had the time I would write up an excellent
 art show that I saw today. But in a few moments it’s time to eat dinner,
 and then watch a movie with my darling Steven.

This has been a crazily busy day. We went to the market this morning and got
delicious food, and beautiful garden flowers from our favourite farmer.
Then after lunch we headed out to an art show called Encounter '22
at the Heliconian Club.

Downtown Toronto was so busy today that it took us an hour and a half, instead
of 20 minutes to get through the traffic, and out to the park we love on the
west end to feed the ducks and the seagulls. We usually love to feed the swans.
But we ran out of bread before we reached this one. And when we saw her the
sun was setting, and she had no interest in eating at all. That was lucky because we had
nothing left.

So tonight I am showing you a picture of the one swan we saw just before we left the
park. She is so beautiful.  It was a happy end to a busy, and fulfilling day. 

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

An excellent day for art


Down by the bay
Acrylic ink and pencil
on watercolour paper
(work in progress)
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

It was a beautiful day here, and I felt "on" creatively -- ready to 
paint, and happy to be painting.  I worked all day on two landscape
paintings, and made plans for other projects.

Plus I sent a photo to my printer Chris, for reference, and I suddenly
knew I wanted to paint a scene from last week in the park we love,
as my next adventure. Chris and I had a happy debate looking at
the reference over how I should proceed.

The paint I'm showing you is loosely based on a scene from the ocean near
Pugwash, Nova Scotia. I love how the acrylic ink allows me to make
clouds on watercolour paper.  So fun.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The time of the peach



Peaches for lunch
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

My husband Steven has already canned some peaches that we
can eat in the coming winter.  In February the taste of this
delicious fruit gives us hope that spring will come.

This weekend it looks like he'll be filling more pretty glass
bottles with the season's beauties. It has been a long and tiring week.
I think this painting captures the delight in seeing peaches at
their best. Yes that's two stories about fruit in a row.  Well
it's that time of year. Enjoy.

Have a loving your life day. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Green Apple diet

Green apples on display
(sketch)
Acrylic ink on
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I have some big events coming up this fall, and I want to look
good.  While we were away going out to Nova Scotia, and coming
back, every time Steven and I got upset, or the traffic was too
hectic, and we travelled 5600 kilometres, we ate candy, or cookies,
or cake, or the delicious scones my friend Paula made for us 
for the return trip.

So now it's time for me to get back to no sugar, and no flour.  I do eat
wraps with Steven on the weekend -- so that's some flour, but
I only want to eat sweets on special occasions, until the fall is
over. Sure you wouldn't do it this way, and you have a million
better ideas for you.  But hey! This works for me. I just invented
it a couple of weeks ago, and I already notice some changes.  Plus
it's painless. 

Every time I want a cookie, candy, cake, ice cream -- I take a 
bite of a green apple. It works.  I think I'm going through about
one apple every two days -- so not bad.  

They are not my favourite apples. I love McIntoshes. But green apples
are good, and satisfy that immediate urge. So I did this sketch today 
to honour my helpers.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The thrill of landscape

Yellow fields
Acrylic ink and pencil
on watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I started this painting of fields in Quebec yesterday.  We had a marvellous
drive out to our favourite park, and fed the ducks and seagulls. They were
hungry! The lake was wild, the waves high.  It was fabulous. This
image reminded me of the visual delights of our trip home from 
Nova Scotia through New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario

Some reference photos of mine picked up that spirit.  And
here we are.  I hope your holiday was wonderful, and that your
week starts off filled with promise. 

Life is good.

Have a loving your life day. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Labour Day in Canada

Served to perfection
Acrylic on canvas
10 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

Today is a holiday.  So if it's a holiday for you, I wish you a 
wonderful day, and if not, I hope you love the work you're
doing.

I'm just about to eat my oatmeal, and am thinking about how
COVID makes us reminisce about how things were. One of
our favourite things that has not come back yet is room 
service.  For Steven and me a room service breakfast at a
hotel that did that well was a supreme treat.

I'm pretty sure this painting is from references taken at
the Hilton in Quebec City. But I've got to say when we stayed
at the Novotel in Ottawa recently, and went to the restaurant
to get our breakfast to bring it to our room (no room 
service) -- the cooks made wonderful oatmeal. Delicious.

Enjoy your Labour Day, and happy holiday. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Looking back on a wonderful time

I was looking for posts I'd done on this day, September 4, and
found this post about the amazing story of one of my favourite
paintings. Today we're having company, so I wanted to write
my blog earlier in the day. 

This is one of the happiest stories in my painting life.  And there
are so many. If you want to scroll through my more than 3,000
posts you will have to agree.  I love my life as an artist.  And
your ideas, comments, and support mean so much to me.

In the studio working on 
In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
"Today I'm just going to write about the magic of the
art world.  It is absolutely magic.  I was looking for
photos of my studio.  I love it when artists post
pictures of their studio, but mine is never in that
ideal, photographable state.  I have what used to be
the living room and dining room of my tiny house.

Anyway I found a picture of a painting on the easel
which I'm showing you.  It is in the more orderly
part of the studio, so I can let you see it.  And
looking at that photo brought back so many memories.

In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
My wonderful friend in The Netherlands, Miranda
Brouwers, who I met at the Florence Biennale,
sent me photos of a nature reserve near her home,
called the Worp, and helped me be in an exhibition
to raise awareness of the Worp.  This painting was
put together from the photo reference, and my knowledge
of similar spaces near me in Toronto.

Then the work flew in a tube, off its stretcher, to
Miranda, and she and her husband stretched it,
and transported it to the exhibition.  When it
came back to Toronto, my friends at DeSerres
re-stretched it, and I sold it in a show with my
friend Gill Cameron.

If I hadn't met Miranda in Florence, Italy, when we
both showed at the Florence Biennale, it would
never have happened.  The painting wouldn't have
happened, it wouldn't have travelled across the
ocean, and back, and it wouldn't have sold to
a wonderful collector in Toronto."

Have an enjoying the magic of the art world day.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Going to the Louvre and friends from a past art show


The Louvre
Photo
Barbara Muir © 2016

Thinking about this story, I realized it needed revising. It was so
wonderful to meet the people we met this morning at the market.
And the day had some sad news I can't share, but I must include
the happy end of the day, which is that I am showing in a virtual medium
being displayed in the Carousel du Louvre in October, in the Louvre
Museum in Paris, and we are going to Paris to see it. More about this at
a later date.



Friend from the Brickworks Market, Staz 
with his friend Nicole came
to the show Magic Land in 2017
(Now Nicole and Staz have a baby. We were
delighted to talk with them for a few minutes
today. I don't remember their last names.)

Today was a strange day.  In some ways hard, and in others
wonderful.  We began our day at the market and ran into this
lovely couple who we met when Staz was working for the market farmer
we visit -- Jens from Marvellous Edibles.. And that was a wonderful
beginning to the day, so I'm going to talk about that.

This picture is from 2017, and today when we saw them the
couple have a beautiful one and a half year old baby girl!  Nicole is in 
Tech Strategy, and Staz is a firefighter for Toronto Fire Services
who works a lot in social crisis situations.

This photo is from my last exhibition in the Barns Magic Land with Gill Cameron.
It was an amazing show. 

And yes as I strangely added at the beginning. I am going to see
the Louvre again in October.

Have a loving the people you meet day.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Feeling like bed time


Iris
Acrylic on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008

People who know me would be shocked that I'm thinking about
bedtime before 10 o'clock.  Of course it won't happen that early,
but I've been working on a painting I am enjoying, and it's not
ready for viewing.  And we had a wonderful walk in our
favourite park today.  And I'm tired.

We were feeding the ducks, and had almost run out of
bread (the top ornithologist at Oxford University supports feeding
water birds bread -- especially the good bread we use.)
Just as we planned to move on about 20 geese landed on the
water in front of us.  I teased Steven that they were yelling,
"Steve's here!" 

This is a portrait from an art group session 13 years ago.
I love it. and this is what I said about it when I posted it.
"Here's a rapid sketch I did of an elegant British
lady who posed for us one night at our class.
She was an artist's mother, visiting from
England, and a great model. She sat in this very
proper and straight posture, dressed in lush colours.
I like the agitation in my painting. I think I was
just excited by her gutsiness."

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Past Septembers


Napping with the cat
Watercolour and marker 
on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

I found a post for this day in 2019, and that year I had a horrible 
cold that developed into pneumonia.  I had two rounds of antibiotics,
and my new doctor had no more answers.  It was before I traveled
to New York City for a show in December -- but I do remember being
horribly sick.  And I did have pneumonia.  Luckily I was well for
the exhibition.  And am I ever glad we got to go to New York then!
I love this painting of Steven sleeping in our middle bedroom because
he was sick.

COVID was announced the following March, but probably started in
North America in December 2019. And here's the interesting thing. Since
the precautions came in -- the masking, social distancing, and
vaccines -- knock on wood -- I have not been sick at all. That is pretty
wonderful, because I am vulnerable to lung disease.  I've had 
pneumonia several times.

I'm working on a painting that's going well, and I'll show it to you
when I'm finished.  I got a bunch of reference photos blown up by
my printer today.  Although all protective mandates for COVID have
been dropped here, by our brilliant (sarcasm) premier, both the printer
and I were masked in high quality masks. 

Have a staying healthy and happy 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!