Friday, May 27, 2022

Quick paint the pansies!



Front Porch Pansies
Acrylic Ink on
Watercolour Paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I was working on this pansy painting tonight.
We've been lucky with a cool spring, because pansies
are a bit like this artist -- they hate the heat.  So before
the high heat of June comes in I am working on 
finishing a few more pansy paintings.

I think I learned to love these flowers from my
mother.  But another source of inspiration, as I've
said before, was a superb drawing teacher I had when
I studied art.  He was a high realist of sombre, even
grim topics,  but each year he took a break to enjoy
the beauty of pansies, in many watercolour paintings.
I loved them, and although he is no longer with us,
I think of him every spring.

Have a loving what you do day. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

 

Breakfast at the Skylight Diner, NYC
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

Breakfast at the Skylight Diner, NYC was also accepted into
the
 Food For Thought virtual exhibition put on by the
San Fernando Valley Arts & Cultural Center in California.
I am so excited and happy to be included in this virtual show
that begins on June 1st. 

I'll put the link to the show and 
the virtual reception on
June 4 here for 
you when I receive it.

Have a loving your work day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

On the easel

Untitled
(detail)
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022 

On an off and on the easel.  I am working on this, and
thought I'd show you a detail.  None of it is finished, and
everything could change in a blink of an eye. (Forgive
the cliché.)  I am still devastated by the news from Texas, 
and Buffalo, and all over the world.

When I feel at a loss for the state of the world, I head to
the lake, and it is always an inspiration. Nature knows
what it sometimes seems we don't understand.

Have a finding your inspiration day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Heartbroken for the people of Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York

Cottage Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
SOLD 

There are no words for how sad I am tonight to learn that a man
broke into an elementary school today killing 19 students, and 3 teachers.
These numbers may change, but the heartbreak is horrific.  

I am showing a painting of flowers in respect for the parents, and
families so horribly affected.

Take care of one another.




Monday, May 23, 2022

Another entry in Food For Thought plus First Place for Stand Back For The Pie!



The King's Breakfast
 
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

The Kings's Breakfast is another painting that was accepted
into the Food For Thought virtual exhibition put on by the
San Fernando Valley Arts & Cultural Center in California.

The most exciting news I discovered yesterday, and was 
officially made public today is that I was awarded the 
First Place award for the painting in Saturday's post --
Stand Back For The Pie.  Wow! I am so excited and 
delighted.  The virtual show begins on June 1st, and 
I will tell you more as I get more information about
links for the show, and the virtual reception on June 4.

I am very grateful to the exhibition organizers and 
the juror, Terry Romero Paul. 

Have a loving your work day.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Some highlights and Happy Monthaversary

Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Do you and whoever you love celebrate Monthaversaries?  We do.
Today was the Monthaversary of our first date.  So we wish each other
a great day, and it was one. Very cold today after yesterday's heat, 
which meant we could go for a long walk in our favourite park
on the west end of the city.  And of course we fed the geese, ducks,
seagulls and swans. They were very hungry.

This painting is a work in progress.  So you may see it again, with
even more progress.  I know I've said it before -- but Steven and I 
absolutely love clementines, and take them with us whenever we 
go out. They are a treat, and so beautiful.

Have a loving what you do day.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Stand Back for the Pie gets some very positive feedback


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

I picked up this painting today from friends who were storing it for me,
and on the way home showed it to people in our favourite food
store, to friends at our favourite take out restaurant, and to wonderful
neighbours.The funny thing was that everyone asked me where I got it, and
when I said I painted it, they were very impressed. How fun!

This painting is one of five works of mine that will be in the Food for Thought
virtual exhibition that starts on June 1. Read about it in my blog post yesterday.

I'll be sharing more about the show this week.

Have a loving what you do day.

Friday, May 20, 2022

My work is in the San Fernando Valley Arts & Cultural Center Exhibition


I'm so happy that five of my paintings on the theme of food have been
accepted into this juried virtual show -- Food for Thought.  I'll be telling
you more about it over the next few days.  There will be a virtual reception on
Zoom on Saturday, June 4, and I'll keep you updated with the details of how to
join if you're interested.  I couldn't be more excited about this wonderful news.
 
Have an enjoying your art life day.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

More than 3000 blog posts! Yes. Thank you for being there for me

Pink in the city
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

When I first started blogging in February, 2008 I could never have
predicted that I would  hit the 3000 blogs published mark.
And what a wonderful journey it's been!  There's no question in my
mind that writing this blog has been a blessing.

I would not have shown in New York, Florence, Paris, The 
Netherlands without the blog. Oprah found me through the 
blog.  And I have made and kept some wonderful friends 
through the blog. So I am grateful.  I think tonight's
post makes it 3012! Wow. Thank you to everyone who has
read my blog, invited me to shows, commented on the blog,
been my friend, shown me endlessly wonderful art.
Thank you.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Great night with my art group

Art group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

 Last night was a good night with my art group. The model was excellent,
 and also funny. He asked if we were drawing his mouth, because he
wanted to do a quiz with us. We said he could go ahead, and it was interesting
and fun. After setting up I think I only had about 35 minutes to sketch this
because I arrived at the time of a break, and there was one more break in
the hour I had before my husband came to pick me up. But I felt so energize
by being with friends who are artists. And there's no comparison to drawing
someone live.

This was my third time back with the group. There were not too many people
there and everyone wore masks, which made me feel more comfortable.
The virus has really changed life as an artist. And I appreciate every possible
chance to feel somewhat normal again.

Have an enjoying your life day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Honouring the companion on my easel

One of the best
(Michael Gibson)

Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

This painting of Michael Gibson is finished (for today).  As so
often happens when I think I'm finished a painting, details and
changes leap out at me, and want me to keep working. I will.
But for now, it is done.

I started this painting at a time when the possibility of a live
model was not a thing.  I watched a video of Michael,
and took some still shots.  True -- painting from captured video stills
was not ideal. But I absolutely love Michael Gibson's work, and
originally hoped to emulate his style. I soon realized that was
impossible.  He is a genius. Plus I much prefer to work in paint.

So I may show the piece to you again if I do more.  For now
the point has been to honour the work of one of my artistic
sources of inspiration.  Michael Gibson is continuously
inspiring.  And the stories he posts with his art are vital
and moving. Thank you Michael.  

Have an honouring your heroes day.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Almost done

One of the best
(Michael Gibson)

Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Tonight I'm showing you my portrait of Michael Gibson, a
graphic artist whose work I admire so much.  With his 
permission I took a few shots from a video he showed on
Instagram, and have been slowly, slowly working on
his portrait ever since.

Michael is such a magnificent artist.  Check out his work, you
will love it. Tomorrow I hope to show you the finished work,
properly photographed. 

Have a painting who you admire day.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

An exciting day

Mauve over everybody!
Acrylic ink on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I recently applied to be in a juried art show in California, called
Food for Thought.  I entered six food paintings and five of the 
six were accepted! Seriously I am very happy.  It's a virtual show,
and I'll tell you more before it's available.

Today was a knock out beautiful day in every way here in Toronto. 
Steven and I went to the lake and walked on a quiet path.  A miracle
because so many people were out celebrating the gorgeous spring. It
was hot! Which is funny, because two weeks ago it was cold!
And apparently colder days are coming again.

I worked on this painting, and it seems to be finished.  You never
know -- until you do.

Have a loving your work day.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

I want you back again!

 


Fall blooming Anemones in our little garden
 -- a super cheerful sight
Photo
Barbara Muir © 2017

Our fall blooming anemones are the most gorgeous, long lasting
and valiant plant in our garden.  Each year when the holiday
season is over we take our holiday tree, wire it to the fence and
fill it with birdseed.  Birds are the decorations -- this year it 
lasted until April, when it turned brown and had to come out.

And despite being under a tree, covered with birdseed (in fact
enduring bad behaviour) this magnificent plant usually comes back
to my absolute delight. (Forgive me, I'm an artist.  We get excited
by most things.) Well the birdseed got raked off, and I was weeding
yesterday and saw one anemone leaf.  There is hope!

We need it. Sorry about the Leafs game. Toronto wanted a win.

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

The watchword is wonder

Baby robins in the nest
Photo
Barbara Muir © 2022 

The photo tonight is of the baby robins living in a nest on the column by
our front door. This was a couple of days ago.  There were four, and
today there were two.  Our hope is that they grew so much more 
(they were easily doubling their size every day) that they left the nest and
went out into the wide world.

So despite my blurry photo, my message is clear. In Toronto right now
the world is filled with wonder.  Robins growing above the porch,
flowering trees everywhere. Gardens including ours thick with flowers.
(our tulips are amazing this year.). You have to live through real
winter to get what a miracle this is.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

A paint day, and a pansy painting

First pansies
Acrylic ink, acrylic and marker
on watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Today was a super day, even though I broke a tooth last
night, and had to go to the emergency dentist. (The dentist
was great by the way -- kind, gentle, funny. Multiple
masked and also good at the job.) (As a former dental
assistant in high school, I am very clear about what's
good work.)

But the main thing is that I worked on a painting that
I've been making for the past six months on and off,
and I am almost done. Plus I talked to a super joyous
friend and laughed a lot, and even weeded the garden
a bit in between painting sessions.

I found this little pansy painting that I don't think I
showed you. I started it the minute pansies started
appearing in our previously flower free world, and
sending everyone's hearts into pure unmitigated joy.
And I did a bit more work on it tonight. So it was a 
paint all day day, and soon I'll show you the main
work.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A great night at my art group

Earth Angel
Art group sketch
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Last night the model at our art group was amazing.  What I love about
making a quick painting is the vibe that the model gives off. In this case
perhaps because I realized my friend had just died, I picked up an angel 
vibration. Susan, my friend was an angel on earth, a kind person dedicated 
to caring for others.

I am not religious. But I do love some of the religious art I've seen
on my travels. I was happy with the abstract way the painting turned out.
Steven says that the angel looks angry or stern.  I said maybe she's upset
about what we're doing to the planet. 

Have a loving what you do day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A sad week

Susan and Simone 
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©

Yesterday I found out that my friend's wonderful mother had died
that morning.  My thoughts are with her family who will miss
her terribly. She was a kind and loving mother.

Today I learned that my friend Susan Hartnett (who some people
will remember as Susan Scott) has died. I met Susan in my early
working days when she was an executive, and I was a corporate
writer at the same company.

She was a wonderful person, a kind and devoted friend. She
spent her life helping other people, working for charity 
organizations, taking care of her parents in their final years.
She was also beautiful, and had a great sense of humour.

I did a portrait of her years ago, and can't find the image.
All I can find is this cheerful painting of Susan with my
cat Simone. And this is enough to make me long for 
my friend. My thoughts go out to her family -- her sister
and her children, and her brother, and Niko -- her long
time friend.

Have a loving the people in your life day.

Monday, May 9, 2022

More on Mother's Day



Small is beautiful
Watercolour and marker on
Arches watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 

Thinking today about a friend who just lost her mother.
It is a powerful loss, and the details of those last moments
stay etched in your heart and brain forever. 

Nothing can replace the person you love.  But the love
continues. And that is heartening.

The flowers today are to honour all of the mothers here
and gone, and to send love to everyone missing a parent.
We love you, I love you Mommy. We think about you,
talk about you and miss you every day.

Have a loving your family day.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, and all the people mothering

Ocean play
Watercolour on watercolour paper
16 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir ©

Thank you to my family for so much joy in my life -- for your
kindness, generosity, humour. You mean the universe to me.
And thank you to all my friends who are kind beyond measure --
you make the world worthwhile. To all of you Happy Mother's Day.

I had an amazing day starting with coffee and breakfast in bed, 
with lovely phone calls with family members, and ending with a dinner
of a delicious take out meal, and beautiful home made cherry pie made by
Steven, my wonderful husband. I am a lucky woman. 

Have a loving what you do day.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Happy Mother's Day weekend

Christopher and Sam
my sons,
photo
Barbara Muir ©

The photo is of my two guys Christopher and Sam, a few years
ago when we could all get together at a restaurant for
Mother's Day, and enjoy an evening together.  At this point
things are not so relaxed, and I miss that easy life.

These two have been the finest sons anyone could want.
I love them to the maximum, maximum, and I love the
extended family they've brought into our lives, our
daughter-in-law Megan, our grandchildren Alice and
Madeleine, and Sam's fiancée, Emily.  I'll feature
more Mother's Day love tomorrow. 

Have a loving your family day.

 

Friday, May 6, 2022

What we do

At the pond
video
Barbara Muir © 2022

I spent a lot of the day today applying to be in an art show.
It will be great if it all works out, and I get in. Meanwhile,
I am grateful for the help I had here in Toronto, and from
the organizers in the U.S.

What do artists do when the behind the scenes life is hectic.
We get out.  Spring is at its ultra lush beginning here.
The sweet baby green leaves like fuzz on the trees -- flowers
everywhere. And at the pond in the park we visit -- this.

Have a giving yourself a hug day.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Nostalgia -- leads to change

 

Some of my work in the 2017 exhibition Magic Land
Left to right View from the highway
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017,

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

On the St. Lawrence
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Five years ago tonight I was at a wonderful opening for a show
called Magic Land with the fabulous artist, Gill Cameron.  The
exhibition was held at the Artscape Wychwood Barns Peter
McKendrick Community Gallery.  It was a super show, and this
was long before COVID, so everyone talked and laughed, had
wine and goodies, and bought art. It was so much fun.

Today with the help of a friend and neighbour up the street I 
applied to be in a virtual exhibition called Food for Thought
run by an art group called SCORE (Southern California Open Regional Exhibitions) in the Los Angeles California area.  If
my work gets accepted I'll let you know. But it was fun
thinking about past shows, and a time when we felt entirely
free to live our artists lives. Applying to be in the show today
brought back a similar feeling.

Have a trying new things day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Back to my art group



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

Strange times -- in the houses just around ours 12 people have had, or do
have COVID. So I am wearing a mask when in a public group.  Last
night Steven drove me to my art group in the pouring rain.  In the studio
everyone was wearing masks, and the model was great. 

I think I painted this sketch in 35 minutes.  Because I had one hour
before Steven was coming to pick me up. I set up, painted, the model
took a break, maybe two, and I had to wash my brushes before I
met Steven at the door.  It's clear from the painting that I had fun,
and people around me were doing such amazing work.

Have a loving what you do day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Happy BIrthday to my friend, the wonderful artist Flora Doehler



A Little Bit of Summer
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 inches
Flora Doehler © 2020
It's my dear friend Flora Doehler's birthday today.  Flora is such a 
wonderful artist.  We love her art so much that when we
go to Nova Scotia, we take a four hour drive to make sure
we drop in on Flora and Larry Knox, her husband in Bear
River.  They are sweet.  And they are always wildly
enthusiastic about their lives.  At a time when some of life
is so frightening, and much of the daily routine seems endless,
it is always inspiring to see Flora's art, and talk to these two.

Flora gets flowers like no one else, and her paintings have the
same effect as flowers -- they take your breath away with
their beauty. I always feel happy looking at her work.

Again this year it's a hard time to have a birthday. 
Sending Flora a toast to a wonderful year with lots of sales 
despite the pandemic.
Have a celebrating your friends day!

Monday, May 2, 2022

Bloggers love to blog

Untitled
Working on it.
Acrylic ink and marker on
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

 
The end of a wonderful term in my one night a week course
happened today when I sent the marks in.  I will miss the
online class so much. So funny, and they worked so hard.
This will be a short post, but I do love to blog, so I
wanted to write to you.  More tomorrow. 

I started a new pansy painting, which is not finished. 
And I am very tired -- I wish you a wonderful day.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Vibrant inspiration



Fabulous spring pansies
Acrylic ink and marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

It was a wet moody day today.  Perhaps in mid-summer
you would discount the day as a rainy day.  But two
weeks ago it snowed a lot, and a week ago it snowed.

So here's what pops out at you, if you are a person
who enjoys the visual.  The forsythia are beyond
gorgeous -- wild clouds of brilliant yellow, sometimes
tamed into hedges.  The grass is a green so bright, you
would swear it couldn't be real (but I'm talking real grass).
And the trees are starting to be that sweet soft cloud of 
palest green.  It was beautiful.  On my front porch a 
team of glorious pots of pansies line the front steps,
and they are the best. So I did this little painting of
some of them, who came inside to pose.

The colours of the pansies are knock out.  They shout
out to you -- "Hey you -- put a smile on your face! 
It's spring." It works for me. Happy May!

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

A break is in order


Let's Have Some Fun!
Black marker on Moleskine paper
8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

The one night a week online course is over, and the marks
are going in, the taxes are done, and it's goodbye to this
month. I am grateful to my wonderful students who helped
me enjoy another strange COVID winter.

And I'd have to disagree with T.S. Eliot, who said April
is the cruelest month, because despite its hard problems,
it was the sweetest month for this artist, watching a sea of
blue flowers cover lawns, bright yellow forsythia emerge,
and today magnolias coming into glorious bloom.

I'm showing a portrait from 7 years ago tonight. It never
really looked like me. But I love ink drawings. Wishing
you a joyous May.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Thinking about food

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

I've always enjoyed painting what I see in front of me,
or what moves me in my regular life. In recent months
every time I look at the bowl of lemons that regularly
decorates the center of our kitchen table, I think of
Evelyn Oldroyd who has done so many lovely lemon paintings
this year.  So I'm showing a painting of lemons tonight --
this bowl snuck into my studio, and insisted on me painting
its portrait.

I am thinking of joining a virtual food themed art
show, and will be reviewing my files to see which
of my paintings celebrating food -- should try out.

Breakfast is one of my favourite meals to paint,
because in a hotel -- served to you on a rolling
table, with a linen tablecloth, and every delicious
breakfast food -- it seems so symbolic of romance
and the treat of hotel stays.  

Have a loving food day!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

10 things I've learned so far in the month of Fresh Starts


Pansies win the crown
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Today I am overloaded with end of month tasks, and doctor's appointments,

so here is my blog from this day in 2019, which surprisingly to me -- still
resonates. Maybe this date is special in that way. So much has changed since
that year -- which is why I wanted to look back, and see what I was thinking.
We have gorgeous pansies like these on our front porch steps, so perhaps
I will paint more.

What I learned that year, I learn over and over. I'd forgotten that
I called April The Month of Fresh Starts. That seems right. Things
end -- the tax year, my one night a week class, and new life 
begins everywhere.

1. Thank your friends.  New ideas and methods, and
opportunities come flying in from some of the most
wonderful people in the world -- your friends.

2. Make your own rules.  Listen to other people's
thoughts, and suggestions.  But no one else can
do you.

3. Have as much fun as possible.  I get emails from
Tut.com daily -- Notes from the universe -- and I
think he said that's one of the most important things.

4.  In the face of controversy (and there is some!),
try to be loving.  Even when your first impulse is
to hate, hug yourself mentally and muscle on with
your kindness.

5.  Sleep.  Not on someone else's schedule, but
sleep.

6. Spend time with the people who love you the
most, near and far.  They deserve time with you,
and also make you feel great.

7. Roll with the waves.  Creativity, and all of
life comes in and out like the ocean waves. Let
it if you can.

8. Try going for a walk.  Birdsong, flowers (they
are starting here, and even your friend's dog can
make you feel blissfully happy after 20 minutes.
(Remember that book on raising children that
pointed that out. Write me if you do.)  Raising my
children I used that method, on both my sons and
my husband.

9.  Read a book.  Sometimes even a sentence or
a word can set off a chain of ideas. But books are
lovely for escaping too.

10.  Dance.  A singer with a lovely voice, Sara Bareilles,
was on Saturday Night Live last night, and Steven and I
were so moved, that we looked her up and then
danced to her amazing song.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Inspired by technology

On the 
Northumberland Strait

Acrylic ink on
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022
(This is the beach we visit.
We don't own it.)

The other night my phone selected beautiful photos of Nova
Scotia to show me.  (I know that's intrusive, but it's also
miraculous.) A treat, and so emotional.  It would be wonderful
if the teletransportation inventions my students devised this
term were more than imaginary. Boom -- I'd be there.  Nova Scotia
 -- Paris, Florence, California. Yes. In an instant. The painting
came from my memory of the place in the photo.  The phone
presented different images the next day, but I held the image in
my brain.

When images of Nova Scotia come up, they pull at my
heartstrings, so I did this small painting of our beach. 

Love you Nova Scotia.

Have a dreaming of where you'd like to be day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

First night back at my art group after two years

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

Tonight I went to my art group for one hour.  Steven
dropped me off and picked me up.  I was worried that
people would be unmasked, and when I went in I did
say that we were supposed to be masked to the only
fellow who wasn't, and he put a mask on at the first
break.

We had two breaks, so I guess this painting sketch was done in 40 
minutes, and although it's a long way from done, I like
what I learned from doing it. It was good to watch 
artists at work again -- doing some awesome painting
and drawing, and the model said he liked my colours
because his family were from Ukraine, and these
are the colours. I was glad the colours made him
happy. I suppose that was intuitive.

Have an enjoying your life day.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The background work

Mystery woman
marker on notebook paper    
5.5 x 8.5
Barbara Muir © 2016

Behind the work of creating art is the background work of
deciding what to create, buying supplies, making the work,
filing the receipts for everything you spend money on, and
so on.  It was a background work weekend.

I really wanted time to draw, but it didn't happen.  And 
sometimes coincidence is magic, because I picked up a
notebook and carried it downstairs, thinking,"I'll
draw tomorrow,"and found this sketch that I like.  I 
think it was prep for a painting. The painting didn't 
happen (yet), the drawing did.

Have an enjoying every part of your work day. 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Spring is coming


The tree story
iPad sketch
 8x10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

I know officially it was spring on March 20, but that has not 
been our experience here in Toronto. Steven and I follow
the light -- and sunset at 8:09 p.m. today is a strong indicator that
winter is over.  But we did have snow last week. 

I opened my older iPad today, and was struck by this drawing
done on my iPad with my finger of summer on Cherrywood --
the view from our front porch. This is what we have to look forward
 to -- the lush greenery and flowers on our street. It will be wonderful.
Already the magnolia trees in the neighbourhood are coming into bloom.

Have an enjoying your life day. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

To the Clementines

The answer's right here
(work in progress)
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir 2022

If Earth Day makes you sad. If you're nervous, depressed, upset by
how the world, family, friends are treating you -- turn to the
Clementine. This small sweet, delicious orange can calm you
down, and make you feel happy. Amazing.

Which is why I have painted them over and over.  That and
that they are also pretty, especially the ones with leaves.
When we go to our favourite park by the lake, we
take coffee in a thermos, 4 - 6 clementines, pick up some
wraps -- no plastic, and eat together in the car staring at the 
lake. The clementines both start and end the trip.

They are a delightful sight.  When I started this it was winter
(remember it snowed here on April 18.), now it is almost
finished and spring is definitely coming.

Have an enjoying your world day.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

A wonderful conversation

Images from The Amsterdam
Whitney Gallery.
The portraits are by me
.
Sent by Ruthie Tucker 

Ruthie Tucker the art director, and owner of the Amsterdam
Whitney Gallery in New York City, where I've shown many
times, is one of the kindest people I know.  She sent such a
sweet Easter message to me, and Steven, and the family. So I
called her today, and we had such a joyous conversation.

I was continuing on with my day afterwards.  There is filing
and paperwork to complete, and it was not the most uplifting
day.  But just as the sun came out, and sent away the clouds
and rain -- this set of images of past shows at the gallery came
to me from Ruthie, in my email, and it made me so happy.

Have a being grateful for your uplifting friends day.

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The pleasure of frustration

Untitled
(Work in progress)
charcoal on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I have a beautiful photo of my friend Georgia, that I've
been meaning to use for reference for a portrait.  I like
the mood, which is both contemplative, and content in
one expression.

So I spent yesterday afternoon trying to finish a portrait I'd
begun based on this photo, and I could not get it right. So far
it's okay as a drawing, it just isn't Georgia. 

There is an exciting time in a portrait painting when you
come into the room to start work again, and say "Hi" to
the person in the painting. This is not happening in this work.

But the positive in not getting right, is that I get to keep
working on it. I call it a work in progress.  And I can 
obsess about this drawing, instead of about the world, and
all of the other things spinning around my head.

Have a working on it day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Two years ago on this day

 

Marty's Mom
acrylic on canvas
24" x 36"
Barbara Muir © 2004
SOLD ♥ 
(Thinking about Marty's Mom, who
was a great woman. Her
grandson Sam is getting married
this weekend, and she would
have been so happy for him.)
When I painted this, I didn't
take a decent photo and it was a 
most enjoyable commission.)

On April 19, 2020, I was one month into teaching online.
That month I wrote about coping, and about the 5 best,
and 5 worst things that had happened because of the virus.
This time I think I'll stick with bests.  The list of worsts is 
too long.

10 Best things that have happened because of the virus:

1. I learned how to teach online through Zoom, and that
has been a gift.

2. We got a kitten, and she has entertained us through this
past winter. 

3. It snowed yesterday -- April 18 -- which even for Canada is
 late, but as flowers are part of what has kept us and me 
happy during the pandemic, I moved the pansies, and when
the snow melted they were fine.

4. My husband and I have spent so much time talking to
one another, (since the pandemic we both work at home)
 that even though we argue sometimes, we are
closer than ever.

5. We have spent a lot of time at our favourite park.

6. Our coffee group started having Zoom meetings once
a week, and we've been able to see one another and share
book ideas, best movies to watch, and enjoy each other's
company. 

7. I have made new, wonderful friends through the blog,
and Instagram.

8. We have totally realized how much we loved our life
before the pandemic, and talk about our memories, 
of travel and parties to keep those memories alive. Plus
we have a list of what we'll do when it feels safe to travel.

9. Talking to artist friends and family, on Zoom
and FaceTime, and feeling connected.

10. Getting wonderful work from my students.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

A joyous holiday

The wonder of tulips
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

"Stay safe!" has been my constant phrase since the beginning
of this pandemic, and it doesn't go away. I still say it. So
today we had dinner with Sam and his fiancée, Emily to
celebrate the weekend. Steven deserves full kudos for
preparing the whole meal. And everyone loved it.

We rapid tested, sat at opposite ends of the table, and
wore masks when we weren't eating. And despite all of
the precautions, which feel so annoying, we had a great time.
So I hope you had a great weekend, and for some the 
holiday continues.

Have a staying safe and enjoying life day.

 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Happy Holiday



Tulips in the students' gorgeous present
Acrylic on bond paper 
(formerly a palette)
14 x 17 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019 

While my kitten eats a reward for letting us cut her nails,
I'll take a minute to wish you a very Happy Holiday 
weekend.  

Oddly enough this is one of my best tulip paintings. I love
tulips, and one day I hope to get to the Netherlands to see the
beautiful tulip fields in person.  Why do I say it's odd?  Because I
did it on top of a piece of palette paper, using the paint that was
there as a background. Thank you to my next door neighbour
for the gorgeous tulips now part of our holiday festive look.

Have a fantastic holiday and good wishes to all of your
friends and family

Friday, April 15, 2022

To Actually Read

 



Reading the bird book with the cat
Charcoal on bond paper
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010


It has been a strange and wonderful day. We got up much earlier than we
normally do on a holiday, and rushed out to see the two youngest in the family,
and share some holiday fun. That was delightful. 

We walked our dog in a howling wind that was tossing small branches here
 and there, and in places cracking pieces of trees that were larger and a bit
scary. So we drove out to our favourite park to watch the waves crashing on
the shore and tossing high arcs of white spray.

A  neighbour left pink tulips on the porch with a cheerful note. And we came
home to read. Nicki Ault said that she's had a hard time reading since the pandemic,
and I’ve felt the same way. So many of my paintings feature people reading.
And I do consider it one of life’s leading pleasures. I have been reading books
on serious subjects, but no novels. So I feel lucky to have found a good book in
free book library on a neighbour's lawn just around the corner. 

Have an enjoying your holiday day.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Happy Bunny Weekend


Harold and the blue eggs
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2013

More tomorrow.  We are in a get the bunny stuff together for
the bunny rush, so I (one of the chief bunny helpers) must
go to bed. Tired bunny helpers are no fun.

Please enjoy my painting of my own dear rabbit from
years ago -- Harold. She was wonderful.

Have an enjoying your holiday weekend day. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Monet and International pet day

Monet in the onesie 
we made her, in a 
clementine box

Photo
Barbara Muir © 2022

We have six more days until the onesie you see in the
photo can come off Monet, when she gets her stitches
out from being spade, and we can have a normal,
very active kitten life.  

She does like clementine boxes, and we push her around
the kitchen floor making train noises, which she loves 
a lot for no reason I can connect to cat life.  We love
her, and despite many difficulties of integrating her
into the animal family, she is for sure family.

Happy pet day to Monet, Fiona the cat and Sally the dog..

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Dreaming ideas

From the dream
Acrylic ink on
watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I notice today that the wonderful artist Simon Davis posted
a sketch on Instagram for an upcoming painting. I absolutely
love Davis's work, and one day I hope to go to England and
to see it in person. There are so many artists whose work
I love in Britain, that I think I would need a long visit.

Tonight I'm showing you a small painting that is like 
a very large painting I dreamt about the other night. I may do
more work on this, and it isn't quite the same as my
dream image, but it's got me thinking, and I like the
shapes.  It is the scene at one of my favourite parks, which
I drove to today, just to see this view, and hoping that
a nearby store would have pansies. It did. And I saw
the lake. Success.

Have a loving what you do day.

Monday, April 11, 2022

This look


After the play
Watercolour and marker
on watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

I don't remember painting this portrait of my son, Sam,
but I love it. He is giving the look your kid, or family
member gives you either when they're too tired for the
conversation, or they disagree with you heartily.

I feel like giving myself that look tonight when I look
in the mirror because I am tired beyond compare.
It was an exciting night in my once a week evening
class, with the students outdoing themselves, and 
it was wonderful.  But now I would give myself
that look -- because it's time to shut down the 
conversation in my brain and go to bed.

Have a loving your life day. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

A wonderful day

Gather ye pansies while ye can!
Acrylic ink, watercolour and black marker
on watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Don't get bored with my excitement for the good times. 
Like you I have plenty of days that are not the best, but
today was lovely. We were heading out to the beautiful
park we love under sunny skies, and before we left had
an impromptu visit from the youngest members of the
family. How sweet.

There is a ton of work to do tomorrow, so it was nice to
also take a walk by the lake, get some photos for upcoming
painting reference, and see the swans, geese, seagulls and ducks,
who seem to wait for us to feed them. 

And we did manage to get pansies -- not exactly like
these, but very pretty. A nice change for our neighbours
from the Christmas trees, which have actually not yet
come down off the front and back porches. 

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

A happy Saturday

Positively pansies
Acrylic on birch panel
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

I wish you a good weekend, and hope you had a happy Saturday.
We had one of those non-stop days -- market, take-out lunch, 
the park, the flower store, seeing a friend from afar, singing
Happy Birthday, and then home. 

How did your day go? We fed the swans, geese, ducks and seagulls
at the park, and that is one of the pleasures in our life for sure.  Tonight
we watched a French movie with English subtitles -- BigBug -- which
was both funny, and a serious satire on our current increasingly
cyber and robotic world. 

Oh and we saw pansies outside little stores everywhere we went,
so tomorrow I will get some, and you can expect some pansy 
paintings. The one I'm showing you tonight is a favourite.

I hope you have a fabulous Sunday!

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!