Monday, February 28, 2022

Let's make every month loving

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

Happy Birthday to my father, who died way too young. I found an
old journal of mine talking about his love of photography, and how
he bought himself the best equipment.  I passed some of his gear
on to my older son, and to a neighbour who was studying photography
 at Ryerson. My father's photography is amazing and does stand the test of time.

Girl smoking a chocolate cigarette
8 x 10 inches
W. W. Muir
One of my all time favourite
photos by my father.
He worked almost
exclusively in
black and white.
Chocolate cigarettes are not
cigarettes -- just candy.

And his art was also wonderful. I only have one piece, which is in our
front bedroom, and every time I look at it, I marvel at his talent, with
no instruction whatsoever. I wish he was here.  He was a complicated
man, a harsh disciplinarian in our younger years, and a staunch 
supporter of me and my art, and writing when I was starting out.

Have a loving your family day.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The comforts of home

The King's Breakfast 
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015
(I put this painting up today, even though
it isn't about a breakfast at home.  It 
is one of my favourite paintings, and
talks about a breakfast in a hotel
with the one you love -- a first rate
treat in The Month of Love. Plus as
it says above -- it's available. It hangs
on my kitchen wall, exuding joy,
romance, and delight.)

Going about the standard routines of my day today, some not exciting
like doing the dishes, some so much fun -- like reading my good book,
I was thinking of how it would feel to have to walk away from my
home, and happy life. I had a student from Syria a few years ago, who
said you never recover from waking up and seeing tanks roll down
your street.  And other students told similar stories from other countries.
All said how lucky they felt to be able to start over in Canada, but they
missed their homes. 

The family came to make art today.  So much fun.  I always get inspired 
by the activity.  Get out the materials and art happens like magic. We rapid
tested first, and then wow!

We all needed to forget the news for an afternoon.  Our thoughts are all
on the world issues. We want the war to end, and the Ukrainian 
people to regain their peace.  And we want peace for all people.

Have an appreciating your home day.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Loving reading old journals

Summer clouds Wallace Bridge
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
 Barbara Muir © 2014

I picked a journal out of the bookshelf today at random, and read about staying
at our school house in Nova Scotia when the boys were young. Getting out
of the city, and driving across the country was so magical for us. Our school
house a place of peace —an escape from busy city life. 

In the Month of Love thinking about our wonderful friends in Nova Scotia makes
us happy.  And thinking about the stars so thick in the night sky brings
back memories of night walks with no traffic on the highway.

It is a sad day, and people all over the world are linked in sorrow for Ukrainians
under attack in a horrific, needless war. We drove to the lake and fed the hungry
birds—geese, ducks and one swan. It lifted our sorrow. But our hearts are still linked
to all of the people in the Ukraine, and the rest of the world suffering through war
and devastation. 

Let’s unite for peace.

Friday, February 25, 2022

The world needs a new day

New Day
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(The painting I was finishing
when the Oprah Winfrey Show
producers called, and asked
me if I'd like to draw Oprah via Skype.
My answer? Yes!)

I come to this space tonight after watching endless news about the
invasion of Ukraine. There are many things we can do to try and
help, although it feels hopeless given Putin's determination to take
over the country.  One of the things you can do is sign this open
letter from, who are trying to get as many people as
possible to say they oppose the war. 

Four years ago in this month on this day, I was trying to stay
positive after breaking my wrist tripping on my cat in the
kitchen.  Today my thoughts are very similar.  I am very sad, and
also heartened by the reaction all over the world to this senseless,
totally unprovoked war.  I do believe love is the answer, but
everyone has to be willing to think of the world as our home,
and that we must work together. 

Here are some thoughts I had in the Month of Love after
breaking my wrist, rewritten for today:

What if we woke up every day, thinking about how
to be more loving?  What impact would that have on
our lives?  

What if we could all quit all the hating and fighting,
and realize that we are all one, and fight for each other's
rights -- not stick pipelines in environmentally fragile
zones.  What if we concentrated on, and fought for the world,
and its sustenance, and for equal food, equal rights for everyone
on this little planet?  It is long since time. Way overdue.

Instead we watch people get killed by guns, in schools and
walking down the street, and debate about whether guns are
dangerous.  We know that pipelines fail, and cause enormous
damage, and we keep building them.

We decide whether people are worthy based on their
race, ethnicity, country of origin, sex, age and skin
colour.  In short as people all over this planet we are
dropping the ball, and we need to change -- fast.

If we could wake up every morning wondering
how to be more loving in each exchange for that day alone
what could happen? I believe and hope we could transform this place
we call home.

Have a sending love out into the world day.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Monthaversary of our wedding in The Month of Love

Winter Lovers' Sunset
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

 It seems that love, and the idea of peace have never been more
important. It is the Monthaversary of our wedding, which we
celebrate every month. I don’t mean we have a party (wouldn't
that be nice!), but we have a toast, and wish each other a Happy
 Monthaversary. Silly maybe, but love is the opposite of silly. It’s
 what we all need.

Our thoughts today are with people all over the world who are in
the midst of war zones, like the people of the Ukraine, who are now
 being invaded by Russian troops. This is both horrifying, and insane. 

Take care of each other.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The love continues

Catherine Scott
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

I could not talk about The Month of Love as an artist, without talking
about the paintings we artists create because they matter so much to either
the subject or the family.

I decided to quote myself today because I like my message from an 
earlier post in 2018.

"Love -- the lasting kind -- is a deep feeling, compelling,
nourishing, and rewarding. Some of my favourite portrait
commissions were created to add significance to the sitter's
life, and to capture who they really were.

In the case of my portrait of Catherine Scott -- one of
my favourites -- her friends wanted to fulfill her dream
of having a meaningful image of herself to live on and
represent her after her death.  She was dying of cancer.
I was honoured to be picked to paint her.

Detail from the portrait of
Catherine Scott showing her favourite earrings

She sat for me, and was so vital, funny, present --
that I really thought there was no way she would die.
Her portrait was the special gift her friends gave her
on what turned out to be her last birthday.

Detail from the portrait of Catherine Scott
showing a favourite bracelet, and her
mother's ring

Every item she wore, every piece of jewelry, every
detail in the painting was to her specifications.  And
I was more than happy to make her happy.  She
was delightful to work with, and sat posing for me for
many sessions so that I could get it right.  I know
that tired her out, but she was a brave woman.

I was at the birthday party when her friends
unveiled the portrait, and that moment will
stay in my mind forever."

That was my blog.  I was moved by reading this
and remembered again what a special time this
was.  A student the other day asked me if it wasn't
easier to paint someone from a photo. I explained
that when you paint from someone posing for you,
their energy comes into the painting quite easily.
It happens with photos too, but it's different --
like having a conversation on Zoom, and
talking to someone in the same room.

Have a loving your memories day

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Happy Monthaversary in the Month of Love

Irises celebrate
Barbara Muir © 2022

Today is the 2, 2, 2022. Horoscope people, and magic numbers people
say it's a very special day.  I'm not a horoscope person, but it turns out
that this time they're right. And it is a special day for us, because this is
the date that we celebrate every month -- the day of our first date. I've
told you this before.  A friend asked me what we did on our first date.
The answer is we went out to dinner at a place on Yonge Street south of
St. Clair that's no longer there, that had a D.J. and dancing.  A friend of
 mine worked as a server there, and brought us Singapore Slings.  

Steven walked me home. And we have been "dating" ever since. 
We married 11 months after our first date, and the wedding Monthaversary
is in two days on the 24th.

The photo today is of the beautiful irises on the kitchen table. Steven
is making dinner. Probably no wine because we both have work to do.
But we have a great treat for dessert.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, February 21, 2022

The love of family in The Month of Love

Spring Break Shoreline
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2007
(This painting of Sam on
the left and Christopher on the
right -- with me in the middle
is one of my favourites. I do need a better
photo of the work.)

Today was Family Day in some provinces in Canada.  Ontario had the day
off.  At the moment we can't see our family without rapid tests.
But it seems the right day to show you some of the paintings I've done of
my family. 

After the dance reading the paper
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(my older son Christopher was
the model for this painting in
my Dance series)

My husband and children have been so supportive of my art,
and I am extremely lucky and grateful to have them. 
A wall of Sam portraits
My son Sam, 
an excellent model 
Barbara Muir ©

Wishing you a very happy Family Day.

And to Megan, Christopher, Alice, Madeleine, Emily, Sam, Sally, Angus, Andrew,
Lina, Jemma, Jackson, Quincy, Jon, Kathryn, Rose, Rae, our dog Sally, our cats --
Fiona and Monet -- Happy Family Day, and thanks for being our family.

Have a loving your wonderful family day. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Loving playing in the Month of Love

Tulips against an evening sky
iPad sketch using my finger
8 x 10
Barbara Muir © 2022

Today Steven and I treated ourselves to take out wraps from our
favourite server, and sat by a pretty park on the lake eating our very
late lunch. Delicious. The lake was wild today — high winds making
huge, dramatic waves. Soooo magnificent. Exciting and Breathtaking!

We drove after lunch to a parking lot we found that’s right on the lake.
It was warmer today, and we’d already walked the dog, so we sat entranced
as massive waves fought for best position with each other, and smashed
with fantastic awe inspiring 30 and 40 foot sprays against the breakwater. 

It was so gorgeous! We came home, fed our beasts (a kitten, a cat, and a dog)
and I settled in to draw this iPad drawing of tulips against a night sky.
I was drawing from memory with my finger, so I feel quite happy with it.

Have an enjoying your long weekend day! 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Loving art and food in the Month of Love


Salad Obsession
Acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©

Steven and I were talking today, as we often do about what we love
the most about travelling.  This painting combines two of those things --
eating in restaurants of cafés we love, and food. The setting for this
painting is gone now.  It was the café in the MoMA in New York city that
looked out onto a covered balcony, with a view of the downtown 
beyond.  The last time we went to New York the MoMA had turned
the café into another gallery, and closed off the view.  But how
beautiful it was to eat there at the time I painted this.

Of course the other part of the combination that we love is seeing 
art in fabulous galleries like the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).
The MoMA collection has a van Gogh that I love, and a room full of
Monet's waterlily paintings.  I have sat in that room just staring at
the works for as long as possible. I can never fully absorb Monet's
brushwork, or use of colour. I am always dazzled.

So on this the 19th day of The Month of Love, I want to say thank 
you to the major galleries of the world, for taking care of the art.
And thank you too for the great meals we've eaten to prepare
for seeing art.

Have a loving your memories day.

Friday, February 18, 2022

14 years of blogging -- what an amazing time -- thank you.

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008
(One of the many things I've learned
 in 14 years of blogging is how
to take better photos. But this
 is the original painting I put on
 my first blog.)

This is a big day for me! Huge. I wrote my very first blog on
February 18, 2008.  It's hard to believe it's been that long --
if anything underscores the advice people always give you about
how fast time goes -- this is it.  My whole life has been wonderful
for the most part, but the past 14 years have been spectacular.
I owe it all to you -- my family, my blog artist friends, my 
collectors, curators -- a long list.  Today on Day18 of the Month
of Love, I love my blog, and the magic it's brought into my life.

I'm especially grateful to Flora Doehler who urged me to
start a blog at least a year before I was even minimally
ready, and my son Christopher who helped me start it
in 2008, around the time that he and his girlfriend, Megan
were planning to go and teach for a year in Korea. Megan
and Christopher are married, and I think Christopher's exciting
working life first as a photographer, then a director of ads and
music videos started at the same time, as I started my blog with
his help.

Because of the blog, and showcasing my work here, I've
met artists, and become good friends with artists all over
the world.  I've shown my work in New York, Florence,
Italy, Paris, France and the Netherlands. I've talked at
length about being interviewed about Skype on YouTube|
by Howard Wolinsky, which lead to me drawing Oprah live
on the Oprah Winfrey show. 

The past two years have been quieter because of COVID,
but the excitement and delight in seeing what you are
doing, and in hearing how people are still making art,
figuring out how to have exhibitions safely, thinking
of new ways to share and sell art has been so
inspiring.  Thank you to everyone. And Happy
Blogaversary to me.  (Is that how you say it?)
Wow! 14 years.

Have an enjoying your life day.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Finding joy in The Month of Love

Wonder Water Image #2
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(The postcard Mike has by his cash
at Gino's Shoe Repair in Toronto,
is this painting which I do love.)

How do you find joy in this hard time we’re going through. In some parts of
the world things are opening up again. But for some of us who are worried
 about being vulnerable to new variants of the virus it won’t be possible to
 enjoy that freedom yet.

So how do you stay happy even with the restrictions? Apparently creativity
 is like a happy friend that you can talk to whenever you want to. I read this
 today and it made me happy just reading it. So whatever your creative force
 is maybe you can use it today. Are you a cook, do you sew, do you build things,
 make movies, create art, write books or poetry?  Then I’m hoping you get to do
 some of that today

Something that helps me stay happy that’s been hard to do lately because of the
cold and icy conditions, is going for a walk. Today it is raining and expected
to change to freezing rain, and I plan to put on my icers and go for a walk.


I did take a very short walk in freezing rain from my car to the shoe repair shop.
It was so nice to see the owner, Mike, who dusted off a postcard of one of my
paintings that is by his cash. He agreed to fix a very ragged purse of mine that
is my favourite. 

Wishing you a wildly creative day. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Sometimes technology sings

Look at this
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(I talked to this fellow today too --
Christopher my son, shown
here with his wife Megan,
from a painting during my
Skype painting series. Skype
 was the first technology for me that 
let me see family when they were
 far away. In this painting they were
 working in Korea.)

Today I got to watch one of our younger family members
make art on FaceTime.  What a treat.  She very calmly
drew a beautiful scene of a garden on a sunny day using markers. 
And she was talking the whole time about what she was doing. 
I told her I was having trouble painting a hand, and she drew an
extremely competent hand (she's 6) and explained how I should do it.

I was so grateful that technology could allow us to get
together.  I had my lunch, and then held up the kitten Monet, who
seemed as excited as I was by the art work happening 
across the cyberworld.

Eventually I had to go and get back to work, happy
in the joyous feeling of sharing time with another

Have an enjoying the artists you know day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

And the love continues

Sing a Loving Song
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

 I hope you had a great Valentine's Day. Looking back to the time before
COVID, we usually had a family lunch, with our whole gang at the table.
I miss that so much.  Every social event now requires rapid testing,
and the tests aren't in wide supply.

For me the whole month is about love, and it has been a sweet focus in
a very hard time. So I'll continue.  As I write this there are birds in
the holiday tree we still have on the back porch, and they are
singing quite loudly. The cats are in the basement, otherwise I'm sure
they'd take a chilly look out of the glass back door, and be intrigued.

I love the combination of birds and hearts.  Maybe they sense that
I am a fan, and they are cheering me on.  I'm here to cheer you on.
I hope that you have a thoroughly loving, and loved day.

Have a loving your life in The Month of Love

Monday, February 14, 2022

Happy Valentine’s Day


Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you had a wonderful day.  It was a workday
for us and so we had to wait until a late dinner to wish each other a fabulous
Valentine’s Day with a toast with a little bit of champagne.

Well of course on every break all day we wished each other Happy Valentine’s
Day. I put up the big tissue paper heart on the kitchen door that I made a few
years ago. We used our slightly better silverware at dinner.

I hope you had an absolutely fabulous day, and that you know that you are
loved. Whether there is someone special in your life or not, loving people
are what we need in the world, and people love you.

Thank you for your wonderful support, your fantastic inspiration and for
all the good you do in the world. 

Happy Valentine's Day week!

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Celebrating love today

Me and my sweetheart Steven, with some 
Valentine's Day bluebirds
(These photos were taken at
the Louvre by a friend who
lives in Paris.)

I feel so lucky to be with Steven. We celebrated Valentine’s Day a day early,
because we work tomorrow. So Steven brought me a delicious breakfast in bed,
and then brought his own breakfast up to join me so we could pretend we
were in a hotel and this was a room service breakfast -- something we love.

One big event was going to get a haircut – an adventure in the Time of Covid.
But teaching and working on Zoom means we have to try and look somewhat
presentable. I’m grateful to the woman who cut my hair -- it is too short, but it will
grow. And Steven looks fabulous.

We had a takeout lunch, in the car staring at the lake, enjoying the beauty of the
day at one of our favourite parks. I was in charge of dinner.  We dressed up in
going out to dinner clothes, and put a tablecloth on the table.  I made two, small
red paper hearts -- one at each place setting.  We each had a slokje of champagne
(Dutch for a sip), and wished each other a Happy Valentine's Day many times.

Wishing you a day filled with love and wonder.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Happy Valentine's day weekend

Happy Valentine's Day from the Bluebird
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
(This card was inspired
by the only time I ever saw a bluebird.
I was walking in the park with my
friend Suzanne, just after my mother
died, and we saw this brilliant blue
in a tree. My mother loved
birds, so it felt like a message.
And of course the message was
be loving.)

Hi everyone! I teach on Monday night, Valentine's Day, so more than
ever, this weekend is the romantic one.  Yes of course every
weekend is.  But how wonderful in the middle of a cold, cold 
month to decorate the house with hearts, and talk about what we
can do to show our love.

Today we watched a beautiful movie, if you like opera
Falling For Figaro.  And we drove out to the lake just to see the
water. It was beautiful. Tonight's art is one of my bird Valentine's.
I love the idea of birds as messengers of love.  I'm sure the birds
who frequent our back porch if it's raining, or even very cold
like today, love Steven, because he is still filling the Christmas 
tree outside in the back garden with birdseed.

Also today -- Huzzah -- the city ploughed our street, and took away 
the huge piles of snow.  Not bad. :( The snowstorm was
January 18! So we didn't even have to wait a full month on a street with
a public school to get it cleaned. That was a happy sight for sure.

Wishing you a day filled with love.

Friday, February 11, 2022

MIssing breakfast in the hotel in The Month of Love

More coffee -- Yes!
Sketch -- marker on drawing paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Frequently on Valentine's Day we go to Ottawa and stay at a favourite
hotel.  Since the pandemic began, room service has ended. For
awhile the hotel we like to visit offered room service to the door, 
where a masked person would hand you a tray.  But what we remember
and think of as ultimately romantic, is breakfast in the room brought
in on a rolling table with a tablecloth. The server would pour our 
coffee, and the day would feel wondrous, special and romantic.

With the trucker convoy in Ottawa, that former treat is off the
table, plus our three animals need someone to stay in our house, and
that's not possible with the new COVID variant.  Yes it's still out
there. Please wear a mask and get your vaccines.  Let's end this

The drawing tonight is a sketch I found that made me nostalgic for
the whole experience.  I worked on it and upped the contrast, but
I can almost taste the coffee, and the toast that isn't in this picture,
with the delicious jam from a tiny jar.

Happy Valentine's Day weekend.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Meeting people travelling -- something I love

Having fun in New York
Steven van Schaik © 2019

Before I went to New York the first time people warned me that 
New Yorkers were cold. What?  But from the first time I visited
the city, I found that the complete opposite was true.  The warmth
of New Yorkers, is a delightful thought in the Month of Love. 

Going to a restaurant beside the hotel we were staying in on our very
first trip, we got into a conversation with the couple at the next 
table.  They were treating their daughter to a night out in New York
because she was home from university for Mother's Day weekend.
We talked together off and on throughout the meal. Then the 
couple invited Steven and me to a Mother's Day party the next day!
But we were flying home, and couldn't make it.

The photo tonight is from our last visit to New York City when
I was in a show, in December 2019.  This was the holiday season
right before the pandemic broke in March, 2020.  I am so glad we
were there.  It was magnificent -- the lights, the joyous people -- festivity
and fun every minute of every day.  We met the women in the photo 
because we were all staring at the gorgeous light display on Saks
Fifth Avenue.  

It was cold, and just before dinner time, and we started talking.
They were visiting New York too, and just as excited as we were.
We had such a sweet conversation.  And that's been our experience
every time we go to NYC.  I can't wait until the virus has subsided, and
we get our 4th, or 5th vaccine, and then -- New York here I come!

Have a loving your memories day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Loving ways to feel more joyous!

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. The young
woman is doing the Whoop exercise. )

Looking through my posts from past years I found a piece on
Mike Dooley from 's 
Whoop exercise.  I used to teach
this to my students in Positive Psych and it is a powerful exercise. 
I'd forgotten all about it. What could have made me forget a joyous
exercise? Don't do it in public, because it won't really work with a mask
on, and I'm hoping you're wearing a mask around other people to stay safe. 
A friend's son (30ish) has got COVID-19, and is quite sick, so it's not over.

Here's the exercise.  I just tried it in the kitchen, and it does make
you feel fantastic:

Stand up (if you can), put your arms in the air, whoop
like you just had the best news in your whole life,
cover your face because you're so excited you can't
hold your joy in, whoop again with your hands over
your head, put your hands on your chest, shake your
head because you're so astounded with joy, and say
out loud, "You won't believe what's happened." 
As I said I learned this from Mike Dooley at 
and it is amazing what happens if you try this little
exercise once every so often.  Huge things happen,
wonderful things happen -- that's why I'm sharing it
with you.  (I got on the Oprah Winfrey show, invited
to show in Florence and in Paris!) My life has absolutely
taken off into a level of joy I couldn't have imagined since
I learned to do this.  No.  I'm not crazy, I'm the sanest person you
know.  And no my life isn't perfect.  People in my
family and intimate circle have serious health issues,
I do experience deep sorrow and loss, and even so...
Give it a try.

Life is very good in the present, despite the nasty virus always 
looming.  One of the things we do to cheer ourselves up is to
talk about all of the wonderful things we've done and seen.
Believe me I feel like whooping when I think of
the super life I have with Steven.

Have a feeling the joy day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The whole point -- Love means be loving


Steven with me inside the Love sculpture by 
6th Avenue in New York City 
Unknown photographer 2012

The photo tonight is of one of my favourite sculptures in New York
City, the Love sculpture by Robert Indiana.  I think they may have
moved it since this photo was taken.  But for years when we'd go to
New York because I was in an art show there, we'd be thrilled each
time we saw this work.

It's close to Central Park, across from one of our favourite
restaurants, and there are always people taking photos, or having
photos taken like this one, and the point is clear.  They love one

It always makes me happy in what sometimes feels like a cynical
world to see people rejoicing because they care about one another.
My favourite thing about Valentine's Day, and the Month of Love
is that feeling of celebration.  Thank you to Ruthie Tucker at the
Amsterdam Whitney Gallery for loving, showing and selling my
work. I have shown there at least 10 times, and each time had the
most joyous time both at the opening and in that great big city
called New York. Steven and I long to go back when the virus 
subsides and it feels safe to travel.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Why you need to love yourself in The Month of Love

For David Lobenberg
Self portrait
acrylic on canvas
12 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(I did this portrait for David Lobenberg's
June Paint Off in 2009)
You can read about it here.)

I taught my once-a-week evening class tonight.  It was great, and I'm
tired. I was looking at a blog post from 2018 on loving the self, and
it seemed perfect for tonight, so I am going to repost it here.

"A fact of a portrait artist's life is that if there is no one else
available to paint, you always have you, so of course I've 
painted and drawn myself many times. Some of these images stick 
and make me happy.  

When I taught Positive Psych one of the first things we said
to students was, "if you don't know yourself, you won't love 
yourself, and if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else,
and you won't be happy."

Self-portrait: The Happy Artist
acrylic on canvas
36 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
This was not a popular idea when I was growing up -- loving 
yourself smacked of narcissism.  But in fact nothing could be 
further from the truth. If we love and accept ourselves, the world 
is less about us, and more about the people we love.  It's when we 
don't love ourselves that we go around hurting other people, don't end up
doing what we love, and generally don't enjoy our lives.
I credit Louise Hay, excellent therapy and Frank Daley, who
helping me get that concept, and then of course the constant work of 
quieting the ever present inner critic to keep the idea going. 

One more cup of coffee please
Self portrait
Watercolour and black marker on
Arches watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
(this is perhaps the most me of
the bunch.  I run on coffee, and
am not quite in the day until I've had
three. I am so lucky to live
with a man who gets this, makes
the best coffee, and if possible
brings me a fresh cup when I wake
up.  A veritable coffee lover's saint)

I've included a few of my favourite self portraits to underscore the
idea of loving the self.  I know I'm lucky.  I love my life, my work,
my family, my friends."  

I'll end the quote there.  Reading it I was struck by how different life
was in 2018.  We had no idea that this big, bad virus was coming.
None. Now our job is to continue working to get through it --
and that means loving ourselves enough to continue to care about
ourselves, and loving our family, friends and our community enough
to make sure we continue to be vigilant about their safety.

Have a loving yourself and your world day.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Love of Flowers in the Month of Love

Jubilant spring flowers
Watercolour on watercolour paper
24  x 36 inches
© Barbara Muir (date unknown)
(The photo is not the best quality,
but this is a work from the time
when I painted with an
infant playing nearby.)

I started out as a flower painter.  When my firstborn started to crawl, I worked on small
coloured pencil drawings at the dining room table, while the baby played in his 
playpen, or bounced in the jolly jumper, or napped.  My goal was a drawing a day. All
I know is that I sold them at a very low rate framed. It helped me pay my share of the

After two years at OCAD, I switched to an English Literature degree, because 
I wanted to be a writer.  And I did, and do write professionally. Plus I teach writing. But art
wins in the big picture (pardon my pun.) It is my passion. And art has taken me all
over the world.

I love flowers, and almost always have some in the house, winter and summer.
I love drawing them, and painting them.  But I was trying to explain to a friend
(not an artist) the other day, that artists get high on what they see. True.  No
drugs necessary. And flowers really do make my heart sing.

Today was a beautiful winter day.  Not too cold, huge banks of bright white snow
everywhere, decorated with brilliant blue shadows from the trees. Beyond
amazing!  We took a drive out to our favourite park, fed the geese and ducks,
walked in the snow, and just now picked up some beautiful tulips. A happy

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The languages of love

 In the kitchen researching for the doctorate
Black marker on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 

One of the great pleasures in my life has been travel.  I love going somewhere new, and 
finding out about how little I know.  I was lucky to grow up in Ottawa, and to start learning
French at a young age. So I can stumble a bit in that language. I took German in grade 10, and 
somehow those lessons stuck, so I can understand some of what my fellow artists post on 
Instagram, Facebook and their blogs. I am part Italian, and can understand a little Italian.  
I'm married to a Dutch Canadian, and have a wonderful Dutch friend in the Netherlands, 
so a few Dutch words have come to me that way. A smattering of Latin helps me decipher 
some English words.

But I just read that there are 6500 spoken languages in the world.  I feel lucky that
my curiosity about languages continues.  I also feel lucky to teach a one night a week
writing course to people from all over the world, which has made me aware of how little
I know about the world and its many rich languages.

To be fair English tops the list of the 12 most popular languages in the world. But how
wonderful it is to be able to say thank you to someone in their own language.  And how
lonely it must feel to walk through the streets of Toronto and not hear your own language.
So on this day in the Month of Love, I'd like to add language as one of the things I love.  

Have a loving learning new things 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!