Thursday, March 31, 2022

An especially moving day

Constant Inspiration
Acrylic and faux gold leaf on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

This would have been my niece Chloé's birthday.  Steven and
I remember when she was born, and we went to the hospital
to see her.  She was premature, and so beautiful. We watched
her grow up.  She lived in Ottawa, and spent a lot of time
at my mother's place on the river.  My mother had a pool and
all of the grandchildren loved being there in the summer.

Chloé died unexpectedly, and tragically in October, 2017. So
her birthday is a hard reminder of her absence for her family.
I could not sleep last night thinking about her, and wishing
I could have known how to help.  We all think of ourselves
as failed superheroes when tragedy happens to a loved one.

In my heart I hope it would make Chloé happy to know that she
is missed, and despite her early death that she will live on forever
for those who knew and loved her. We still do Chloé.

Have a loving your family day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Compelled to draw

On Wednesday
Marker and 
acrylic marker on
7 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022
(I see changes I may make --
so this may be a work in progress.)

One sign that my long artistic depression (I don't mean severe --
just present) is starting to disappear is that I'm feeling compelled
to draw again. Drawing is such a treat for me.  And drawing faces is    
exciting, because as you draw a person emerges.  It's the same
with portrait painting.

When that person starts to look like someone you know,
or someone you've imagined, it is such a pleasure. There the
person is -- looking at you -- asking you, "what's next? Will
you continue with me, or are you moving on to a new sketch?"

If art starts talking to you, and you can't wait to make
some, you are back in the game, and moving forward. Thank
you to everyone who comments here, and on IG. I feel like
I am moving into the light.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Two years online --- Thank you to my students

Some of my wonderful students
Marker on paper,
Charcoal on paper, and 
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir ©

On March 9, 2020 I taught my last class in the classroom.  I was
told that week that I had one week to prepare to go online.
Tonight's post is dedicated to my students who have been so
patient with me, and my non-techy self as we held our classes, 
in what gradually became the normal way to do it.

I am so happy that our college decided not to go live, and to
stay online this term, as deaths from COVID are up to nearly 400
in the past month in Ontario since the government abandoned the 
vaccine passports, and mask mandates.  Many people are still following
the protocols, and being careful, and I thank them.

But tonight I'm here to thank my students -- the ones who had
to get through that second half of a semester when I was learning
how to do our course -- presentation and writing -- online two years
ago, and the ones who have stuck with me, learned from me, taught
me, and made living through this hard time a pleasure.  It's
hard to believe we've been doing virtual classes this long. We
meet on Zoom, we talk on the phone, we email, we do videos.
It helped that all of the Talk Show hosts were doing the same
thing, and many still are.

Some of the sketches tonight were done back when we were in
class and people were writing tests, some are from YouTube
presentations, and the painting is a close up from a portrait that
I did years ago, of a young woman who became my student last
year.  Surprises never end.

Have an appreciating your life day.

Monday, March 28, 2022

The little things


Fiona in the Forget-me-nots
marker on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 

(Fiona is infinitely prettier than this.)

I taught tonight, so I did not have a lot of time to write my blog.
In a break from working on my notes, and thinking about what
I wanted to say, I washed some clementines that came in a small
box. (We got in the habit of cleaning everything that comes in
the house during COVID after I watched a Marketplace program
on how dirty the main grocery store chains in Toronto are.)

The box emptied -- I remembered a game we used to play with our
cats Fiona and Timbah.  We would tie two boxes together, and then
pull them around the main floor of the house making a choo choo
train noise.  They loved it, and today Monet who is almost six
months old got her introduction to this game in the small fruit box, and
would have been happy if it lasted all day. But it was back to work.

Fiona did not consent to get in the second box, because so far Monet
is not being polite around her. I'm posting this small drawing I found
of Fiona when she was a kitten in the garden. Next week Monet will
be spade, until then the whole idea of going outside is not in the cards
for her. And because it is very cold she won't want to go out either. Whew.

Have an enjoying small pleasures day.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Canada is going to be in the World Cup

Four Trees
Claude Monet
Oil on canvas
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
New York City
(The paintings at the
Staatsgalerie were similar. I remember
crying telling Steven about them, and
how thick the paint was, and how Monet
went back as many as 60 times to
get the mood and lighting right!)

How do I know? Not from watching the soccer game today, and I didn't
know it was on between Jamaica and Canada.  But I was downtown
with Steven, trying to get across to the waterfront, and the scene was
insane.  We thought it was a walking version of the truckers that
held a protest in Ottawa that cost that city $36 million -- there
were so many Canadian flags.  But it was the soccer game, and we
were stuck in our car on one street in total standstill for 3/4 of an hour.

Valiant Steven still took me to the lake through endless tight traffic
-- not where we wanted to go. So I saw water, and it was very cold. 
 But it reminded me of when we were in Germany in 2006 during the
World Cup. So I think I will quote myself from an earlier piece. 

"Toronto is a soccer town and as the World Cup begins in
South Africa (This was in 2010) cars are appearing with flags of
their favourite 
countries out the window. In the grocery store people
pick up the dinner groceries wearing soccer T-shirts. Soccer means a lot
to me for sentimental reasons even 
though I've never seen a pro game.

When my oldest was born it was a World Cup year, and
the shouts and boos in our neighbourhood as the games
progressed were both disturbing and seemingly appropriate
(especially the cheers) to a young mother. Someone gave
my son his first soccer T-shirt for a team unrelated to
either of his parents' heritage.

In 2006 Steven and I were in Germany during the World
Cup, in Stuttgart where some of the games were played.
It was wildly exciting. We didn't have tickets to the games,
but the energy in the city was wonderful. There were
soccer balls worked into flower gardens, on the plane
the butter and the chocolates were in the shape of soccer
balls. People from all over the world gathered there in
fantastic costumes and face paint in their national
colours. We bought our sons the orange T-shirts of the
Dutch team when we moved on to Sweden. In
Stockholm one of the main streets was decorated
with ribbons high above the traffic with all the flags of
the countries in the World Cup.

I saw first hand how excited everyone can get about soccer,
and what an air of camaraderie surrounds the games.

Now where is this taking us in terms of art. When I
was in Stuttgart, I left the glory of the World Cup outside,
the shouts and cheers, people carrying around
foot and a half tall glasses of beer on the street, the
cafés whose patios looked like giant parking lots of fans
in front of huge TVs, even the silly humour on TV
in the hotel room, with Reality show people playing
soccer blindfolded, to see the most wonderful show
of Monet's poplars at the gorgeous Staatsgalerie.

At the time I noticed that on each of the paintings
displayed in the gallery Monet had applied very
thick paint, but during the process, perhaps at the
end had rubbed the paint on the horizon, frequently
with a completely different colour from the rest
of the piece with his hand or a cloth, and I could
feel the action of Monet painting. I will always
associate my profound feeling of being in the
artist's immediate presence, of his genius in that
horizontal blurred line across his canvasses with
soccer. Call it synesthesia. And I will always associate
Christopher's birth with the game.

We can expect a wild city, (If Canada wins) especially in
the coffee 
bars on St. Clair just south of us during the games,
and I'm looking forward to the hubbub. My sons
cheer for The Netherlands because their father's parents
were Dutch, I have no favourite, but would cheer for
Italy if I did. I just love the excitement."

Have a getting ready to win day.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The inspiration to try

On the A list
Acrylic ink, watercolour crayon,
and acrylic pen on
drawing paper
Barbara Muir © 2022
I am a flower freak.  It's true. I have to have flowers to be happy.
Where did this come from?  Maybe my mother.  My father used to try
and make up with my mother by bringing her home a pot of brown mums
-- easily one of the ugliest flowers.  I think she was nice about it.  I
never heard her complain. So I think it was my mother, who loved flowers, 
so much so that she traveled to the Netherlands to see the tulips in the spring
when her vision was almost gone (she was blind for the last decade
of her life), and when she had major breathing problems.

But one of the youngest in our family is a fan of drawing roses. She
tried to teach me.  (I have painted roses -- sometimes successfully --
but I was still impressed.) I would never normally try to paint a ranunculus.
The flowers are complex, and so vibrant.  But I gave it a whirl.  I am 
working on keeping my hand in.  And working on something else
as well.  I hope that soon that long, long project will be done, and
I'll show it to you.  In the meantime here's this drawing/painting.

Have a joyous day.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The old maxim — keep going !

Look to the sky
Acrylic ink on 
watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I have needed this advice -- keep going! -- more than ever in the past two
years, as I know many of my friends with much harder circumstances have too.
In my artistic life I didn’t realize how much of the pleasure in making
art came from the group activities that go along with the job.

Those are coming back in part, but nothing on Zoom can replicate drawing
with a group of friends, and strangers who become friends, or being in
international exhibitions with friends from all over the world. And there
has been a big uptick in COVID-19 on our street alone in the past month,
so the cause of the problem isn’t gone. 

In Ontario the decision to eliminate masks and COVID passport mandates is
clearly political. There is a provincial election in June, and the premier’s voting
constituents would be antivaxxers and antimaskers. So voila! Masks went off for
those uneducated enough to believe they were no protection on March 21.
The number of COVID cases going into hospitals went up today. So we will still
be careful, but I wish those in power were more rational.

Meanwhile we keep going.  What rituals do you have in place that are helping 
you in this hard time.  My husband and I watch one TV show together every
night.  What a pleasure it is watching The Paris Agency on Netflix with
subtitles. The Kretz family are a treat, and we watch it in French with
English subtitles.  Every scene of in Paris makes us sigh -- we would so
love to visit again when it's safe.

Have a being careful and loving your life day. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

A drawing and Happy Monthaversary

You're kidding?
Marker drawing
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

I know wait a minute! Didn’t you just have a monthaversary two days ago?
Yes that was the monthaversary of when we met, and today is the monthaversary
of our wedding day! What a lovely day it’s been. A friend's son is getting married
on Saturday, and I can remember the excitement that we felt on the days before
our big day.

We have been so lucky that the love has gone on, and that we feel like celebrating.
No this doesn’t mean we have a perfect relationship. Do those exist? What we have
is a deep love for one another, an ability to have a great time even during times that
are difficult like these, and a deep appreciation for what we’ve got. Yes we are lucky!

Steven and me
Christmas 2007
Christopher had us laughing
This is one of my favourite
photos of the two of us.

I did this drawing a couple of days ago. I was eager to do a drawing – So here it is!
It was a lot of fun. I’ve struggled with trying to enjoy making art in recent months.
So I made the sign I mentioned for my studio that says "Enjoy Yourself!". And it
seems to work like magic.

Wishing you love in all you do

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Cats eh?

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

I'm posting a painting of our older cat, Fiona. Our cat Timbah died last
summer, and in December we adopted a Tortie-point Siamese kitten,
(like Fiona),who is now ready to be spade. Not as simple as you might think. 
When our older cat was in his last year, our formerly very good vet was
most unpleasant.

COVID issues aside, we didn't want to take our new kitten to that
vet.  So we got a new vet clinic, and were very happy -- but 
perhaps something happened in the office at our new vet, and
we did not get bills, or estimates, and most importantly a date
for our cat's surgery. As the kitten is approaching 6 months, and we'd
called multiple times to try and arrange an appointment for
the neutering surgery, we had to do something.

So today we went back to a vet from before our 14 year old
cat (the one in the picture) was born, and let's see how that
goes. We got an estimate, an appointment for the neutering
surgery, and a lovely visit with the kind vet. Fingers crossed
all will go well.

Have a loving your pets day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A very good day, and a tiny painting

Great day Fred!

Acrylic on birch panel
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Recently some wonderful people online have given me encouragement,
blessings -- the whole nine yards. Today was a day that felt like someone
waved a magic wand over me, and said go.

I had a great conversation on Zoom with two delightful friends, and then
worked on art all day. Plus I ordered new business cards, and a sign for my studio
wall that says "Enjoy Yourself!", and Chris the printer at St. Clair Printing
had everything ready to pick up in an hour!

It is our Monthaversary and Steven and I had a delicious take out dinner, then
watched The Paris Agency with the animals.   

So. Here is a very tiny painting that I think is finished, of one of our favourite
parks by the lake.

Have an enjoying encouragement day.

Monday, March 21, 2022

It was a beautiful winter

Winter at the beach
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017


It was a very warm day today.  Spring is coming in pretty fast and strong 
out of nowhere.  Two weeks ago there was snow everywhere -- and now
little pieces of it sit like jewels everywhere.  I think it was a wonderful
winter.  I know I have friends who would disagree, but I enjoyed it.
I don't know why it was so good -- maybe our trips to the  park to feed
the geese, swans, ducks and seagulls? Maybe our new kitten, who is almost
a 24/7 distraction?  Not sure.  All I know is that I loved the look of it, and
the sweet drives my husband would take me on down a treed road, and up
into a neighbourhood of beautiful houses, and a spectacular tree dressed in

The other day at the same time of day we drove through that neighbourhood --
it was sunset, and there were no longer had lights on the tree.  I know that means
spring, but we felt sad for a minute or so.  That giant live holiday tree has been
such a spirit lifter.

Tonight's painting is one I sold a few years ago of the beach at Port Stanley
in winter.  That was a long, long drive.  Now our favourite park is much

I feel grateful that we enjoyed the winter so much, with all of its restrictions.
And we're overjoyed that it's spring. (Cautionary note -- it very likely that
there will be more snow.
Have an enjoying what you have day.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Happy UN International Day of Happiness and Happy Spring!

The photo of me (on the left) and Miranda Brouwers that
appeared in the 
Dutch newspaper, The Carillon on
December 29, 2015.
We are standing in front of the landscapes
Miranda showed at the Florence Biennale in October, 2015.
Miranda and I also showed together in the 
Carrousel du Louvre in 2016,
and we have been friends, and 
passionately interested in 
happiness ever since we met.
At the Florence Biennale we 
started what we called The Happy
People Group. 

Today is the first day of spring, and also International Day of Happiness.
Everyone is talking 
about how the weight of the wars in the world, and
injustice and climate change gets 
in the way of happiness, but we need
to enjoy the happiness we have, when we have 
it, so that we can work
 together for change. And we definitely need to do that.  I'm showing you
some of the people from the Happy People Group at the Florence Biennale
in Italy, in 2015. There are so many more I would love to include. 

Steffie Wallace does beautiful, moody seascapes.
She put her hands in the air for her photo, as part
of the Happy People Group at the Florence Biennale
and picked up a prize in painting!  Yay Steffie.
We showed together again in Niagara Falls
at the Water for Life exhibition.
Steffie is wonderful and she flew
all the way from Australia to these shows.

Alvaro Gómez with Querencias (close up)
Mixed media on canvas
Alvaro has his hands in the air as part of
The Happy People Group
at the Florence Biennale in 2015

Artist Chu Okoli
with his hands in the air as 
part of the Happy People Group
at the Florence Biennale
And Chu won a prize in painting!
Now back to 2022. Yesterday some small occasions of happiness happened
that made us feel so wonderful. 
In the grocery store a woman was debating buying
laundry strips in a paper envelope 
with her husband.  They cost more than
the detergent in the big plastic bottle, but 
don't use plastic, and leave a very
 small environmental impact.  I had had that 
discussion with Steven, who is
careful with money. And then I came upon him 
talking about plastic
pollution with strangers.  I felt wonderful.  We all pointed to 
the shelves
filled with plastic, and said -- "It has to change.  It has to start somewhere."

By the way we were masked and social distanced having that conversation.

Then we drove by a park, and it was not a warm day, and saw boys surfing
on a puddle. I know I mentioned that yesterday.  It stuck with me.  Today a
woman at the lake watching her little girl play in the water wished us Happy
International Day of Happiness, and Happy Spring.  That made us very happy. 

Enjoy whatever joy you have.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

And the robins are back!

Robin earns his stripes
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 
Begun in 2009, finished in 2019

To me this is almost magical.  Spring begins tomorrow, and I saw
my first robin yesterday.  My husband Steven is a bird freak, and
I knew he'd be excited, so I took a photo with my phone, while
trying not to bother the robin.

Today there were many of them, and some in the trees around our
house.  When I pay attention, I am dazzled by the precision of
nature. And spring is coming.

Today I took down the Christmas tree in our backyard that was filled
with birdseed. Every year we fasten our Christmas tree to the fence
outside when the festivities are over.  It's so hard taking the gorgeous
tree out of the house, that we keep it going. So right until today
it has been filled with birdseed and birds.  The miraculous thing
is that we have Christmas trees on both our front and back porches,
and they are still green.  But this one was definitely rust colour, and

So here's a robin for you. The funniest thing we saw today was two
boys surfing on a large puddle in the park.  It was 5 degrees Celsius,
(41 degrees Fahrenheit) we had on our winter coats, and these boys
were in shorts, and bare feet, surfing on a puddle! Spring is here!

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, March 18, 2022

What is it about happiness?


This happened!
Acrylic ink on
watercolour paper
5 x 7 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Last year at this time I was reading what turned out to be one of
my favourite books ever -- The Happiness Equation, by Neil 
Pasricha.  Neil also sends out daily cheerful posts if you subscribe,
and he tries to keep them funny. He almost quit once, thinking 
that perhaps cheer was in bad taste during the pandemic, but
his subscribers, including me, begged him to continue.

I am reading another book about happiness now, which is 
fascinating because the author, Sophie Hannah, in Happiness, A Mystery
describes so many historical and philosophical views on the subject.  Plus
far the book is funny. So maybe the advance into spring is a
time when classically we think about the subject of joy.

World news, which is grim in so many ways -- the wars, famine,
climate change, make it hard to focus on happiness.  But I almost
think that those of us lucky enough to be living lives that
are graced with peace, health, adequate food and shelter, and a
somewhat regular life, need to hold the concept of happiness as treasured
for those who can't have any of those experiences now, and
do all we possibly can to help.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Happy Saint Patrick's Day


Lucky Shamrocks
acrylic on birch panel,
5 x 5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

I hope you had a Happy St. Patrick's Day. We did.  We headed out
for a dinner -- masked and sat miles away from everyone at Ikea. Before
the pandemic we ate there every Thursday, because it's inexpensive
and I could treat Steven, or other guests to dinner.  We wore green,
ate quickly (on March 21 our Premier Doug Ford will drop all
mask and vaccine mandates, so this is probably our last chance to
be out safely.) Then we hurried home for green champagne, and 
and a sweet treat, and ditched the dressier clothes to hang out with
our animals and watch TV.

In non-pandemic times we always have a family party -- lots of green. 
Green loot bags, candy wrapped in green, a great meal with something green.
This year we decorated the kitchen, and the Christmas trees are still looking
green on the porches for 
St. Patrick's Day. (Hey they are green!)

We are so looking forward to a time when it is safe to party again
with our friends.  Neither of us is Irish -- but hey! Steven is Dutch and
Indonesian, my mother was from an English, French, Italian and Irish
background, and my father was 100% Scottish/Canadian. On my mother's 
side a few generations back there were French Huguenots who left France for
and then Ireland for Canada.

When my mother was alive she'd cooperate with our festivities by singing
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling 
over the phone, and we'd all join in. I miss her. 

Have a celebrating whatever you like day..

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Seen on my walk

Barbara Muir © 2022

We have people working in the house today, which makes it
impossible to do my work.  My solution to this, if I want to blog
daily, (which so far I've almost succeeded in doing), is to
post a photograph. 

Snow in March in Toronto is no surprise, although people
still grumble about it.  Yesterday the snow came down in the
most poetic huge flakes -- that looked just like a painting. 
Birds gathered in the little Christmas tree that is somehow
still green on our back porch.  The cat sat in front of the
glass door watching them with great excitement.

But on Monday on my walk I saw my first spring flowers.
Yes they will be alright despite the snow. They're
valiant. Snow drops. So beautiful, and a sure sign that
spring is coming.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Some cheer -- a favourite painting

Cottage Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Tonight's post will be very short.  I am still tired after the time change,
and the day flew by.  It started in the morning with a Zoom with some
of my favourite women -- a super cheerful discussion.  And then,
as so often is true, there was just too much going on. 

The news from all over the world is dire, so tonight when I saw this
painting, just before I was heading to bed, I thought -- 'Yes!-- put
this on the blog tonight.  I believe these flowers are from Ken Lander,
who runs the Sunrise Greenhouses with his partner, Maxine, in Pugwash,
Nova Scotia.  

I was also happy thinking about the painting tonight, because I started it in
2011, and finished it six years later in 2017.  I didn't work on it solidly for
those six years, but it made me feel hopeful about paintings that develop slowly.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Pi day

Stand Back for the Pie
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 
(Available at Yang's
Flower Market on
Avenue Road).

I think we'll celebrate Pi Day tomorrow. It makes me happy to see that Steven
and I have been honouring the day -- by eating pie, or some kind of pie shaped
treat -- for years. 

On Pi Day, I always show this painting, which is one of my favourites.
Tonight was my once a week class, and Steven and I are still recovering from
the time change.  This year I really missed that hour. I felt like I had so much
to do that I needed it.  But maybe not having the hour made me speed up, and at
the same time realize how much I normally do in just 60 minutes.

Tonight tired as I am, I think I'll quote my own earlier post about Pi Day

" I feel lucky to be married to a quirky man who is a big fan of science
and math.  That's particularly nice as I am interested in science, but not
 good at math. Although oddly enough every now and then lately
I have been wizard at it!  Each year Steven (my husband) and I mark
Pi Day -- the 14th of the third month -- March, by eating "pie". According
 to the Huffington Post Pi Day is named after the Greek symbol π which
 is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The first three
 digits in Pi are 3 (this is the third month) and 14 (the fourteenth day)
= 3.14 or Pi... We sing Happy Pi Day to the tune of Happy Birthday -- appropriate
because it is Einstein's birthday. He was born on this day in 1879.
I have featured this painting on Pi day for a number of years because it seems
to say it all -- celebration, the perfection of flowers -- and the pie is Steven's
cherry pie -- the last from our cherry tree (now gone).  My mother was a 
bacteriologist, and also entranced with all things science.  I think of her
every year on this day too (and on every other day!)"

Hope you had a wonderful Pi day. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Seeing art shows and being careful about COVID

Photo by Jorian Charlton 
in the Cooper Cole Art Gallery Show
I Am The Woman
photo by Barbara Muir 
(Apologies for the strange

Yesterday we went out masked, and with full understanding about
protocols, and met our friend, the wonderful artist Georgia 
Fullerton, to see a photography art show I Am The Woman, featuring
the work of Jorian Charlton at the Cooper Cole Art Gallery curated
by the Photographer -- our friend Solana Cain. Solana is a photography
editor for the Globe and Mail. 

We loved the show, and Jorian's photographs are powerful and 
expressive. Her subjects for the most part are looking straight at
the camera -- creating a powerful connection with the viewer.
Check it out if you have a chance. 

We also stopped in to Canvas Gallery, which is around the corner
from the Cooper Cole Gallery, and met the owner Mark
Hunter who runs the gallery with his wife Megan Less.  The gallery
is packed with work, and so many of my friends and Instagram
friends exhibit there.  It's an exciting space with 100s of pieces
on the wall, and carefully stacked against the wall (reminiscent
of almost every room in our house), which makes it casual,
welcoming and fun. 

All in all with masks, social distancing and limited times in both
spaces, it was our first outing to galleries since the pandemic,
and a treat all round.  Thank you Solana for inviting us, and all
of the artists whose work we saw today, for your fabulous
and inspiring talent. 

Have a loving art day.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Snow and the world

A Boy and his dog
watercolour on watercolour paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 
(This painting has two of the
participants in the photo --
just missing the friend. We were
in Nova Scotia, and Sam's
friend was back in Toronto.
That was a lovely dog, and
we love our dog Sally too.)

I'm very lucky to have walked with a friend of mine, and her sweet dog
through a soft snow fall today. The good thing about that is lifting my
thoughts out of the worries about the world, which don't help anyone.
I came home and found that one of the photos I cherish from my children's
childhood was gone. It turned out that it had fallen out of the small frame,
and was under a dresser.

But that made me also connect with what I was thinking last night when
we went to Ikea for the first time in two years.  We were there to buy
sheets, because we like their sheets, and ours are worn out.  I walked 
through the large store, packed with stuff, and thought do people really
need all of this? If we had to pack up and leave everything, like the people
in the Ukraine, what would be take? Probably that small photo of my
son, his friend and a former dog would be one of the things I'd keep.

The snow is a gift of beauty, which is one way for us to calm down,
and figure out how to help.

Have a helping each other day.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Why participate in international art shows?

Me with Alessandra Masha Mascitti
in front of my painting in the Carrousel du Louvre Exhibition
Dream Selfie -- Wonder Water Image #7, Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016
(I look a bit tired (and happy)in this photo
 because I showed in New York City 
two weeks before, flew back to
Toronto, then flew to Paris.)

The obvious reasons for taking part in international art shows
are expanding your audience, and the excitement of traveling 
somewhere new.  For me those reasons were wonderful, but the
most enduring benefit of taking part was meeting people from
all over the world, and making new friends.

This isn't a light result.  A friend in Brazil just sent me quite
complete instructions on how to make an NFT. I talk to a very
close friend in the Netherlands, who I met at the Florence
Biennale, once a week if all is well, and she has helped me
display my work in the Netherlands (in fact yesterday's painting
was shipped off the stretcher and rolled to her, and she and her
husband, stretched it and transported it to the exhibition.).

These new friendships are deep and meaningful -- with the
background of shared events, a knowledge no one else
has of the great times, and hardships of participating.
Plus with a shared passion for creating art, you already
share so much even before your first conversation.

International shows are not cheap unless you're sponsored.
Aside from show fees, and shipping, there are travel and
hotel fees to manage.  But if this pandemic slows down 
quite a bit more, the world is safe enough, I have the cash,
and the location is somewhere I'd like to visit (Paris, Florence),
I would jump at the chance to do it again.

Have a dreaming big day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Struggles in art -- do they affect value?

In The Right Place At The Right Time
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2016

Today I read the concept somewhere that an artist who likes their own
work is not a good artist. I think that is a terrible message. Some of the
artists whose work I love the most clearly enjoy everything about making
their work, and are super happy with it once it’s completed.

In my own life some of my best work in terms of portraits just leapt off
the brush, and onto the canvas so easily and effortlessly. It’s almost magic
when that happens, and as an artist you don’t dislike the work more because
it happened in such a delightful way. That’s a prohibitive point of view.

I’m not suggesting that the work is of lesser value because it takes a long
time, a lot of thought, and even layers and layers of struggle to get it right.
But from my own experience when it does come together -- it still gives the
artist so much joy. Well it certainly makes me happy when I keep going.
The painting I'm showing you tonight was one that took time to create.
It was displayed in a show supporting an nature reserve in The Netherlands,
and came home and sold for one of my top prices. So yes I was happy
when I completed it. And ecstatic when the rest of the story unfolded.

Have an enjoying your art day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Happy International Women's Day

Some of the important women
in my life that I've
painted and drawn. 
Plus a portrait of
my mother by Chris Muir
© Barbara Muir
(To do this properly I need 10
more of these at least. Thank
you everyone!)

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful women in my life.  My mother
 was an amazing, brilliant woman, with a Masters in Bacteriology.  She taught
me a love of language, research and nature.  

My sister continues to teach me about how to handle relationships. She's a
therapist, superb writer, and kind beyond measure.  My family, friends,
collectors, art directors, and all of my women friends in the wide world of
blogging, Instagram and Facebook inspire me, give me hope and challenge
me to be as brave as they are, kind, loving, and caring about one another, and the planet.
Thank you. 

Thank you for your talent, the beauty and intelligence you bring to the world,
for the changes you are working so hard to bring about, for your friendship,
your kindness, and your humour.  And thank you for all of the love you've
shown me. 

I would not have the happiness, and the meaningful life that I have today without
you. You have cheered me on, supported me, listened to me, comforted me,
laughed with me, and made a huge difference in my life.  I fervently hope
that as a daughter, sister, relative, friend, colleague, teacher that I've made
the women in my life happier. 

That remains my ultimate wish in this hard world.  Not only that women
would have equality, equal rights, equal pay, and freedom all over the world,
but also that every woman I know could have love and happiness.

Have a celebrating the women in your life day.

Monday, March 7, 2022

More tulips

Parrots for Peoria
Acrylic on watercolour paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

I taught my Monday night class tonight -- teaching writing and presentation
to a wonderful group. Our challenge was in part to stay cheerful so we
could learn something. And they did an excellent job at staying upbeat,
despite our difficult subject matter. Plus these are the people who will go out
and change the world if all goes well.  

Spring is coming, and in Toronto leaves were starting to poke through the
soil in gardens. I had a great walk with a friend today in light rain,
and now what looked like an early spring yesterday has turned back to winter.
It snowed. So here are more tulips. I love parrot tulips, but there weren’t any
in the flower store yesterday. 

Now back to the canvas.  

Have an enjoying your dreams day. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

To the lake -- the best idea

The swan and friends
Barbara Muir © 2022

It was a beautiful day today -- bright sunlight, high wind, and a joyous
feeling in nature.  We usually do our work, and then go for a drive
to feed the geese, but today I asked Steven if we could reverse the
order, and head out right away.  We even stopped by my older son's house
on the way, just to wave hello with our masks on. 

Then we fed the ducks, the geese, and the one swan at our favourite 
park. I know I tell you this again and again, but it never gets old for us.  And
today the swan was being so careful, because it was unusually warm, and
I was not wearing gloves.  He for sure did not want to bite my hand as I 
fed him the bread. 

What a treat. So tonight it's photos. Nature is a definite help when worry
about the world sets in.

Have a walking in nature day.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Luxurious Saturday and hoping for peace

 Like birds in flight
Acrylic on watercolour paper
10.6 x 13.8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

To all the people all over the world experiencing war, our thoughts
are with you. The effects of the war in Ukraine are widespread. My
good friend’s son in Europe has been studying to be a ship’s captain
for two years. He was supposed to go on a half year trip to complete his
studies, but this war broke out, and the first stop was Russia. He wisely
made the choice not to go. But meanwhile his future, like millions of
other people's, hangs in the balance. 

Steven and I have had a lovely day today, mostly not listening to the
news. It is alive inside us, but we help no one by being frightened all the time.
We hope that this war will end, and are deeply saddened that one insane person
can do so much damage. So I’m posting this painting of parrot tulips to focus
on beauty and hope. 

Have a helping in any way you can day. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Loving my friends in the Month of Change

Summer Collection
Watercolour and pen on Canson paper
10 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir ©

In a few minutes I'll go walking with a sweet friend of mine.
We will wear masks and be careful. And I have had conversations
with wonderful friends on the phone this week.  This is a busy day,
and I'm trying to keep blogging. We need to try and keep each other's
spirits up, in the face of devastating news. 

I was just reading about the time before COVID when a 
group of friends who met when their now grown up
children were in public school, still got together every
Tuesday morning for coffee and tea.  Looking back that
seems like a magic time. So much fun.  In the current
time, with COVID still out there we meet on Zoom, and
I'm so glad we do.

Thank you to all of my friends -- here in the city, out
across the country, and the planet on Instagram, Facebook, and 
through the blog.  You mean the world to me.

Have a loving your friends day.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Missing my art group

Figure with shawl
Acrylic on canvas
20 X 30 
Barbara Muir ©

How wonderful it would be with the dire news of the world
coming from Ukraine, and so many other places undergoing
violence, to escape the news for awhile and get to draw on a
Tuesday night with my art group.

I walk by this painting in our middle bedroom every day.
It is a painting I did in the 1 - 1 1/2 hours I used to spend
drawing from a live model with my art group.  And 
clearly the model was excellent, because I like the painting,
and feel happy every time I see it. Of course COVID ended
all live gatherings, and so far they haven't started our art 
group again.

Yes, if you want it, you can call me if you're in Toronto,
and we can arrange a price, and delivery. But my point
is that it was so wonderful to see amazing artists, to 
work together and be inspired by the model and each
other. That day will come again and I can't wait. But I will.
Meanwhile please stay safe, and stay careful.

Have an enjoying your memories 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!