Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year -- Ready, Set -- 2024!

Steven and I in 2015
on New Year's Eve.
Happy New Year!

Hi everyone -- thank you for making us happy in 2023.
Went to a lovely small party with two close friends all of us
rapid tested this afternoon. No big party this New Year's Eve
-- there's too much COVID surging again in the past month. 
So Steven and I are partying alone tonight, and will really miss all
of you who normally come to our drop-in party.  You are all the best.

Happy New Year! Here's to a super 2024 for you.  May you
have all of the love and creativity you want.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Thank you for being my greatest teachers -- Happy New Year's weekend

The Blue Sweater

acrylic on canvas
24" x 36"
Barbara Muir © 
(one of the most
important teachers
in my life has been
my sister Sally. This
portrait was created
based on a black and white
wonderful portrait by
my father.)

In recent years here's the gist of what I wrote on December 30th.
Howard Wolinksy persuaded me to write about the 2028 things I
learned in 2018, and I've been trying to do that at the end of each
year when I remember. 

This year life continued to be miraculous in at least 2023 ways.  
When I taught a Positive Psychology course at a community college
for 10 years,  in the time management section of the course
I learned that there are 168 hours in a week.  I sleep 7 hours a
night - times 7, that means for 49 hours a week I am not observing
the planet.  Instead I'm reviewing old stuff, or making up amazing
worlds (lately this is super true) in my dreams.  That leaves 119 hours
when I'm awake, that I'm amazed every minute.  That doesn't mean
I don't feel beyond sad about the tragic wars, and climate crisis the world
is undergoing. It means I also feel it's my purpose to notice what is
beautiful and touching, and if possible to create art based on what I

Here are some suggestions I'll try to follow in 2024.
They are helpful:

Be Happy! Hardship and sorrow come into every life --
and of course have been part of mine. This year I've tried to
listen to a voice in my head that tells me to rethink my attitude
(it sounds like my mother), to notice what is great, as well as
what is wrong. I'm keenly aware that our time on the planet is
limited, and that I am incredibly lucky. So in my best times
I choose to enjoy life moment by moment. In the case of enjoying
you -- your support, your beautiful art, and great thoughts -- that is a given.
 Plus I am so blessed that my family and friends are wonderful!

You (I) don't know what's going to happen next.
Who would imagine having a conversation in
in the Apple store tonight trying to get some things
adjusted on my phone, and finding out the tech expert is
an excellent photographer, and that I'd be looking at his super
photos of Kenya before I left the store.  What a
treat.  And I would be delighted if his photos 
ended up in a Louvre show.  We talked about that.

When I went to City Hall to get my parking sticker
renewed, I tried to hail a cab I wanted to take to go home,
and a passer by heard me yelling "Taxi", and ran down the street
after the car, tapped on the window, and told the driver that
I wanted the cab. Amazing. Total strangers have been so
kind to me.

Love matters, -- And I can't say this enough.  (My thoughts
on this haven't changed. They've just been reaffirmed.)  I want to
show the world that I love the planet (which is why I
paint landscapes of beautiful places), show the people who love
me that I love them back.  Some people may find it corny
or insincere if I tell them I love them.  But I know that love matters.
I'm a reader, and try to keep up with the news, and know
that the brutality of war, politics, climate change disasters, 
have made it another very hard year.  But I am once again so moved
by the kindness people show each other, even in the
hardest situations. And I'm moved by the people in
my life, who care, make me laugh, and will listen
when times are tough. After my mother died I realized
that even though I told her I loved her every time we spoke,
or saw one another, that we can really never tell each
other too often that we love one another.  Love does matter.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, December 29, 2023

2024 rhymes with opening new doors

acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir ©️

Although it was a hard year in many ways, 2023 was also filled
with wonder.  At the start of the year I lost a job I'd enjoyed 
for 8 years.  Online teaching had its benefits, but one drawback
was not ever meeting the new manager in person.  

Miracles happen. A fellow staffer recommended me for another job,  and I got one of the best teaching opportunities I've ever had.  Pure joy teaching Presentation and Advocacy.

Plus last summer my husband was told that his contract would
be renewed, and a week later told not only would it not be renewed,
but it would end a week early!

Luckily we are mostly a positive couple.  My husband decided to take
me to Paris if he wasn't going to be working, even though that didn't
make any sense financially.  So we booked the trip to 
leave in a week. The day before we were to depart, as we sat in the car eating take out wraps, my husband got a phone call offering him a new job with the same company, to start when we returned from our vacation.

It was magical. So was Paris.  We spent a week there, saw good friends, made new ones, and a week after we came home left for Nova Scotia.

It has been a busy fall.  Teaching, shows, family health issues.

I am looking forward to the great things 2024 will bring us.  I
feel certain that magical, and exciting happenings are in the

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

I think I'll stay with 7


Reading on the dock
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013

The other day I watched a seven year old in our family, run around
cheerfully moving from one activity to another, creating art
easily, and effortlessly with great enthusiasm and joy, and I thought
 -- that's how I want to be -- like a seven year old.  Yes. I know
I'm a grown woman. And I am grateful that I am, and that I have
the love of my husband and family and friends.  

I wrote about this last year too, inspired by the self-portrait based
in part on a super portrait photo my father took of me when I
was a little girl, and a photo of the beautiful lake where my son's
mother-in-law has her cottage.  

There's a new year coming, and instead of hemming myself in with
New Year's Resolutions and intentions for the new year, I want to permit
my adult self to be creative, and have as much fun as is possible given some of
the harder, and sadder parts of life.

"The painting hangs inside our front door -- and reminds me, the 
grown up, supposed adult, to know this is my essence -- a
happy kid who loves to play, and read, and loves beauty.  Being at the
cottage when I was a child was the easiest place to find equilibrium,
because the setting was beautiful, and my parents who were lovely
people, but also critical, and back in the city highly disciplinarian,
were happy, and distracted.  In other words no one paid
attention to me except my aunts and uncles down the path, and
my cousins, who were warm, kind and funny. So fun was possible
and available."

Have a loving your life day!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Happy start to the new year -- starting early!


Valiant winter tulips
Marker on Canson
mixed media paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2021
(It is warm enough here that the
tulips might start blooming outside. So
the current flowers in my kitchen are
not cold at all. Still I like this drawing.)

It is a decidedly rainy day, but very warm. Steven and I have been listening
to a P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island) radio station playing Christmas carols and
songs for what felt like forever, but was probably just from December 1, to
December 26.  

Today as we sat eating our takeout lunch wraps on a street facing Casa Loma,
which is all lit up -- regular rock, soul, and blues music came on, and it felt
like a party.  How we've missed music without a theme.  Christmas music
was a brilliant distraction even though we are not religious, but what a treat
to have the music back.  It felt like the start of a new year.

I feel inspired to start the new year, but for now -- a short holiday with 
my man. Happy Holidays.

Have a loving your life day.




Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Happy Holidays -- our family celebration was tonight!

The stockings waiting.
This is from another year, but
the arrangement looked a lot like
that tonight.
Barbara Muir ©

You all know how wonderful it is to have your family over for
dinner and presents.  Tonight was the night. And this year was
fabulous -- 9 for dinner, 3 of them children.  Lots of fun.  I am
tired now, and just want to wish you the best of the season. Happiest
of holidays.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Happy Holidays 2023

This is not the scene at the park
near us right now because 
we have no snow.  But we 
 will have again someday It
is winter in Canada.
Meanwhile I love the image.
Perfect for this joyous time of year! 

I hope your day was filled with joy, and that if it wasn't tomorrow
will be.  We have had a lovely slow day at our house, just enjoying
the tree, the music, the animals, and then a lovely dinner 
Tomorrow ifeveryone is well, dinner with the whole family.

We are happy as can be, and feel entirely blessed to have such a
loving family, and such wonderful friends.  So thank you for
everything.  Let's have some fun, and I sincerely hope that
this coming year is a special one for each of us, and that
we work on solving the problems facing this beautiful planet. 

Have an enjoying yourself day.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

The 2000 things I learned again this year -- a positive attitude really does help

Santa street in Toronto
(not its proper name)
Barbara Muir © 2020

I got Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude out
of a neighbourhood free book library, and it was, and is a 
life changer.  He warns that it is corny, and the book is far
from perfect, but for a person who taught Positive Psychology
for 10 years, it was an eye opener.  Being positive Gitomer
says is just the start of the Yes attitude.

So whenever I find myself down, or annoyed, or wandering
around my house alone complaining I remember his 2 minute
rule.  He says that if you have a Yes attitude you will get
over any annoyance in 2 minutes.  Quite the challenge.  But 
just reading his book has made me much more positive in
my daily life.

So I'd give that 2000, and that means that for now we're finished with
the numbers.  It's my Monthaversary of my wedding day.  And
it's Christmas Eve.  I wish you Happy whatever holiday you
celebrate, and Happy Christmas, if that is one of them.

Have a loving your life day!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

The 23rd thing I learned again in 2023 -- I'm here to change the world

Sunset on Highway 6
Barbara Muir © 2021

How can we do it -- make the world a better place? Aside from
the giant and seeming unsurmountable problems of war, and
climate change, what can we do?

I think we take it one day at a time, and one interaction at a
time. If we are kind, hold the doors for one another, thank
the people who help us, and are kind to us, bit by bit things

I think about that idea when I'm teaching, and it happens.
All of us in a class interacting make our lives change -- we
learn and grow, and deepen our understanding of each other.
I believe that part of our job here -- on the planet -- is to
try and make things a little bit better, one 
small step at a time,
for ourselves, and for those around us.

Have a changing the world day.

Friday, December 22, 2023


Me and Steven in our
winter gear about
about 11 years ago.

Dawn Yaeger ©

Steven is definitely my Santa -- and with two days
to get all of the holiday celebrations together --
we are not quite ready.  If we didn't get a card to you,
Happy Holidays.  Unlike last year no snow is predicted in
Toronto for Christmas Day.  If you're one of those people
who needs snow, I feel badly for you.  I am enjoying the 
fact that there's still very little ice, and no snow when I go
for one of my 10,000 step walks.  We have celebrations
on Monday and Tuesday. I don't know how we'll get the many
tasks we need to finish done, but I do know that with this
guy -- it will all get done.

Looking forward to the fun. Happy Holidays to you, and thanks
for your kind support all year.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The 21st thing I learned again this year -- the light returning is so wonderful

Frescoes in a chapel in the 
Siena Cathedral,
in Siena, Italy 
Barbara Muir ©

Today is the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year! What
does that mean -- tomorrow there will be more light.  For Steven
and I this is huge, we are so happy that the light is coming back.
And light comes into your life metaphorically in so many ways.

I'm showing an image from my time in Florence -- being part of
the Florence Biennale changed my life in so many ways.  It
was exciting to meet international artists.  And what is wonderful
is that many of us are still friends, some through social media, and
some of us have met again in person -- delighted to see each other.

Here is what I wrote in a former blog about the experience.  I think
it let the light of glorious friendships, and spectacular memories
into my life.

"I met new friends, saw amazing art, fell in love with a
country I had only dreamed of, and heard 
of from both of my
parents, and many of my friends who had either 
been born in Italy,
or had parents who were

My ancestry connection is that my great, great, great grandmother
was Florentine.  So being in Florence made me very happy.
Part of the thrill of being in Italy, was taking a bus tour around
the area where we were staying, to Siena, and Pisa.  The image
tonight is a fresco in the Cathedral in Siena.  Our tour guide
used her influence to get us into a spectacular chapel in the
cathedral, and changed my view of art from the period.
It turns out the art that was not damaged (in this chapel very
few visitors are allowed to enter, because breath damages
the colour) is brilliant in colour.  All of the art that was subdued
in colour was according to this guide, damaged.

Woo Hoo.  May bright colour reign supreme.  It was one
of the most beautiful rooms I've ever been in in my life.

Wishing you a very Merry Holiday Season.  Looking forward
would I love to return to Europe. The answer is yes."

Have a loving your holiday time day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The 20th thing I learned again in 2023 -- the work matters

Marty's Mom
acrylic on canvas
24" x 36"
Barbara Muir © 2004

Last year on this day I posted this photo of my painting of
Marty's Mom with a Santa hat on the portrait's head.  I was
visiting my friend Marty up the street and saw this. What
a treat. This year I'm showing it again because I love the painting. 
How sweet to see that image of the wonderful woman who was Marty's
Mom.  She posed for me in my studio -- and that was long
before COVID.  So I got to talk to her, and know her and
it is delightful doing a portrait using live sittings.

The colours were not my norm at the time -- I mean the 
bright yellow -- but I love how it jumps off the blue of the
satin throw behind her.  This portrait  captures the 
visual energy of Marty's mother.  And I'm so glad it does.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The 19th thing I learned again in 2023 -- Go outside if you can!

End of day light
Colonel Sam Smith Park
Barbara Muir © 2023

I started trying to resume my aim for 10,000 steps a day about a 
week ago.  I was getting between 6,000 and 8,500 most days, but
I wanted the ten.  And I've succeeded for a week! This most
definitely requires going outside unless you're lucky enough to
live near a very large shopping plaza.  

So I just got home from a very long walk, and it's cold.
Mighty cold -1 Celsius, which is 30.2 Fahrenheit. It is the
end of the day, and the rewards for walking were the amazing
sights along the way.  The beauty of tree branches against the
glorious changing light. The bright gold shining on buildings
and beaming on windows reflecting the sun.  Amazing. 

I mailed 2 letters.  Yes! And if we go out to get groceries, or maybe
just to walk, I will get the 10,000. And then my friends after dinner
and some TV with my sweet man -- I will sleep like a baby.

Try it.  I felt so clear headed from that cold walk that I
organized my studio table -- yes!

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, December 18, 2023

The 18th thing I learned again in 2023 -- We love and miss celebrations

Sketchbook drawing of our
fireplace mantle and stockings
Red Sharpie on bond paper
Barbara Muir ©

People don't want to believe it, but we are still dealing with the
pandemic, and this year our family is going to get together to share
a meal and some gifts.  We are looking forward to that so much.
Because we have to be extra careful, because is family health issues,
I realize what we've missed so much is going to parties, and out to
dinner with friends and family.

I found this sketch on my blog. No idea when I drew it -- but
I liked the colour red for a Holiday season sketch.  We have not
done much decorating, but we did decorate the tree with help
from some of the youngest family members. And it looks
very beautiful. 

Have an enjoying your holiday days.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The 17th thing I learned again in 2023 -- I have so much to learn

Poem by the Don
Acrylic on canvas (diptych)
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 

One thing I know for sure, is that I have so much to learn.
Something I've been trying for the last couple of years is 
learning how to say thank you in -- get this 7,139 official
world languages. In Canada there are 2 official languages --
English and French.  I have taught English writing and 
Business writing, and Presentation.  But in French despite
taking French in school from kindergarten on, I can
understand, but not speak it at all well.

So that's one thing -- language.  Then there is learning about
the many different cultures of people I teach who have lived
around the world.  If you do travel, you know that if you 
haven't visited a place, you don't know it. You can see
1,000 pictures of the Eiffel tower, and not know how it
looks in real life when you visit it, or drive by it in a taxi,
or see it as you sail down the Seine on a tour boat. So
different.  But we can read, and study and see films and 
speak with people to learn about the places we may never

Learning is essential if we are going to fix humanity's
disruptive behaviour, and save the planet.

Have a loving what you're learning day.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

The miracle of wonder -- the 16th thing I learned again in 2023

Irises in bloom
Barbara Muir © 

It's good to be an artist.  Everything beautiful hits you in the 
heart and eyes.  And that is the magic of wonder.  Today at
the veggie store we go to for avocados they had irises.  The
beautiful blue ones that I love.  On a chilly December day the
sight of those spring time flowers filled me with wonder and
delight.  And in the store Kelly at the cash said, "I knew those
would make you happy. They are your favourites right?" I do
love them and many other flowers too, and she's right, these
are right up there.

I woke up from an afternoon nap and the light from the hall
sparkling in the crystal of my bedside lamp dazzled me.  That
was a lamp someone sold at a garage sale for $10.00 a few
years ago. That's when the idea of wonder hit me.  As an
artist lucky enough to live around parks that are beautiful,
and not that far from Lake Ontario, which I love at all
times of year -- wonder is readily available. I will do my
best to capture as much of it as possible.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, December 15, 2023

The 15th thing I learned again -- allow joy to come into your life

Late summer flowers
watercolour and marker on 
watercolour paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

Louise Hay once asked what word we would want to use
to define a year? In 2017  I chose the
word "joy." 2023 has
been a hard year for me 
and my family. Illnesses, job losses,
and other hardships combined with the world news made
it a challenge. The kindness of 
friends and family has been
so vital. The word I'd
use to describe the year? 
There isn't one word -- but "resilience" comes to mind.  And
noticing joy is a huge factor in resilience. 

As I said in 2017, "Joy (or happiness if you like) is most 
potent in the heart of hard times.  When you lift your eyes up 
out of sorrow and look around, it's there waiting 
for you.  I think perhaps it's the force of nature
saying -- "Look! Look at me! I'm always here 
to make you happy."  

These are very harsh times in so many ways. The news
is brutal.  Anxiety is rocketing, and instead of
crawling back under the covers and giving up
on trying to change the world, effect peace, make
a difference -- joy beckons us to keep going, call 
a friend, and make our voices heard, donate, volunteer,
protest, and join a vast joyous choir across this beautiful planet. 
What do you do to express your joy?  Do you paint, 
write letters to friends (or politicians), spend time 
with family, go for a walk?  I'd love to hear your ideas.
Tonight I went on a beautiful walk with the love of
my life, Steven.  The lights and decorations in our
neighbourhood are a message to all of us.  Our 
neighbours care, and want to show us some joy,
to make us happy in this cold month. 

Have figuring-out-the-joy day. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Line is always there for me -- the 14th thing I learned again in 2023

Journal Sketch
Marker on paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

Once again this year I did more line drawing than anything else,
partially because I started the practice of doing 3 journal sketches
while I drink my morning coffee.  Again this year I was too cautious
about COVID to spend time at gallery openings.  And again in recent
weeks  everyday new friends are getting COVID. So in a way smaller
work -- and especially line drawing made sense. I have been in several
shows, and really everything had changed.  Not as many visitors, or even
artists showing their work.  I can't wait for this virus to be gone for 
Last year on this date I enjoyed finding a blog post from December 14, 2008.
(*Note the interview with then Skype Blogger Howard Wolinksy, led to
my appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show in May, 2009. You have
all read about that here many times.)  But here's the post from 2008.
It's all about line:
"An interest in sketching
Hi everyone,
Lately the sketches I do when I'm on Skype with my kids and friends
have garnered some attention in the wider world of the Internet.
You know I am a painter -- and I love painting, but I have always
been interested in sketching. Sketchbooks crowd my bookshelves.
At art college we weren't even allowed to use colour for some of
our classes, until we worked in grey scale for a year. I've
probably talked about that before -- because it drove me right
up the (white) walls.
Drawing was considered almost more "important" than 
painting. Oh I know structure -- the gift of line -- I know
why. The point is that all of that went in, and I am someone
who draws her life. I said that on the video interview with
Howard Wolinksy that you can watch on YouTube if you
hit this link Barbara Muir Skype.

Sketchbook self portrait
the girl fascinated by musicians
Barbara Muir ©

Tonight I was looking for a photo of a friend that I stuck in
one of my old sketchbooks, and came across some drawings
that documented my brief life as a musician's girlfriend. I 
really wasn't cut out for the insecurity of life on the road, or
the rock musicians' obsession with equipment. The life was too
harsh, and lived too close to what felt like a precipice to me.
A base player

But for the few months that I let myself get swept up in that
world, I'm really glad I documented it."
The drummer gets the spotlight
marker on paper
Barbara Muir © 

So that's my post from this date on my first year of blogging.  Little did I know all
of the great things that were coming my way -- being on the Oprah Winfrey show via
Skype, exhibiting in New York City, Paris and Florence, artist friends all over the
world-- media interest in my work. It's been amazing. Thank you Blogger, and now
Instagram, and very rarely Facebook.

Have a loving your life day!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The 13th thing I learned again in 2023 is that art is alive

Journal Sketch
marker on journal paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

Yes the 13th thing I learned in 2023 is that art is alive.  You
know that's true when you walk through a gallery and portraits,
landscapes, and still life paintings and drawings stop you in your

Last year on December 13 I talked about landscapes being more than a
window to the soul, because they are like actual windows out
of wherever you are to somewhere else.  That's why I love
the huge diptych painting in my studio which is a view of
the first view of the ocean over farmland in Nova Scotia.
that we see the ocean on our trip out to our school house in
Nova Scotia, and it makes me happy.

Heading home
Acrylic on 2 canvas panels
4 x 6 feet,
Barbara Muir © 2016
This year I started a practice of doing a few portrait drawings
in my journal before I started my day. What I found fascinating
about the experience was that even though I was making quick
line drawing sketches from reference photos of people I didn’t
know, that they would come to life for me as I drew them, and I
would feel like I did know them. I was blown away that just a
few lines could have that power.

Right now I’m working on a landscape painting of a scene I saw
on my travels from Toronto to the Maritimes. The light is magical.
I feel excited every time I come in the studio and see the work.
That is a wonderful feeling. I’ve no idea if the final painting will
keep that vibe, but I hope so. Meanwhile what a pleasure. I look 
forward to showing you the painting when it's complete.

Have a loving your art day . 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The 12th thing I learned again in 2023 -- We are always changing

The blue sweatshirt
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 
(I looked through my blog for
a sample of how I painted
when the blog began, and my
colours have changed quite 
a bit.  I still like bright 
colours, but don't use them
in the same way.)

When I saw this post I was intrigued that this is what I've been 
thinking about in the past few days, and it was on my mind at
the same time last year.  I remember teaching my students that
we change all the time, but didn't remember ever 
knowing these
numbers. According to facts from

"about 330 billion cells are replaced daily, equivalent to about 1
percent of all of our cells. In 80 to 100 days, 30 trillion will have
been replenished--the equivalent of a new you."

"What does it mean that we are always changing?  In one sense it
 means we have to 
ask people how they're feeling, and what they
 enjoy doing, 
and in another sense it means don't be afraid if you
see the world differently.  It just means that you've changed. 

When I was teaching Positive Psychology I discovered that
so many of our cells renew daily -- this means whether we 
want to our not -- we are changing. (The facts are above, and
they are even more shocking than I remembered.)

Oddly enough people sometimes expect consistency in artists,
who are also supposed to be the most creative people in
the world. So let's be alive, thrive and enjoy each other's
new ideas and new work."

One of the ways we change is by learning, and I feel lucky
that I get to be a teacher, and meet new people from 
different parts of the world, who teach me things all of
the time. Thank you to my students. 

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The 2011th thing I learned again in 2023 -- Pets are amazing

Monet the cat
It's the second
anniversary of her

That's right folks.  The actual challenge from Howard Wolinksy in 
2018 was about 2018 things I learned in 2018. Remember back
in 2018 -- before COVID? Now it seems like such a magical time,
and in North America we had no idea what was coming. I'll catch up on
the 2000 part by the end of the month Howard.

This is the second anniversary of our adoption of our cat, Monet.
She is a wonderful warm, intelligent cat.  My husband Steven
has his office in the basement.  He comes up to the kitchen for lunch,
and Monet comes up with him.  When he is ready to go back to work, he says
to Monet, "back to work," and Monet runs downstairs and jumps
into her basket on top of the dog's cage, that's in Steven's office.

Our dog Sally will sing Monet a Happy Adoption song tonight, and
our cat Fiona, who is 16 will be jealous, and everyone will get a treat.
Fiona is also wonderful, and has been our cat since she was 9 weeks old.

Here's to the animals!

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

The 10th thing I learned all over again in 2023 -- Be happy


This was my most popular image on Instagram in
2019.  Me with my painting Cloud Magic at
the opening of the Encounter exhibition at the
Heliconian Club.  Meeting some of the wonderful
artists who are members in the Helconian Club,
was a highlight of this year again.
By the way this painting is still
available, and it is even more
beautiful than it looks here.
If you want it for a special
holiday present -- DM
me at on
Instagram.  Free
delivery in Toronto. 

In some ways life in the world gets more and more heartbreaking.
I still believe that if we take action whenever we can, and give
what we can to help with what we can, we owe it to those who
are suffering to appreciate how blessed we are. And we are.
We are not in a war.  We have food and shelter, and people who
love us, and work.

This is what I said about it in 2022, and it still applies:

"Be Happy!  Doesn't that sound simple? It is, but we
lose our way over such ridiculous things -- like
traffic.  Hardship and sorrow come into every life --
and of course have been, and are part of mine.  As well as
the richness of discovery, love and an exciting life,
there are the hard times, the silly arguments, the occasional
sleepless nights, and worry about other people's health and
happiness. This year I've tried to listen to a voice in my head 
that tells me to rethink my attitude (it sounds like my mother),
to notice what is great instead of what is wrong whenever
possible. I'm keenly aware that our time on the planet is limited,
and that I am incredibly lucky. So in my best moments,
I choose to enjoy life moment by moment and in the case of
enjoying you -- your support, your beautiful art, and great
thoughts -- that is a given. I am so blessed that my family and
friends are wonderful!"

Have a loving your life day."

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Humour saves the day -- the 9th thing I learned again in 2022

Steven and Me laughing
I know that I'm lucky I married
a man who loves to laugh. 
This photo was taken in the holidays in 
2007, but laughter is still a
super part of our family life..
Chris Muir © 2007

It's Saturday night and we have a ton of chores to do so I'm posting
a photo today that makes me happy every time I see it. I loved reading
about Dame Judi Dench.  She said she wouldn't have anyone in her
life who didn't have a sense of humour, and I understand that
This is one of the things I love about my family -- at the best of
times they are funny.  They are actually some of the funniest people
on the planet, which makes me feel so lucky.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with joy and laughter,
and stay well.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, December 8, 2023

The eighth thing I learned again this year -- we love Paris!

Our Eiffel Tower is always up.
So far no snow like in the
picture, but snow will come.
Let the holidays begin!
(No we'll be working until the
the 22nd probably, but we can
dream -- right?)

The eighth thing I learned again this year is that Steven and I are in love with Paris.
We never took down the Eiffel Tower this year that sits on our front lawn. We just
refurbished the lights when they went out and people probably think that it’s a
Christmas tree, but no.

When we went to Paris for six days in August, it was the second time in less than a year.
We were warned that it would be hot. And we were told that our Parisian friends would not
be there. It was hot -- 40°C some days.  But our hotel room was air-conditioned and very pretty,
and at the hottest times of day we put a suitcase on our bed and watched the TV show we'd
been watching in Toronto on Steven's computer. We were super happy, and when the day
cooled down we'd head out, and then meet friends for dinner.

People who do videos about what to be aware of when you come to Paris say, don’t try to visit
all the museums. 
Just enjoy the city. But before we left, everyone was full of ideas of
where we must go. We would love to visit Giverny, 
and will another time, but we loved, just
sitting in cafés and watching Parisians (Yes, there were many Parisians in the city) conduct their lives.

We did visit the Musée D’Orsay, and the Orangerie, and enjoyed every minute in those museums.

Will we go back anytime soon? Yes! As soon as possible.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Light Chasers -- The 7th thing I learned in 2023 -- love what you see!


A most beautiful tree
Barbara Muir © 2022

I've been painting all day today -- and having so much fun.  I watched
one of my favourite painters, Daniel Bordi, doing a painting from
start to finish, and then decorating the packing paper, packaging it
and getting ready to ship it. He was so inspiring that I went into
my studio, gessoed a bunch of canvasses, painted out work that
wasn't working, and began a new painting that is going to be

I like what I wrote about last year actually on December 8, because it's still
true and Steven and I have driven by this beautiful tree and cheered
again this year.  I hope the people in the house didn't hear us!

"Steven and I are light chasers.  I realize that.  All year round we
try and see the sunset. And this month when the 21st comes, and
the days start getting longer we will be toasting one another
with a small glass of champagne! Hurray.

Meanwhile the brilliant (pardon my pun) thing about December,
especially in a colder climate, is that in the darkest month there
are lights everywhere.  Steven and I take a route home from our
favourite grocery story, up a tree lined street, and then into a
neighbourhood that has one of the most beautiful trees -- pine I
think -- in the city.  

Last year this very tall, majestic beauty was lit so beautifully in
December that we were in awe every time we saw it.  This year 
some people put lights on in November, and we kept thinking
the tree would be lit early, but it wasn't.  December 1, we drove by and
started shouting yay, and almost jumping up and down in our
seats with excitement. (That's right some people never grow up.)

The picture in no way does the beauty of this 50 foot tall beauty
justice, but it does give you an idea.

Have a loving your life day."

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The sixth thing I learned again -- wonderful surprises happen

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. )
I chose this drawing because
a former student posed for me
for this.  And tonight I discovered
that it was the drawing I posted
on my first night of classes at
the Community Center.  And boy
was I right.  It was a joy
filled experience.

I could not have imagined a year ago that I would have the
fabulous teaching experiences I've had teaching Presentation
at a Community Learning Center in downtown Toronto. I have
always loved the classes I taught, but the support I received
in my most recent courses was incredible.

Plus the excitement, hard work and enthusiasm in those classes
made me so happy, and gave all of us taking part hope that
if we work together we can create change. Not just locally,
but in the world.

That was actually part of the course -- working on how to
advocate for necessary changes in the neighbourhood.

I am super grateful for that lesson.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The fifth thing I learn over and over -- Friends make the world go round!

The photo of me 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 is a very positive person, and we started the
Happy People Group (not official) at the Biennale to help
all of the artists we knew stay positive.

Today it was Sinterklaasavond (Sinterklass evening) for my friend
Miranda Brouwers and 
her family who live in The Netherlands. Sinterklaas
is like our Santa Claus, and people give gifts and celebrate. Tomorrow will
be a day of celebration too because it's the feast of Sinterklaas.

Miranda and I made friends at the Florence Biennale in 2015 and have
shown together in the Carousel du Louvre in Paris too.  But what is
wonderful is that we talk on the phone once a week, most weeks, and
the conversations are delightful.

I am lucky to have wonderful friendships with artists. Their work, posts
and encouragement make me so happy.  

This year we were so lucky to get to visit Paris in August, and Miranda and her
husband Rolf made the 5 hour drive from the Netherlands to spend some time
with us.  Miranda has a wonderful laugh, and is generous, and kind beyond

Because the holiday festivities start earlier in the Netherlands, Miranda
and I missed our normal call this week. I look forward to hearing all
about the festivities. 

In Paris in August we also had dinner with our friend Alessandra Masha
Mascitti, who we met when she was helping manage an exhibition I was in
at the Carousel du Louvre Art Shopping show in the Musée du Louvre in
Paris in 2015.  Alessandra had dinner with us one night at our favourite
Thai restaurant, and we had so much fun.

I love this photo from eight years ago of me and Miranda.  I hope we can
show together again. 

Have a loving your friends 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!