Thursday, February 16, 2023

The story of art


A Magic Day in the Neighbourhood
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24
Barbara Muir © 2016

Tonight I looked up a post from 2016, and loved the description
of what it's like to be an artist, so I'll share it with you. When I was
painting this, I had no idea that a happy scene from my street
would sell in New York City.  But it did. 

"I wrote this post without this first thought attached,
read it and thought what?  For Valentine's Day
I bought my husband a cushion that says,
"Today I will make magic happen."  I got it
to let him know how special he is to me, and
to remind me of how magical it feels to live
with someone you love, and to get to experience
what Elizabeth Gilbert calls "Big Magic" --
the creative experience.  For me that's making art.

Occasionally people who don't make art want
to harness the process.  How does it work?
I would not like to be tracked all day as I paint,
then have a tea, read, then paint again, then sit
wondering about what I'm doing.  A non-painter
might go mad watching me.

But one of the questions artists get frequently is
"so how long does it take you to do a
painting?"  I don't know how this question
applies to our bizarre craft exactly, but one of
my artist friends answers, "50 years -- that's how
long I've been alive and working on becoming the
artist you see now."  That answer makes me laugh,
but in practical time-spent-on-the-work terms,
each painting is different.

Artists have to decide how much to charge for
their work based on something -- my rate sheet
is based essentially on size. But some work takes
what feels like a long, long time to look
like you just got excited and made it in an afternoon,
and other work happens joyfully quickly and looks
like it was painstakingly produced.  See? Hard to
answer.  So here's what I'm working on now --
a work in progress. Not quite done.  But it will be.

And the reason you haven't seen any work here
for awhile?  This painting falls into the first category.  It's
a painting of the schoolyard in my neighbourhood,
just across the street and up the hill.   As tempted
as I am to paint the bridge leading to the Grand
Palais in Paris -- which I dream of every night
since my last visit to that beautiful city in October --
for my upcoming landscape show I'm taking the best
advice to artists of every type, and starting with what I know,
and going from there.

Have a loving-your-own-neighbourhood day!"

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Portrait Artist

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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!