Friday, June 30, 2023

The sunflower compulsion

Inktober drawing
Black marker on Canson
Mixed Media Paper
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

No matter what your artistic practice is -- it's hard to say no
to sunflowers.  The contrast between the cold of winter, and 
these vibrant summer time beauties is compelling.  I sat down
tonight and started a drawing.  Unlike what I'm showing you,
I decided it must have colour.  So I have begun -- but that takes 
time, and the first colour has to dry.  So it's blog time, and 
here's a sweet drawing of sunflowers from a few years ago.

I greatly admire van Gogh, and It amazes me that he painted
so many paintings of these complicated beauties.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Seeing my art in place

 Katie and Sam 
Watercolour on Arches paper
22 1/2 x 30 1/4 inches
Barbara Muir ©

I visited a friend today for a wonderful afternoon.  We had decaf coffee
in very pretty mugs, and enjoyed a delightful conversation.  These
meetings with friends have been so rare since the start of the 
pandemic, and they are quite a treat.

While we talked and laughed in the living room, this sweet
portrait of my friend's children sat above the fireplace.  The children
are grown up now, but it was such a pleasure to see that I had 
captured their young selves, and that their family is enjoying them.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Home again

Flowers for you
acrylic on canvas
12 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010
(I love the story of this painting.
The flowers were delivered in the winter
to our neighbours who weren't home.
I was asked if I would keep them
until the neighbours came home from work
by the delivery person. So I did, and
painted this painting during the wait.)

One of the nice things about going away, is coming home again.
It was so great to see our dog, Sally, and our cats, Fiona, and Monet.  
For tonight I’m going to share more celebratory flowers. 
I got some flowers today, but I was working on another
painting, and didn't get time to paint them.

We had a wonderful trip and it is great to be home. 

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Back home and followed by the smoke

Me and Steven -- smitten
Looking at this photo from our first
week together, I see how crazy

in love I was. I feel even more in
with my sweet husband today.
Yes. I wasn't always 

Steven and I had an absolutely wonderful anniversary weekend.
Which is amazing, because we went to Ottawa to stay at our
favourite hotel there, and the pollution index on Sunday was 14,
on a 1-10 scale where 10 is the worst.  Yes off the charts air 
pollution from the forest fires in Quebec.

What did we do?  We ordered large delicious breakfasts through
room service, delivered by one of the nicest people you could 
ever meet, drank pots of coffee, and read our books.

In the afternoons we went to visit my brother and his wife, who were
so much fun. I should note that for coffee addicts like us, my brother
makes the best coffee in the country -- no make that the world. Beyond
delicious. Caf or decaf.

On the way home we saw blue sky, rain, views.  But approaching
Toronto, the same grey smoke smog was beginning to envelope
the city. Argh.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, June 26, 2023

More Love

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

Steven and I are still celebrating our anniversary with a long
weekend, so I am not in the studio, although I have been drawing
every day in my journal -- which is lined and therefore not
perfect for art. 

Going through my posts I found this picture, of Steven and I
posing in the Love Sculpture in New York City.  The two of
us love New York. And as with everything in downtown New
York, there's a lot going on in the photo.

It's been a really wonderful weekend, despite weather issues.
We feel very lucky to have one another.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Flowers for celebration

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 like this painting, because it captures the feeling I've
had about celebrations throughout my married life.  
This is our anniversary weekend.  And in a time of
formidable air quality issues in our country, we need
some cheer.

So here it is. I am busy this weekend enjoying life
with my sweet husband.  And I hope you are 
spending time with the people you love.

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

This is the day!

Me and Steven on our
wedding day
(I had dark hair--yes.)

This is the wonderful day when Steven and I got married.
We're not big number people, so we won't be saying how
long ago.  But we will say that it has been a fabulous
time.  Today we are doing our favourite things -- hanging
out, taking walks, going and getting a take out dinner
made by chefs who know us and are sweet when we
visit even though it's only occasionally.

What do we remember about the day? We remember how
excited and happy we were. And we had so much fun --
even though the band was an organ player and a drummer.
When I threw my bouquet it fell apart, which I hope 
gave more of my friends happy luck in love.  

I wanted to make a smooth, silky, long sleeved, elegant
white dress, but my mother wanted me to wear her wedding
dress. I did, and I'm so glad I did that to make her happy.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, June 23, 2023

The Man

You can't keep a good man down
Acrylic ink and acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
(I know I just put this
drawing on on Father's Day, but this
is my best drawing
of my husband, and it's
my wedding anniversary

There have been lot of discussions with people in my life
lately about love and life partners. Two of my friends have
lost their partners -- who died suddenly. That makes
you realize how precious life is, and that you are lucky
to be enjoying a loving relationship.

This is the man I have spent my married life with,
and I love him more every day. 

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Happy Summer and this is our anniversary weekend

Me and Steven on a super happy
day in Paris.  
High on our list of where
we'd like to go is Paris. Yes!

This photo is from awhile ago.  We are heading into our anniversary weekend.
Today is our Monthaversary of our first date, and Saturday,
June 24, is our wedding anniversary.

So I will be celebrating the joy of our love in this space, this
weekend.  I hope you are having a wonderful summer 

Have a loving your life day.,

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

First day of summer -- time for Morning Glories

Morning glories 
on the back fence
photo © Barbara Muir

Today is the day when we plant the Morning Glories.  There are
three trellises against the fence in our long, narrow backyard 
expressly for that purpose.  So in they will go, and then
fingers crossed, they will grow like crazy and cover the unattractive,
old chain link fence.

Now that's something to celebrate -- the thought of those magnificent
blue flowers covering our fence.  Yes!

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Artist meetings -- and inspiration

Orphan Lamb
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches

One of the great things about the world of art is the connections
we artists make with one another through shows.  A very dear friend
stopped by today (both of us rapid tested) to talk about our art
lives, teaching, and what we want to do next.

I know you would love her work. I do.  Isn't this painting beautiful?
Jennifer and I met when we worked together on an art publication.  I was
the assistant editor, and she was the designer.  Those jobs ended years ago,
but our happy friendship continued. 

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Revising a portrait sketch

Art group sketch
(work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

I had a fabulous conversation today with the artist, Georgia Fullerton.
She talked about art, and the projects she's working on in such
an exciting and inspiring way, that I decided to do a bit more
work on this sketch.

The model from our Tuesday class a few weeks ago was wonderful.
I took a couple of photographs, in addition to painting for my normal
hour at our art group.  The sketch as changed a bit. I like the improvements.
I think it's still a work in progress.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers in the world


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

You can't keep a good man down
Acrylic ink and acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020
(This is my husband Steven,
the father of my two sons)

Happy Father's Day

The portrait of my father makes me happy because it captures
the wonderful, loving nature of my Dad.  In  the reference photo my
father is smiling at Christopher, my older son, who was a little
boy at the time.  Our son Sam had not been born yet.  I miss my
father every day.  

And my  father is still a huge influence in my life.  He was a wonderful writer,
a business man, a fabulous photographer, and a great painter -- good at all
of his roles. He was a strict father to young children, which is probably
why I don't like rules to this day. I'm sure his time in the navy contributed to that. 
But as I grew up we developed a happy bond over art, and over family, and were
close at the time of his death, 
way too early, from lung cancer.

My dad would have been delighted to know our children, and to
see how they have grown up into amazing people.

Happy Father's Day to Steven my sweet husband, the man in the
second drawing. and to Christopher my oldest son. He and Megan have two
beautiful daughters, and a son -- Alice 7, and Madeleine 3 months, and James
almost 9 months. Thank you to my loving family -- Christopher, Sam, Megan,
Emily, Alice, Madeleine and James 
for being the reason Steven is a very happy
and proud father.

Have a loving your family day.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Peony power

Peonies in a Victorian jug 
Black marker on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 

First of all.  Happiest of Father's Days to all the fathers tomorrow.
The situation with peonies in our house borders on insane. But if
you are a peony lover, it is heaven here right now. Two of my
sweet neighbours have given us so many peonies that our kitchen
table is covered.

Tomorrow I'll show you a drawing I'm working on. Tonight please
enjoy this drawing of the wonder of peonies from a few years ago.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, June 16, 2023

The power of portraits

Tobias and the tigers
acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

 I was just coming home from a walk today and saw the
fellow in this portrait. Tobias.  He is now 16 years old, and
6 foot tall.  He was playing basketball in his driveway (a 
passion in our neighbourhood) and we said "Hi" to one another.

Then looking through my files I found this, and felt so happy
that I captured a child  who has become a wonderful young man, and
that that connection matters.

Wishing you a glorious weekend.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Don't knock sketching

Bertrand Russell
Journal sketch
marker on lined paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

A very busy day today, and hardly any time for art --
except I took a sketchbook with me, and I try to draw
in my three page journal every morning.

This morning in a phone conversation with a friend about
how she and her husband met, she was talking about being at
an artist's party, and seeing her future husband across
the room.  He had just returned from England, where
he'd been attending a talk about Bertrand Russell.  And
she'd just returned from England where she'd been in
a travelling acting troupe.

So...they started talking about Bertrand Russell, and 
that was the start of their very happy marriage, and love
story.  While she told me about it, I looked up
Bertrand Russell on Wikipedia, and drew this fast
sketch in my journal of Bertrand at 4. I hope I do
a bit more work on it.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Enjoying Toronto Neighbourhoods

Untitled -- Work In Progress
Acrylic ink and marker on
watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

We live on a sweet street with great neighbours, and love 
our life here. We're trying to walk every night, and when we
do we sometimes head to other neighbourhoods. Tonight we
walked in a nearby neighbourhood called Forest Hill.  For
some reason the mad city tree cutters have not gone after
the bigger trees, and the streets there remain lush and green.

It is a wealthier neighbourhood, unquestionably.  And maybe
that's it.  What a lovely walk we had there tonight.  Here is
a painting I did of a house on the corner of Spadina that
has a magnificent garden.

I labeled it a work in progress, and I think that's how it

Have a loving your life day. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

On the easel

(work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

This will be a short one tonight. Here's a distant view of the painting
that’s been on, and off my easel for the last few months. I see it quite
differently today, which means tomorrow I may have solutions to some
of the (many) things that still need work. Patience really is a virtue. 

An exciting thought!

Have a have a loving your life day!

Monday, June 12, 2023

More about peonies


marker on Fabriano paper
8 1/4 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

The theme in this house now is peonies. These huge, gorgeous flowers
have taken over our kitchen in a clear protest against our unexciting
daily routine. “No!,” they say. “You look around at this incredible beauty 
and accept that your life is beyond amazing. And so we do.

Here is a drawing I did last year. And I will include another photo for 
your enjoyment. The kindest people on my street share these 
magnificent flowers, and it feels like a celebration of our wedding 
Anniversary two weeks early! 

The kitchen display
Barbara Muir © 2023

No idea how this will work. The power is out here. And I am in the dark. 

Have a loving your life day

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Peony Plenty

Peonies on the kitchen table
Barbara Muir © 2023

I think I may have the nicest neighbours in the world.  I'm 
not saying that to brag, but to thank them for the incredible
bounty of their kindness.  Two neighbours have given me so
many peonies that my kitchen table is covered with the

And talking to another neighbour, he apologized because
his peonies are not producing blooms anymore.  OMG.
How sweet.  Peonies are one of my favourite flowers.
If you know me, you know I love flowers altogether.
So this is such a delightful sight.

Have a loving your life day. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Once again the Happy Art Award goes out to all of you!

The Barbara Muir Happy Art Award
Barbara Muir ©
(and  this painting was
in the Food For Thought
show put on by the San Fernando Valley
Arts and Cultural Center in California,
last year at this time. Virtually.)

I am working on a couple of pieces, and it's the weekend --
time for chores and family time.  So I found this post from
last year that reminded me of a sweet time when I could
offer a personally created award to all of the artists I knew.
There is good news.  The painting sold this year -- which
is wonderful.

What I said last year still holds true.  Wishing you a very
happy and creative weekend. And here's some 
thoughts about the award:

"Suddenly I remembered this -- The Happy Art Award.  Actually
The Barbara Muir Happy Art Award -- a kind of Oscar
for artists designed by me.  But why me you ask?  And why
not?  I reply.  I thought it up one day in response to the many
blog awards going around at the time, and sent it out to all
the artists on my blog list.

Forgive me now, but if you're reading this, you have won the
award, and one day when I am very rich there will be a
monetary prize attached.  But for now to all my artist friends,
collector friends, art appreciator friends, art inspiring friends,
galleries, and art show curators, writers -- to everyone in short who
helps me get this job of art done -- you win my lovely
award.  Your art, friendship, support makes me happy and
that's why you win!"

I think in a world that is making so many of us feel tense and worried
there has never been a more important time to help one another feel
happy if at all possible."

Have a loving art day!

Friday, June 9, 2023

The roses are coming back

The roses in full bloom
Steven van Schaik © 2022
(Steven is my husband.)

Our front porch is our favourite place to eat dinner as soon
as it's warm enough.  It was cool tonight, but we bundled
up, and all of a sudden, with a bit of rain, and the smoke
from the wildfires receding somewhat, our roses in the 
front garden have started to bloom.

The beautiful roses provide an idyllic privacy screen from
the street action as soon as the leaves emerge. And then!
The beauty of the flowers is overwhelming -- an ecstatic
treat.  Wow!

I'm going to let the roses have the glory tonight.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

World Oceans Day

Cloud Magic
Acrylic on canvas
4 x 6 feet
Barbara Muir © 2018
(available --
email me at:

This is certainly one of my favourite paintings. And I’ve been
looking forward to World Oceans Day, which is today. We have to
take care of our oceans, and we aren’t at the moment. 

When you think about whether, or not to buy that plastic one-use
water bottle, or the plastic balloons that last forever for your
friend's birthday. Think of alternatives. We have to save the

Have a beautiful world ocean day.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Missing Nova Scotia today

Clouds dancing over Toney Bay
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014

Quite a lot is going on in my life -- all good, and I will tell
you more when things are more definite.  But today I am
missing Nova Scotia.  The summer pulls at my heartstrings,
and says, "girl -- you know you belong in Nova Scotia!"

"I know," I answer, "and in Paris, and New York, and I wouldn't
mind visiting friends across North America and Europe."
But Nova Scotia has certainly won a piece of my summer
heart, and I will be returning sometime this summer.

Then expect more cloudscapes like this.  Meanwhile I
hope that the fires across Canada get resolved.  It is a good
time to hope for rain.

Have a loving the places you love day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Super busy tonight, and I like this older post

Slow down time
Charcoal on bond paper
Skype drawing
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

In a world of infinite advice, (I'm a teacher believe me I am 
always advising -- it's a treat sometimes to just listen, and to
be listened to.  

I like this post from 2020, when we were at the beginning of
this long journey with COVID.  Today the air is very polluted
in Toronto from the forest fires in Northern Ontario, and all 
across Canada.  That is serious.  We have to listen, and try
to figure out what to do.

"I like this drawing of my son Sam from 8(now 11) years ago.  
He was talking to me on Skype at the end of the day, and was getting
up and biking to work at a Starbucks to open the store at 5 in the
morning.  He was tired, like we all are now. 

Things looked up for him after this.  He moved into a house with a
of kids he liked, and had fun for the rest of his university studies.
What I like about the drawing is the fact that he is listening.
And he's good at it.  

It seems to me, living in a family of talkers.  As teachers, actors,
project managers, film directors, writers -- we know how to talk.
That is a lucky break for us.  And at this time in our world, it's
also important to listen.  Hear what people are saying, and figure
out what to do. And that's about all of it.  

I was happy to see that the mayor of D.C. ordered a huge Black Lives
message to be painted in bright yellow on the street leading to
the White House. I was happy to see so many protests taking place.

Change is happening.  If we listen, there is hope."

Monday, June 5, 2023

Tom Thomson
from a Wikipedia photo
marker on journal paper
5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023
(Unfortunately the marks from the
previous journal page come 
through, but I still like it.)

What gets an artist excited?  Sometimes the answer is -- everything.
Today I had some delightful conversations.  And talking to my
brother the topic of Tom Thomson came up.  For non-Canadians,
Tom Thomson is one of our most famous artists.

When I visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, I never miss sitting in
the room full of his work.  He was a fabulous landscape artist.
Sadly he died at 39 years old by drowning.  There is still all
sorts of speculation about how he -- a very accomplished 
canoeist -- drowned, and hints of murder, or suicide, but nothing
has ever been proven. He died in 1917.

What I didn't realize before, having adored his work since I
first found out about him, was that he was very handsome.
And today in my morning journal, I drew his portrait.  I
liked it so much that I couldn't write on that page.

Have a loving your life day

Sunday, June 4, 2023

The fun of quick drawings

Pizza on the run
Journal sketch
marker on journal paper
2 x 3 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

I am not quite conscious when I write my three journal pages in
the morning as I drink my coffee. By the third coffee -- yes I'm
starting to be a human being. But before that, I begin to write in my
journal to get me thinking about the day, and just because it's a 
helpful practice.

I found a journal from 10 years ago. Back then I made a point of doing
a drawing and writing on my daily journal pages per day. This inspired
me and I’ve started doing that again. The sketches aren't fabulous, but
I enjoy making them. Here’s a secret; I can’t write in the spaces filled
up by drawings. So it is actually a brilliant compromise.

This is a drawing I did from reference photos I’ve been taking for a series
about people in café’s and restaurants. This young woman was eating pizza
as she got ready to go off with her friends. I loved the look of eating
on the move, and couldn’t resist drawing her.

I may show you more of these drawings. They are done very quickly, and
with a very casual enjoyment. Still I’m glad that I’m doing them. Plus
I feel like I'm learning so much as I do.

Have a loving your life day

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Market beauties

Market flowers
Barbara Muir © 2023

Saturday is an extremely busy day, and the Brick Works Farmer’s
Market is the first stop. Today the farmer we buy from every week
had this gorgeous bouquet for us. 

When I got home I quickly took photos for reference because it looks
like all of the flowers are at their peak, I love the combination. I
hope you enjoy it too.

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, June 2, 2023

A sketch comes to life

Summer sketch
Acrylic ink and 
marker on paper
5 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

I found this sketch in a notebook as I tidied my studio.
And I thought -- that would be good to paint.  So I did
today with acrylic ink.  I had fun doing it, which seems
like the whole point some days. I worked on other 
paintings too.  And here it is -- a sketch painting.

I think the location might be a very pretty park across
the bridge into Quebec from Ottawa, in Gatineau. Not
sure.  I had no reference photo, so I was working from
my imagination.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Throw back Thursday -- and amazing event in my first year of blogging

Portrait of the Artist
acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 

I'm working on a bunch of things, so I was looking through my
past posts on this date, and found this treat from 2008 on this
day. So I've decided to post the original story, which was happy
and delightful.

"One of the most exciting evenings of my life as an artist happened
 the night I won 
Best Portrait, for this odd little painting submitted to
 the Don Valley Art Club 
spring show. That year the judge was a man
who travelled extensively for 
Windsor Newton. In choosing my painting
he said that he had just been to a show of portraits at the Tate in London, and
that my work was equal to anything there.

Wow! There were oohs and aahs from the crowd, and a friend of ours rushed away
from the room and purchased the painting on the spot. The evening was not only
wonderful, surprising and a hit on every score. But the funny thing was that because
it was a self portrait, it never occurred to me that someone would buy it. I had
painted it more or less as an artist's joke for my family, because my true artist's
costume, is a pair of paint covered jeans and an old sweater. But this was funny.

The moral of the story? Have fun painting, because the art world is full of surprises.

Have an exciting and surprising 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!