Thursday, November 30, 2023

The last night at my Presentation class

Last night in our
Presentation class in
a Toronto Community Center
The groups make banners to
decorate the walls. We
talked about how working
together on something fun
is networking too.
Not just LinkedIn.
They made these
on the paper
I brought in about 5 minutes!
So fun.

I've been teaching a 7 week Presentation course at a Community Center for
one of the community colleges in town.  It has been so wonderful.  Just
one night a week, and the students are adults who want to improve their
ability to speak in public -- partly for advocacy, and partly just to get
better at it.

And they are really good.  I felt so happy to be part of helping that group.  And as
is often true with teaching, I wonder who learned more?  Me or them? They
did their final talks tonight, and were absolutely fabulous.
I felt so lucky to have met such super people, and to have spent the time
with them.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Returning to the importance of rituals


Parrot Tulips
Acrylic ink, and marker on
11x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

Last year at this time I talked about the value of rituals.
A friend had inspired me to talk about the subject because
she wanted to have some consistent practices
in her life. And I think having a regular practice is part
of why I do a daily blog.

A year ago I explained that it's great when I have something
new to talk about, or to show you.  But blogging also a vital part
of my day.  It's been a great way to talk to friends who are
thousands of miles away. I like talking to you. For instance I
get some incredibly beautiful, hand written calligraphy letters
from a friend in Texas I met through the blog.  And they make
me so happy.  

So I guess this is one of my rituals -- a daily practice.
Writing here, as I said a year ago, keeps me anchored to the
present. And that's a good thing.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Fun with my art group

Art group sketch
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Barbara Muir © 2022

Tonight I went to draw and paint with my art group for
the first time in a long time, and it was a treat.  I only
stay for an hour, and tonight it was gesture night, with
the longest pose at 25 minutes.

Nothing I did is good enough to post here, but it 
was so much fun just to be with other artists.  I 
think this sketch is of the same model who posed 
tonight -- but it was a 45 minute sketch.  

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, November 27, 2023

This would make a super Holiday gift

Before the Dance in the red dress
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 

I have a friend who wants me to put prices on everything
I show on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook, but I prefer
to mention prices occasionally, when the mood hits me.
But maybe she's right, and it makes sense that this should be
the Month of Sales.

do have set prices for different sizes of work, and I'm happy
to discuss them with you if you contact me via email or
or Instagram DM.  But let's just start with the price of one work.

This beautiful woman in Before the Dance in the red dress, is
part of my Before the Dance series. The painting was created 14
years ago, and the model is the daughter of a former neighbour --
a brilliant young woman just going to university when she posed
for me for several paintings.  The title of this 
series incorporated
the theme of getting ready for a formal 
dance, as a metaphor for
preparing for adult life.

I love the painting, and have not worked actively at selling
it, because it lives in our house, and makes the room she is
in sing.  But if you'd like the work to do the same for a room in
your house, the one time only sale price is $1500, shipping not
included.  If you live in the Toronto area I will deliver it for
free.  The regular price of a 3 ft. x 4 ft. painting is $3500,
shipping not included.   So this is an excellent special deal
for sure.

Have a let's buy art for the holidays day.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Staying cheerful in hard times

Our son Sam, and daughter-in-law Emily
on a cool (cold) winter
first anniversary vacation.
Happy Anniversary you two
wonderful people!

In 2020 on this day, I wrote about reversing the domino effect.
I just read that entry, 
and thought we still need that idea now.
I know that I was incredibly blessed to get to teach positive
psychology for 10 years at a community college. That work
taught me so much.

That's why the idea I had in 2020 still holds appeal today.
And that is -- build on the positive. Each happy idea, action,
event, thought, shared appreciation, adds up.

Every time I read that social media has a depressing effect on
people's lives. I wonder why? I am so sorry that happens.
But that is not my experience with social media at all.  I get a
heart on a photo I post from a friend in Tucson Arizona. I get a
thank you for a positive comment I write from a friend
in Nova Scotia. I have friends who share their beautiful work,
and who support me all over the United States, in England, France,
the Netherlands, South America, and Australia.

The point I was making on my piece on reversing, the domino effect,
is to acknowledge and relish every positive act that happens.

It is in so many ways, a horrific time in human history. We need to
reach out to one another and share any help we can, our best thoughts,
our affection, and our inspiring ideas. Thank you for your wonderful

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Happy Anniversary tomorrow to Emily and Sam

Our son Sam and his wife, Emily
© Emily and Sam's Wedding 
Photographer, 2022

Tomorrow our son Sam and his wife, Emily will
celebrate their first wedding anniversary. The wedding
was such a treat.  Steven and I danced the night away.
We know their hearts will be filled with memories of
that special day. They are two wonderful people.

Wishing you a very happy weekend wherever you
are and I hope you are well, safe and celebrating.

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Happy American Thanksgiving weekend !

The Helpful Printout of my
Ink drawings.
Thank you Chris at
St. Clair Printing.
Barbara Muir © 2021

Today is Steven's and my Monthaversary of our wedding, and two
years ago on this date my nephew Jonathan married his beautiful
partner Kathryn. On Sunday it will be our son Sam and his wife
Emily's first anniversary, and they are having a honeymoon style
weekend.  We need love more than ever in this world.

When Kathryn and Jonathan got married there were big celebrations in
California that weekend, even though they 
married on their own, and went
home to take their daughters out for lunch. We had the pleasure of seeing
Kathryn and Jonathan and their delightful daughters Rose and Rae last
summer, and it was such a treat.  They live just outside of L.A.

Two years ago at this time I was adding captions to my website,
and my printer Chris of St. Clair Printing made this super printout
to help me sort out the titles.

Wishing you a very Happy Weekend.

Have a loving your life day!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Teaching tonight


Cherry branches in a
crystal jug
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2008

Hi Everyone,

I'm super tired tonight.  I just got home from my evening class.
I found this image of a painting that is in a friend's collection of
my work, and thought "Yes!" That's it.

Now I am going to go and take it easy, and I'll talk to you

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy American Thanksgiving! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


This is to wish my American friends and family a very Happy
Thanksgiving Day tomorrow! We have so much to be grateful for. Our
Thanksgiving Day is over in Canada – it was in October, but
a year ago on this coming weekend we celebrated a wonderful family wedding.
So joyous and exciting. And now it's the sweet couple's first wedding
anniversary. And we will raise a glass to them as they have 
a get away weekend.

Here is a message that continues to be my feeling of gratitude:

Happy Thanksgiving to my American family,
and to all of you, my wonderful American friends.

Thank you for your support

Thank you for your kindness

Thank you for this community

Thank you for the inspiration

Thank you for your determination 
to keep on making art

Thank you for all that I've learned from you

Thank you for your humour

Thank you for your successes

Thank you for your beautiful and 
magnificent art

Thank you!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a joyous day and a happy weekend.

Have a loving your life day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The answer is flowers

From the market 
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2015

There is one month until the return of the light.  On December
21 the light starts to come back! I mean. So as we head into the
darkest month of the year in our part of the world, I have one
answer.  Get yourself some flowers. Our favourite flower
shop Yang's Flower Market on Avenue Road sells beautiful flowers. 
And some smaller vegetable and fruit stores do too. 

Right now we have magnificent Amaryllis plants coming into
bloom, an almost finished glorious bouquet of huge yellow
roses, plus a glass jar with beautiful tulips on our kitchen table.
And some white and yellow daisies from a birthday bouquet.
Those pretty blooms say."don't worry spring is coming!" And
they make us happy.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, November 20, 2023

A cheery repeat on a rough day in the family

Our Eiffel Tower on the
front lawn. It's actually there
all year round
Let the holidays begin!

It's been a hard couple of weeks.  Family members and friends are
dealing with serious health problems. 

I came across this blog from this day last year, and I love
it.  So I thought I'd use it today.

"My printer asked me why I always get three birthday cards.
I said "the rule of three, I'm an artist."  What does that mean?
It's much too long to go into here, but it basically means uneven
numbers work better in art than even ones. A landscape is either
2/3s sky or 2/3s land.  Rule of three.  A painting of flowers
should have 1, 3, 5, 7 etc. flowers in it.

Now I read the worst thing you can do in writing is use exclamation
marks.  Okay. If you're writing a serious essay fine. But if you're
writing your friend or lover to say, "I love you."  How much better
it looks as "I love you!" The exclamation mark was created for a
reason.  And as an enthusiastically positive person -- I love it!
Yes it can be used very negatively as in -- "You're kidding me right?

Next is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asking on Instagram is it too early to
decorate for the holidays? Is it? My worry would be that your tree would
dry out.  Or you might be tired of those decorations when the holiday

But lights.  We have them on all year -- and they are mainly on our
little Eiffel Tower on the front lawn, which if you know me is
symbolic of our passionate love of Paris!!!! France!!!! (See the
multiples can also be positive.) 

Have a loving your rules day."

Sunday, November 19, 2023

International Men's Day

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 -- who
also should be celebrated on International
Men's Day, and so should all of our wonderful
relatives and friends -- good men all.)

I was surprised to see that this was a real day today, and
certainly my man deserved the honour of being recognized
as he spent a lot of time today trying to create a
petition, to urge people to fight the federal court's decision
not to allow the banning of single use plastic. 

I will include the link here, and please sign it if you can.
The court said that the ban was "unconstitutional", but
destroying our lakes and oceans -- nature, marine life,
and human life is constitutional?  Reading about this made
me disgusted that the big plastic producing companies
are valued above all.  Not right in a democracy.

So I'm putting this guy up again for this day, and I'll
include the link to the petition here.  If you can sign it
thank you. 


Saturday, November 18, 2023


Steven on the phone
Quick Skype sketch
Black Prismacolor on bond paper
8 1/2 x 11 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

We easily lost four hours of our day today to panic over
a lost phone.  This makes sense because we are soooo
dependent on our phones.  Ultimately after calling
Bell, and doing the necessary steps to protect the phone,
our son Sam told us what to do, and we found Steven't phone
immediately! Whew. (It was in a drawer right beside us!)

This is an old drawing -- note the phone style.  This is 
from a former life, and it is Steven on the old style phone.
They were a lot harder to lose.

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Good day for a photograph

Pink Peonies
Barbara Muir © 2021

I had some delightful conversations today. One artist friend in Texas and
I hadn't spoken on the phone for a long while, and it was so much

Tonight I'm posting a photo of peonies, one of my favourite flowers.
A family member on the other side of the country is facing hard
cancer surgery, and a dear friend across the ocean has COVID.  Please
get your shots and wear your masks.  But in the meantime the 
image of these beautiful flowers lifted my spirits, and I send love
out to everyone I know all over the world.  Thank you for making
my life so sweet.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Thinking of winter

The Yard in Snow 
Maison De Haute Couleur 
Charvin, Paris Watercolour and
black marker on Fabriano paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

I got an email today from a friend who lives in the far north -- Yellowknife.
They have snow there -- and true cold, but are pretty artistic with the
holiday lights.  We have lights on our Eiffel tower statue on the front lawn, and
I guess some people might think that's about the holidays.  It is of course,
but it's about taking a holiday in one of our favourite cities, not the festive season.  

So I am working on getting pieces about winter ready for the Winterlude
show that will be at the Heliconian in December. 

Here's a winter scene from a 6 years ago.  Knock on wood, we haven't
had snow yet.  But the garden has gone down except for the planters on
our front and back porch.  

I hope wherever you are you'r enjoying the seasons.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Painting all day

Winter light Cherrywood
Acrylic on birch panel
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

I am infinitely better today than yesterday, and I've been working
on trying to finish a piece I started last winter (2023) and on 
reviving an older piece.  I kind of love coming back to work
I haven't touched for a few years, because I see things so differently.
Tonight I'm showing you a piece from a few years ago. I've painted
the house across the street quite often.  So often that the neighbours'
daughter drew a Christmas card of our house one year.  And it was
really excellent.

 So this afternoon a wonderful friend visited bringing me birthday
presents that are so beautiful. It was my birthday on Halloween.
Such a treat.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Full on exhausted

Under the weather
watercolour and marker on
watercolour paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir ©

I saw some wonderful people today, and worked at
various things in art, and for my Presentation course.
Plus I walked a letter for a friend in Texas to the
mailbox with my loyal dog Sally.  The result is that
I am very, very tired.  Okay extremely tired.

I found this old, sad, most unattractive self portrait
that seems to say it all.  So more cheer tomorrow
I promise. Meanwhile my book and my bed. 

Have a loving your life day. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Missing Paris and our sweet friends there

Me and Steven wearing the T-shirts showing
my painting
The Maharani's great granddaughter
with her great granddaughter

Alessandra Masha Macitti © 2022
(The Maharani's great granddaughter
was my mother-in-law, Daisy.)

Last year at this time we were going through some 
hard times, and I had just taken part in an exhibition in the
Louvre in Paris-- the Carousel du Louvre Art Shopping 
show.  So much fun, and the trip saved us emotionally at
a time when work was difficult.

Tonight I'm showing you a photo of us wearing 
sweatshirts of the painting I was exhibiting in Paris
last year. The whole trip felt like a way of honouring
Steven's Mother, Daisy -- a brave and amazing

Tonight to try and raise our spirits we went to the
Second City ❤️ Toronto show, which was hilarious,
and it worked.  It was so funny. Our thanks to the performers:
Conor Bradbury, Chelsea Larkin, 
Shohana Sharmin Sicilia, Scott
Yamamura, Gavin Pounds, and
 Tiyawnda. You were
fabulous.  And yes we were masked. Of course.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Grateful for a beautiful day

At the lake
Barbara Muir © 2023

In fact that's what I want to talk about.  Whether we want to
or not we carry the world inside us. And at the moment the
world is in harsh shape.  So if we are lucky enough to live in
a land with peace, and we are healthy, and we can get out to
see the beauty around us -- gratitude is vital.

Today we went for walks in two parks.  We are lucky in Toronto
to have many beautiful parks. For me the lake is so inspiring.
I'm showing you a simple photo of the lake that I took on
our walk today.

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Remembrance Day

Field poppies growing in our garden
Barbara Muir © 

As I do every Remembrance Day (that's today in Canada) I looked through my
photos to find a picture of the Poppies that grow every year in our garden.

When they appear they are a clear sign of wonderful summer weather.
We grow field poppies which come back every year. 

So this is what I found. It made me nostalgic for poppies and for Remembrance
Day. As a child I was a school crossing guard in Ottawa in grades seven and eight.
That meant that we got to join the marching soldiers, and bands that would go to the
National War Memorial in Ottawa to honour our fallen soldiers on Remembrance
Day. We all felt so important, moved, and also lucky to be there, just because we
helped people cross the street at our schools.

As an adult teacher I've taught people who've escaped war zones, and lost
family and friends to war. One soldier I taught who fought in Afghanistan.
had PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). He joined the Canadian army at 18, and
was 21 when he came home. He did not think of himself as a hero at all. So I
will think of all the families losing people to war today, and profoundly wish
for peace, and an end to war. 


Friday, November 10, 2023

This might not work

Our happy place, and one of the swans
who knows us

It has been a very difficult week. Thank you to everyone who made us
laugh, and helped us stay on the enjoying life track.  It's Friday night.
Steven has had a very hard working day, and we need to relax and 
watch our funny TV show.  I wanted to get you a video from our 
favourite park on the west side of Toronto, but it may not load.
If not, it looks like you at least get a picture of swan, (we call her swan),
one of our bird friends.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Working on a sketch

Night Flowers

Watercolour, acrylic ink,
coloured pencil
on paper
7 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023

Tonight was a teaching night.  I started experimenting with a sketch
I found that needed work today.  I wanted to see what would improve
it.  Sometimes when life events get in the way, or bigger art projects, 
sketches get left behind -- which can be the whole point of 

Today I thought -- let's change this one.  Always fascinating because if
a few years have gone by, you aren't the same person as the artist
who drew it in the first place.  We change so quickly.
This is the result.  It has got more punch, and that's good. I'll
fold it in half and make it into a card for my husband. Perfect.

Now on to something special.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Happy Birthday to my darling husband

You can't keep a good man down
Acrylic ink and acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2020

A huge, beautiful bouquet arrived today for Steven from
his brothers and sisters.  His actual birthday was yesterday,
but ever since we found this out when Steven's mother
was alive we've either celebrated on the 7th, and 8th, or 
on both.

If anyone deserves two birthday days it's this guy -- such
a kind, generous human, and the love of my life.  He 
is the best.  Happy Birthday Steven.

Have a loving the people in your life day.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The birthdays continue: Happy Birthday to Sam!

After the Dance
Sam sketch
Acrylic on canvas
30" x 30"
Barbara Muir © 2008

Today is my son Sam's birthday.  And as we discovered when
Steven's mother was living in Ottawa, Steven's birthday too.
Some mix up when Steven was born recorded the wrong date.
And he found out that the date on his birth certificate was 

Our solution?  As Sam's birthday was November 7, and 
Steven had celebrated on November 8 for his whole life,
we kept that tradition.  Today we took Sam a cake, and cards,
and gave him a present.

And today it's Happy Birthday to Sam, a wonderful
young man, happily married for a year at the end of
this month.  We love him, and are so proud of him.

Happy Birthday Sam!

Monday, November 6, 2023

My mother's birthday


Some images of mine that I love.
Photos and artwork
Barbara Muir © 2020

My mother loved, Siamese cats.  The picture is
of our cat Fiona, my mother loved nature,
and lived on the Ottawa river for more than 
40 years. Birds were a huge part of
the environment.  Flowers were special for
my mother.  She taught me to love them.
My mother was a fitness expert -- always
walking and swimming, and she loved
good food.  Peaches are one fruit I 
learned to love growing up with my
mother.  What can I say -- few
flowers can beat the beauty of the
Morning Glory.  My mother was definitely
a morning person, and quick to marvel
at the beauty of the natural world. I
remember going for long walks through
trees in full autumn glory with my mother.
Both of my parents were major fans
of fall beauty. My mother loved the
countryside and old houses. She herself
lived in quite modern houses, but she
would have loved the look of this one.
Surprisingly this house was in Toronto.
My mother was a supreme fan of 
art, especially the art of the Renaissance.
She travelled extensively in Italy, and
had a photographic memory.  She loved,
as I do, the work of Botticelli.
And of course my mother loved sunsets, and
was always pointing out the beauty of light
to me.  I miss her so much.

My mother died about three weeks before her birthday --
10 years ago.  Today is her birthday, and I miss her, like
I have every day since she's been gone.

I am putting this image on from 2020, because all of the
images in the photos are about things my mother taught me
to love. I am forever grateful for my mother's love, kindness,
generosity, and for how she inspired me to love the world.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

The Birthday rush again

Birthday cards from my son Christopher's students in Korea
came in a package for me and my husband 
in 2008. 
One of the happiest packages 
I ever opened.
I was just realizing that these children
would now be 21! They were six at the time.

This post from last year says it all perfectly about this time in
the year in our family.

"In our family there are five birthdays in less than a month.
Add to that a first wedding anniversary this month, and whew --
it's easy to feel like you better keep your dancing shoes on!

Thinking about all of these birthdays -- if my mother were
alive it would be six, and hers would be tomorrow, I went
hunting through my blogs for birthday references, and
found these sweet birthday cards that came to me and Steven
from Korea the year that Megan and Christopher worked in Seoul
teaching English to children after the children's regular classes
for the day were done.

These cards were created by 6 year olds.  And receiving them
 made my birthday special indeed that year.

Have a loving your life day -- and keep your dancing shoes on!

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Cats want equal time

Woman with her cats
Acrylic on canvas with gold leaf
36 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 

One of the nicest portraits of cats I've done is this
one.  The collector says that seeing the portrait
makes her happy, even though the cats are no
longer with her.

It's Saturday night, and we've had a great day.
I am ready to watch a movie with my sweetheart
and the cats.  They (the cats) felt that Sally, the dog,
was getting too much attention, and wanted me to write
about cats.

We did have the dog's birthday party tonight.  Lots
of singing and barking and two cookies for Sally.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Happy Birthday to Sally our dog


Sally the dog
Acrylic on canvas
5 x 7 inches 
Barbara Muir © 2014

Last night I taught my Thursday night class, which was wonderful.
Today we had a friend working painting for us, and Steven had a
long work day.  So we put off Sally's birthday party until tomorrow.
She will want to sing Happy Birthday when we do, and it may be
not surprise that that sounds like barking. 

We got our dog Sally, who turns 11 today at a very sad time
in our lives. Our almost 14 year old dog died that year in
September, and my mother died a couple of weeks later. 

We needed a dog, and ended up in the Humane Society adoption
Center, and chose Sally.  Actually she chose us. She was a skinny
dog lying on a ripped blanket. When I sat down on the floor beside
her cage she pulled my purse into the cage, and that was that.  Steven
found me crying looking at Sally, and the rest is 11 years of history. She
is very happy with our family.

Sally was one year old when we got her, and we were her
fourth owners.  Tomorrow she will sing Happy Birthday to herself,
and get two cookies and probably something good to eat -- because
she's having a birthday party.

Wishing you a happy day tomorrow.  

Thursday, November 2, 2023

No more Nasturtiums this year

Nasturtiums in November
Acrylic ink and marker
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Barbara Muir © 2022 

It is super cold outside in Toronto.  I don't hate the cold, but I don't
look forward to my backyard neighbour's beautiful, huge maple tree
losing its leaves (it hasn't happened yet). And bit by bit the garden
flowers are succumbing to the cold. Today the nasturtiums went down. 
They took a long time to come into bloom, and we really loved them.

Here's a little painting I did of last year's nasturtiums.

I taught my once a week class tonight, and as usual it was 

Have a loving your life day. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

International Self Portrait Day

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

This is International Self Portrait Day and like so many
artists who frequently do portraits -- I have been my
own subject many times.  Why do a self portrait? Because
you are available to sit for your portrait. My favourite is one
I did for a painting sharing idea called a June Paint Off, created
by the wonderful portrait painter David Lobenberg.

This painting hangs in my husband's office, and is an image
of me that he prizes, which is like so many things
about my husband, Steven, adorable and sweet.

Have a loving your life 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!