Friday, December 1, 2023


Light from the kitchen table
iPad sketch
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2018

Before I start there's an opening of the Winterlude Show at
the Heliconian Club in Toronto tomorrow at 35 Hazelton Avenue,
Toronto. I have 3 pieces in the show, and was working on
them up to the deadline, and didn't photograph them! (Blame
my end of school deadline too -- I rushed home from delivering
the paintings to prepare for my final class at the Regent Park
Community Learning and Development Center). That is a poor 
excuse.  Pictures tomorrow. It's a beautiful show.  Come out and
have cookies, coffee, treats and maybe pick up some work for
holiday gifts.
The Blog
A few years ago Howard Wolinsky, the amazing writer and 
photographer, whose piece about me on his Skype blog got
me noticed by Oprah Winfrey's people in 2009, asked about
the things I had learned that year.  It's a nice tradition to notice
what mattered as the year ends.  This has been both a wonderful,
and hard year.  Wonderful in terms of a super life, kind friends,
happy travels -- hard in terms of wars, climate change and illnesses
in the family. This first gratitude from last year still holds true.

#1 of 23
I wrote this a few years ago, and it still works as one of
the first things I learned again in 2023.  I am not religious,
so what I like about the festive season, is the joy around
the light returning, which is all about rebirth -- a new year,
new ideas, new possibilities.  

Steven and I are sunset chasers.  By which I mean, we love
to see the sunset, and because we are also more late night
people, we rejoice as the days get longer.  So this is what
I learn every year -- try and be the light.  

In recent years the news has frequently been harsh:
fires in California, fires across Canada, hurricanes on the
east coast, climate change so out of control, 32 countries
experiencing wars, mass shootings in America. A normal 
reaction is to feel despair.

But as I said a few years ago that despair is not generative
-- it doesn't lead to change. And change has to happen now
for the sake of the planet.

When I first talked about this I was thinking of the work
of my artist friend in Nova Scotia, Flora Doehler.  Not only has
Flora chosen to live a rural and sustainable lifestyle.
Her paintings are so joyous that they instantly lift the
viewers up, and make them happy.  Flora grows her own
garden with her husband Larry Knox, and  also sits in the
garden and paints -- celebrating the ecstasy and beauty of the
natural world.

I do believe that celebrating the world is one of the most
vital reasons for making art -- to inspire people, and help them
to love the planet, and value all of our lives on it.

Have a loving your light day!


Evelyn Oldroyd - painter said...

The iPad sketch is great. I love the soft effects of light through the glass and fruit edges. Thank yiou for the reminder that despair is not generative. This fall I have had that sense of despair and felt almost guilty about enjoying life when so many cannot. But one must keep up the hope for them. Your blog always has beautiful art and a life lesson. Thank you. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Evelyn,

I think as empathic people it's impossible not to feel despair at the cruelty
being perpetrated around the world, and especially in needless wars. And I think
the people living through those horrors would like to know that somewhere people
have good living conditions, and good lives. I wish we could solve all of it. There
are people living in tents in Toronto in the freezing winter temperatures. We
give what we can to charity, and it's vital that we recognize our own luck.


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!