Thursday, February 29, 2024

My painting in the Heliconian Club All That Jazz show

Colours of Joy
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2024

Today I took my latest painting -- Colours of Joy -- to the Heliconian
Club, where it will be on exhibit with so many beautiful paintings 
for the month of March.  If you're in town please come out to the
opening this Saturday from 2 - 5 at 35 Hazelton Ave.  The club
is in an old church, but is a Women's Art Club, and has been since

I loved painting this work.  The freedom of painting for an abstract
show was exhilarating, and I enjoyed painting on a big canvas. 
They do serve delicious cookies, tea and coffee at the Heliconian
openings and it's free.  I plan to be there for the first half hour.  Love
to see you.  

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Missing my father

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

Every year this is a hard day.  My father is always in my thoughts. His birthday 
was today, and he has been gone too long.

My posts from the last couple of years on this day say it all:

"Happy Birthday to my father, who died way too young. I found an
old journal of mine talking about his love of photography, and how
he bought himself the best equipment.  I passed some of his gear
on to my older son, and to a neighbour who was studying photography
at Metro Toronto University. My father's photography is amazing and
does stand the test of time.

Girl pretending to smoke
 a chocolate cigarette
8 x 10 inches
W. W. Muir
(One of my all time favourite
photos by my father.
He worked almost
exclusively in
black and white.
Chocolate cigarettes are not
cigarettes -- just candy. And yes
you can still buy them.  They
call them candy sticks and they are
wrapped in white paper, and look
like cigarettes.)

And his art was also wonderful. I only have one piece, which is in our
front bedroom, and every time I look at it, I marvel at his talent, with
no instruction whatsoever. He read books about art, and that was that
was how he learned.  I wish he was here.  He was a complicated
man, a harsh disciplinarian in our younger years, and a staunch 
supporter of me and my art, and writing when I was starting out.

Have a loving your family day." 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Journal sketching makes me happy

Journal Sketch
(from today, Toronto)
marker on journal paper
6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2024Th

Getting back from our short vacation in Ottawa, I have lots of
reference photos, and am filled with ideas. I’m working on finishing
a painting for the All That Jazz exhibition at the Heliconian Club,
which opens this Saturday, March 2. And to get started on my art I
do a journal sketch in the morning.

Here’s today’s. What I love is watching the person emerge. Happy Tuesday.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, February 26, 2024

A sweet winter road trip

Winter Road Trip
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 48 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

Profound thanks to our friends Marcia Labelle and David Cohen,
for taking care of our house and animals, and to Shiobhán Mulcahy,
Raylea Lambert, and Leslie Fink for helping with our dog, Sally,
so we could get away.  It does indeed take a village.

All is well, and we are back home after a truly wonderful
weekend, seeing friends in Chelsea, and hanging out in
the hotel enjoying the respite from subzero weather and
all of the normal tasks of our home life. 

One small flaw.  I was putting a bag in the back seat of 
Steven's car in front of our hotel, misjudged the entry to the
back door of the Ford--and whacked my cheek bone hard
against the metal door frame.  Not a great way to end my visit. 
Steven immediately got me ice, and I held it on as long as
possible. But I have a quite dramatic shiner. Not a good look.

Aside from my appearance I am happy as can be that we got
away, and had so much fun -- and I am being very careful
of leading with my face. The scene I'm showing you today
from a painting in 2019, is one we saw mostly in the Ottawa
area where they had snow last night. 

In Toronto there is no snow.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

For the love of snow in the Month of Love

Snowy day in Toronto
iPad drawing
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2019

A few years ago I talked about how our winter had been devoid of
snow.  This year in Toronto we had what was called a "snow
storm" in January -- on January 7, and have not had any snow since.
This is not good.  Driving to Ottawa there was almost no snow in 
the fields, or anywhere until we were just outside of Ottawa.  This is
serious.  Normally in February the whole province is deep in
snow. Maybe we'll get big snow storms in March -- that would
not be unusual. 

But people who acknowledge the seriousness of climate change
(and there are frightening numbers 
of people who don't, or won't),
know that the current lack of snow is not right.  We need 
snow for t
he spring crops.  Yes we 
need it.

I grew up in Ottawa, where deep snow is the norm in winter.  
There is snow here thank goodness -- but not enough.  And when
I think about the thousands of acres we drove by to get here
with no snow, I worry. I love this drawing done with my finger
on my iPad, because it captures the feeling of snow coming down.

Have a loving your life day.  

Saturday, February 24, 2024

A Lucky Monthaversary

View through my sister-in-law
 and brother's back door 
(I didn't notice the screen when
I was taking the photo! Lol.)
Barbara Muir © 2024

For this Monthaversary of our wedding day, in the Month of Love,
we took the chill off the minus 12 degree Celsius weather by visiting
my brother and his wife in Chelsea, Quebec.  That was fun.

We are staying in Ottawa, enjoying the views out the car window.
It is not walking weather unless you are a lot more hardy than we
are.  The get away is a gift indeed after a month and a half of
family health problems. 

It's Saturday night and as we happily eat our delicious take out
Thai dinner in our room we hear the rythm of drums coming
from a nearby pub. Very celebratory. 

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, February 23, 2024

The Love continues

Catherine Scott
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

I am in Ottawa visiting family this weekend.  When I am here I feel
the presence of my mother and father, both no longer with us.
I found this post from a 2022, and it seems perfect for tonight:

"I could not talk about The Month of Love as an artist, without talking
about the paintings we artists create because they matter so much to either
the subject or the family.

I decided to quote myself today because I like my message from an 
earlier post in 2018.

"Love -- the lasting kind -- is a deep feeling, compelling,
nourishing, and rewarding. Some of my favourite portrait
commissions were created to add significance to the sitter's
life, and to capture who they really were.

In the case of my portrait of Catherine Scott -- one of
my favourites -- her friends wanted to fulfill her dream
of having a meaningful image of herself to live on and
represent her after her death.  She was dying of cancer.
I was honoured to be picked to paint her.

Detail from the portrait of
Catherine Scott showing her favourite earrings

She sat for me, and was so vital, funny, present --
that I really thought there was no way she would die.
Her portrait was the special gift her friends gave her
on what turned out to be her last birthday.

Every item she wore, every piece of jewelry, every
detail in the painting was to her specifications.  And
I was more than happy to make her happy.  She
was delightful to work with, and sat posing for me for
many sessions so that I could get it right.  I know
that tired her out, but she was a brave woman.

I was at the birthday party when her friends
unveiled the portrait, and that moment will
stay in my mind forever."

That was my blog.  I was moved by reading this
and remembered again what a special time this
was.  A student the other day asked me if it wasn't
easier to paint someone from a photo. I explained
that when you paint from someone posing for you,
their energy comes into the painting quite easily.
It happens with photos too, but it's different --
like having a conversation on Zoom, and
talking to someone in the same room.

Have a loving your memories day"

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Friends come for dinner on our Monthaversary


Heart in the sand
B.M. (Barbara Muir)
S.v.S. (Steven van Schaik)
Barbara  Muir © 2022
(The sand is the red sand on the
 beach we love in Nova Scotia
on the Northumberland Strait.)

We had a delightful time tonight having dinner with our friends -- the artist
Marcia Labelle, and her husband, David Cohen. I worked all day on a 
painting that is almost finished, and I'm happy with how it's coming

Tonight we enjoyed having guests -- all of us rapid tested, and the fun
continues tomorrow. It's time to go and watch TV with Steven, and 
enjoy the fact that it's the Monthaversary of our first date.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The eyes have it

Patient with you
Art group painting sketch
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 18
Barbara Muir © 2013

Today I visited my optometrist, (eye doctor), who is one of the kindest,
funniest, warmest doctors I've ever had. What a treat going to see if 
your eyes are working as an artist (the eyes matter big time) and 
not only being told that your eyes are improving (I had eye surgery
last June), that they look great, but also having fun in the process.

My eyes were so dilated from the tests that I could hardly see when I
got home.  And hours later my pupils are still huge. I worked very
briefly on a large painting, which isn't ready to be shown.

While looking for a canvas for my art group yesterday I came upon this
one hour portrait of a model at my art group from 2013, and I really
like it. 'So let's share this!,' I thought.

All in all it was a great day in the Month of Love.  I talked to artist
friends in the Netherlands, and in Nova Scotia.  Wonderful talks.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Great to see my art group

Pat saves the day
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

I painted with my art group tonight, and as sometimes happens I did not
get a painting I can show you here.  So I went through my blog and 
found this nice sketch from 13 years ago. This made me happy, and it
was one of those wonderful examples of a member of the group stepping
in and modelling when the model didn't show up.

I had fun being with the group tonight although I was rushed.  I only had
an hour. But it was a great day anyway.  I had a wonderful walk with a friend
on anabsolutely perfect winter day -- blue sky, sunlight and snow.  And I painted all
day in my studio on a work I'm submitting to the Heliconian Club All That
abstract art show.  I like how that painting is coming along.

Now I am tired and it's time to call it a day.  Thank you to the people in
the DVAC art group, and to the model tonight. 

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Happy Family Day

Let's get this party started!
First in the Times Tables series
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2013
(One of my all time favourite
paintings because the family
is so happy, and because they were
wonderful models in a hard
time in my life.)

Today was Family Day in some provinces in Canada.  Ontario had the day
off.  At the moment we can't see our family without rapid tests. Many in our 
immediate family were recovering from flu and we miss them so much.
Happily our son Sam came for dinner, and that was wonderful. We missed his
wife, Emily who was in Barrie with her parents.

If it wasn't Family Day where you live, hug your family, or give them
a call.  And hug the friends who are like family for you. We need each other now.

And to Megan, Christopher, Emily, Sam,Alice, Madeleine, James, Sally, Angus, Andrew,
Lina, Jemma, Jackson, Quincy, Jon, Kathryn, Rose, Rae, our dog Sally, our cats --
Fiona and Monet -- Happy Family Day, and thanks for being our family.

Love to my family, and you my friends, and to my art, blogging,
Facebook, Instagram family.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Celebrating 16 years since my first blog post

Before the Dance
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir © 2008

It's been 16 years since my first blog post today! Wow! And what fantastic years they
have been.  I started the blog with the help of my son, Christopher. The results
were exciting and immediate -- making friends with artists, art writers, and
collectors all over the world, getting on the Oprah Winfrey show live via Skype
in May 2009, exhibiting at the Florence Biennale in 2009 and again in 2015.
Getting a gallery in New York City and exhibiting there for 10 years. Showing at
the the Carousel du Louvre in Paris 3 times.

Aside from endless inspiration from other bloggers, and the connections that continue
on Instagram, the most wonderful aspect of all this has been the love and affection
I've received from fellow artists. I made friends with people at the beginning of
this experience who are still my friends now.  Many of us have never met, yet
our friendships are real, supportive and caring.

About the painting:

"When my own children were in their teens, and and I was
teaching students on the edge of adulthood, I started a series
called Before the Dance. The young women who posed for
me have grown up into phenomenal adults, living 
exciting lives.

As for the painting.  It was at Seneca College, but as the
entire place has changed since I left 9 years ago, I don't
know where it is. (Yes -- that's a question. If you know please
let me know.)

What I love about the painting is it seems to capture the
anticipation young people have for being "in the dance,"
(grown up life), and their nervousness at getting out on the
dance floor.  I also love seeing my cat Simone (gone now)
who posed for the painting, and the cardinal -- one of my
favourite birds, and a bird that's at the feeder in our backyard
on a daily basis."

If you read this and know where my painting is, please tell
me.  It was on loan, not a gift.  There was some talk of buying
it with one administration. So?

Thank you for giving me 16 years of amazingly wonderful
times in my art life.

Have a loving your life day!


Saturday, February 17, 2024

Get ready for skies and oceans

The happiest view 
Acrylic on canvas
36 x 60 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
(Of course Primary Cyan is just one of
the colours used to make skies and oceans.)

Blue paint
Warning -- this not
an ad.  Buy whatever 
paint you like. It's just
a Saturday night (movie
night) story. The photo is
of one big jar of paint.
Barbara Muir © 2024

Today I went to my favourite art store to get some paint. One colour
that I use a lot in skies and oceans is Primary Cyan blue. A friend from the
Don Valley Art Club advised me a while back to buy the biggest
containers of paint, because they're cheaper.

The best brand of acrylic which a friend from Australia I met showing
in the Florence Biennale in Florence, Italy, turned me on to is Tri-Art,
made in Canada. So I was looking for a 16 ounce size container— plenty big for
me, and got my Titanium white in that size, but there was no Primary Cyan in
what I considered a quite large size. So folks instead I bought the size shown
above (33.8 ounces) in the good brand. And you know I love that colour because
that’s the biggest container of paint, other than house paint that I’ve ever bought!

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Grateful to Skype for changing my life

Look at this
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011
(Christopher my son, shown
here with his wife Megan,
from a painting during my
Skype painting series. Skype
 was the first technology for me that 
let me see family when they were
 far away. In this painting they were
 working in Korea.)

None of what happened in the past 15+ years of my art career would have
happened without Skype.  I started using Skype to talk to my son in Korea.
He and his girlfriend (now wife) worked teaching in Seoul, Korea for a year. 

I loved not only the ability to see my son and his girlfriend from across a
14 hour time difference, but I also like the distortion, and the breaking
up of the image when the connection wasn't working at its best. It made
for an interesting portrait dynamic, and I painted a few portraits based
on our conversations.

Ultimately working with Skype images got me interviewed by the
amazing writer and photographer, Howard Wolinsky, who was
writing a Skype blog at the time.  His video interview got me 
noticed by Oprah Winfrey's people, and on the Oprah Winfrey show
via Skype drawing wonderful Oprah Winfrey herself.

And all of that lead to art shows all over the U.S. and Europe. 
In this Month of Love I honour how love can power exciting
changes in our lives.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A painting day in a snow scene

Flowers at twilight
Barbara Muir © 2023

The snow came to Toronto today. Maybe it was kind of
it to wait until after Valentine's Day, but Torontonians
know that no snow in February is not right.  So now
we finally have a magical winter scene, and I shovelled the
walk, and so did Steven. Plus I worked on a large

Tonight I'm showing you a beautiful photo of Tulips
from last year.  The kitchen now is filled with  
Irises and Tulips. The Irises are at different stages.
Still beautiful, but some are finished.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lots of love all day today! Kind messages from everyone I
met on my travels about town. The message tonight is simple --
thank you for your support, kindness, friendship, and inspiration.

A day focused on love is a wonderful idea -- now let's spread
that to every day.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Loving my neighbourhood

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

Today I allowed myself 2 cookies.  I try not to eat flour or sugar
at all.  Not because of glucose, but because I love everything
sweet and I love bread.  But I made a deal with myself that I
could have 2 cookies if I walked 10,000 steps.  Not there
quite yet. But will be by the end of the night. So.

The answer of course was to go out walking in the neighbourhood.
It was almost dusk when I took my first walk.  The clouds,
the trees black against a brilliant blue sky, the sunset in the
distance -- all were magnificent.  I dropped off a Valentine's card
to a friend, and she invited me in.  We put on our masks and
had a delightful talk. 

Then tonight after dinner I headed out again with our dog
under the new moon. Once again I was dazzled.  

I love the neighbourhood, the people, the houses and apartments,
the stores, the parks.  We feel connected to the people and places,
and that's a good feeling.

The painting today of the schoolyard across the street sold
in New York City.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, February 12, 2024

The happiest kind of art story

Sweet Sunlight and Coffee
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2023
(I did not get a perfect photo
of the work.  I will
in the future.)

Last week my painting Sweet Sunlight and Coffee went home to a
wonderful couple. It was a surprise present for my collector’s husband’s
birthday present.  
I was so delighted that the couple saw the painting
in the Heliconian Club’s Winterlude show in December, and my client
noticed that her husband really liked my work.

The best news of all was that the birthday present was a happy gift.
My client’s husband loves it, and is putting it across from the chair
where he likes to read. 

So that was a sweet and satisfying story for this artist, and I hope the
work brings them lots of joy. 

Have a loving your life day. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

A Happy Valentine's weekend

Me and my sweetheart Steven, with some 
Valentine's Day bluebirds
(These photos were taken at
the Louvre by a friend who
lives in Paris.)

I feel so incredibly blessed to be with Steven -- my husband who loves
me so much!  In some ways we celebrate Valentine’s Day every day,
I give him cards with love messages every morning ever since both of
our cats stopped eating and scared us two years ago.  The cats are fine,
but the notes cheer Steven up, so they continue.

Today Steven brought me a delicious breakfast in bed -- French toast
with maple syrup. Yum. And coffee of course.

We went for a takeout lunch served by a dear friend at a take out place
where we go for wraps.  We sat in the car staring at Casa Loma, then drove
to the lake, and went for a walk in one of our favourite parks. It was colder
today, which is good because the other day it was way too hot for February.

I did a portrait journal drawing today, which made me happy. Painting tomorrow.

Wishing you a day filled with love and wonder.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Let's hear a cheer for the teachers who help us love our lives

Reading with Heart
acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir 2010

It has been a busy time lately, and I am working on a couple
of pieces -- one big one.  Today, oddly for a Saturday, was 
about dental appointments, so I looked at a former
post to get inspired.  I know that teachers have had a powerful
positive impact in my life.  And I love teaching.  That isn't
happening this semester, but I hope that next term my once a
week Presentation Course in a community center will restart,
or that I'll teach another course like it. Here's an edited section
of my former post:

"Thank you to my teachers, and I send love out to all the
 inspiring teachers in my life.  When I started drawing in
school, I was like all the people who tell me I can't even
draw a stick figure.  Why do people think a stick figure is so
simple? But within months I was drawing very competent life

I reeled in shock as a 17 year old girl when the first
male life model came out  to pose for us at art college
-- a huge, naked, middle aged man with a cloth bag over his 

It took great teachers to bring young innocents who grew up
in the dull suburbs, like me, into the exciting, confusing,
wild, world of art, and they did it.

My teachers in university pulled me into the world of literature,
opening doors to what would be a life long love of reading
and writing.

And more recently the workshops I've taken in person and
online have taught me so much about art, that I am sometimes
so dazzled I don't even know where to begin.  But isn't that
a good thing?   My brother's current philosophy is to ask,
"Is it true?"  Constant learning sets us up in front of that
question every day, and for sure makes life just as exciting
as it was when I took my first art lessons."

One thing I love about reading blogs, Instagram posts, and
articles is how much you are all teaching me about every aspect
of art and life.  Thank you.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Working on joy and the whoop exercise

Artist Chu Okoli
with his hands in the air as 
part of the Happy People Group
at the 2015 Florence Biennale
And Chu won a prize in painting!
At the Biennale we modified the
exercise so we just held our
hands in the air.

The world can make you blue right now if you pay attention
to the news.  It feels like it's our responsibility to know and
care about what's happening, even though we feel powerless
to change it.  But it's also important to switch back to the
positive, and maybe never more critical to do so than in the
Month of Love.  

I saw people carrying flowers with hearts attached to them 
today, and was touched that some people are celebrating
Valentine's Day early, or like me they consider all of 
February The Month of Love.

I found this piece about the Whoop exercise today.
I learned it from Mike Dooley, and used to teach it to
my students in Positive Psych.  Plus we did part of if 
with the Happy People Group in the 2015 Florence

So here's part of the post:

"Here's the exercise.  I just tried it in the kitchen, and it does make
you feel fantastic:

Stand up (if you can), put your arms in the air, whoop
like you just had the best news in your whole life,
cover your face because you're so excited you can't
hold your joy in, whoop again with your hands over
your head, put your hands on your chest, shake your
head because you're so astounded with joy, and say
out loud, "You won't believe what's happened." 
As I said I learned this from Mike Dooley at 
and it is amazing what happens if you try this little
exercise once every so often.  Huge things happen,
wonderful things happen -- that's why I'm sharing it
with you.  (I got on the Oprah Winfrey show, invited
to show in Florence, Paris, New York!) My life has absolutely
taken off into a level of joy I couldn't have imagined since
I learned to do this.  No.  I'm not crazy, I'm the sanest person you
know.  And no my life isn't perfect.  People in my
family and intimate circle have serious health issues,
I do experience deep sorrow and loss, and even so...
Give it a try.

Have a feeling the joy day."

Thursday, February 8, 2024

An exciting day -- filled with joyous stories about love

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

Today was a very happy day.  A friend came to visit (we were both
rapid tested) and we talked about so many things -- art, travel, teaching,
the great outdoors, -- so fun.  One of the things we shared was our love of travel.
Scrolling through my blogs from past years I found this photo that I love
of Steven and me in New York City, where I was showing my work with
the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery. Thank you to Ruthie Tucker, the gallery
art director.

This sculpture was close to our hotel, and like everyone else 
visiting New York, we had to get our photo taken with it. I've
found New Yorkers to be very warm, kind, funny, and passionate
about many subjects I care about -- like art. 

This photo came up tonight as I was looking at past years' posts.
And I think it's important for us to have positive conversations
about the great parts of our lives sometimes. That's certainly
what I want to do here, when I can. So I am grateful to my 
friend for our talks about travel, and to New York City for
all the super shows I've been in there.  I hope to go
back this year. 

Have a loving your life day!


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The importance of loving yourself -- so you can love others

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.
David is a fabulous portrait artist. I
have been working on a big abstract
painting for a show today.)

I've been thinking a lot about the importance of loving 
yourself.  A very hard thing for some people to do.  When
I taught Positive Psych for 10 years to pre-health students, hoping to
improve their grades so that they could go on to study 
in medicine, either as nurses or doctors -- it was so exciting
to get constant proof that learning how to love and accept
themselves sent students' marks skyrocketing. Their 
averages were consistently high, and between 75% and
95% of students depending on the year finished their
college courses in two years, and went on to university.

Forgive me for a long post again tonight.  Loving yourself
is the beginning of a life of love, and vital to highlight
in the Month of Love.  Here are some self portraits of me,
and a post from 2022 reposted from 2018.  We thought
COVID had lasted a long time in 2022  Three of my friends
just got it and it's 2024.  Luckily I have not been with them.
I wish them a fast recovery

"A fact of a portrait artist's life is that if there is no one else
available to paint, you always have you, so of course I've 
painted and drawn myself many times. Some of these images stick 
and make me happy.  

When I taught Positive Psych one of the first things we said
to students was, "if you don't know yourself, you won't love 
yourself, and if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else,
and you won't be happy."

Self-portrait: The Happy Artist
acrylic on canvas
36 x 36 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
This was not a popular idea when I was growing up -- loving 
yourself smacked of narcissism.  But in fact nothing could be 
further from the truth. If we love and accept ourselves, the world 
is less about us, and more about the people we love.  It's when we 
don't love ourselves that we go around hurting other people, don't end up
doing what we love, and generally don't enjoy our lives.
I credit Louise Hay, excellent therapy and Frank Daley, who
helping me get that concept, and then of course the constant work of 
quieting the ever present inner critic to keep the idea going. 

One more cup of coffee please
Self portrait
Watercolour and black marker on
Arches watercolour paper
6 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012
(this is perhaps the most me of
the bunch.  I run on coffee, and
am not quite in the day until I've had
three. I am so lucky to live
with a man who gets this, makes
the best coffee, and if possible
brings me a fresh cup when I wake
up.  A veritable coffee lover's saint)

I've included a few of my self portraits to underscore the
idea of loving the self.  I know I'm lucky.  I love my life, my work,
my family, my friends."
Have a loving yourself and your world day.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Artist friends and still life

With Flora Doehler in her studio in Bear River
10 years ago. 
Maybe I've got the
title wrong here.  There is nothing
still about Flora's amazing flower

When it comes to artist friends I could write a very long blog,
and include a hundred photos.  So many artists inspire me. I
thank you all.  You matter so much to me every month and
especially now in the Month of Love. I talked to my friend
in the Miranda Brouwers in the Netherlands today and she inspired
me to paint again after a hard time in our family.

In recent years when we head out to our school house in Nova
Scotia, we make a point of driving the extra 5 hour drive to
visit our friend Flora Doehler and admire the amazing still
life work -- flower paintings in her studio.

What I love about still life in the Month of Love, is that
you can pick up a piece of paper and a pen anywhere and
draw away.  You aren't in any danger of bothering people,
like you might be if you randomly sketch people in the line
at the grocery store, or in a restaurant.  The salt shaker --
fine.  Oranges and limes on display -- fine. 

Flora Doehler's magnificent flower paintings happen in
her studio and are based on vibrant bouquets from her
own flower garden. I'm thinking of Flora as snow hits
the Maritimes, and hoping we can make it to Nova
Scotia this summer.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Love and language

In the kitchen researching for the doctorate
Black marker on bond paper
12 x 14 inches
Barbara Muir © 

Steven was feeling happy tonight after a long day of work and
we had a slokje of our favourite liqueur in the special small
crystal glasses I inherited from my mother. Believe me for
our whole marriage when we'd say that Dutch word, I had
no idea how to spell it.

Tonight before I started making dinner (it was my night -- we
alternate nights) I started trying to look up the word -- which
as far as I knew meant a sip, or a very small amount.  It
actually means a taste, and with the "je" on the end means a
tiny taste. Delicious I might add.

I love this drawing and the memories it brings back of a 
time when without any discussion of masks, or rapid tests
we could have people pose for me in the house. This was a 
preparation drawing for a painting.  The drawing stands out
to me.

And I loved the blog I got this from about language, so I may
quote myself.  Forgive me if the post gets long. 

"One of the great pleasures in my life has been travel.  
I love going somewhere new, and 
finding out how little
I know.  I was lucky to grow up in Ottawa, and to start learning
French at a young age. So I can stumble a bit in that language.
 I took German in grade 10, and 
somehow those lessons stuck,
so I can understand some of what my fellow artists post on 
Instagram, Facebook and their blogs. I am part Italian, and can
understand a little Italian.  

I'm married to a Dutch Canadian, and have a wonderful Dutch
friend in the Netherlands, so a few Dutch words have come to
me that way. A smattering of Latin helps me decipher some English words.

But I just read that there are 6500 spoken languages in the world.  
I feel lucky thatmy curiosity about languages continues.  I was so
lucky to teach a one night a week writing course, and a presentation
course to people from all over the world. Those classes made me
aware of how little I know about the world and its many rich languages.

To be fair English tops the list of the 12 most popular languages in
the world. But how wonderful it is to be able to say thank you to
someone in their own language.  And how lonely it must feel to walk
 through the streets of Toronto and not hear your own language.
So on this day in the Month of Love, I'd like to add language as one
of the things I love.   

Have a loving learning new things day."

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Back to journal drawings

Journal Sketch
Marker on journal paper

6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2024

 It’s been a non-stop medical situation for almost a month.
Another medical appointment with a family member today.
I’m still painting (slowly), and it makes me happy in the midst
of all of this to get back to my journal drawings. I like this one.

I hope you had a great weekend. I’m grateful for my loving
family, and for seeing them. We will keep creating, and as my
artist friend in Tucson, Arizona says follow the dogs’ rule —
Forward, forward.

Have a loving your life day. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

An old post about love makes sense today

Studio cherries
Acrylic on cradled birch panel
5 x 7 inches|
Barbara Muir © 

This post from this day in 2022 makes absolute sense today.  We
have been through a hard time in January, and sleep is more 
important than ever. Being warm and affectionate without enough
sleep is not easy.  So we all need to get enough of the magic elixir --
a great night's rest.

"Funny thing about love—it works better if you get enough sleep.
Hard challenge if you’re a parent of young children, or babies who wake
up during the night, or wake up early, when you’ve gone to bed late
for work.

I am in recent years definitely a night owl. This started when I began teaching
a once a week evening course. To stay awake I drank coffee. Yes it works,
but to shut off my excited brain is a challenge.  I notice that if my 
sweetheart and I are well rested, we have a wonderful time together.
And if not -- we don't stop loving each other -- but arguments happen
that wouldn't if we got enough sleep.

One pretty simple answer I've discovered is that drinking pure, tart,
unsweetened cherry juice before bed helps me go to sleep.  Who gave
me that recommendation? I don't know, but thank you.  And if I also
eat cherries -- fresh in season, or frozen when we can't buy them here
in Toronto -- the effect is doubled, and I sleep like a baby.  

My point is that if both of us sleep well we have a great time. And
I may have known that unconsciously forever, but now I know it for
a fact. 

So my image tonight for the Month of Love is of a bowl of

Wishing you a joyous day in the Month of Love. Sleep well."

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!