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.


laura said...

I love these self portraits! As a watercolorist I especially love the watercolor-- so many lovely passages of color. I signed up for one of Davis Lobenberg's portrait classes online but haven't started yet!

Evelyn Oldroyd - painter said...

Brilliant and gorgeous self portraits! I love them!!! You share so many good thoughts and I loved reading this post especially. Thank you!!! (don't know how to do emojis on a computer. LOL

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

Thank you so much! I love your work. That would be fun taking a class with David Lobenberg. I love how he is always experimenting.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Evelyn,

I don't know how to do emojis here either. Love your work.
Happy Month of Love.


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!