Saturday, July 20, 2024

Thinking about oceans

Water Image 3
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

One of my artist friends today talked about thinking too much.
I'm sure he's right, it's probably better not to think too much.
And another talked about beauty, and its meaning.  It's
Saturday night, and strolling through my blogs I saw this painting.
As I love being near the ocean, it made me remember my ocean series,
which I enjoyed creating, and exhibiting.

I thought I'd share some of that post:

"This painting Water Image 3 is part of a series,
joining the oceans, and people that loved specific ocean places
together by bands representing the beaches at the edge of the ocean.

This is one of my favourites, a young woman from India I met
through a class, who had come to work for a family here as a nanny.
She was studying Pre-health with the hope of one day becoming a nurse,
or a doctor. She moved several times, and I lost touch with her. I hope
she achieved her dreams. I'm forever grateful to her for posing for me.
The painting travelled to New York, and hangs in my studio at the moment."

Have a loving your life day

Friday, July 19, 2024

The kindness of friends

Flowers from a friend
Barbara Muir © 2024

Today on a steaming hot day, we visited our family’s getaway  

One thing that all of my friends know about me is that I love flowers.
No, I am not a gardener, I do not have a green thumb, but I love flowers.
So it was very touching to come into the space and find two pretty bouquets
made by my friend, who knew that that would make me happy. And it did. 

We are having Internet issues today. So I hope this gets to you. And thank
you you too my wonderful friends for all that you do.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

This seems right for tonight

McIntosh Apples
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

It is Mega hot.  Not apple season, but I found this little
painting scrolling through older posts, and felt joyous
seeing it.  I am on a break from painting for a couple
of weeks.  So forgive me.  The great thing is looking
back through almost 4,000 blogs and seeing how
much fun I've been having.  

Thanks to you.  And I hope you are staying cool
and enjoying yourself.

Have a loving your life day. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Internet issues

Night view
Barbara Muir © 2024

What with weather, and family visits in the last couple of days, the
unexpected also happened.  I couldn't log into the internet on my

I am dedicated for what some call no logical reason, to writing to
you every day.  Blogs are no longer in style, but mine has got
me so many amazing opportunities and friendships, that I
don't care if some people consider them obsolete.  

So for tonight.  Please accept this photo taken outside a donut shop
in a break from the rain.

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Very short tonight -- Nova Scotia dreaming

The House on the Hill #2
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
It's easy to dream of Nova Scotia tonight, especially with the chaos
that's been going on in Toronto -- flooding, and a massive power
outage across the city. 

We are incredibly tired tonight, but I just wanted to connect with
you, so that you know your work, and thoughts matter to me.  This
is one of my favourite paintings.

Here's what I said about it in a former post:
"I get the recharging of fresh air, a slow pace, and exquisitely beautiful
scenery on our annual trip to our school house in Nova Scotia.
The entire journey is wonderful, and of course there are landmarks
all along the way.  This is one of them -- the house on the hill that
means we're almost at Pugwash, and almost at our home in
Nova Scotia.  I have painted this house so many times, and never
met the people who own it.  Maybe some day"

Have a loving your life day.


Monday, July 15, 2024

A hot, hot day -- graced with nasturtiums

Night Nasturtiums 
Watercolour on watercolour paper
5 7/8 x 9.5 inches
Barbara Muir © 2012

Last year at this time we couldn't find nasturtiums anywhere.  We did get some
finally in July, but this year we found them early, and planted the beauties.  They
love both tons of rain, and high heat and are flourishing, -- working on taking
over the garden, which will be perfect because we love them.

Also last year all we could get were yellow nasturtiums.  This year, yellow,
orange, red and deep rosy pink. Who knew?  So I hope you enjoy this
image on a hot, hot, rainy evening.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Appreciating artist friends


Floral Awakening 
Acrylic on Canvas 
40″ x 30″ 
Flora Doehler ©  2018 
(No one paints flowers
like Flora.  Her flowers
leap off the canvas and feel
like you are right there with them.
The joy and passion she feels
for the natural world is such
a pleasure to see, and her use
of colour is so inspiring to me.) 

Flora Doehler who lives in Bear River, Nova Scotia, is one of my many
super appreciated artist friends.  She is one of the people who got me 
blogging, and that has been an incredible experience.  Most recently she
taught me about acrylic ink, and that's been such a delightful, fun
medium to work in.

I'm thinking about her because I was just talking to her tonight. She is
inspirational in both the delightful flowers she paints, and her exceptional
productivity rate. She is just always working and thinking about art.

If you are ever in Bear River, you have got to check out
Flora Doehler's work.  She is a superb artist, and has
paintings in her studio, and in the art gallery in Bear River.

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Playing with watercolour

Nasturtiums sketch (work in progress)
Watercolour on watercolour
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2024

For the month of June, I had a horrific cold. That meant that I was in
bed and looking at things online much more than I probably should be.
One great thing I did was order a watercolour set.. 

It could’ve been a complete waste of time but instead a beautiful watercolour
set arrived with 50 colours and six brushes and all of it was good a small
miracle all things considered.

So here is my first small watercolour sketch (work in progress) of our
beautiful nasturtiums. A complete treat to create.

Have a loving your life day.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Thank you again to my friends and mentors


My portrait of Susan Carlin
quick sketch
charcoal on watercolour paper
12 x 9 inches
(One of my early blog mentors
was the artist Susan Carlin.  The day she
asked me to sit for a Skype portrait and to
do her portrait via Skype long distance (she
was in Texas) was a big day. I had already
been interviewed by 
Howard Wolinsky for a
YouTube interview, and was contacted by my
friend Melinda  Esparza who did a portrait
drawing from Howard's first YouTube
interview with me.

Susan taught me a lot about drawing.
She taught me how to draw a curve.  Big lesson.  
She now can't remember that, but you did Susan
on one of your internet drawing classes!
 You are part of the 
reason I love
drawing coffee cups)

On a busy, sweltering, rainy day like this one I posted this blog last year, and
it seems perfect for today too. So thank you everyone.  You lift me up, and
keep me going and --- happy.

The drawing today is of a dear artist friend in Texas, Susan Carlin.

Susan and I drew one another via Skype in 2009.  'Perfect,'
I thought when I saw the drawing scrolling through, and then
I read my post about it in 2019, and decided to put that on today's blog too.

"Leaving your parents' sheltered and safe home to
go out on your own at 17 can have its downsides.
It is lonely - even if you live with a friend, and
scary, even if its in a safe area of town, and a lot
of work.  But what I was lucky enough to realize
early on -- if you read my earlier story about a family
in my neighbourhood who were kind to me as a seven
year old -- is that the world is full of mentors.

I was transformed from practically a stick figure
drawer at the end of high school, into a decent
life drawing artist in the 8 months of my first
school year at OCAD.

When I switched to English at a different university,
I was taught that contrary to the views expressed
by my family, I was smart!  What?  An A+ student
all of a sudden.  I could write a 40 page undergraduate
thesis on Iconography and Imagery in Edmund Spenser's
The Fairie Queene!

And so the story goes throughout my life.  Brilliant teachers,
wonderful artists, and magnificently inspiring friends and
mentors have given me the delightful life I live -- filled
with loving family, superb friends, exceptional books,
music, film, super walks and above all happiness.

Mentors in recent years other than family,  have been all of
the artists in the blog, Facebook and Instagram world, plus
the artists I show with, and in the art clubs I belong to.  So
ultimately this is a thank you!  Thank you for teaching me so
much on a continuous basis, and for supporting me.  You are
all my mentors and you empower me.

Have a mentoring someone day."

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Quick study, and excavating the junk drawer

Journal Sketch
Marker on journal paper

6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2024

I did this sketch this morning, and I like it.  The man has a certain
confident air, that I think I've captured. 

Meanwhile, in between painting, I cleaned out the junk drawer in
the kitchen.  Whew!  It had been awhile, and that 18 x 21 inch 
drawer took 2 hours to sort, clean, sort and reorganize! 

I don't think I'll do the same for the other three drawers in that
cabinet just now. Back to painting. 

Have a loving your life day. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Busy day -- this painting captures my dreams


The house on the hill
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 

Scrolling through my blogs on Nova Scotia -- this painting and the blog that
goes with it captured my attention.  It's been a busy day.  I've been painting
all day, and one of our family members had a serious medical treatment
today -- so my mind is dreaming of Nova Scotia.  In fact I had a 20 minute
nap and in it I was designing a park with a big round fountain in the center.
Very pretty.  Benches around the fountain and pie piece shaped gardens 
going out from the fountain, forming a glorious circle of the most delightful

I felt like this blog is worth a repeat tonight:

"When you love a place the way we love Nova Scotia,
and travel there by car -- certain landmarks
help you know you've arrived.  This house is one of
them for me.  You see it coming along Highway
6, the Sunrise Trail, from Amherst.  It's at the top
of a hill, and it appears over the brilliant green of
summer grass.

This year I photographed it frantically as we drove
by, and then when I was painting it the angle was
different than my mind's image, so I wasn't clear
that it was "the house."  Driving by another day,
I thought, "that's the house in my painting, oh and
the house on the hill," and the house was all the
more real to me because I'd been staring at it,
deciphering its appeal.

This is it.  A simple white farmhouse. Those
white buildings set against vivid green grass,
and blue, or scowling grey skies might as well be
the fans waving flags at the finish line of a race at the
end of our 2,000 kilometer (1,242 mile) journey.
They say, "lucky you!  You've made it to Nova Scotia

Light influences everything we paint.  In our part of a
Nova Scotia the sand is a coppery red.  The colour
changes wildly with the time of day, and many of the
roads and paths are the same colour.  That was my
ground and it wanted to pop through here and there,
so I let it."

Have a loving your life day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Journal drawing always helps

Journal Sketch
Marker on journal paper

6 x 8 inches
Barbara Muir © 2024

I'm reading a funny novel that disparages all of the routines we
use to try and be more positive and effective. I just started the book.
But for me, when I need to get at my creative life, journal writing
and drawing helps.

Here's a drawing I did this morning.  I had so much fun doing it.
I've been painting all day, but there's nothing to show you.  Still
I believe I've had a significant breakthrough, and that's a big deal.

Have a loving your life day.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Home from Ottawa


Steven -- the love of my life
with two of our constant
companions -- (Monet the
kitten is now a cat, and Fiona)
Barbara Muir © 2022 

We just got home from a long weekend away to celebrate our wedding 
anniversary -- late.  It was on June 24, but we couldn't get someone to
take care of our three animals (the cats pictured here, and our dog) until
this weekend.

It was lovely.  Happy days at our favourite hotel, visits with my brother
and his wife, and drives through the very hot city, which is beautiful
in all weather.

Have a loving your life day.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Looking back


Reading in the studio with the cat
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

A quick post tonight.  I feel very lucky because it's been a magnificent day,
with magnificent, and varied clouds set against a delightful blue sky.  Plus Steven
and I got to see my brother and his wonderful wife -- two people who definitely
 bring joy and humour to my existence. 

So much fun.  I spent a long time searching for a good photo of this 
painting, and I'm sorry I didn't take one before the painting sold years
ago.  The model was amazing. I painted her many times. Now she is
married and has a little boy who I'd love to paint too.  

Have a loving your life day.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Offering springtime in the summer heat

Pink in the City
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017

I could not be at the opening today for Bursting with Colour at the Heliconian
Club, but I heard from a fellow artist that the opening reception went very well.
If you are in Toronto, and would like to see it, contact me, and I'll see if we can
arrange a private viewing.

This painting could easily have met the criteria for the show. But it
is still out with the curators of another show that is finished. 

Wishing you a glorious weekend. 

Have a loving your life day. 

Friday, July 5, 2024

The revised version of Heading Home


Heading home
Diptych -- 4 ft. x 6 ft.
Acrylic on canvas
Barbara Muir ©  Revised 2024
(This is the revised version of
Heading home, which I worked
on until just before I packed
it to take it to hang at the
Heliconian Club for the
opening tomorrow.  This is how
it looks above the fireplace
mantel in the Heliconian club.)

If you can get to the Heliconian Club opening (free) at 35 Hazelton
Avenue, in Toronto I know you'll love the show.  My diptych painting
Heading home looks fabulous in the space, which made me very happy.
The Heliconian Club is an artists' club in what was formerly a church
before the club was formed more than 100 years ago.  I can't be there
unfortunately, so eat some cookies and drink a tea or coffee for me.
Yes the painting is available.

If you go please enjoy.

Have a loving your life day.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Fun morning hanging the work for the Heliconian Bursting with Colour Show


Cottage Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © Revised 2024

Great fun this morning helping with the hanging of the Bursting with Colour show at
the Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Ave., Toronto. The opening reception if from 
2 - 5 Saturday, July 6.  Admission is free, and they serve wonderful coffee and tea,
and delicious treats (cookies, tarts -- you name it.)

This painting, Cottage Flowers is one of my 5 pieces in the show.  (All of my work
in the exhibition is for sale.) When we go to our school house in Nova Scotia, a dear
friend cleans it up and leaves us wonderful flowers on our dining table.

Have a loving your life day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

A favourite painting

Young Man Reading
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 

In 2023 I used this painting of my son Sam on July 3, because it was a holiday
weekend. This year I am trying to prep and complete 5 paintings for a show 
delivery tomorrow morning.  So it seems right again for me. 

Here's what I said in a former blog:

"I have been lucky for my entire artistic life to have a super
supportive family.  This painting is of my son Sam who
posed for me many times during his late teens when he
was living at home and a ready subject.  Christopher,
my son, my daughter-in-law Megan, Steven, my husband
and our various animals have all posed. And I am grateful
for them.  Big time."

Have a loving what you do day. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Happy Birthday Christopher

Look at this
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

Today is my son Christopher's birthday -- the day when Steven
and I became a family.  What a wonderful life changing day!
I'm so grateful to Christopher for all of 
the joy he's brought into
our lives. I wish him and Megan, his lovely wife a wonderful year.

They now have three adorable children.

The picture today is of Christopher and beautiful, Megan. I
painted it using a Skype image I took on my computer when
and Megan were teaching in Korea.  

Have a loving your life day. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

Happy Canada Day

Canada Geese at the lake yesterday
Barbara Muir © 2024

Since the invasion of Ottawa by truckers in January, 2022, Canada Day
has changed -- at least it certainly has in Toronto.  Before the
right wing, anti-vaccination (for 
COVID) truckers invaded Ottawa,
Canada Day used to be 
a very obvious celebrate-the-country holiday. 
Our street 
would be hung with the Maple Leaf flags on almost every

Since that occupation, almost no one in Toronto hangs a Canadian
flag because the flag is connected with the people who parked 
their trucks in front of the parliament buildings for two months in
the winter of 2022.

Still we are all proud of many things about our country.
Here's what I said on the past two years -- it still applies.

What I like about Canada:

"1.  The people -- Canadians come from all over the world.
My own ancestors, great, and great, great grandparents
came from Italy, Scotland, Ireland, and France.  My
husband is descended from Dutch and Indonesian
great grandparents.

2. My city.  Each time I come back to Toronto, after
visiting other countries, I notice how people are here.
At the bus stops all of us hang out together.  It feels
different from other cities in the world.

3. Our humour.  Canadians are self-critical -- and
that is the core of our humour.  And we're funny.
Our humour gets exported big time, especially to the
United States where so many of the top comedians, and
comic actors are Canadian.

4. We're boring.  We're allowed to be boring and
safe. We want good and happy lives, and it doesn't
matter if that means we live by routines.

5. No guns. (Or almost no guns).  We don't think
it's cool to use/have guns.  We don't have guns in
our houses, our cars.  Guns are not cool here.
Criminals and hunters use guns. The police have
guns, but the general public detests gun violence,
and thinks guns are scary, and worse -- stupid and

6. We say we're sorry.  You know you're in
Canada when you bump into someone's cart
 in the supermarket and the sorry fest goes on
for 10 minutes -- first you. "I'm sorry," then
the other person, "No I'm sorry" and that

7. Free health care.  When relatives of mine
have gone through treatments for cancer, or
had surgery, or babies, or any kind of reason
to need healthcare -- it's free.  Some doctors
charge a yearly fee -- maybe $300, but otherwise
healthcare is free.

8. We're a vast country.  I've traveled from one
side of the country almost to the other, and there
is still so much to see, so many places I haven't been.

9. Our art -- it's exciting being an artist in Canada.
Although we're a young country, our art has a
distinctive quality.  Canadian artists love this country,
and that comes out in so many forms -- in art, music and,

10.  Our kindness.  It is in to be kind here. People from
other countries might find that boring, but we don't. 

Of course things go wrong. The country and its history
are far from perfect. We are dealing with righting the
terrible mistreatment of indigenous people at residential
schools. We are not free from racism, or disturbing,
and violent acts. But in Toronto, where I live, violence is
not the norm. Many neighbours from every culture were out at a
local park watching fireworks together tonight, and
wishing each other Happy Canada Day."

Have an enjoying what's good about your country 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!