Paris 2103: 2nd post


Photo is just a detail of  “J’avance donc je pense”, the larger images you can see here: Curius et Valérie Fraigneau pour la RATP Click on the pink + sign in front of Nos Réalisations pour la RATP

Loved this inspiring Ted talk by Amanda Palmer about the Art of Asking. It brought tears to my eyes. Amanda Palmer talks about her connection with people that have made a difference in her life. It made me think of  how I found the video in the first place: it came through my inbox via a Fractured Atlas email. Kathy deRosas told me about Fractured Atlas in a critique group led by by Lisa Kokin. I first saw Lisa Kokin’s work in Oakland’s Clerk-Recorder’s office because Tom and I were applying for our marriage license. And if I go full circle back to Amanda’s talk, Tom asked me to marry him in a very artful way. Pretty interesting connections.

Back to Paris… I had created a fantasy of what Paris was… not that it was necessarily different from my imagination but actually going there made it concrete. It’s a magical place and one just can’t get to places in one’s imagination. You have to go… and for anyone who wants to go I say put it on your list and make it happen and stay for as long as you possibly can. We stayed for a week… which wasn’t nearly long enough… but it was nice to have that depth to be in one place for an extended amount of time. Yesterday, I just happened to pick up the book from the library Interviews with Artists 1966–2012 by Michael Peppiatt who lived in Paris and it seems my exploration of this city seems to just have begun.

I felt like I needed to go the Musée du Louvre but it wasn’t a place I wanted to spend a lot of time. I saw Johannes Vermeer’s Lacemaker and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (La Joconde). I’ve heard that people usually think it’s smaller than they expect so I thought it would be really small but no it was bigger that I expected. We got a little lost in the massive hallways and Tom stopped me and pointed out Giovanni Pedrini Giampietrino’s The Death of Cleopatra. Later at The Centre Pompidou (must see for contemporary and modern art) he found a piece that looked as if it was directly inspired by that piece. Pretty amazing and I’m glad he was with me. He’s great at making connections and seeing similarities in seemingly disparate things. The Centre Pompidou also had a special exhibit on Chris Marker which we didn’t get to explore but it was a treat to see his film La jetée. We rented La jetée/Sans Soleil via Netflix prior to our trip after I found it on a top 100 list. La jetée is amazing while to me Sans Soleil felt a bit self-indulgent. I saw the blockbuster film Lincoln right after Sans Soleil and while they are completely different, afterward I had a greater appreciation for the more personal Sans Soleil.

Here’s a funny post by Ken Wooi about his trip to Paris. Tom found it searching the for the snake painting that I didn’t know the name of above (Gaimpietrino’s The Death of Cleopatra). He found that too. 🙂

More soon…

Paris 2013


Paris was fabulous. Photographs above are some of the street art Tom and I found walking around our fabulous Hotel des Grandes Ecoles. Tom and I went for seven days along with some fellow runners who ran the 30km Ecotrail de Paris… our official excuse for going. Some of our highlights were visiting an American artist Marcus McAllister who has lived in Paris for 17 years. He’s very warm and an incredible artist. I discovered him by googling “an artist in paris” and found a couple of great Cynthia Morris videos of him: Marcus McAllister: Being an Artist in Paris and The Dreamed Journal. Another link regarding Marcus: Also, following Cynthia’s suggestion we went to the delightful Sennelier art store across from the Louvre. I could have stayed in there for hours. They had all kinds of different papers from different countries kind of like how you see food labeled here.

Anthony Bourdain’s Layover: Paris show recommends a list of restaurants and other things. Berthillon really is the best ice cream in the world. Le Comptoir du Relais was very tasty and I enjoyed ordering all by myself in French from the L’Avant Comptoir crepe window.

I went out to the Paris Flea Market and met some other women who were also looking for it. I did find a market of 250 shops although I’m sure there were more. One has to go through a lot of low-end clothing and sneakers before you find the good stuff. I did find some old thread spools. They were fun to buy. But I imagine in most countries if you don’t know the language… communicating that you want to buy something seems like an easier thing to do.

In this interview David Sedaris turned us on to the fabulous Picard. It’s a store full of just frozen food. If you’ve wondered where your frozen French food comes from in Trader Joe’s… I’ll bet it has something to do with Picard.

I discovered L’Addresse: Musée de la Poste walking around and seeing a window that described the museum. There was a lovely exhibit of Anne Calas and a great street art exhibit as well. It was so good I went twice. Totally opposite the Louvre… great place without any crowds, ever, I imagine. Le Petit Pointoise was a wonderful place for dinner. I had wonderfully cooked swordfish at Pramil. Overall we had really good food. Le Tastevin on Ile Saint Louis was our favorite restaurant… right across from Berthillon where we did go for a second time.

More soon…

AEDM Challenge Day 15

I had a lot of fun painting and making books tonight with my friend Nan Watanabe. This is the paper I painted that would fit into the scanner and that didn’t turn into a book. I enjoyed turning the wet paper over and pulling it off other paper making it look distressed.

AEDM Challenge Day 14

Defining Space

©2012 Leah Virsik Defining Space found paper and acrylic painted rice paper on muslin 6 x 6 inches

So there is something interesting about just showing up and doing the work. I’m working on different things every day. It’s hard to just do one format as much as I would like. I get bored I think or I’m just not disciplined enough or there are too many things I want to do and I’m distracted. Anyway, this is a book cover I did this week. Last night I bound it. I’ll get some pics on flickr eventually. There was this discussion between my multiple selves about doing a collage or binding the book and binding the book won. I love the process of binding. Maybe it’s about following steps, figuring things out that is really different from creating collages… at least in my mind. I think with book binding you know when you’re done, it’s clear. There can also be a very clear realization when a collage is done but you don’t know how many steps it will take before you finish. Well, but if one planned out collages  then it might be more clear. Ahhh. What is interesting is that I’m posting no matter what. It ends up being less about creating work and more about posting or documenting. It’s something I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to miss a date. I want to push myself just that much further because this isn’t that hard. And then there’s something really satisfying about having posted…accoomplishment… perhaps very similar to binding a book.

AEDM Challege Day 13

Crushed Peanuts

©2012 Leah Virsik Crushed Peanuts acrylic painted rice paper, found paper, thread, acrylic and graphite 5 x 8 inches

I’ve been enjoying this wonderful Thai soup that Tom made for me. The text in the collage is from his recipe.

Tom’s Thai-Style Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash or 2 medium (total uncooked 4 lbs or 2 kg)
1 can coconut milk (~14 oz/400ml)
2 cups+ light 50% strength veggie stock (~800 ml to 1l)
1 Kaffir lime leaf (remove vein)
1 Tb Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 Tb Thai red curry paste
1 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce
1 Tbs ginger, chopped
1–2 Tb lime juice (one or two limes)
Garnish: crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro leaves, lime zest
(per bowl 3-7 peanuts, 2-5 leaves, a pinch of zest)

Roast squash in 375?F/190?C oven 45–60 minutes until tender. [Cut in half, remove seeds, brush with oil and place on flat pan
or cookie sheet.] When cool, scoop out pulp. In large pot, heat on high 1/4-1/3 of coconut milk until foaming. Add chili paste and
ginger. Saute 1–2 minutes. Add squash pulp, stock and rest of coconut milk and all seasonings except lime juice. Cook 15 minutes
on simmer. Purée with immersible blender. Add stock if too thick (soup should be thick). Add lime juice and cook 1–2 minutes.
Correct seasoning (adding salt or lime juice). Serve with garnish in each bowl.

AEDM Challenge Day 9

©2012 Leah Virsik Layered Landscape found paper and acrylic painted rice paper 5 x 8 inches

I took a really enjoyable class at San Francisco Center for the Book with Julia Goodman (Julia is great!) on Tin Can Papermaking tonight based on the book by Arbold E. Grummer. I want to buy paper pulp and I already put a request out to Freecycle to see if the network has a blender. I’m really grateful for the Art Every Day Month Challenge today. It might have been easier to blow off this post if I didn’t feel so committed. But it’s interesting what I’m willing to give up when other things are more important. I’m looking forward to sleeping.