Online Training Recommendation + More

I’ve been hiding out a bit… from writing lately… working on developing a site design for Alameda Women Artists. It’s funny how I’ve been working on this site development… I’ve worked on it, shown it, put it down, come back to it, shown it again, put it down, come back to it again and then it clicks. Just a friendly reminder that process takes time and other people’s input can be very valuable, especially when it’s a project for a group.

I’m on the board now for the AWA and am really enjoying them. I had suggested we listen to an interview by Alyson B. Stanfield of Peggy Klaus on her book Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It for our meeting last night. I have listened to it almost three times and what really stood out for me is how well Alyson B. Stanfield brags about herself in a natural, conversational manner. She mentions her own book and how it relates to the interview. It’s of value to the conversation. I think when we don’t share or brag about ourselves it’s never known what impact there would have been. It reminds me of this quote from Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille which is also mentioned in Carol Lloyd’s book Creating a Life Worth Living.

I’m having a fabulous time on www.lynda.com for $25 a month every chance I can get. Great creative inspiration and online training. I’m working through the coding movies now and am looking forward to their WordPress movie as well.

Thank you Tom for the prodding for me to post.

Trees and fish


Speaking of trees… Tom and I picked up our first tree to plant, a Bloodgood Japanese Maple… such emotion for me about planting a tree together… a marking of becoming an adult. Pretty cool. His name is Mo…short for momiji, how the trees are known in Japanese.

And we’ve been working on Hammie



And I found a milk paint recipe that worked well. I’m working on painting a lamp so once I get that finished I’ll post the photos here.

I Heart Oakland

Tom is guest blogging today. I love it. I haven’t been wanting to blog, or do yoga or whatever… but I did make a little book this week and I have been working on putting together an artist business circle and I’ve been thinking about an art project around the theme 7. Tom, thanks for initiating. Here’s Tom below.

Oakland, our ‘hood, has a reputation as a crime-ridden and unattractive alternate to SF. Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, “There is no there, there.” (And to apparently prove her wrong, in the last few years Oakland installed a large sculpture of “here” and “there” on MLK at Ashby).

Well, a couple weeks back our modern car died while on the freeway in the Montclair area of Oakland. We managed to coast to an off ramp but could not get past the initial intersection. Within two minutes, two blue collar immigrant types in a pickup (meaning accented English and tools in back of their truck) stopped and helped push the car to a safer spot on a street next to the off ramp. The street is undeveloped in that a park area is nearby, i.e., no houses in this section. While we waited for assistance from AAA, loads and loads of people offered to help. We did not keep count but we estimate at least 20 separate cars stopped to offer assistance. The occupants were young and old. Male and female. All sorts of races. The cars were fancy and crappy and everything in between. A real cross-section of Oakland stopped to offer help.

And this occurred whether Leah and I were both with the car or it was just her or I. Perhaps specific people were at times more drawn to Leah or I, but they kept offering help no matter who was the obvious stranded party.

A friend suggested we may have a good “aura” that influenced people to stop and help. Maybe. But what I take from this is that all of these people (maybe 50 persons all told) were ready and willing, and for that I am grateful.

Thanks Oakland!

Hammie in purple


Hammie in purple, originally uploaded by Leah Virsik.

Photo by TV

Tom got a lot of painting done on Hammie this weekend. I helped as well. Still lots more to do…

I tried out Martha Stewart’s Milk Paint Recipe and it failed miserably. I used non-fat milk. Isn’t that what skim milk is? Anyway, gonna try another recipe. I bought lots of colorful pigment paint and I want to use it. Lots of things are happening. I’m putting together an Artist Business Circle. I’ll have more details on that as I put that together. There’s a new salon in Rockridge that wants art. I have a fun idea for an art piece around their theme “7” involving aluminum.

Kiss Me You Fool

After cooking a fabulous risotto (we make it vegetarian and substituted white balsamic vinegar for the white wine) Tom and I were trying to plan when we could next paint Hammie… Tom suggested just painting his bright red lips and orange mouth, such a difference just to start something and so much you can do in 15 minutes… I enjoy tracking our progress as well.

I spent a huge amount of time organizing the studio/garage over the weekend and it felt really good. Still have more to tackle but I’m grateful for Tom’s acceptance of my process as it comes together.

Savannah Memories

Lots of stuff on my mind. Thinking about our Savannah trip… I found some of my notes for our trip. Still working on cleaning up the office… We had the best croutons on this salad from Alligator Soul. Tom also had an amazing vegetarian dish. Our server gave us the recipe for these amazing croutons. Make white grits, add Parmesan and let them get hard, probably in a square pan would be best, cut them into cubes, dust with flour and fry them (or you could try baking them).

The Shop SCAD store was one of my favorite places in Savannah. Some of the artists that stood out to me were: Rebecca Walker and Claire Teschel as well as Monica James and Robin Miller.

It’s getting late… and I need to head off to work. I want to move over from Blogger to WordPress… want to learn more about coding and have more flexibility… plus, I’d like to make my website and the blog interconnected. Big project but fun to think about.

I”m trying to add an image but for some reason I’m unable to… no photo this time.

Mornings, etc.


DSC_0185, originally uploaded by Leah Virsik.

The mornings are generally FULL of potential for me, probably even when I’m in bed, dead to the world. Lots of stuff in my head. Looking forward to Wednesday’s AIGA Design Shorts.

There is so much I want to learn. My photos are cut off when I post them from flickr but I’m glad that they are the length of the text. It’s minor stuff but I obsess about it a bit. And then how do I post multiple photos from flickr in the same blog? And then what’s the best way to organize my photos? And what size? And when I take them in raw format, it’s such a hassle to save them down to jpgs, should I even be taking them in raw? Learning, learning.

I lost 20 pounds prior to my wedding and someone noted that it was really quick. It wasn’t quick for me. It took six months with Weight Watchers and was such a process. I kept going up and down the scale, little bit up, little bit down, until I levelled off. And maybe that’s a more realistic way of looking at things, if you step back and see something from a different perspective. Not so close.

This photo is a close up actually of a tree on the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina from our honeymoon. Great murals too.

The process of Hammie


Hammie 2, originally uploaded by Leah Virsik.

Tom and I put on a coat of primer on Hammie today. Such a warm day and after looking at art at Pro Arts Open Studios it felt good to do some painting myself. Those pots in the back are wanting some paint as well. Signed up for a flickr account tonight… Trying to figure out how this all works… Tom and I are working on organizing the garage. It feels really good.