We have been together since 1969 and live on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest.
ABOUT TRUDE LISAGOR
I began painting in 1997 at the age of 46, a year after my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I had experienced many significant losses including no longer being able to teach elementary school full time. So, I was ready for some gains. I was encouraged to try something new, something creative, and was attracted to watercolor.
Once I made the decision to try painting, I set out to find a class. While at the local shopping mall, my husband had the idea to wander into the art and framing shop to see if they knew of any classes. That led me to the wonderful Margaret Meade, a professional artist and master teacher from Caracas, Venezuela. I went to her basement studio and changed my life.
Margaret taught me to see the shapes that exist everywhere around us. I began to observe what I hadn’t truly noticed before. Of course, translating that onto paper was another story. The biggest challenge was overcoming my fear, and it’s something I continue to face almost every time I begin a new piece. But Margaret’s guidance, laughter, encouragement and the camaraderie of the other women there helped open a new path to my creativity.
When we moved to Bainbridge Island in 2004, I felt it was the right time to try painting on my own. Equipped with what I had learned in Virginia, I bought a table, watercolors, a few brushes and paper. At first I had to force myself to get started…to dip my brush in the water and paints and touch the page. But I did it! I began experimenting with a more whimsical approach and collaborated with my husband on some projects. I also began breaking some of the rules I’d been taught.
More recently, I have begun to expand my personal boundaries even further by painting abstract images. I was drawn to an artist, Mike Biskup, whose watercolors were hanging in our local gallery. Instead of painting still lifes or scenes, he creates pieces using color, lines and shapes. Over the summer, my grandson and I attended one of his demonstrations and I was inspired. A few months later, I painted with Mike in his Port Townsend studio. With jazz playing in the background and non-judgmental conversation, I experienced a whole new way to have fun with painting.
ABOUT MIKE LISAGOR
Once upon a time, I was an engineer, then an industry executive, the founder of Celerity Works (1999), one of the co-founders of GOVPROP.com, and an adjunct professor. Now I continue to explore leadership and daily life from a Buddhist perspective and conduct motivational workshops for students. I appreciate the opportunity to share my 48 year practice of Nichiren Buddhism with members of other faith traditions especially as it relates to creating hope in trying times. I also play harmonica and sing in a local blues band, Good Karma Blues (see music page) and have a new digital art series, Musical Makers (see art page).
I have written hundreds of magazine articles and blogs on a variety of business and Buddhist related topics. I am also the author of Romancing the Buddha which I adapted into a successful one-man show. My nature photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe, Bainbridge Island Magazine, Living Buddhism as well as in several local galleries.
I founded Celerity Works in 1999 to help executives accelerate their revenue growth. I have facilitated hundreds of planning retreats and implemented marketing, sales, and proposal processes and training programs for over 70 companies who have benefited from lessons learned from over 450 business growth assessment interviews and 250 coaching assignments.
I delivered a popular workshop several times at George Mason University in Virginia to first year business and marketing students. The 1-2 hour talk dealt with many of the things that students aren't taught in school but have to learn the hard way on their own in order to succeed in life. I'm now doing a similar presentation to our local high school freshmen.