WITH MICHELLE STREIFF
Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?
I am painting mostly in my studio, which is a converted bedroom with great light. I have been watching a lot of streaming videos. I love to watch other people paint almost as much as painting myself, plus it gives me many enlightening tips and ideas. I have also ventured out to paint plein air, many places to explore and plenty of space! To keep busy, my yard has never ending gardening chores, which includes a small fish pond and a butterfly garden/monarch stop over area.
How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?
I volunteer at local animal shelters, which still need volunteers to keep all of the animals happy and healthy. Most of the dogs that need to get out and walk cannot be close to other dogs, so it is the perfect social distancing activity. I had been exploring the idea of painting people and their dogs in an “American Gothic” sort of way, when one of my friends at the shelter posted the photograph which eventually became my inspiration for my painting American Covid. The dogs are so happy to have visitors, masks and all!
What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?
The amount of people who stepped up and fostered and or adopted dogs from the shelter is by far the biggest positive from this experience. With so many people working from home, it is the perfect time to give a dog or cat a place to land and a family to call their own.
What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?
I can't say I could pick a favorite, there are so many amazing works of art. But I will say the painting by Peter Pettegrew, “American Situation” caught my eye and in turn I applied to be part of the story!