Driven to make more art

Anne Strout, artist

My friend Anne Strout is one of the most creative people I know. I wondered if being isolated made her more inclined to get into her studio and make art and she told me that it has. She’d already been pretty busy. In Maine, artists tend to try to get a lot of new work done in the winter for the summer season when galleries and art shows are happening. And she’d been working diligently because she was supposed to be in a show in Portland in April with three other Maine artists and another in May. Both now canceled because of the pandemic.

But ever since she has been self-quarantining, Anne says she has felt even more driven to make more art.

It does help with the feeling of helplessness and lack of control in turbulent times. Also, getting into the studio, playing music, and having a change of scenes is good for mental health.

Anne Strout, Maine artist

Artist statement

So you can know a little bit more about her, I took the liberty of copying Anne’s artist statement from her website.

How an artist becomes inspired is complicated. My inspiration often comes from the universal, daily struggles we face, with an emphasis on HOPE.

Forty years in nursing gave me an up-close knowledge of the challenges we all face. It also gave me a deep appreciation for the courage and resilience we need to navigate life. For me, art and nature have provided the balance and peace to life’s complexities. Encaustic and mixed media have helped me with the narratives. I use layers, colors, and embedded found objects to address the issues while celebrating perseverance, reinvention and second chances.

A virtual art show

I asked Anne to share pictures of some of her recent work and give us a brief description of what inspired her.

Living on the Tilt-a-Whirl encaustic
Living on the Tilt-a-Whirl, Encaustic, 24″ diameter

Living on the Tilt-a-Whirl: Such unsettled times, up and down, whirling, slow and fast.

Together We Hold Up the Sky, Encaustic
Together We Hold Up the Sky, Encaustic, mixed media

Together We Hold Up the Sky: Women working at home while homeschooling the kids, making the meals, keeping it all going. We do it together.

City Afternoon, Encaustic
City Afternoon, Encaustic

City Afternoon: Looking so calm and peaceful. No people. All in quarantine, I think

A New Day, Encaustic
A New Day, Encaustic

A New Day: The sun comes up and we try to be hopeful and courageous as we face the day.

Ready for Battle
Ready for Battle, Encaustic, mixed media

Ready for Battle: Here’s to the workers on the front lines. Please, may they have all the PPE they need as they fight for us.

Thank you!

Thank you, Anne, for sharing not only your art but also your inspiration. I especially like that while you are inspired by our struggles, you choose to emphasize HOPE. That is exactly what we all need right now.

You’ll find more information about Anne’s work and how to contact her on her website.

Anne Strout, artist, working in her studio
Time to get back to work!

Before you go …

See that watch Anne is wearing? With the multi-colored band? I was with her when she bought it. We had taken the bus to New York City for a short visit and spent one evening strolling around an outdoor Christmas fair on the edge of Central Park South by Columbus Circle. It was teeming with people, as were the streets when we walked back to our hotel near the Theater District. Even though it was really cold and long after dark, there were crowds everywhere. People skating in Rockefeller Center, doing their holiday shopping, going out to dinner, watching the performers in Times Square. All the things you do when you go to NYC. Used to. My nephew Jason lives there with his family and wrote a post for Catching Health about how they were coping with living in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read it here. How are you coping these days?

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.