Tremendous Senior: Michael Strauss

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – At his house studio in South Burlington, Michael Strauss’ ardour is portray.

“I spend at least three-quarters of my day up here,” Strauss stated. “I don’t do a lot of my own self portraits.”

One of the few is from when he was a younger boy rising up in California. A self-described “sickly kid” who was poor in sports activities however beloved to attract. “My life is now art,” Strauss stated.

The retired University of Vermont chemistry professor taught college students for many years. He’s nonetheless instructing however now it’s all artwork – nearly.

“I have a little light down here that I put on myself so I look healthy,” Strauss stated. “When Covid came — I’m retired — I bought all this stuff and I started zooming.” It’s a free, weekly tutorial the place principally seniors take part.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Are you a troublesome instructor?

Michae Strauss: No. No grades, no exams, no enrollment.

The portray class helps put a pause on the pandemic. Strauss says it’s been notably tough for seniors to deal with loneliness and isolation. “And this drawing class… you should see the emails I’ve got. I’ve got 300 emails telling me this is helpful to them — and for me too,” Strauss stated.

The final yr has been particularly powerful for the 82-year-old artist. His daughter Merissa died in September after an extended sickness. She was simply 48, and for Strauss, creating artwork helps him together with his sorrows. “When you’re in the moment and you’re doing something actively, you’re engaged in that and the past and the future are not there,” he stated.

The basement is a form of gallery of the prolific painter’s work. He calls it his “boneyard.” “Piles and piles. This is a year and a half worth of teaching,” Strauss stated. “Here’s one that’s not going to work because it looks too macabre.”

Strauss holds up an summary nude. “You’re not going to put this on TV here,” he stated. “Here’s one that doesn’t work. You can see why. It’s like a Rorschach test. It makes people think that I got a bad mind.”

Reporter Joe Carroll: Fair to say your work is eclectic?

Michae Strauss: Oh, I’ll say. It’s past eclectic.

Back in his studio, Strauss is the portrait of a painter nonetheless dwelling his dream. “I’m having a good time, that’s the bottom line. I’m enjoying myself,” he stated.

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