Though she’s been painting her whole life, it was the pandemic that took Mekhla Salimani’s artwork to the next level. “My kids are a little grown so I started giving more time to what makes me happy and I think I needed it,” she told us. “Since April of last year, I’ve painted every single day.”
One of 33 artists whose work graced the Third Annual Loudoun Cares Art Auction in October, Mekhla was one of handful of newcomers to the event, and the only one for whom it marked a debut. Besides the bold brushstrokes in pure colors, what distinguishes her work is that she gives it all away!
“My thought process there was, I have a full-time job. I don't want anything else where money becomes a thing that I have to think about or stress about how much I’m going to sell. So, the plan was, I’ll sell it and give what I make to charity. I think that's what works for me.” Currently, her proceeds go to support the Tin Cup Fund in her Loudoun neighborhood. An auction organizer saw her hand-painted cards at a farmer’s market and invited her to enter the show.
For work, she’s a program manager and coach, so perhaps that helps her both see and paint her subjects with such clarity. Look for more of her work in the Ashburn Public Library. “Painting gives me joy, so I’m just following my path, and I'll take whatever comes,” she said.