By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post
In the dusty attic of his grandparents’ house Mike Shaw, 68, found inspiration that would stick for a lifetime. The attic is where the Williamston resident and employee of 28 years at Ellie’s Country Kitchen discovered his passion for art, specifically painting.
“My great grandfather was an artist and so was my great grandmother. I think I got it from the family,” Shaw said. “I remember going to the old attic at my grandparents’ house and being intrigued by the oil paintings my great grandparents did.”
Shaw is originally from Lansing and has been painting since he was a kid. He is a dishwasher at Ellie’s Country kitchen in downtown Williamston. He compared the work to a farm on which everyone works together to get what needs to get done, done. Shaw has taken a few art classes at Lansing Community College and now finds many of his paintings hanging up at his place of work.
“I always wanted to paint. I always had that urge to paint. It’s like the urge some people get to play a musical instrument, same type of feeling,” said Shaw. “I would paint when I found something I wanted to preserve on canvas. It has become one of those things you keep dabbling in. I’m a dabbler. I don’t think of myself as a great artist or anything.”
According to the owner of Ellie’s Country Kitchen of 28 years, Brian Stiffler, Shaw’s paintings are catching attention. Many customers have asked Shaw if they could purchase the paintings. He has always refused. Shaw has also refused any form of payment for the paintings from his boss. It all got started when the restaurant was repainted and the walls looked bare.
“His first paintings were of an apple pie and flowers. He did those two first and we hung them up,” Stiffler said. “Then I said the walls look bare and we need more paintings. All of a sudden he started bringing in like a painting a week.”