The Energy of Art
by Elizabeth Robbins
I recently received the message above through social media that asked why I spend two days painting from a photograph when you can just hang the photograph. In his words, “I doesn’t make sense!” Let me explain why it does.
Personally speaking, I can tell you a hundred reasons why I spend two days creating an original piece of art instead of hanging a photograph, but there is one reason in particular that I’ll like to share. Art Heals!
My brother, Taylor, was an energetic guy. So incredibly smart and handsome. He was a few years older than me and often got into trouble. My mom would always say he was a difficult child. One year, we moved to Springdale, Utah, a small town in southern Utah and home of Zion National Park. One night, Taylor smeared peanut butter over all the windows of the two room school house as a joke. The school didn’t think it was very funny and neither did my Mom. Thinking back on it, I have to admit I find it funny now, but I can remember them taking Taylor into a room and smacking him with a ruler (teachers could do that back then and not get in trouble).
Fast forward over 50 years. Taylor had his demons for sure. He battled addiction and lost. He lived with me that last year of his life. He helped me build my studio, helped out during Art Strolls at Bella Muse Gallery, mowed my yard, shoveled the walks in winter, and kept my dog, Shadow, company.
So what does this story have to do with art? A couple years ago I walked into a gallery to see some art. As I was looking at all the wonderful art in the gallery, I noticed a winter landscape off in the distance that seemed to pull me in. As I walked close to the painting, my heart stopped. There in the painting were 3 robins in flight by artists William Alther. There was a space between the first bird and the third. I just stared at the painting and began to cry. You see, the robins represented me and my two surviving brothers. The space between the first and and the third robin represented my brother that was the second born and was no longer with us. As I asked “Robin” ( do you see a pattern in this story?) who was the sales person at the time about the painting, she told me that it had been in the gallery for awhile and hadn’t sold. I shared with her why the painting hit me so hard. I didn’t have the money to buy it right then but the painting haunted me. A little while later, I decided to email the artist and tell him how much that painting had affected me and how much I loved it. As fate would have it, the artist had gotten the painting back from the gallery, so I decided to buy it. It now hangs in my home and brings me comfort.
Why did the artist decided to paint 3 robins with a space between the first and third? Why did the painting not sell at the gallery? Coincidence? No, it all has to do with the energy of art and how when Artists listen to the spirit, they create works of art that have a purpose. They create artwork for someone they don’t even know for stories untold. Most of the time Artists don’t even know why they do something in a painting but that “something” has a way of weaving its way through the universe to find the person that needs that “something” most of all. I needed to be healed by my brother’s death. This painting did that.
I could tell you story after story about how the energy of the art found its way to those in need but I’ll save those for another time. So for those that don’t understand the value of original artwork vs. a photograph, I hope this story helps you understand why Artists spend days in front of an easel creating and the energy of art.
4 Robbins Siblings
From left to right, Rob, Christopher, Elizabeth, Taylor
Yes, my parents named my little brother “Christopher Robbins”
My brother Taylor and I at Thanksgiving dinner 2013
Taylor helping remove a cement pad to prepare the ground for my studio. He’s the one in the gray shirt
Taylor helping me put the insulation in my studio 2017
Me and Taylor a few days before his death
Thank you for sharing!!! Try to not be upset by people who dont get it…you know and thats what matters! Happy holiday weekend! Enjoy!
I try not to but some people need to learn the value of art
I’m very touched by your story. I’m sorry you lost your brother. May God bless your family! You are very talented and beautiful artist with beautiful soul.
Thank you so much Salta.
Beautiful sharing! So sorry for your loss! These losses hurt!
Yes they do but we know that they are close. The veil is thin
There is just no comparison. Photo’s lose all the beautiful nuances that paintings can bring forth, yours especially. Maybe that person needs to go to an art gallery and have a really good look around. Photographs are so much easier than paintings (quote from my husband who is a nature photographer!). Liz, I am so sorry to hear about your brother, losing him must be a tragic loss. You have a wonderful studio thanks to him.
Thank you Lind
wow, Elizabeth, thank you for sharing that story. I’m still searching for that one piece of art that helps me understand my family. I search with each stroke of my brush for understanding and solace.
It’s out there Linda. I’ll send good energy your way so it finds you ❤️
What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing and what wonderful memories you have. You are not only a fantastic artist but you are talented in writing too. Not many can write from the heart! But then again, your paintings are from your heart, also. May God bless you always.
Thank you Char ?
<3 was supposed to be a heart but didn't work on here, in case you were wondering!
Thank you Char
Beautiful story. Elizabeth! And you’re right — I doubt a photograph could have captured the things the painting captured. I’m glad it was such a blessing to you.
Thank you Mark
Oh my Lord, you put it so beautifully and it resonated in my heart. It is a healing with a strong desire! Thank you Elizabeth
Thank you LaJoyce
Thanks for a great explanation. Each painting may resonate differently to each of us, They often invoke feelings that the artist may never know. Louise Jackson
So true. Thanks Louise
Love this story, and thank you for sharing. I love to paint old crocks and antiques that bring back the warm feelings of being with my aunt and uncle (only grandparent I knew) on antiquing trips for their little shop in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Painting has always been an emotional experience for me. I wonder how others feel about their paintings.
The best paintings are always one that have an emotional meaning behind them. We paint better when we paint what we know. Thank you for sharing the meaning behind your paintings Carole
Beautifully said Elizabeth. An artist puts a piece of their soul in their work even when they don’t realize it. Learning to appreciate the swerve of a brushstroke, the swipe of a palette knife, the texture, the composition and then the art in it’s whole context is what artists strive to achieve. So much goes into what others might think is just a simple picture, akin to a snapshot.
Our population has a high percentage of people who do not appreciate art because they don’t bother to learn about it. Anyone who cannot tell the difference between a fine piece of art and a photograph is showing their own ignorance. A very naive comment.
Having just lost a sister myself I can understand how this painting must have spoken to you at a tender time. My eyes are a bit wet reading your account. Your joy and spirit shine through in your paintings which I am sure is why you are such a successful artist. Hugs to you from me, I get it.
I know you know the value of Art Susan. Thanks for all you do to educate people
Such a beautiful story……I’m running a little behind this month and just read this. So sorry about the loss of your brother. Family is such a gift….. And it’s usually the little things that stick with us the most. A smile, a helping hand, a comforting word, a hug.
A photograph doesn’t show the hand of the artist, in my opinion. Yes, with all the technology, a photo can be changed to a certain extent, but an artist “slinging” paint can create something completely their own. Thoughts and imagination and interpretation can’t be photographed. That is why a painting can speak to us…..because it is the voice of the artist.
Thank you for all you do and share, Liz.
Thank you Donna
This a great story, and thank you for sharing it. Someday I will tell you an story somewhat similar, but for now this is your show.
I would love to hear your story some day Moises
Your story made me cry. He looks like a beautiful person outside and inside. Life can be really hard sometimes. Right there is another reason to make art: find a refuge where we can be isolated with a pencil and a piece of paper, that’s all we need, that’s how lucky we are. Thanks for sharing your feelings!
Thank you ?
Your story made me cry too! I just lost my sister last year and I haven’t been able to do anything creative since. Actually, haven’t picked up any brushes since I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness 9 yrs ago. I am still here, but don’t understand why I can’t paint? I know dear Elizabeth you had another significant loss in your past too…I met you once years ago at a Decorative Painting show in either Mpls or St. Paul. And have followed you off and on since then. I was amazed that you were able to pick up your brushes after the loss and keep going. I wish I understood the connection between my experience with loss and inability to paint and the much needed healing I need. I do find comfort and healing in viewing other’s art though…very much. Thank you for providing that for me and others faithfully in your work! And for sharing the profound connection this painting had for you. Thank you, thank you. Many blessings!
Mary, I am so sorry about your diagnoses and for the loss of your sister. After my husband died it was awhile before I could pick up a paint brush but when I did it was so healing. Let me know if I can do anything to help you
Thank you so much for your response Elizabeth! I’m encouraged to know you had some trouble picking up the brushes too at one time. I think I need to just do the hard thing, start, and the rest will come. Thank you for inspiring me/us! Didn’t realize you recently lost your mom too after your husband in addition to your brother. Wow That is a lot of loss.:( ❤️??
Thank you Mary. It is a lot of losses but painting brings me peace
Please accept my very delayed condolences! My heart just breaks for your loss! I’m the only taught with 2 younger brothers. Both my parents are gone, and I can’t imagine losing one of them! Art is just so very special, and so very personal.
Thank you so much Amy and I’m glad you have your brothers I lost my mom seven years ago my husband 13 years ago my dad is still alive thank goodness.
I was so touched by your story. Life can be hard. So glad you had spend time with your brother and you have those memories. Art heals the soul it has for me. A painting is an extension of the artist his feelings and his heart. Thank you for such a powerful example.
Thank you so much Kathy. Art does heal
Thank you for sharing! I have also found art to be a savior in many ways. Sometimes words don’t cut it, but art can reach those places that need expression/healing. <3
Yes they can ?