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

Taylor Robbins