Natasha Isenhour, President of the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico, shares her advice on how artists can (and should) preserve your “Energy Bank.”
BY NATASHA ISENHOUR
It’s been quite the busy few weeks in my world. Cancellations abound, and still other plans being formulated. I made a decision early on into this pandemic, that I was going to keep my mind clear of the easy trap. I wanted to steer clear for many reasons. One of those reasons was that it will be very hard to shake loose of that trap when the world evolves away from this current paradigm. What trap am I talking about? It is to stop my energy flow and sit in sadness.
Energy. It’s 100 degrees here nearly every day lately, with the foreseeable forecast repeating itself. The sun, creating an over abundance of energy, saps mine. That energy is overwhelming so I stay indoors. The news cycle, creating an over abundance of energy, saps mine. So I turn it off. Think of your energy as money. If your money is being grabbed by a stranger out of your pocket, get away from the stranger! Your energy is YOURS to spend. Spend it wisely.
Energy. I have read, over and over about artists that “can’t” create now because of COVID, and artists who “feel guilty” creating while the world is in turmoil. Remember that easy trap I was talking about? That to me feels like turning my pockets inside out for the stranger. Don’t get me wrong! What we do is so satisfying and feels more like hedonistic play than work! I can see where the easy trap can getcha’! So let me explain…
Our work takes energy, and a lot of it. The point I think that we too often miss, is that our spent energy is going into an Energy Bank. Think of hydroelectric power or wind power. Energy to construct dams and turbines and maintain them. All so they can give back more energy than the expended energy to build them.
Art as Energy 101
Art for the artist serves two very important Energy Banks. The most obvious of course is the financial one.
I have used my money energy to buy frames and art materials, that energy exchange has funded manufacturers, truckers, suppliers, and distributors. It has supplied money energy to advertisers, landlords and web designers in its wake from conception to my hands to do something with it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now, when that money energy from the sale hits my palm, I can pay my utilities, put food on the table, and stay off the system with good grace. That’s me holding up my end of keeping the wheels greased.
Art as Energy, Advanced
What I do is more than the exchange of money for work, which is a lot in itself when you look at it! The other Energy Bank I contribute to is, at the very least, of equal importance. I would argue greater, particularly in these times when people feel trapped and in many cases ARE trapped in their circumstance. Our work can be a life raft.
The number of people affected by just one painting we paint, even if it never sells, is countless.
That one moment of time that they see it in a gallery, scroll to it on social media, or see it on our website, they are touched by it. For some of those affected its like a gulp of cool air on a hot day, tension paused however briefly, elevated from being sick or caring for a loved one even just for a second. That, my friends, is the gift of the Energy Bank we make a deposit to every time we share what we do. WE then, are feeding THEIR Energy Bank.
It isn’t selfish to do what we love. It might just be the most giving thing we have to offer in a time when ugly and hurt consumes us all around. I, for one, cannot think of a better time to be an artist. A creator of something that could hold promise, healing, comfort or even an escape to someone else I may never meet.
The lesson here?
You get to decide how and where to spend your energy more often than not. We make so many choices that aren’t good for us (like buying a carton of ice cream…again); why not OWN your Energy? Why not make a decision to spend your Energy where it has the most benefit, rather than allowing a stranger to pick it out of your pocket and watching him/her do it?
Come to terms with your “Why” of making art, and understand the great effect it has on others around you, near and far. Be determined not to take your gift for granted.
Peace Out Folks,
Make it a great day!!