by Yolanda Wysocki
Katie Todd, an artist featured in the Winter 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions, is an energy healer. I was curious how the two aspects of her — artist and healer — intersected and influenced each other. Before I share the details of what I discovered during my phone conversation with Katie, I discovered some pertinent facts about Katie’s life and art:
Katie grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where there’s a great art museum. She told me how her mom supported her kids in doing art; how having great art teachers and classes helped define her early on as a creative being and artist; and how she started painting landscapes as a means to nurture her spirit while experiencing post-partum depression.
As Katie explained to me,
Painting made me feel better but I didn’t paint anything that I wanted to hang in my house and look at until the landscapes. I had stopped painting for a few months, but I really missed it. So one day when my daughter was taking a nap, I painted this spacious sky and it felt good. When I looked out into the horizon, I was looking out into vastness and it felt good so I kept painting more.
She told me that her first art show seemed liked serendipity. “When I had my first show, I had to call my little brother – he went to art school in New York – and ask him, ‘What do I do?’ He gave me some good suggestions.”
The show was at a sustainable furniture gallery, and Oregon Home magazine was doing an article about the furniture there. “They saw my art on the wall and asked if I’d like to be a featured artist in the magazine. So I called my little brother again and said, ‘Help! I need a website because my art is going to be in a magazine.’ So it just happened – and I became a “professional” artist.”
Our conversation turned to Katie’s perspective on art and energy:
My intention now is to create a specific vibration or feeling with the color, mood and space in the paintings that shifts the viewer into that feeling. For example, most people say they feel calm and peaceful when they look at my work.
Intrigued, I began to shower Katie with questions.
Yolanda Wysocki: And is that how you create them?
Katie Todd: I might think I want to do something with purple. Then I’ll add green and
think, “Oh, that doesn’t feel good.” It may end up to be completely different
then when I started. I paint with a lot of layers. If I’m going for calm, I make
sure I feel calm while I’m painting, especially when I call it “complete.”
YW: I am wondering, after doing energy work with a client, does it make a difference when you go to paint?
KT: My gallery is my office where I see my clients. My paintings are hanging all around the space. The paintings contribute to the energy of the space. I use the paintings to help me work with a client. The paintings are really alive for me … they have a special vibration that they’re here to bring to someone or a vibration the client needs to shift into.
Sometimes I feel the paintings do more for me than I do for the paintings. When I am not inspired to paint, I really have a hard time painting. I don’t want to push them. I don’t try to produce and produce. I try to go with a more natural flow. But when a painting wants to happen, I paint it.
YW: What do you love best about creating?
KT: You know the feeling you get when you look at something and you think, “Wow! I made this; I brought this into reality and it’s never been here – or maybe it has but I did it in my own way.” It’s a spark you feel. That’s the feeling that is most rewarding, most satisfying to me; it can last a long time.
YW: What makes you want to put your work out in the world then?
KT: Interesting question. It’s layered for me. Earlier, when I was a new mom, it was like being seen and acknowledged, getting accolades and praise, to be totally honest. You don’t get that as a new mom. There is also an innate part of me that wants to share it. I know, hanging out in the art community, there are people who paint just for themselves and don’t want to show it, but I’ve never been like that. I crave the attention.
YW: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing art?
KT: I like to keep things interesting for myself. I like to connect with people and energy work feeds that. When I’m not painting I miss it. I do get that creative spark with my energy work; that too is a very creative process. I also love to cook as a creative outlet.
YW: You are beginning to paint more abstract color and form. Is there a question or a challenge you are exploring?
KT: If I can make the color and form really beautiful and nurturing to me, and make it work on the canvas, it’s a success; but it’s a huge, huge challenge. I have an abstract painter friend who helps me with it.
YW: What is it that you really want people to “get” about you?
KT: Some artists have something they want to say or are creating something totally innovative for the art world. I paint because it feels right and good and I want people to have art on their walls that feels good to them. Art can be instinctual – you like it or you don’t – and that’s enough.
YW: Here’s the question I ask all artists: What advice would you give to others who want to nurture their art?
KT: It helps to buddy up, join a group or a class. Finding someone to help you create a container of time and space for your creativity is paramount. And, you can’t really make a mistake … it all adds to the richness of what you are creating. Let yourself mess up, let the mistakes teach you.
YW: Great words to live by.
Katie Todd is an Energetic Healer and Artist. Her paintings actively radiate calming superpowers that shift your personal energy and that of your space. See her art at KatieToddArt.com, and learn more about her energy work at KatieToddEnergy.com.
Yolanda Wysocki works as a life/transformation coach. Her background has been in counseling and social services for over 25 years. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree when she was 51 years old. Seven years and three schools later, she completed her art degree, a lifelong dream.