When someone asks where I get my inspiration, I really don’t have a canned or predictable answer. Depending on the day, I may say music, or a poem... or you may hear me say blue, the sky or laughter. Every time I sit down and try to articulate an answer to that question, I am stumped as to how to put it into words.
I work full-time in the studio, and moonlight as an artist during all my waking hours outside of that comfortable nest of creativity. I have an unstoppable stream of visual inspiration living in the southwest. There are animals galore, sunsets, storytelling adobe ruins, the changing light of the seasons and more landscape that I could ever hope to absorb in a lifetime. All of these elements are present for me when I step up to the easel regardless of the subject that takes its place in the composition as I begin working.
People often ask if I know what colors I will use before I begin. The answer is “no.” More often than not, I step up to the oil box or the pastel box and allow myself to be inspired by a color, then, as in any relationship, one thing leads to another. I try to leave preconceived notions of an ideal finished product somewhere inaccessible so I can allow my passion and emotion to drive the work. I often feel that the subject matter that I use in my work is merely a catalyst to convey emotion through color. You see a bird, a horse or a staircase; I see my heart.
Whether in oil or pastel, my technique begins with the perfect substrate. Then it is color on color on color until I get the rich, crisp combination that succeeds in expressing what I can’t find words for. I am also a writer and a musician, and I often refer to my paintings as picking up where the words and notes fall short.
So I suppose you could say that what inspires me is the last thing I painted. Creativity for me breeds itself. The more I paint, the more I know that there is no end to the inspiration for the next blank canvas.”
Natasha Isenhour was invited to be an Honorary Artist for ARTfeast Santa Fe in 2012 and 2013, artist in residence at the Inn At Loretto in Santa Fe and juried into both oils and pastels in Masterworks of New Mexico 2012 and was awarded a price at the Masterworks Exhibit in April 2012. She is currently the president of the Pastel Society of New Mexico.