Getting ready for the Irish Festival

I didn’t apply for any art fairs except two this year. With my crazy schedule, I really had to prioritize my time.

Both art fairs that I applied to, the Irish Fest and the Overland Park Fall Festival, I was accepted into.

I’m currently creating new work and exploring all my new ideas for the Irish Festival coming up. If you’re in the Kansas City area over Labor Day weekend, come by and see me! I had so much fun at this festival last year I had to do it again.

Great art, live Irish music, and cold beverages, oh, and getting to see me! I can’t think of a much better time! Hope to see you there!

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The reason I disappeared

Some of you may have noticed my FB page, my website, and myself in general went quiet. I’m still processing through it all, but I feel myself finally starting to come up for air and thought I would share the reason why. This is an intensely personal post and is probably a bit emotional. I’m just sharing that in case you don’t want to continue to read.

My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April after being rushed to the hospital for an aneurism. He had throat cancer 7 years ago and has been in remission since. The doctors told us statistically after 5 years that the cancer wouldn’t come back. They were wrong.

The throat cancer not only came back but the tumor began growing into his facial arteries causing massive bleeds. They sent us home with no hope and told us that it was a matter of time before his carotid artery (the one that feeds the brain) burst.

I have so many thoughts on this and it’s hard to even write through the tears flowing down my cheeks. It was literally the hardest 11 weeks of my life. He was a walking talking dead man. I sat with him every day I could and drank beer. He could no longer eat and up until the last 2 weeks he would still drink beer, so that’s what we did.

We were able to have some good talks, and I asked him if there was anything he had on his bucket list that we could go do. He said was lucky in the fact that he has pretty much done everything he’s wanted to do. I’ve thought a lot about that since and how fortunate he was to get to say that. Most people never can.

I tried many times during this time to pick up a paint brush, but nothing came out. I wanted to paint the pain and unfairness of it all away but I couldn’t.

I am so very grateful that I was able to hold his hand when he took his last breath. I’m still struggling with so much loss, anger that he was only 65, anger that he suffered so much, and the helplessness of it all. But last night, I picked up the paint brush for the first time in months. I was alone in my hotel room and I pulled it out. It wasn’t easy at first. It was like pushing through a barrier. But then it slowly started to come back. It started to flow again.

I’m grateful for this. I’m grateful that I have this connection to the Creative again. That maybe through it I can begin to heal my heart and mind and soul. The last thing I was able to create before he got really sick was the yantra of the fist. It’s almost a diary entry. My thoughts, my feelings, my anger, my sadness, all made into a fist or rage.

I have so many loyal followers of my art. I just felt the need to share my journey and let you know that I am starting to resurface. I’m not sure where my work will go from here. I have a lot of thoughts still and so I’ll sit with them. And I’ll create.

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You can see my work at the Phoenix Gallery

One of my favorite towns in the US is Lawrence, KS. It’s one of those places that has always just felt like home. It has an open minded culture and no one looks at me strange for wearing my paint pants out in public. You will see all types of people intermingling, and it just has a welcoming feel.

When I sold my very first painting, it was in Lawrence. I lived in small town outside of Lawrence and nervously submitted my first painting in a local art show. Not only was it accepted, but it was one of the five that sold from the show. I was blown away.

I remember back then thinking “well, I’m not a real artist”. I wouldn’t even call myself an artist. It was something I did at home for me. I was the director of an arts council and I helped other artists with their work.

I remember spending afternoons on sunny days walking along Massachusetts Street with an iced coffee in hand and strolling through art galleries. It was my happy place. So much creativity and inspiration in one place. One of my favorite galleries was the Phoenix Gallery. I remember thinking how amazing it must be to have art being sold there.

This month, I met with the owner and was invited to be represented by the Phoenix Gallery. It was all serendipity on how it happened. Yesterday I delivered my first pieces. To many it probably isn’t a big deal, but to me it’s huge. I have traveled all over the world for my art, do consider myself an artist now, and make my living as an artist. There is something though, about walking into a place where I use to envy and dream about being an artist and having my pieces hanging on those walls. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

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So much, so little time

I have been trying to recover from the jet lag and play catch up from all of the excitement over the past 2 months.

A few exciting things have happened.

He proposed and I said yes! Swimming away together
We’re taking the plunge!
  1. I am getting married! I have been spending so much time in the studio and working that when the opportunity to go to Belize presented itself, I took it! My love and I joined friends in Belize for a week of scuba diving. my love rushed to get certified days before hte trip so he could play, too. Completely unbeknownst to me, he had an alternative plan. You can see what happens by click on the picture!!

2. I had an amazing show at the Bowlus Fine Art Center which I will talk about much more in a future post. They did an amazing job lighting my show. I sold a few pieces and was so grateful for the opportunity to show near my home town in Southeast Kansas.

Bowlus Fine Art Center exhibit by Anastacia Drake
Art Exhibit at Bowlus Fine Art Center
Rainbow over Bunga Permai in Bali

3. I attended the Nomadic Artist Residency in Bali the end of February until the beginning of March. It was an amazing experience that I am still processing. I was pushed far outside my comfort zone and started creating in a digital format which is something I’ve never done before. As my experiences are still processing, I will be writing about it soon.

4. I took down my art show at Lankford/ Fendler in Kansas City, MO and a two new shows went up at Open Air Equity Partners near the Plaza and the Whitlock Company. The ArtsKC Now Showing Program is keeping me busy!

Open Air Equity Partners
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Best of 2018

Exciting news! I am happy to announce that I won Best of 2018 small business award through Overland Park. In particular, it was for my art classes and parties which advertise under Art Fun For Everyone.

My Paint Your Pet classes have been a huge hit and usually book out over a month in advance. I have done everything from children’s birthday parties to corporate team building paint parties.

For 2019, I am partnering with RE (formerly Restoration Emporium) in the Crossroads. I will be offering my classes in their amazing new space. If you’re interested in more information concerning classes, look here!

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We’re all just walking each other home

So I’m going to be raw and personal right now. Bear with me, the beginning of a new year makes me incredible reflective.

I was looking back on this year and my heart filled with so much gratitude for my life that it flowed out of my eyes as tears. I can’t contain it.

I have had people make comments to me that they think it’s been easy for me. That I have everything. I once had a boss make a comment about how I’ve had everything handed to me because I seemed so confident.

What most people don’t know about me is this. I grew up in a small farm town in Kansas.

Becoming.jpg

Becoming, Acrylic on Canvas

I feared for my life as a toddler. My father was/is an abusive alcoholic and drug addict that left my mom for dead more than once. There is death on his hands. I lived in a constant state of flight or fight. At the age of 6 most girls were thinking about being a princess and I was thinking about how I was going to keep my siblings together when my dad succeeded in killing my mom.

My wrists are incredibly weak because my dad use to throw me into walls as a child and sprain them constantly. I’m overly sensitive to loud or unpredictable situations. I tune into everyone’s energy around me because it was essential as a child to gauge my environment.

My mom fortunately got us out of that situation. With no education and 3 kids she fought like hell for us. She gave us everything she was capable of giving. Her best involved working 2 jobs just to meet the bare minimum. My childhood was used clothes (boys or girls), not joining in on school functions because we didn’t have the money, and never quite fitting in.

As a teenager I fought so hard to change the view people had of “who” I was. I studied, I worked, and I built relationships and friendships. I also struggled. I felt like love was very conditional and I struggled with depression (not knowing what depression was). I spent hours trying to figure out how to make it all stop. But there was one thread that kept me from ending it. One thread of hope that one day it would be better…that I could be better.

I had a decade of searching and figuring out who I was. Then I suddenly and quite unpredictably became a single mother. I spent the first year crying myself to sleep while my baby slept in my arms because I was afraid I would never be able to give him what he deserved. How I would never be the mother he deserved. He slept with me on a blow up mattress for the first 6 months because I couldn’t afford a crib.

And I fought. I have fought for everything I’ve had and done. I haven’t always been right. It hasn’t always been pretty. But I did what I had to do.

I’m not writing any of this for sympathy. Quite the opposite. I’m writing this because I want everyone to know that it can be better. You might have to fight, but there is so much out there.

I get so excited every new year because to me it’s a like an open book with blank pages. A new chapter. One I get to write.

As a child I always had the same wish when I saw a shooting star, “to be happy”. I had the sudden realization this week that I’m happy. Not just a little happy, but sitting smack in the middle of my chaotic messy life and am ridiculously happy. I have a partner that isn’t perfect, but he’s perfect for me. He supports me in my crazy ideas and puts up with my absent-minded ways. I have a child that breaks my heart wide open and makes me a better person. I’ve been able to give him the childhood I wish I had.

021bba63-0ee6-4600-b693-a868aa65fc18-1428-0000022b0d8d4b1d-3I have made and continue to make my dreams come true as they grow bigger. I have traveled the world, have the kind of friends that can only be considered family, and have surrounded myself with love. And I wish this for you. Not every day is great. I stumble A LOT. But I keep fighting.

I face this new year with gratitude and love. I wish for each of you a life worth fighting for. Remember that when things look easy for someone else and your journey seems so hard, you have no idea what has brought them to this place.

Thank you for being part of my journey. And I promise to write less intense blogs in the future. 😉

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I’m so excited I might pee my pants!!

Ok, maybe not pee my pants, but I’m beyond excited!! I just received notice that I was chosen for an artist residency in Bali!!! This is a serious dream come true. I just keep thinking about this crazy artistic life journey.

I remember when I was terrified to show my work to anyone because it never felt good enough. I remember becoming a mother and thinking that my dreams of travel were over. I remember thinking that this sort of thing only happened to other people, not small town girls from Kansas. I’m glad I didn’t get derailed for too long!

In February I’ll be heading to Ubud, Bali for a 12 day artist residency. (I don’t apply for anything more than 2 weeks unless my son can come along). Unfortunately, due to school, my son will not be coming along on this residency.

I will be collaborating and working with the Balinese art community. I’m so excited to see what I can learn, and how it will transform my own work. I plan to soak up every ounce of inspiration and experience I can!

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