My Quarantine Project: Yoga Art Cards

It feels a little bit like the world has flipped upside down in the last few months. I thought I would share something positive that has come out of it for me.

After a few weeks of quarantine I got completely stir crazy (like many out there). I tried to find secluded trails to hike but they were closed. Camp grounds were closed. I found myself struggling with anxiety and feeling a bit trapped.

As serendipity would have it, an ad came across my computer advertising yoga teacher certification. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but the time commitment away from home was always too much being a mom. Due to the quarantine they had moved teacher certification online for the first time ever. I promptly signed up.

As I worked through the poses I began sketching them all. I made flash cards so that I could memorize the Sanskrit and English name. I looked online for similar flash cards but couldn’t find what I wanted. I decided to just make my own. I added Sanskrit pronunciation, literal translation, anatomy, sequencing tips, and benefits to the card. It gave me something to focus on and I felt my body and mind getting stronger as I worked my way through the program.

With a heart full of gratitude I showed my new yoga art cards to my fellow classmates. The reaction was overwhelming. Everyone was asking to buy them! I had no idea that a project I did for myself would have such an amazing reaction. Within the first few days I sold over 100.

Now I’m super excited to announce that within a week they will be up on Amazon and within two they will be going into bookstores including Barnes & Noble! What started out as a project for myself has turned out to be a project that helps others!

If you’re interested in seeing them! Check them out here!

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Cancer Mask

I won an artist commission through the HNC Living Foundation to create a piece of artwork out of a cancer mask.

I talked about this project in a past blog titled An Art Project in Honor of my Dad.

I have finally finished the piece. Due to the current state of the world, the event for the fundraiser has been cancelled but is still going to be online. I thought I would share my final project with you. This was so outside of anything I normally do.

I cut the face out of the mask to make it feel like a cocoon opening up or splitting open. The quote “Just when a catepillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly” kept going through my mind. Change and transformation can be scary and hard. I covered the mask in unbleached cheesecloth and then used coffee to stain it. I wanted it to look old and used. Much like how cancer ravages the body.

This type of cocoon is opening up and reveals a clean fresh image underneath. This was a mask I cast from my sons face which happened to fit perfectly within the radiation mask. The eyes and mouth are open. Almost a gasping for breath. A scream of pain and anger and sadness. Flying from the mouth are butterflies. These symbolize hope and transformation.

I’m proud of the finished project. I think my dad would like it, too.

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I won!

I was recently awarded the Artivist of the Year award through Art Tour International Magazine. I flew to New York to accept the award which was broadcast live on a local NY station.

The next day I went to Barnes & Noble, and there it was! My work in Art Tour International magazine! Seriously so cool! Then I headed over the Grimandi Art Gallery to see my work in the digital exhibit that was up. It was an amazing night which led to being interviewed for a program called Art 2 Heart by the founder of the magazine. I got the opportunity to spend the rest of the evening over drinks and dinner talking about our paths as artists. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to get to really connect to a woman that I so admire.

I will share the link to the interview as soon as it airs.

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Yoga Art – Where to Find Available Yoga Tools and Resources

Last time I shared about My Quarantine Project. Today I would like to mention where to find the tools I’ve created.

With a heart full of gratitude the reaction to the Yoga Art Card Deck has been overwhelming. I have set up a fulfillment service (to print/ship) the decks. I am currently working on additional Yoga tools and will come back with updates as soon as they are ready.

Today I would like to mention where to find the tools.

Choose USA or International Delivery

For USA orders you can order from my website here: Stroke of Red Studio Yoga Art

For International Orders you can order here: Anastacia Drake on Amazon

For Affiliate Link Sharing: Through Amazon Affiliate Program, you can find the tools to links share here: Anastacia Drake on Amazon

Watch for updates and new releases by joining the Newsletter here: 

Be sure to subscribe to my monthly Studio Newsletter with Updates, Classes, and Inspiration!

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An art project in honor of my dad

I just found out today that my proposal for a project I had submitted about a month ago won. It’s so far outside my comfort zone and way more triggering emotionally for me than I would have imagined.

If you follow my blog or know me, you know that I lost my dad to throat cancer in June. He was diagnosed 7 years ago and went into remission. They said after 5 years he would never get it again. Then this past April it came back with a vengeance with no recourse. He passed June 7th.

The first time he was going through treatment, my parents stayed with me in KC. My dad (who was actually my step-dad but the only dad I’ve known) went through a lot and we became close during this time. I would listen to him talk about how much he hated his cancer mask. It’s a mask shaped to a patients face specifically. It’s buttoned over the face and shoulders while receiving radiation so they can’t move at all. He hated everything about it. He said it made him feel clausterphobic.

After he was released and given the good news that the cancer was gone, I came across a project from the HNC Living Foundation in Kansas City (Head and Neck Cancer). They commission artists to create a piece of artwork using the masks and then have an exhibit as a fundraiser. I had discussed it with him and he had agreed it was a great use of the masks. Life got in the way and I never applied.

About a month ago, I ran across the call again. I decided to sit down and write a proposal. It just flowed out of me along with tears. I took everything that mask represented to me and him….fear, anger, sadness, resurrection, healing, transformation, and death…and wrote a proposal. The biggest challenge I face is it’s not a painting. I will be sculpting which I’ve never done before (except for creating Halloween costumes for my son).

I found out today I won. My heart was instantly filled with excitement and joy, and then the tears started to fall. I know this will be a hard project for me; probably more emotionally than technically challenging. I look forward to it. I look forward to pouring my heart into this in honor of my dad. I look forward to dealing with the emotions as they surface, to letting the tears flow, and to figuring out how to make my idea a reality.

I won’t go into the entire proposal, but there are many layers to my piece. The mask will become a cocoon representing transformation. Inside will be a person screaming, representing anger and fear. Butterflies will be flying out representing hope and freedom.

I welcome this process. I look forward to cutting up this mask. I’m not exactly sure how I will create it yet, but I will let creativity flow through me just like it did for the proposal. I will keep you posted as I go through the process and feel my way through it.

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Sharing some inspiration

I have a ton of things going on in my life right now and I feel like I’m running at 100 mph. When the opportunity to go to Iceland presented itself, I jumped at it. (Can you say bucket list trip)! I have never been in a place like this.

It was the perfect amount of adventure, time away, and inspiration I needed. I have a million ideas for new paintings, but wanted to share a few pictures from my trip that I found inspirational.

Plan to see new paintings soon!

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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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