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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Art Exhibit going up at Bowlus Fine Arts Center

I am excited to finally announce that I have been asked to present an art exhibit at the Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.25.00 AMThomas H. Bowlus Fine Arts & Cultural Center in Iola, KS January 18 – Feb 18th, 2019. My art will be hanging in the Mary L. Martin Gallery.

There will be an artist reception January 19th. If you are in Southeast Kansas, come by and see me!

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People and their pets

This year I started teaching Paint Your Pet Portrait classes once a month. As a result, I’ve been booked for many private parties and additional classes. Pets weren’t really something I started out to paint much of. I have been painting cows and farm animals for awhile. You can see those at here.

Something has happened while teaching these pet painting classes though. They make me happy. They make me happy because I see how happy they make my students. They paint their fur babies, and walk away with pictures they love and will hang. image1

Tonight as I taught a private party, the birthday girl got a little quiet and melancholy after her picture was done. I thought the piece looked great and wanted to check in with her. The pet she had chosen to paint was of a beloved pet that had recently passed. The painting made her very happy but also reflective. It touched a place in her heart.

That meant a great deal to me. This is why I love teaching this class and doing pet portraits. I have 2 dogs and a cat. They are a huge part of my life and I understand the attachment my students have to their pets. I’m honored to be able to bring this to them.

 

 

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