Alisa Drake knows the exact day she began her career as an artist: August 24, 2018.
“My husband bought me a Dollar Store set of oil paints and a cheap canvas,” she says. “I had been hospitalized with symptoms of complex PTSD, but even after I was discharged I was still stuck in ‘fight-or-flight’ mode and couldn’t seem to settle down. He was trying to find a way to help me cope, to relax my mind.” Alisa picked up that paintbrush and painted a horizon line, with a deep blue ocean below and a sunset sky above. “It was almost like I was standing at the beach just down the trail from my home,” she says, “only I was creating the scene.”
While she was painting she experienced a rare feeling of peace and calm, something she had craved most of her life. She found that in the protection of her home, she could focus intently on her creation, while still able to be present for her husband and two young children. Capturing the mood of the ocean and sky presented a challenge that engaged her on every level. “There are absolute rules that come with this style of painting,” she explains, “but at the same time it’s very fluid and free.” It is that paradox of chaos and calm in her subject material, and the freedom that exists within the structural framework of the natural world, in which Alisa has found her passion and her strength.