Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This is Me...I Am Amazing! Stevie the Survivor

This Is Me...I Am Amazing
Nancy Daleo   Los Angeles, CA
Acrylic on Arches Archival Paper 30" x 20"

The one, the only..."Stevie The Survivor." (Stevie's facebook page)
For those of you who don't know about Stevie, he is a deformed Chihuahua rescued by The Kris Kelly Foundation. It's hard not to fall in love with Stevie. He has big, soulful eyes and a spirit of determination despite the many challenges he has faced in his life. Stevie is a hero, and all those who have contributed to his survival, rehabilitation, and happiness are as well heroes to me. Stevie inspired me to create a series called "365 Days...All Things Chi." From the sales of the paintings in this series, I donate a percentage to aid Chihuahua's like Stevie, for their treatment and care. Although I haven't painted a Chi everyday, by the end of my series I will have 365 paintings which will, when grouped,  represent the love I have for the breed. Chihuahua's have touched my heart since I first met Patrick, a two legged Chi (rescued by Noah's Bark), and one of the happiest dogs alive, and also when my first Chihuahua joined my family.
The idea for this painting came to me while taking a class at Mission Street Yoga in Pasadena, on...you guessed it...Mission Street. It's troubling to see dogs who suffer at at, but to see one that has suffered first with birth deformities, and then at the hands of people, is heartbreaking. Dogs are defenseless. To think someone abused Stevie's tiny, fragile body and left him for dead...is unimaginable to me.  I honestly don't think I could keep myself strong and able to continue to paint and talk about the Stevie's of the world if I didn't have the spiritual and physical practice of Anusara Yoga to shore me up and my wonderful friends and dogs. 

"The highest intention of practicing Anusara yoga is to align with the Divine. As we deepen our alignment with the Supreme, we step deeper into the flow of Grace."

One morning, I was taking Stephen Ewashkiw's (Stephen's fb page) Yoga Basics class and struggling with a pose. Stephen always has something interesting to say and also makes me laugh which when combined with the physical practice is truly inspiring. He said if we thought we couldn't achieve the perfect pose, to remember that whatever our poses looked like, they are perfect. And then he said to think of ourselves this way... "This Is Me. I Am Amazing." I don't know if people know how their words and actions can effect people or if Stephen knew how much that changed my thinking and actions that day. His words inspired gratitude in me for things as they are and the amazing people I'm meeting on my path. As soon as he said it, I thought of Stevie and creating this painting to Stephen's phrase, which I feel reflects Stevie's true nature. Stevie is perfect and he is amazing. 
Stevie now resides with his mom, Stefanie LaRue. If you hadn't noticed... how odd is it that the painting is of Stevie, inspired by Stephen, and Stevie's mom's name is Stepanie? I just noticed that myself... also amazing! Namaste to you all.
Stephen doing a headstand at Yosemite. 
10% of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to Stevie the Survivor