I wish I could say I’ve been too busy recently to post a blog, I guess I could, but it would be a lie. I’ve been in a deep down funk. Working on keeping myself busy and pulling myself out of the hole I’m in. I’ve had other things going on, like being the event coordinator for the Silver City Studio Tour and working on my paint party class.
Recently finished, 36×36” oil on canvas, part of my Space series, untitled for now.
I’m teaching my third paint party class tonight in Silver City with plans for more in April. It’s been fun, plus it gives me something to do away from the house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home and the entire environment around my home, but I’m a social person and I need to get out and talk to people from time to time. I did get to spend a few days in Santa Fe at the beginning of March. It’s always inspirational to see the galleries and exhibits. I really needed that boost!
Detail of my current work in progress, another “Space” painting.
Since returning from Santa Fe, I’ve been spending more time in my painting studio. I recently finished the next painting in my “Space” series and started another. I’ve committed myself to building up my large painting inventory so I can approach galleries about showing my work.
I have been having a difficult time lately being positive about my art career, but I’ve also been working on being kind to myself. My most important goal is to keep making art that speaks to and from my soul.
I recently had a comment on a post of one of my paintings and after I thanked the person for their kind words, they said, “it’s not everybody who can draw the Universe”. It made my day and made me think. I guess I am painting the Universe, in a small way. The Space series is definitely my most ambitious series. I’m not attempting to paint it just like it is in photos, but how I feel it in my soul. My art has always had a much deeper meaning, even if I don’t know how to express that meaning in words.
I guess that’s why I chose painting to express myself!
The last couple of days I’ve been busy getting paperwork together for our taxes. Ugh. I wish I was done! In reality, I’ve been procrastinating book work by painting the next sample painting for my paint party class! Since my first class went so well, I’m doing it again in March. I haven’t confirmed the date yet, but it’s looking like Thursday, March 14th. I will share all the information once I confirm the date with the Brewery.
I think the most difficult part of this process is deciding what I’m going to paint! If you have any ideas, let me know! The best part of teaching this class? I get to paint something different that I may have never painted otherwise. It’s a fun break from my usual style. I may end up painting some landscapes for the fun of it too! 😜
I’m getting settled into my home studio for now. I’m in temporary space until we have time to build my home studio, probably not until this Summer. I am participating in the Silver City Studio Tour coming up the first weekend of May, so I have lots of work to prepare for that. On top of preparing my own studio I am the Event Coordinator for the Tour. I am coordinating the advertising, promotion, event reception and meetings leading up to the event. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing art community!
In a manner of speaking anyway. I really wanted to make that huge, cool commercial space work for my studio. So much so that I let it become an obsession past the point of it making any sense. Yesterday was my realization day. A building filled with smoke hit me like the sign from the Universe I believe it was meant to be. Not that a clogged stove pipe is such a tragedy, it can be cleaned. It was the meltdown that followed that made me realize I was fighting a useless uphill battle that I didn’t want to fight anymore. I have a beautiful home in the Mimbres Valley with gorgeous views and plenty of room to make and store art.
At the point where I completely lost it, my sweet husband showed up for his lunch break. He calmed me down and suggested I make a pros/cons list to help make my decision easier. I have never been good at making decisions. I’m super wishy washy when it comes to having to chose one thing over the other. Thank goodness for my sweetie who always makes sense of my chaos.
I decided first, to go home to make my list. I needed to be in a place where I could breathe. A smoky room doesn’t really fulfill that need! After making the list it was very obvious what my decision should be. Funny thing is, it was the opposite choice from what I THOUGHT I wanted, but as soon as I saw it on the page? It was like a two ton weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt some relief from the anxiety and depression I’ve been feeling for over a month now.
I have a habit of putting undue pressure on myself. I’ve always held myself to this ridiculous standard that no one could ever achieve. I’m done. Time to love myself and let myself go with the flow for a change!
As long as I can remember, I’ve had a camera for taking photos. I got my first camera when I was 8 years old. My mom graduated from college that year and she received a 35mm camera for a graduation gift. I inherited her old 110 camera. Obviously, this was back in the film only days. I took photos of my life, friends, animals, scenery.
My maternal grampy was also a photographer. He was mainly a portrait photographer, his photos were of family, but he sometimes took photos for friend’s life events as well. I always loved his portraits, in fact, I painted a portrait of myself as a 2 year old using one of his photos for reference.
In my first year of college at NMSU, I took a photography class so I could learn how to develop my own film. I had already spent time in my grampy’s dark room, but I was too young at the time to learn from him. My most vivid memory of his darkroom was the day I made the mistake of running out into his print shop and ran right into a paper cutter with my forehead. I had to be taken to the ER for a few stitches that day. I was 6.
Back to that first year of college, I had originally signed up to be an art major, but after a boring Art 101 class and a very cool photography class, I switched to Photojournalism. About midway through that year, I decided to join the Army and my goal was to become an Army photographer. Unfortunately, that job was rare and I would have had to wait years to get it. Being the impatient person I am, I ended up giving up on that goal.
While I was away at Basic Training, my husband (now ex!) decided to sell my 35mm camera given to me by my mom. He had a drug problem, he also sold my car! Needless to say, it was a while before I had a camera again. I honestly don’t remember when I finally bought my next camera, but I know it was years. I remember using those cheap disposable cameras at the time. I was heartbroken over the loss of my fancy camera, and went back to my art. A pencil and piece of paper were much cheaper.
Fast forward to now, and I still don’t have a good 35mm camera. I use my ipad to take photos, for now! My sweetie has promised to buy me a new digital camera soon. Even so, the ipad takes really good photos. I love all the functionality of it. “Live” photos, video, looping, etc.
I have recently had several people ask me about purchasing my photos. I sold my photography in my etsy shop years ago, but haven’t really thought about it again until someone asked. It doesn’t hurt that I live in this gorgeous place where it’s super easy to get a GREAT shot! Needless to say, I will start selling my photography again this year.
The plan is to release a photography portfolio of 10-20 images to start. It will be a part of my Spring 2019 Portfolio. Most will be landscape and skyscape photos, but I will most likely include my “Texture” series of abstract detail photos I released several years ago. There are two posters of images, one of “Desert Textures” and the other of “SW Forest Textures”. If you have followed me for years, you may remember them! I can envision doing more “Texture” photos in the future, they were so much fun!
Some people have commented on my photos that they would make great paintings, and though this may be true, I see my paintings and photographs as totally unrelated. I see photography as an art in itself. I used to paint landscapes and it frustrated me. Mainly because it’s impossible to improve on nature, so why try? Not that I don’t completely appreciate a gorgeous landscape painting, but it’s not for me.
This is just a small sampling of photos I intend to make available for purchase. Stay tuned for more, coming soon! You can subscribe to my blog above, or go to http://www.paulamanninglewis.com and sign up for my email list to make sure you get my updates!
I’ve been back to work in my studio for a couple of weeks now. I use the word “work” loosely here. I’ve been depressed. To the point of not being able to get myself moving. I’ve been practicing self care and trying not to beat myself up too much. I’m my own worst critic. I guess we all are. I’m really hard on myself, I always have been.
I took time off for the Holidays, like I always do. I’ve always been excited to get back to work in the studio after a good break, not so much this year. I was working on a large painting before I took time off and I’ve had a really hard time getting back into it. I LOVE this painting, I cannot wait to see it finished, but there is this nagging anxiety that I can’t finish it because I might mess it up. I will eventually get back to it, but until then….
This Monday, I decided it was time to take a break from beating myself up over this latest painting. Time to play with paint and work over an old failed painting. I really LOVE doing this! It’s so fun to destroy an old painting while at the same time, creating a new one! It is a great way to get the rust out too. I finished one Tuesday morning and started another in the afternoon.
I’ve discovered I don’t use enough blue in my paintings. Apparently, blue is a favorite color for lots of people. Not one of my favorites, but I guess I could give it equal time! If not equal, at least give it a chance every once in a while.
My personal favorite colors, for painting with anyway, are red, yellow and purple and I throw green in every once in a awhile. The best part of this exercise of playing with paint? It’s pulled me out of my depression! It’s true what they say, art saves lives. It’s saved mine more times than I can count.
I’m caught in a catch 22 at the moment. I’ve been feeling down this week, mainly because I haven’t painted in over a month. But I haven’t painted in over a month, partially because I’ve been feeling down. In reality, I stopped painting because it was the Holidays. I always take a couple of weeks off around the holidays. My husband is a teacher and he gets a Christmas break, so of course, I take time off when he gets time off. This year, I just didn’t have the motivation and excitement for getting back to work in the studio.
I believe I started feeling down a couple of days after Christmas. All three of our sons, with families, made it to our house for a couple days. Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after Christmas. It was a wonderful visit, truly one of my favorite Christmases in over a decade. Probably since my dad passed away in 2008.
I guess it was the let down after everyone went home. I was happy to have the house back to it’s quiet, peaceful place, but that empty nest feeling was there too. I miss my kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that we moved 3 1/2 hours away from the kids. I love that we have OUR time now. It’s almost like a hormonal thing that I have no control over? Maybe that’s a real thing? I don’t know, what I do know is, I’m a walking contradiction right now! lol!
While I get past it, I will be gentle with myself. If I only get in 30 minutes of painting a day for a little while, that’s ok! I’ve been working on all the mindless, mind numbing, business stuff for now. I’m also working on putting together a portfolio of my photography. I know the obsessive urge to paint will return, it always does!
I’m so happy to be back in the studio! I had a lovely Holiday break, time with family, lots of snow and thankfully, some serious peace and quiet. I’m rested and ready to get back to work.
I haven’t had the chance to paint just yet, so no progress pics to share. I figured it would be a good time to share some of my photos from the snow storm that hit just AFTER Christmas.
It was probably a good thing it snowed two days after Christmas, or our kids wouldn’t have been able to get home to Albuquerque! We were so happy to have all three of our sons, one DIL and one grandson down to visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We had a great time playing “Cards against Humanity”, Jenga and “Speak Out”, a hilarious game everyone should play at least once! I haven’t laughed that hard in years!
We had planned on hiking everyday during our vacation, but the weather had other plans. We did take a couple of hikes in the snow, but once it started to melt, the hiking trails were way too muddy! While we enjoyed hanging around the house and watching movies and reading, the dogs were less than overjoyed.
Once the roads cleared up, (the mountain pass highway from I-25 to our house was closed for days!) we made a trip to Las Cruces and then to Cloudcroft to visit more family. I’m happy to report my art will soon be showing at a new Bakery/Coffee shop/Gallery in downtown Cloudcroft, Eight the Cake.
A couple of weeks ago it snowed here in the Gila National Forest. We had to go into town that day and while I was thinking, “we should take the long way home so we can see the snow”, Aaron was saying “do you want to take the long way home so we can check out the snow?” He’s really good at reading my mind. Not always, but sometimes we are just on the same wavelength!
I can’t resist a texture photo! Plus, I like the footprint!
Rather than coming home the regular way, we headed north on hwy 15 out of Silver City. It was so beautiful! Snow everywhere! We stopped a couple of times so I could snap pics of nature covered in the cold, white powder.
Looking back at the opening to the chasm canyon
By the time we got to the split with hwy 35 and started heading south in the Mimbres valley, the snow was gone and the sun was starting to peek out of the clouds. We decided then and there to stop at the Purgatory Chasm trail head. It’s a short trail very near Lake Roberts that we had never been on. I believe it’s a 1 mile loop. It’s one of those tourist type trails, short, level and gorgeous!
I’m also a sucker for a reflection pic! 😜
About a 1/2 mile in there is a split where the loop trail begins. We picked the left fork and shortly after we came to the chasm. The rock walls seem to pop up out of nowhere and suddenly, you are in a very narrow, tall canyon. The rocks on the canyon walls form hundreds of faces! It’s almost as if you can feel the eyes of the ancient ones staring at you and hear their whispering as you walk through.
And then there was sun…
We didn’t make it all the way around the loop trail. Somehow, we lost the trail and ended up looking down at the canyon. It was getting close to sundown, so we decided to play it safe and turned around to go back the way we came in.
The sun/shadows make the rocks POP! Can you see the faces?
That was about the time the sun came out and made the rocks really POP! So, even though it LOOKS like these photos were taken on three different days, it was all on the same day. You know what they say about New Mexico weather? Wait 5 minutes, it will change! Just for fun, I’m throwing in a photo I took at Emory Pass after the most recent snow on the mountain. I love the heart in the clouds!
This is the heart in the clouds, taken from the look out at Emory pass.
It feels great to be back at the easel! This new large canvas I’m working on is exciting too! I can see it finished in my mind and it’s going to be awesome. A friend commented on a progress pic on instagram, “The eye”. I hadn’t noticed it before, but when the painting is turned sideways, there is totally an eye in there. Follow the link above to see some of my recent Instagram posts. I posted a couple of time lapse videos this morning while working on this painting. Follow me on Instagram to see all of my WIP posts!
Current work in progress, 36×36″ oil on canvas
The discovery of the hidden eye is so perfect! My spirals have always been about looking within, I guess the subliminal message is there too. I’ve always felt like my paintings came from some other place, like I am just the conduit or channel for the Universe. It makes sense that my paintings of the galaxies in space would have even more hidden meaning than what I am aware of. As the years go by, I find more hidden meaning in my work. It’s not intentional on my part, but perhaps it’s a message from the Universe?
Today I worked on the yellow section some more. I’m working from the middle out. I started to add in more blue and also put in the first layer for the bright yellow stars in the image.
I’ve said it here before, my paintings are a meditation. They are a meditation for me as I paint, but they are also meant to be a meditation for anyone viewing the finished painting. My intention is for you to go within yourself as you gaze at the painting. Think of it as a focal point for your meditation.
In this new Space series, I can feel my spirit soaring into the sky, like I’m viewing the galaxies and stars from the vantage point of the Hubble telescope. I recently saw an article about the Hubble telescope. Did you know it’s been 28 years since the Hubble was launched?! I remember it well, but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Are you as fascinated by the Hubble images as I am?
work in progress, 36 x 36″ oil painting on canvas, this is a center close up.
I haven’t painted in a couple of weeks. I took the week of Thanksgiving off from the studio, since it’s a vacation week for my husband. The beginning of this week was spent working on boring business stuff. Somebody’s gotta do it! This is a one woman operation, so I guess it’s me!
Detail of the layering
I started the current work in progress weeks ago. It’s always difficult to jump back into a painting in progress after a break. I forget where I left off, or what brush I used for a certain section. It’s mostly a mental psych out. I overthink it every time! This afternoon was the perfect time to jump in.
Progress pic during the layering process, darker blue was painted first, with light blue layered over the top
I’m working on the blue parts today. Layering with a darker blue and then a lighter blue on top. Layering gives the paint more depth and makes the blue part stand out a bit more. I’m pretty sure there will be more layers added. The blue in the original inspiration photo is very bright, it should be, there are stars in there! Not easy to recreate with paint! I’m using Cerulean Blue mixed with some Naples Yellow, but I may have to search out a brighter blue in the end. So far though? I’m liking the effect.
Another detail of layering
Tomorrow the temps are supposed to drop with a chance of rain in the forecast. Aaron and I will be working on finishing up the insulation in my studio. Hopefully, I will be able to work in the studio next week. The wood burning stove in my studio does a pretty good job of heating the building, but 1,000 square feet of space takes a while to heat! I’ve found that it heats up fine as long as the outside temps are over 50. Forecast is calling for 40s all next week, so we shall see if the insulation is doing it’s job! One of these days I will get a more reliable source of heat, but that will take more cash. Plus, we still have to insulated the ceiling, so….. Not going for sympathy here, I chose to be here. I LOVE my studio, but it sure will be nice when it’s all finished!