Open Studio Time!

My blog post was bumped yesterday for a Valentine’s Day trip to the Peak of the Sandia mountains. It was cold, cloudy and snowy up there, but it was beautiful! If you’ve never been to Albuquerque, the Sandias are the mountains directly to the east of the city. It takes about 30 minutes to drive up to the peak. One of the biggest reasons we love Albuquerque! Usually, you can see the city from the peak, but yesterday everything was covered with clouds.

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My Valentine! ❤

This week I’m getting ready for my monthly open studio event. Every month, I open my studio to the public, along with some of the other artists here at Chroma Studios. It’s a great time to get a behind the scenes look at the where I work and what I do everyday. You might even get a great deal on one of my paintings! I have prints available too.

Looking into my studio from the Reception area

The address is 1606 Central Ave SE, ste. 201, Albuquerque, NM. We occupy the whole upstairs of the building. It’s a really cool space with the high windows in the front. I have recently moved back into studio #1, the room I started in 9 years ago when we first opened Chroma Studios. It truly is the prime studio space. I sometimes feel guilty about taking it back, but I think after 8 years, it’s my turn again! 😉

Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk

Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk

The high windows are on either side of my studio, with one looking out onto Central Ave. and the other one looking into the reception area.

My studio windows

My studio windows

Just a little tease of the artwork I have available for sale! Come by the Open Studios this Saturday to see more! See you there! 🙂

The reception area outside my studio

The reception area outside my studio

 

 

The Down Side

"In Anticipation of Spring", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, available for $215

“In Anticipation of Spring”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, available for $215. Completed last week!

I never got around to posting my second blog last week. Turns out I have an eye infection that has now spread to both eyes. Other than our show on Friday night, I’ve been at home in bed, resting. What a weekend it was! We had a GREAT Sunlight show on Friday night in Rio Rancho! Lots of email addresses collected, lots of compliments, lots of friends showed up, lots of tips and happy listeners and then the down side.

An email on Monday morning telling us we had significant complaints from regular customers. We never received a straight answer on what the complaints were, just something about the “type of music” expected being something other than what we played. Too many original songs? They didn’t like that one folk song we altered to include our LGBT friends? They didn’t like the song “Wonder” about Democrats and the GOP finding peace?

We may never know exactly. That is the life of an artist. If you don’t have a very thick skin, you may as well pack up and go home now. I must admit, it gets hard to keep on going when a “GREAT” show gets you fired from a regular paying gig.

I’m taken back to the Four Agreements, 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, 4) Always do your best. 1) We kept our word and played 3 hours of music and acted professionally, 2) I can’t take it personally that a couple of their regulars didn’t like our song selection, 3) I shouldn’t assume anything without having all the information, ie actual complaints made, 4) I KNOW we did our best and played our hearts out! Lesson learned; always listen to your gut! We had once decided we wouldn’t play late night gigs in bars. Not doing that again.

Hoping my eyes will heal soon so I can paint! It is getting better, slowly but surely, but still sensitive to light and hard to focus on anything without tears.  So much gratitude for my eyesight, you never really miss something until it’s not working right. Sickness is nothing but a reminder to be grateful for all the blessings in life.

Back to Painting

12 x 12" oil painting in progress

12 x 12″ oil painting in progress, still a lot of detail to finish

Working on a new painting this week. Started it last week but haven’t had time for a blog yet! I’ve been helping out a little here and there with the new grand baby, family has always been most important to me! I’m always happy to get back to the studio though. 🙂 I’ve been filming a time lapse of this painting in progress, you can see sections of the video on my Instagram.

I’ve been thinking about painting large again, only REALLY large, like wall/mural size. Signs seem to keep pointing me in that direction anyway. I was recently sent a link for a local public art project. The project is a huge mural wall and while I would love to submit for the job, I don’t have the portfolio of work to show to get a job like that. It came to me during my morning meditation that I should look for some mural jobs I could do to add to my portfolio. I did a mural years ago at a local church, not exactly what I would usually  paint, but it was good experience and taught me a lot about painting on walls outside!

What I’ve decided to do is offer to paint a mural for anyone locally who has a wall they want painted. For the cost of materials only. I will not charge labor for the first couple I do. I already have one possibly lined up, so I’m looking for one more wall in need of a mural. Please get in touch with me if you are interested. You can email me at plewis11@comcast.net, or send me a facebook message on my facebook art page.

Pile O’ Paintings

Canvas ready to paint!

Canvas ready to paint!

I’m ready to get some painting done! I have one painting started and 3 more black gesso canvases ready to start. It’s always a bit exciting and a bit intimidating to have a bunch of fresh canvas to paint on. I know these will be a continuation of my painting video series. Each painting is made to go along with a song from our Sunlight CD, “Life is Good”. They will be more of the time lapse painting videos. Stay tuned for updates, I’m hoping to get started either today or Thursday.

Today, I’ve been busy getting my new paintings posted on Etsy and here on the website. Check out ‘Canvas Paintings’ in the Portfolio menu above. (Or click the link) The page has now been completely updated. This is my 2017 portfolio! I’m excited because it’s been a while since I’ve had my paintings page up to date! There are 4 that were worked on and added to a bit more. I’m really happy with how much more ‘finished’ they are now. I still have one other painting to finish up. Hoping to get to that sometime soon too.

Shambala, the painting above, was one that I painted last year? I think it was 2016! The original painting on this canvas was painted in 2003. It never sold so I decided to paint over it. Rather than painting over the entire thing, I left traces of the old painting there, peeking through. The four yellow strips coming out from the mandala are the windows to the older painting. All I added was the yellow wash over the old marks. This was symbolic to me because the new painting has risen from the ashes of the old. Bringing two time periods of my art together in one painting. The older painting was not centered but the new painting is more like a true mandala. Centered and symmetrical. It relates to my personal life because I do feel more centered in my life now than I did in 2003. My style has emerged now, while in 2003 I was still searching for a style all my own. I like painting over older works because I feel more environmentally responsible. Recycling is very important to me. Why not paint over something that is no longer relevant?

 

A New Baby in the Family!

Baby Ben

Baby Ben ❤

Back in my studio today for the first time since Tuesday. I got the call in the afternoon. My middle son called to let me know they were going to induce my DIL soon. They had enough time to run home, pick up their bags and get back to the hospital. After MANY (about 18 total) hours, my first grandson was born at 1:22pm on Wednesday, January 18th, weighing 6 lbs 7.7 oz and measuring 19.5″.

Me with my son and grandson

Me with my son and grandson ❤

Mama, baby and daddy are all healthy and happy, if not completely exhausted! They came home from the hospital yesterday evening. It’s been all I can do to restrain myself and let them have their rest. My son and his girlfriend moved in with us in December so we could help each other out. My biggest worry has been that I don’t want to be a pain in the you know what about being grandma and in the same house!

Three of my sweetie pies! Hubby, son and grandson!

Three of my sweetie pies! Hubby, son and grandson!

I could see from their faces when they came home yesterday evening, they were so tired. I did get to hold the sweetie pie this morning, so my day has already been perfect. He is the most beautiful, peaceful, sweet little munchkin! My little Benny Bean! I’ve always known it would be awesome to be a grandma, but there is so much more to it! It’s completely indescribable. I feel like my heart could explode with all the love! I so look forward to seeing this little guy grow up. I think I must have been in shock for the first couple of days, I haven’t cried until this moment right now, loading photos of the newest member of the family. It’s such an amazing moment in my life and the lives of my family. I’m beyond grateful. ❤

Procrastination, my biggest fear

Work in progress, started this morning, 12x12" oil on canvas

Work in progress, started this morning, 12×12″ oil on canvas

I have always been a procrastinator. I’ve always blamed perfectionism. In truth, it’s fear. Fear of failure? Fear of success? I wish I knew, probably a bit of both. I have overcome a lot of fear in the 26 years I’ve been working as an artist. It’s still there. Clinging on for dear life. I’m aware of it, it’s always been there. Mocking me, telling me I’m not good enough to overcome it. Some days, I feel really brave. It’s easy to feel brave sitting here in my studio. I have WORK to do! I NEED to paint, right? I NEED to write another blog post, right? I NEED to work on updating my Etsy shop or my website, right? Of course I do, but I use these excuses as reasons not to get out in the world and share my art. I use these excuses to save myself from rejection. Nobody likes rejection. It’s not easy to hear NO when you are putting your heart and soul out there.

That all said, I have come to the point in my life where I have to either overcome my fear or give up trying. I’m starting to see why there are fewer and fewer artist peers as I get older. It’s not easy to keep getting back up after a rejection or a perceived failure. Truth is, it’s the ONLY way to succeed. Keep getting back up, dusting myself off and try again, and again. I have to talk myself into it some days. Today has been one of those days. I came into the studio this morning excited and ready to GO! As the day wears on, the energy wanes. I have a whole list of excuses by now. I have so many other things I COULD be doing right now.

I once read a book called “Art and Fear”. I highly recommend it. In fact, I think it’s time for a re-read. Time to get motivated and get out there!

Work in Progress

"Go with the Flow", work in progress, 16x16" oil on canvas

“Go with the Flow”, work in progress, 16×16″ oil on canvas

More work on finishing up a painting I THOUGHT was done. I’m actually really glad I decided to put a little more work into it. Still have some work to do on this one, but it’s close. When I first started painting in my spiral abstract style (2002), I made the backgrounds VERY detailed with lots of little circles, spirals, lines and shapes. Somewhere along the way I strayed away from all the detail, mainly because it is VERY time consuming. Sometimes, time is needed! This painting has changed completely. I am so grateful for the honest critique I recently received. It was a huge turning point for my art. Watch out world, here I come!

Haha. I wish I was THAT confident! I am working on it anyway. Seriously though, after 26 years of making and selling my art, I think I’m getting SO close to my own unique style, now a finished style. For someone with zero patience, this is a great moment! It seems like I’ve been floundering around for so long. It feels good to have the feeling of accomplishing what I set out to do so many years ago. I can remember being afraid to even TRY painting. I started with a pencil and a brush was incredibly intimidating. If only I could go back in time and tell my younger self “it’s all about the journey, don’t be in such a rush! Contentment will eventually come if you keep working at it”. I can’t do that, obviously, so if you are a young artist reading this, listen. I’m talking to you! 😉

I am no where near perfect! What would be the fun of coming to my studio everyday? It is true what they say about it taking 10,000 hours to master any skill. It feels like I finally crested the ridge of a huge mountain and 10,000 hours is right ahead of me at the bottom of the hill. Downhill from here folks! Funny thing is, I know way better than that! This feeling will pass like everything else. Good, bad, indifferent, everything passes. Meanwhile, I will enjoy the feeling while it lasts.