Category Archives: 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 is almost behind us! It’s been a wonderful year and I hope everyone has an even better year in 2013! Lots of exciting stuff coming up for me and my sweetie in the coming months. I promise to get back to blogging more regularly in the coming weeks. More music, art, love and joy coming soon! Until then, enjoy your family and friends and never take anything or anyone for granted. Be grateful for all the blessings and learn from the bad which is really just lessons/blessings in disguise! I am so very grateful for the good, the bad and everything in between. Nothing more exciting than a New Year ahead, a fresh slate to start over at the beginning! Happy New Year everyone!

The End Draws Near….

The end of the year that is! What? Did you think this post was going to be all about the end of the world? LOL. Honestly, I don’t believe all that mumbo jumbo about the end of the Mayan calendar being the end of the world! I DO however believe there is a shift coming, a shift in consciousness, a shift in the way people act, feel and think. I can feel it coming, the “Age of Aquarius”. It’s not something that will come on a specific DAY, it has been slowly coming over decades and will continue to slowly shift over the coming decades. Who REALLY knows the future anyway? Not I! I won’t claim any special knowledge, all I can really say is that I FEEL it. I FEEL the love growing, I FEEL the change in the air!

As far as my personal and professional life goes, there is a LOT of change coming. I have already experienced TONS of change in this past year and it will continue into 2013. I haven’t figured it all out just yet, but I promise to keep you all informed. I do have to apologize for the LONG gap in between posts this last month or so. Honestly, I cannot even remember the last time I wrote a blog post. It’s been way TOO LONG!

December is a crazy month for us this year. On top of Christmas and all the usual busyness that comes with the holidays, our oldest son is getting married on December 29th! We have agreed to help with a few things, which translates to, I am baking the wedding cake/s! Plus, we have some shopping to do for the groom and his best men (his two younger brothers) for the clothes they will be wearing for the wedding.

This week is busy because my husband and I are working on recording a Christmas song, “Silent Night”, to release in time for this Christmas. Our folk group, New Mexico Sunshine, is getting ready to play a show at our local main library for their “lunchtime at the library” series on 12/12/12 at 12:00 noon.

Also, I am offering 25% off ALL purchases in my Etsy shop until This Friday, Nov. 30th. Just enter the coupon code: cybermonday when you check out.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a crazy busy month! I hope to get back to some semblance of a normal routine after the New Year. If I don’t get back here before that, may you all have a Happy Holidays (no matter what holiday you celebrate) and a very happy New Year!

Living My Life Backwards

Aaron and Paula hiking in the Cibola forest

My husband Aaron and I during our most recent hike in the Cibola National forest, NM

I have always done things backwards. When I was 16 I gave birth to my first son, THEN I got married when he was 4 months old. Divorced by age 25, I found the love of my life when I was 26. Graduated college at the age of 30. Raised all three of my sons by the age of 42. Now at almost 43, I’m living the life of a 20 something! Playing music and making art, no worries in the world. Traveling, taking risks, life is good.

I have often heard people say “youth is wasted on the young”. I agree! When I was in my 20s I was so serious about everything. There was no time for fun and games! Now that I’m in my 40s, my body doesn’t always agree with the active life I lead. If only I could have appreciated my young body instead of being so self condemning. Looking back it’s always easy to see your mistakes and misperceptions. Do you think that will stop me? Heck NO!

A few years ago at one of my art shows, I met an 80 something woman who was such an inspiration. She told me how her “kids” were disgusted with her for acting like she was in her 20s. She was enjoying her golden years, taking trips around the world by herself, but her kids were worried for her safety. I mentioned something about “growing old gracefully” and she corrected me by saying, “I have no intention of growing old gracefully, my goal is to grow young disgracefully”.

Her statement has stuck with me all these years. That is exactly my intention! I plan on using up this body completely, and enjoying every minute of it! I have had many senior citizen friends throughout my life. I LOVE old people! They aren’t afraid of what other people think about them. They do what they want, when they want, and how they want. They have so many great stories to tell. The healthy ones stay active, live life to it’s fullest! It’s the key to a long, happy life, staying active.

My dad never made it to his senior years, he died the day before his 65th birthday. I plan to live way past that, but you never really know when it will be your time to go! My dad was another role model for this way of life. To celebrate his 50th birthday, he went skydiving! Not long after that, he cashed in his retirement fund, bought an RV and traveled around the country for 2 years until the money ran out. Looking back, I’m so happy he did that! He eventually went back to teaching, but he never got to enjoy his actual retirement because he died 2 months before he was set to retire.

view from the top, aspens changing color

View from the top of the mountain, looking across to the opposite peak where the Aspens are changing colors

That’s why my husband and I are working on a plan to put our belongings into storage, buy an RV, and travel around the country, playing music and selling art as we go. We may even backpack across Europe, after we hike the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles long!) LIVING LIFE TO IT’S FULLEST! EVERYDAY! THAT is what life is all about. Stepping out of the comfort zone of a boring, everyday life and doing the things you have always dreamed of doing. NOW, before it’s too late. Life is too short to spend it saying “someday”. NOW is the only time you ever really have.

This Week’s Art Auction

This week’s art auction, another original painting from my daily journal series. Starting bid $20. Another favorite of mine!

photo of Love flowing towards a dream original oil painting

“Love Flowing Towards a Dream”, 8 x 8″ oil on canvas board, starting bid $20

Latest Art Auction

I have changed my art auctions from a weekly event to sporadic. My schedule is pretty wacky these days with the music projects I’m working on, but I don’t want to neglect my art side, so here it is, my latest art auction. This is one of my favorite recent paintings, actually, I guess it’s not super recent, it was painted in 2011. “No Stopping a Love rEVOLution” is all about changing the world with, you guessed it, LOVE! The auction lasts a week and the starting bid is $20. Happy bidding!

oil painting, no stopping a love revolution

“No Stopping a Love rEVOLution”, 8 x 8″ oil on canvas board, starting bid $20

Back to Art

All about love poster image

“All About Love Series” giclee poster/print, 13 x 14″, available for $50

I decided after a long weekend drive to Arkansas and back (to pick up our middle son and bring him home), that it is TIME to get back to work on my art! Today, I am working on getting my latest line of prints organized. I have chosen 50 of my images, some old, some new and my plan is to get these prints out into the world. Galleries, gift shops, online shops, wherever I can. Today’s photo is of my latest poster print, a collage of my latest series, “All About Love”. All 9 images from the series are now included in one giclee poster/print. The printed size is 13 x 14″ and it is available for $50 which includes shipping. It will eventually be listed in my Etsy shop, but you can also order it directly from me by sending an email with your request to plewis11@comcast.net.

I hope you are having a lovely day! Here in Albuquerque, it’s been rainy, cloudy and COOL! YAY Autumn! My second favorite season. 🙂

Sunshine on the Ridge

Here it is! Aaron and I recorded a video of one of our original songs last night. We are currently working on five original songs and having SUCH a good time! I hope you enjoy the song as much as we do!

The Icebreaker

I recently joined Toastmasters to practice my speaking skills. I have a goal of becoming a public speaker and figured this was a good place to start! This is the first speech, the Icebreaker, which is all about me. This speech is called “My Story”. I flubbed a few words here and there, but did a decent job overall. I’m amazed by how different my perception of how I did during the speech compares with the actual outcome once I sat and watched the video. I was SO nervous and shaky inside, but luckily, it didn’t show as much on the outside!

Jumping OUT of my Comfort Zone

Paula Manning-Lewis and Aaron Lewis playing at Uno's in Las Cruces

Me and Aaron playing our set at our first gig

I apologize for the long gap in between posts. I had planned on coming back from our trip and first GIG with photos and possibly videos to post. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and so I only have the one blurry photo taken by a friend on his phone!

The gig went VERY WELL! I was a bit nervous and it was my first time singing with a mic, but after a couple of songs it was so much FUN! Many of my Las Cruces friends showed up, so it was nice to feel completely supported. I received lots of great feedback and compliments. I am READY to get this show on the road!

We spent two nights while we were there recording a couple of demo songs in my brother’s studio. I’m hoping to be able to share them here very soon! Travis is still working on mixing and mastering them. We recorded “Sundown” (Gordon Lightfoot) and “Greenback Dollar” (Kingston Trio). Stay tuned as I will release links to these recordings VERY soon! I almost forgot, we came up with a name for our trio! We are now officially the “TAP Folk Trio” TAP is the acronym for our names, Travis, Aaron and Paula!

Now, back to my visual art! I have made a decision to focus more on the music side for now. However, that said, I am NOT going to give up my art completely! I am going to work on getting my prints back in the swing of things. I have neglected my print line for years, though I have still made them available, mostly online. My new goal is to put together a line of prints using images I already have. Concentrating mainly on originals the last few years has taken a LOT of time! While I will still occasionally paint and have originals available, including all the paintings I currently have in stock, I will put most of my work into getting my prints out there. I have long needed to get my work out in the “REAL” world of shops and shows, not just here on the internet. I will, of course, still have my work available online. Now I will work on getting it OUT THERE as well. I have already decided what my next print will be! I am creating a small poster using the “All About Love” series. I will post a photo of it once it’s done. Stay tuned…..

Dreams, Revisited

Since I was sixteen, my mantra has been “no regrets”. In other words, when I near the end of my life I want to be able to say that I have no regrets for the way I lived. When I was 16 a friend of mine died in a mountain climbing accident. At the time I had recently given birth to my first son. I was still in high school. That was my first wake up call. Life is short! I HAD to live it to it’s fullest! What if I died tomorrow?

I had a few years of floundering around, married the father of my son, joined the military, had a couple more sons, and started my first art business. Not long after my divorce from the father of my sons, I discovered that I was in love with my best friend. We moved in together and married 1 1/2 years later. We had a lovely little family, my new husband was content to help me raise my boys since I could no longer have babies. Basically, I have lived and continue to live my happily ever after. Fast forward 15 years, my youngest son has moved out of the house and we now have an EMPTY nest! When I was young I sacrificed some of my dreams in order to be the best mom I could be. Always with the thought that we would have an empty nest around the time I was 42, leaving plenty of life left to live out those long forgotten dreams.

For a few months, I have floundered around, yet again. Wondering what was next? I still love being an artist and have many plans and goals yet to achieve. Regrets? I still have none. My life isn’t over YET, after all. I’ve been revisiting some of the dreams I had way back when I was fifteen years old, before I became a young mother. One of them was to be a singer/performer/actress. It just so happens that I am married to not only my best friend, but a highly talented musician. We had tried to work together on a music project back at the beginning of our relationship. Before my husband earned his bachelors of music, before he had the patience and knowledge to help me find my voice. We had one gig back then. I SUCKED! I was so nervous, my voice never really came out, it just wavered and trembled and I was so embarrassed that I gave up on the dream. I went back to my art, my comfort zone.

Back to the future and 2008. April 2008 to be exact. My dad passed away unexpectedly and my brother (who is also a professional musician), husband and I decided we would play a couple of my dad’s favorite songs at his memorial services. The idea was reborn then. A folk trio playing all the old folk music my brother and I grew up listening to in my dad’s record room. Yes, my dad had a record ROOM. He had a record collection of over 40,000 records(which I now have). Yet another reason why my brother and I always loved music. We used to sing songs together as kids and even made it on the radio once! On our dad’s Oldies radio show. 🙂

When dad died, it seemed perfect that we would put together an act in remembrance of him. So, for the last 4 1/2 years we’ve done nothing but talk about it. We always sing songs around the campfire when we take our yearly “memorial dad” camping trip.

This year, finally, now that we have so much extra time on our hands, Aaron and I started practicing folk songs together. We told my brother about it and now we are working on putting our folk trio together. We spent 4 evenings in July practicing before, during and after our yearly camping trip. We have practiced since then separately, and together (via recordings and email).

This Thursday is the moment we’ve been practicing for! It’s our first gig! We live 3 hours away from my brother, but we will be driving down to play and also, spend some time in his recording studio making demos of the music we have down so far. If you happen to be in or around Las Cruces, NM this Thursday, stop by Uno’s between 6:30 – 9:30pm and have a listen! I promise my confidence in my singing has improved. I am SURE it will be a good show this time around! I promise to share some photos and possibly video when I get home! 🙂