Category Archives: art story

Birth Month

“Intense Energy”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, part of my 2018 Fall portfolio, release date October 25th

October is the month of my birth. Last year I started celebrating the entire month, because, why not?! This birthday is the turning of the calendar to the last year of my 40s!!!!! I’m not ashamed to share my age, I’m proud to be where I am now. There were times in my life where I didn’t think I would make it this far. Just a couple of days ago my husband and I lost yet another friend barely 50. It makes me sad to think of friends who will never be 50. I’ve lost quite a few over the years. It never gets easier. I’m going to do what I can to honor those lives lost by living the rest of my life to it’s absolute fullest! I’m going to proudly share my real age. Why not? I’ve learned so much in my 49 years. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I also wouldn’t want to relive most of it. I’m grateful for it all. It made me the person I am today.

“Feminine Energy”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, original SOLD! Prints will be part of 2018 Fall portfolio

Aaron and I took the day off on Monday, after hearing about the passing of our friend, and took the truck out 4 wheeling and then went on a hike. It hit us both pretty hard. Needless to say, I’m a bit behind on my work this week, but who cares! Life is more important sometimes.

Friday I am taking a couple of paintings to Silver City for the Silver City Art Association’s Indy Artist show. The show runs Oct 6th-8th. I wish I could say I will be there with my art, but I’m leaving on Saturday to go to Denver, CO for an Artist mastermind conference. I’m really excited about it! I’ve wanted to take a workshop with Alyson Stanfield for about a decade. I finally decided this was the year. No more putting things off for this or that reason. No more excuses!

“Balanced”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, part of my 2018 Fall portfolio, release date Oct. 25th

I’ve finished all 23 paintings I was working on! Hoping to have them up on the website by October 25th(my birthday). I am giving one of these paintings away to one of my email subscribers on the 25th! I still haven’t decided which one. To enter, go to MY WEBSITE, sign up on my email list when the box pops up, and wait for the email announcing the winner! It’s that easy.

I will be out of the studio all next week, so I most likely won’t post a blog. I will be back to the blog the week of the 15th. Stay tuned!

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Seven to go!

Finished yesterday, 12x12" oil on canvas, still untitled.

Finished yesterday, 12×12″ oil on canvas, still untitled.

I’ve been busy, busy, busy in the studio this week already! I’ve finished a couple more 12×12″ paintings and I’m currently working on another. That leaves 7 more to finish up from this Summer.

In the past, I’ve released paintings as soon as I finish them. This year that changes. From now on I will release my new work when I have a group of paintings done. They will be released as a collection. The next release will be my Fall 2018 Collection. I’m working towards an October release date, but I have to finish up the last 7 first! I’m not sure how many collection releases I will do in a year, I’m thinking a collection for every season, but it will depend on what I get painted!

Finished and untitled, 12x12

Finished and untitled, 12×12″ oil painting on canvas.

When I do release the new works, they will be released to my email list first. This gives my collectors and people who follow me the first chance to buy my new work. Then I will release them to the general public on my website. Go to my website and subscribe to be one of the first to get a chance to buy my new paintings!

My current work in progress, another 12x12

My current work in progress, another 12×12″ oil on canvas.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a “Hiking the Gila” blog. We have been pretty busy, and though we have gone on a couple of hikes, I have either forgotten the camera, or we’ve hiked a trail I already blogged about. This Thursday I’m planning on another hiking blog. Stay tuned!

Finishing up

photo of Wild Heart oil on canvas

“Wild Heart”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, available soon with my Fall 2018 collection

Though I am really anxious to start working on some large paintings now that I have all this space, I have a bunch of small works in progress I need to finish up first. Nine to be exact! Ten if you include the one I finished this morning. “Wild Heart” is a continuation of the brushstroke/energy idea I wrote about in my last blog. I’m focusing on each brushstroke and making them individuals. Emphasizing each color without blending them into each other.

Detail from Wild Heart in progress

Detail from Wild Heart in progress

This whole group of paintings started this Summer as play. I hadn’t relocated my muse at that point and I had no ideas. Funny thing is, play like this is where the ideas come from!

Brushstroke detail from Wild Heart

Brushstroke detail from Wild Heart

I’m thinking I’ve totally transitioned now, to using black gesso on the canvas before I start to paint. I’m in love with the way the black background makes the color pop! Even when all of the black ends up covered, the color seems brighter. I guess it’s the contrast, it doesn’t seem right that a darker background would make the foreground brighter, but there it is!

20x20" work in progress, this one is getting really close!

20×20″ work in progress, this one is getting really close!

My Summer Studio Clearance sale is almost over! But wait! I’ve decided to extend it until Monday! Head over to MY WEBSITE and check out the 40 select paintings at 30% off! AND you can get an extra 20% off coupon code when you sign up for my email list! What are you waiting for? Get over there, sign up for my email list and start/add to your Paula Manning-Lewis collection TODAY, OR any day before Monday is over! Thank you for your support! I love y’all! ❤

Current 12x12" work in progress, detail

Current 12×12″ work in progress, detail

Progress This Week…

I’m enjoying my new studio and getting back to a regular painting routine. I’ve been working on a couple of 20×20″ oil paintings over the last few weeks and I do believe they are finished! For sure one of them, not completely sure on the second. lol.

“Emanate”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, available soon!

The first one finished is the second painting started. While painting the first I had an idea I wanted to try out, just not on that painting. So I started another! This is the third painting where I’ve used this idea. The idea is many streams/brushstrokes/waves of color coming out from the middle of the painting. The idea behind it is energy. The idea that energy emanates from the core of a person, from our heart center. It’s not necessarily a scientific idea, more of a spiritual thought.

I hate trying to describe my ideas with words, but I’m pushing myself to get better at doing just that. Most of my ideas come straight out of my wondering brain. Some days from meditation, some days they just pop up while I’m “in the zone” and painting.

20x20" oil on canvas, still in progress?

20×20″ oil on canvas, still in progress?

Pushing myself to paint in a more abstract style makes it even more difficult to describe with words. I don’t really think Abstract work should be explained. It should evoke different feelings in different viewers. IMHO anyway. As a viewer of art, do you CARE what the artist was thinking or what their ideas were? I’m serious, these are things I wonder about! I would love to hear your opinion!

This week is my annual Summer Studio Clearance Sale. I have 40 original paintings available at 30% off. The discount has already been taken on my website. You can get another 20% off if you sign up for my email list on my website.

My Latest Studio

What I'm currently working on, 20x20

What I’m currently working on, 20×20″ abstract oil painting in progress

Friday afternoon I signed the lease for my new art studio. After 5 months of working in my home studio, there is no doubt in my mind. I need a studio outside of the house! While I LOVE our new house, I’m going stir crazy being in the house all the time. Not only that, but it’s very hard to separate work time from off time.

All that said, I’ve not had an easy time finding a studio in our new location. I wanted a studio in downtown Silver City, but it wasn’t meant to be. Recently, I dropped Aaron off at Central Elementary in Santa Clara where he teaches. As I was driving back out to the highway, I noticed a commercial building for rent on the main street. As a matter of fact, it is on the corner of the two main roads into Santa Clara. The sign said For Rent with a possibility of buying with a small down payment.

My new studio, the whole building is all mine!

My new studio, the whole building is all mine!

Of course, I took down the number and figured I would call later. I thought about it for a week or so. Aaron and I talked about it. I really wasn’t thrilled about taking a studio outside of Silver City, but Santa Clara is closer to Mimbres and it is also closer to the schools where Aaron teaches.

I finally decided to call on the building last week and we met the owner on Thursday so we could see the inside of the building. The outside of the building has been renovated. Fortunately for me, the inside is still unfinished. I say fortunately, because that is the fact that makes the rent affordable! I have agreed to do the finish work on the inside in return for cheap rent. The other benefit being any money we put into finishing the inside will be applied to our down payment when/if we decide to buy the building. I’m pretty sure we will purchase it. I would love to stay here forever. I’ve moved my studio over 20 times in 20+ years. I’m ready to stay somewhere.

Looking in from the front door

Looking in from the front door

The inside is HUGE! The one main room has 10 foot ceilings and measures 24 x 28 feet. I can paint BIG here! The framing, electrical and plumbing work has been done inside with a small bathroom, office and two storage rooms. Basically, I have to do the insulation, dry wall, flooring and install bathroom fixtures. There are also a couple of windows needed.

One of my favorite things about this building is all the empty wall space on the outside. I will definitely paint several murals in the future. I’ve now reconciled the fact that my studio will be outside of Silver City. I once promised myself I would never have a retail gallery again. This location makes that promise much easier to keep! lol! I do plan to participate in the local open studio tour and we will probably have an event or two a year, but this space will mainly be a working art studio. And storage! Lots and lots of storage!

Looking out the front door from the back

Looking out the front door from the back

I need to go order some LARGE canvases now! Stay tuned… 🙂

Swimming in Abstract Ideas

“Heart on Fire”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, work in progress that may or may not be finished.

Moving to the mountains has changed everything. My frame of mind being the biggest change, which in turn changes everything around me. The quiet is the most powerful change. At first it was wonderful, then I found I could hear my ears ringing, then it was wonderful again. Every time we visit Albuquerque, about once a month, I am reminded of this difference between the city and the country. You get used to it. Even quiet isn’t totally quiet. We still have neighbors who use their saw or lawnmowers at 7am. They are just farther away. Spend a couple of nights in the city and the peaceful quiet returns.

“Be the Light”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, finished yesterday.

My art is changing. It’s a natural progression. Nothing is static, especially art. Now that I spend my days feeling more centered and grounded than ever before in my life, I don’t need my art to center and ground me. The mandala art served that purpose.

"The Eye Sees", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, work in progress

“The Eye Sees”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, work in progress

I’m still figuring out exactly what the change looks like. I’m playing, searching, experimenting. I’ve always wanted my art to be more abstract, less representational. That is the direction I FEEL I’m headed, but then I find myself out on a hike and daydreaming of painting a landscape.

"In the Valley", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, work in progress

“In the Valley”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, work in progress

Some of the abstracts I’ve been playing with feel like landscapes. Maybe the new direction is abstract landscapes? I’m going to go with the flow and see where it takes me. After almost 30 years as an artist, I’ve learned this is the best way to move forward. Art isn’t something I do consciously. Art does me. lol. You know what I mean? Art comes THROUGH me, from some higher place. My job is to get out of the way and let it flow.

Untitled abstract work in progress

Untitled abstract work in progress

People who inspire me: Alison Reynolds

"I Don't Speak Your Name", work in progress, 12x12" oil on canvas

“I Don’t Speak Your Name”, work in progress, 12×12″ oil on canvas

This past Saturday we went into Silver City to catch some live music. A friend of ours from Las Cruces, Alison Reynolds, was playing at the Little Toad Brewery in downtown. I’ve always loved her music, but this time we finally picked up her CDs too. She does a great live act with a loop pedal to bring in all the different parts of her songs. She plays the cello and the guitar. Yesterday, I finally got the chance to listen to her latest CD, In Times Like These, and I was blown away.

More progress on "I Don't Speak Your Name", still a work in progress

More progress on “I Don’t Speak Your Name”, still a work in progress

Every song on the album is really good, but the first song stuck in my head all day long. 3 Monkeys is about not hearing, seeing or speaking the name of a certain someone who “runs” our country. It’s a song about letting love rule. I refuse to say his name as well and the song seriously reverberated with my heart and soul. The cello is mesmerizing! The lyrics are meaningful and the tune just sticks in the head.

Untitled abstract painting in progress, this is one of the new abstracts I've been working on

Untitled abstract painting in progress, this is one of the new abstracts I’ve been working on

I’ve been working/playing on moving more towards an abstract style with my art. My life has changed so profoundly since we moved to the mountains, it’s been a dream forever! Somehow, it feels like my art is ready for a change as well. I’d been having problems finding inspiration for my latest work and have been “playing” just to get the creative juices flowing.

Another abstract work in progress, this was the first one I did

Another abstract work in progress, this was the first one I did

Sometimes inspiration hits while I’m painting, but other times, a song, a movie, a book, or a news story will trigger my muse. This time it was Alison’s song. I asked her if I could use her song for my latest time-lapse painting and I’m so happy she said yes!

Painted over an unfinished painting for this abstract painting in progress

Painted over an unfinished painting for this abstract painting in progress

This abstract is pure expressionism. While I’m painting, I have Alison’s song on repeat and the brush strokes are moving with the rhythm of the music. I really have no idea what I’m doing, this is new to me, but I sure am enjoying it! It feels great to go with the flow! I hope you will enjoy it too!

Abstract work in progress

Abstract work in progress