Category Archives: art story

Self Portrait for Veterans Day

Work in progress, self portrait painting for November Veteran's day show, 20 x 20

Work in progress, self portrait painting for November Veteran’s day show, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas

Last week I posted about my latest inspiration in this post. I worked on a couple of self portrait sketches last week and decided that I would, in fact, change the painting I’m working on for the Veteran’s Day show, into a self portrait. My second sketch came out much more satisfactory than the first.

Second self portrait sketch, good to go!

Second self portrait sketch, good to go!

It has literally been over a decade since I painted a portrait in oils or drawn in pencil for that matter. I stopped because painting portrait commissions was very stressful. Getting a likeness is one thing, but it’s impossible to make a portrait that matches what someone “thinks” they look like. Though I stopped taking portrait commissions, I have always enjoyed painting portraits. Self portraits are not as stressful for obvious reasons. I KNOW what I look like and what I “think” I look like, and there is absolutely no pressure there.

Today, I blocked out the silhouette in the foreground of my latest spiral abstract painting. The background will continue on as intended. The idea behind this self portrait is specifically about my time as a soldier in the US Army and how it changed my perception from childhood to adulthood. My once eager, patriotic mind was twisted and turned more cynical once my time was served. I became an advocate for peace and love, after being sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier and after seeing families torn apart because of war. I became even more peace minded after seeing my son’s generation of soldiers come home in pieces, physically and mentally, after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The spirals of red, blue and yellow surrounded by stars and eventually, stripes, is a representation of the flag after the twisting and turning. I use yellow instead of white to represent the staining of young hearts, forever changed by war. These torn souls will never know the innocence of childhood again. It’s not my usual happy go lucky inspiration, but it’s real. It’s my truth.

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Did you say Self-Portrait?

Yes I did. I had a very creative outburst on Saturday night. Stayed up until 3 am to write and work on my “Paula Beck Story” art book. I tried to sleep but my muse wasn’t having it. At first it was one little idea, so I got out my small bedside notebook and started writing. After 3-4 pages I realized I needed to get to the computer so I could type. The words were coming faster than I could write them long hand with a pen and paper.

One of my flashes of inspiration came as the idea to do a self portrait in pencil as a special edition print to go with my art book. That turned into a self portrait in oils of me as a young Private in the Army, in front of one of my spiral paintings. In particular, the red, yellow and blue painting I’m working on for the Face-Palm Patriots show in November. It could turn into a series, who knows?

first pencil sketch

self portrait, pencil sketch

I started practicing a little portrait sketching today. It’s been over a decade since I’ve drawn or painted a portrait. I used to paint portrait commissions for a living. Painting someone else for a commission is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done as an artist. I had to stop.

Self-portraits on the other hand. Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. Need I say more? I think I may be starting my Frida phase as an artist. Only time will tell. I’m kinda into this idea. Stay tuned!

Blast from the Past!

I’m getting back to work this week. I think my husband and I were in shock after his uncle’s motorcycle accident. It’s taken over a week to snap out of it and get back to our routine. Aaron’s uncle is still in ICU, but he is healing, slowly. Aaron still visits the hospital everyday, I go every so often. It’s so difficult to see someone in that condition, my empathetic self has a very hard time with it. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must be going through, not to mention his kids and wife and the rest of the family.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Back in the studio. I’m working on an art book of my “Paula Beck Prints” pieces from the early 1990s. I’m also negotiating a contract with a local management/publishing company to represent my art and specifically this book.

Sevier Station pencil drawing

“Sevier Station”, one of the first drawings I did as Paula Beck. Part of the Historical Building series I did in the Tennessee/Kentucky area around Clarksville, TN and Hopkinsville, KY.

I’ve been going through all the old images in my flat file and came across an envelope I had almost forgotten I had! Back in the early 1990s when I started selling my art, it was still that period in history when people wrote letters and sent things by what we now call “snail mail”. LOL! Luckily for me, my dad was pretty sentimental and he saved all of the art prints, photocopies, postcards and newspaper clippings I sent him. I found it after he passed away while cleaning out his things. Nine years later, I have rediscovered that envelope and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

I’m working on photographing and editing all those images from the past. There are about 25 of the historical building drawings I did in 1990-91. The newspaper clippings are from the very first two art shows I did in Clarksville, Tennessee. This was my first year after leaving the military at Fort Campbell.

"Abraham Lincoln", part of my Civil War series.

“Abraham Lincoln”, part of my Civil War series. I did portraits of Lincoln, Gen. Grant, Jefferson Davis and Gen. Forrest

I’m going to stop there. For more of the story you will have to wait for my book! 😉 I hope to have it finished by the end of September, but it may be longer than that before it’s published. I plan to share excerpts here leading up to the release.

 

You get to Paint All the time, right?

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions about artists. Unfortunately, unless you have some type of career manager or assistant, artists do NOT get to paint/create all the time. Unless of course, you aren’t concerned with actually selling your work. Being a full time artist, this is a pretty important part of the career.

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

This has been one of those weeks. I always struggle during these weeks to know what to blog about. There is no time lapse video of a painting in progress or progress photos to share.

This week I’m working. Business stuff, ie paying bills, making painting labels and hanging art for a show, sending lists of pieces for consignment forms, twisting wire on hanging hooks so my records will hang right, creating and sending out promotional emails and facebook events and posts.

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Hanging my show at the Sierra Club office

Editing some older writing for the “Paula Beck Prints” art book I’m working on. I didn’t realize how negative my outlook was until I reread my blog posts from 12 years ago! Time to change the story up a bit so I am accepting my responsibility for my life. I was such a victim in the past! No more.

I will admit, we took our dogs for an afternoon hike yesterday. We have been promising them a hike for at least a month! It was a beautiful, cool day in the San Pedro Wilderness, west of the Jemez. We did happen to stop by a tree with a bee hive in it, and I got stung 3 times! Boy do those stings itch today!

In other news, Monday I meet with the clients for my next mural commission! I’m so excited to get started on another mural! Updates coming soon!

 

Where have you been?

"Burning up for your love" guitar painting

Varnished, whole and ready to show! “Burning up for your love”, acrylic on solid Fender body, Available “as is” for $1,000. Price will go up once all the parts are added.

My solo show at the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club opens this Friday, 6-8pm. Tomorrow morning the show will be hung and ready to go! Today I took the guitar and neck to the guitar shop for connection. I’m excited about finishing up my first playable art guitar! It will be shown this month, as is, but after the August show comes down this guitar will get all it’s pick ups, tuning pegs and knobs, wiring, etc. Then it will be ready to be PLAYED! Until then, I had Aaron model the guitar for me, he’s a natural! 😉

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! ;-)

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! 😉

We went camping last week, in case you were wondering why there were no blog posts. We spent a few days with my brother and sister in law at the lake. They just got their boat up and running for the first time in YEARS, so we had to take it out for a test run! I had forgotten how much I love to swim! It was hotter than hell, but the water was PERFECT!

good times at the lake!

Me with (l to r), my brother Travis, Aaron and our SIL, Charlene.

After 3 days at the lake, I came home to a request from a local architect friend of ours. His firm, Design Group, is building a playhouse for Parade of Playhouses, an auction gala to benefit local non profit, NM Appleseed. His request was for my contribution to their playhouse project, in the form of painting a set of wooden gears that will be on the wall of the playhouse. The theme of the house is Dr. Suess. I was given the gears, a color scheme and the theme and this is what I ended up with. I am always happy to contribute my art work to good causes and NM Appleseed is a good one. From their website, “Focusing on issues like hunger, education and homelessness, New Mexico Appleseed’s goal is to make systemic change that yields permanent or long term improvement for the poor and under served.”

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

How on Earth did that get there?

Photo of the print found in the wall!

Photo of the print found in the wall!

I get emails from people quite often about my Paula Beck prints created in the beginning of my art career. 1991-1995 to be exact. Even after I posted THIS blog, I still get interesting emails about people finding my prints in their parent’s estates/storage, or an antique mall, etc etc.

The email I received this week definitely takes the cake! A man from Ingram, Tx explained that he had found one of my art prints thumb tacked to an EXTERIOR wall and UNDER the insulation while he was remodeling. The strangeness doesn’t end there. He sent me a photo of the print(see above) and someone had colored it in! The funny thing about that is the print is a black and white drawing of a BLACK AND WHITE piece of pottery. It was never meant to be in color. lol! This gentleman asked if I had any idea how or why it was hidden in the wall. I have no idea, but boy am I intrigued!

Any ideas on how on Earth this print ended up hidden in a wall? I’d love to hear your theories! I often wonder about my art and where it ends up, after all, I have well over 30,000 pieces of art out there in the world! I know for a fact my art has traveled much more extensively than I probably ever will! I never in a million years would have considered this scenario!

What to do with old Vinyl?

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

For the love of God, don’t ever paint on a priceless vinyl record! Check that stuff out BEFORE you paint on a record worth lots of money! I don’t have to worry about that. I ONLY paint on records that I or anyone else for that matter should NEVER listen to ever again! lol. Seriously though. I have blogged before about my dad’s record collection. I inherited it 9 years ago when my dad passed away. There were originally over 40,000 vinyl disks. In the 9 years since the first move of records to our house, we have moved said records another 7-8 times, at least. Last year, we sold a big bulk of the collection. 30,000 45 single records. We didn’t get near what I would think they were worth, but they did take the ENTIRE 45 collection. It was quite the load off, seriously, those things are NOT light! They are bulky and heavy and only have two songs per record! We never listened to them. We like albums. We are now going through the albums (about 8,000) to see what we will listen to and what we will never listen to. Everything gets at least one full listen, unless it’s REALLY bad! There is always the GONG option if either Aaron or I feel the need to stop the torture. Long story short, THOSE are the records I paint on!

vinyl record painting in progress

vinyl record painting in progress

I’m currently working on a new vinyl record painting. Actually, I’m working on a group of them for my show at the Sierra Club in August. This one is getting very close to finished. Recycled art is my favorite. It’s guilt free. It’s a dilemma I face as an artist. I am very conscious of my carbon footprint on the planet. I do what I can. I make recycled art whenever I have the chance, from my recycled vinyl paintings, to recycled guitar art and painting over old paintings. I guess I overcompensate in my life by not having a lot of other stuff. I often joke that I could easily live in a tiny house, as long as my studio is separate and LARGE.