Category Archives: art studios

Paula’s Paint Party!

Tree landscape, my next painting class subject.

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!

Facing Defeat

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.

My new studio, the whole building is all mine!
I’m giving up the dream studio!

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!

Feeling Isolated

New canvas has arrived!

New canvas has arrived! Three 36×36″ paintings on the way!

Making art is, for the most part, a solitary pursuit. I’ve been purposefully isolated ever since we closed Chroma Studios Art space in June 2017. I go back and forth between being an introvert and an extrovert. I enjoy my solitary time. Usually. I must be heading into an extrovert phase. I’ve been feeling a bit too isolated lately.

It’s been over 6 months now since our major move to the Silver City area. In September, I attended a meeting of the Silver City Art Association. I joined the group just in time to participate in their Indy Artist Pop up show at the Common Ground gallery in Silver City.

Last week I met with the President of the Association so we could get to know each other better. We talked about the challenges they face as a group. I told her a bit about the experiences I have had as an artist/gallery owner and I told her that I would be happy to pitch in and help wherever they needed me.

This morning I woke to a message from another member of the group asking if I would be willing to be their Vice President. I guess I made a good impression!

I’m excited for this new chapter of my art career and ready to be an extrovert again! The sense of failure I felt when we closed Chroma Art Studios in Albuquerque has faded. I know it wasn’t a failure, it ran it’s course and it was time for us to leave the big city for a small town. I’m happy to be where I am now.

One of the reasons I joined the group was the fact that they have an Open Studios Tour at the beginning of May. I guess I will now be helping to make it happen for 2019. My goal is to have my studio in Santa Clara finished and ready for the Open Studios Tour. I have my work cut out for me for sure!

Black gesso on canvas

Black gesso on canvas, drying time.

Yesterday was a very rough day for me personally. Thank God for art and the UPS guy bringing my 3 new large canvases! Today I’m prepping the new canvas to start painting tomorrow. I start each canvas with black gesso and it needs a good day to dry fully.

I’m leaning towards a new painting in the “Space” series. This series is based on images from the Hubble Telescope. Spiral Universes, stars and galaxies, more about this in my next blog, stay tuned!

Oh and friendly reminder! Your 2019 Paula Manning-Lewis Art Calendar is now available for purchase on my website!

 

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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… 🙂

Doing laundry…

12×12″ oil on canvas. One of the paintings I’ve been working on this week.

3:33pm on a Friday and I’m sitting at the laundromat washing bedding and clothes. I’ve lived without a washer and dryer before. Long, long ago when a week’s laundry consisted of 15-20 loads of mostly baby and kids clothing! Gratefully, these days, it’s only three loads because it’s time to wash the comforter. I can sit here quietly watching the washers spin without any children screaming because their brother just ran over their fingers with the rolling laundry cart they were told not to play in. Some days I miss those days, but definitely not while sitting at the laundromat!

12×12″oil on canvas. Another work in progress from this week.

It’s not hard to believe it’s already June, with the move and everything that has changed in my life over these past 6 months. We are still waiting to close on our new house but the end is getting close! I’m settling back into a painting routine and the rust is gone. My creativity has been flowing! I haven’t finished much, but I’ve been in a painting frenzy. Life is great!

Self Portrait in Progress

My show at the Sierra Club Offices came down today. Working on more business than painting these days. Lots of organizational stuff. No fun, but necessary. Working on my next e-newsletter, Autumn issue. Head over to my website if you would like to get signed up for my email list. I just added two new pages of prints on my website too. The last several Paula Beck Prints are now available on the website, once they are gone, that’s it.

Yesterday I had a studio visit from a friend and fan of my work. If you live in Albuquerque, or even if you are visiting, give me a call or send me an email. My studio is open by appointment and I always love to have visitors come by! You can find my contact information on my website as well.

Today I finally got to do some painting. Still working on my self portrait for the Veterans show coming up in November. The gallery was covered on our local news this week for the Veterans show, opening 11/11 at the KD Neeley Studio and Gallery at 104 4th St. NW, Albuquerque, NM. I’ll be working on this painting for a bit longer, still a ways to go. I’m pleased that the portrait is going easier than I was expecting, I guess it’s like riding a bike, you never really forget how. I made a couple of time lapse videos today while painting, see below. 🙂

Some Days I Just Push Through

New paintings on the wall and a halfway clean studio!

New paintings on the wall and a halfway clean studio!

Some days, being an artist is just plain painful. Why did I choose this occupation? What was I thinking?! Is it too late to give up and start a new career? Would I even be able to give it up? NO! I guess I’m stuck in this self imposed torture for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so very grateful that I get to do what I LOVE! Painting is my true bliss! It’s all the other crap that goes along with it that makes it painful. I won’t go into all of that because I’m trying to turn myself around here and be, just BE positive and grateful. Success just seems to keep alluding me. Maybe I’m on the verge? Maybe tomorrow I will sell 20 paintings and all will be ok, right? Life is a journey and I can’t deny, I got on this train, no one forced me at gunpoint! No one to blame but myself. Days like today, I daydream of some mindless job I could do daily to pay the bills, then I remember the last “job” I had. That didn’t work out very well. Oh well. Meditate, pray, paint, wash, rinse and repeat! What else can I do? This is my life. I have some good art shows coming up! I have a new website! Things are looking up, right? Today, I have an interview with a fellow artist for a blog post she is going to write about me. I NEED to get back into a positive frame of mind. Nothing worse than being that pessimistic older artist telling the younger artist how wonderful it’s all been. She knows better than that, but still.

"Find Your Shine", 24 x 30" oil on canvas, $1,050

“Find Your Shine”, 24 x 30″ oil on canvas, $1,050

Alrighty then! Enough wallowing in self pity! Today I’m pushing through to get my paintings ready for the NMCCG show that hangs at the beginning of June. Hanging wires to be added, signatures on those paintings I forgot to sign, small details. Along with that, finishing painting an artist studio that just rented and will be moved in to on Saturday. Getting my studio ready for a Mandala painting class also on Saturday.

"Healing Bloom", 20 x 20" oil on canvas, $600

“Healing Bloom”, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas, $600

I guess writing all this stuff out helps! I feel better already. I guess I’d better get back to work. Hope you all are having a great day. Oh and the paintings in this blog are the last 3 I finished for the show that I teased about in my last post! I decided to go ahead and share them, just in case someone has their name on one of them! 😉 (Always gotta work it ya know?!)

"Sunshine", 20 x 20" oil on canvas, $600

“Sunshine”, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas, $600