Category Archives: artist statement

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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What are you so angry about?

I usually like to keep my posts about the art, but I recently had an epiphany and felt the need to share. I have been angry most of my adult life. Not that I ran around angry all the time, but it was always there, boiling just beneath the surface. I always blamed it on other people and their behavior. My ex, my family, people in traffic, etc, etc.

Since 2007, I’ve been on a search for inner peace. It’s been a long decade of reading tons of self help books, learning to meditate daily, creating art from my soul and self care. I’ve lost several friends along the way. Mainly because they weren’t comfortable with my changes and the fact that I was now standing up for myself. They didn’t like the “healthy” Paula.

I once had a shaman tell me that some people are like rocks in a backpack. Sometimes on the trail of life, we have to empty the rocks out of our backpack so we can lighten our load and be happy. Let’s just say my backpack was HEAVY with rocks. Not just people, but situations, memories and regrets. However, even after I dropped the rocks on the side of the trail, the anger was still there.

It’s been a long road and I finally feel like I’m moving on to the next decade of my life. The epiphany happened recently, after watching a video on facebook, of all places! Here’s the link: I highly recommend you WATCH this video!
https://www.facebook.com/comedien.voix.doublage/videos/10206832718043784/?hc_ref=OTHER&pnref=story

After I watched it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s so crazy obvious to me now! I have been angry at my 15 year old self for DECADES! I have been mad at myself for all the stupid choices I made, for not just saying NO to that 17 year old boy who got me pregnant. First of all, NO to sex, and then later, NO to marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that happened in my life HAD to happen. If not, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That said, I’ve been carrying this anger around all this time. All the resentment for how my life “could’ve” been or “should’ve” been.

It is what it is.

How can I still be angry at that young girl who was just looking for love and attention? I can’t. The fire has been extinguished. The anger is now sadness. Not a depressed sadness, but a melancholy sadness for all the anger I inflicted on my family and friends and everyone around me.

BUT, it’s OK! I finally GET IT! Now I move on to forgiveness. I have often wondered why, after forgiving literally EVERYONE who ever did me wrong, why was I STILL angry? It’s time to forgive myself. It’s time to tell that 15 year old girl that still lives within me, you’re ok, you’re loved, you’re FORGIVEN.

I will leave you with a work in progress, “The Best of Everything”.

"The Best of Everything", acrylic on 12" vinyl record, work in progress

“The Best of Everything”, acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, work in progress

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.

Talking about a Visual Medium

Me with my piece, "Find Your Shine", at the Opening Reception at the NM Cancer Center Gallery with a Cause.

Me with my piece, “Find Your Shine”, at the Opening Reception at the NM Cancer Center Gallery with a Cause.

Talking isn’t my strong point. Some may disagree with that. Let me clarify, talking about MY ART isn’t my strong point. There is good reason for this. When I paint, or think about painting, it’s not done with words, it’s done with pictures. I visualize a painting before I paint it. I don’t write about it or talk about it, I just paint it. Putting those visual images into words isn’t easy. I’m a self taught artist. I didn’t go to art school. I was never taught HOW to talk about art. I don’t know the language. All I know are my feelings when I paint and I’ve never been really good at expressing my feelings either.

This inadequacy doesn’t show up for me until I’m at an opening reception for my art. This was the case this past Sunday afternoon at the Opening for the “Artists on the Rise” show at the NM Cancer Center Gallery. Someone asked for “my thoughts” on one of my pieces and I kind of froze. I’m embarrassed to say, I was at a complete loss for words. I THINK I pulled it off though. I said something about that particular piece being my favorite and how the spiral in the middle is how I start all of my paintings like a meditation. Needless to say, I NEED to work on this! I guess it’s time to either memorize my artist’s statement or write something up that I can memorize so it doesn’t sound like a memorized artist statement.

Question for my artist friends, how do you deal with talking about your art?

Photo of all the artists in the show, plus the curator, and directors of the NMCCG, Gallery with a Cause.

Photo of most of the artists in the show, plus the curator, and directors of the NMCCG, Gallery with a Cause. I’m in the back row, 5th from the left.

 

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?

 

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

Chroma Studios Open House: Saturday, Sept. 17, 12-5pm

Reception area at Chroma Studios

Reception area at Chroma Studios

This Saturday from noon to 5pm I will be opening my studio to the public. Not just my studio, but 3-4 other artists in my building will also be here to show their work! It’s been years since we opened Chroma Studios to the public and I am so excited to share all the color and energy with you all! We have 11 studios in all, though not everyone is able to be open this time around.

We have 2 studios that are currently being moved out of, so we also have 2 studios opening up for new artists at the beginning of October. If you are looking for an art studio, stop by and see what we have available! We are always happy to welcome new artists into the Chroma Studios fold. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria

Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria

I recently moved into a new studio that I’m sharing with another artist. Dee Alexandria has been a friend since we first met selling our art at the New Mexico State Fair almost 10 years ago! We decided to share a studio because neither of us needed a big studio to ourselves. Plus, it’s nice to have company in the studio. So often, artists are isolated from their peers. That is one of the things about Chroma Studios that makes it so nice! We have a community of artists here that help each other out. Mine and Dee’s work compliments each other perfectly as we both love color, flowers and spirals!

Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk

Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk

Cynthia Zeedyck is another artist who will have her studio open this Saturday. She is a lifelong artist with 45 years of training and experience in the arts, including: Fine Arts, Appalachian Arts, Poetry, many styles of Dance, Wildcrafting Herbs, and Poetry. Cynthia was awarded with an Apprenticeship Grant from Ohio Arts for Traditional Heritage Basket Making. Her works sold both nationally and internationally. She was the largest female producer of Heritage Berry Baskets in the world.ย  Her designs and creations include landscape paintings, floral and contemporary. Newest works in Scrimshaw. Cynthia has been a Chroma Artist since 2014.

Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook

Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook

Robert Medina Cook has been a Chroma Studios artist off and on for at least 5 years. He began his journey in the creative arts over forty years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A native New Mexican whose local family roots go back centuries in Northern New Mexico, in 2012 Robert was one of 7 artists honored for their excellence in the arts by being proclaimed a “Local Treasure” by the Albuquerque Art Business Association. Featured in several publications, his artworks have won numerous awards and can be found in corporate, museum, public art and private collections throughout the US and abroad.

Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil

Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil

Phillip Vigil (Jemez Pueblo/Chiricahua Apache) is a fourth-generation artist residing in Jemez Pueblo. He is new to Chroma Studios. He is a self-taught artist and has been working seriously on his art now for several years. He always had a love of art since he realized at a young age that the paintings on the walls were done by members of his family. He is highly influenced by the abstract modernists of the early and late 20th century. He works a lot on paper with oil pastels, oil sticks, oil paint sticks, spray paint, oil and acrylic paint as well.

 

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