Category Archives: bio

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 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

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. 🙂

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.  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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Looking Back at 25 Years as an Artist!

This year marks my 25th year as an artist! It’s so hard to believe it’s been that long! I have been an artist since childhood, but at the young age of 21 I decided it was what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was actually a Tony Robbins infomercial in the middle of the night that inspired me.

pencil drawing covered bridge Tennessee

Covered Bridge drawing, the first image I printed/sold on postcards

I was working graveyard shift at a Comfort Inn in Clarksville, Tennessee after finishing my time in the Army. I was disgusted and frustrated because I was back at basically the same job I had left for the Army. New town, different state, but that same graveyard shift, minimum wage paying, sleep depriving job. I worked graveyard because my husband worked mornings and it was the only way we could have a second income without paying for child care. My two eldest sons were 5 years and 9 months old at the time. The third son hadn’t joined the family just yet.

I was at work, killing time watching cable TV in the lobby, when the Tony Robbins infomercial came on. I decided to watch it all the way through and by the end I thought, I can’t afford his book right now, but surely I can think of some way to make a living doing something I love to do. (I eventually bought that book at a yard sale many years later and I highly recommend Tony Robbins to anyone looking for motivation!)

After watching the infomercial, I thought of how much I used to love drawing and painting in high school. The next night, I brought paper and pencils with me and spent the graveyard shift drawing a local covered bridge that I found a photo of in a local magazine.

That drawing changed my life forever. (Little did I know at the time!) I showed it to my husband, grudgingly as he always told me my art from high school wasn’t that good, and he was blown away. It wasn’t long before we found a printer to make postcards of the covered bridge drawing and my husband took them to his job at a local convenience store where he sold them to people who came in for gas and cigarettes.

Before long, I had drawn several other local historical buildings and had quite an array of postcards of local drawings. I was invited to show my drawings at the local Chamber of Commerce, a local bank and eventually the local tour of historic homes commissioned me to draw several other local buildings and I sold art prints and postcards at the tour event.

That event helped me to really get my art business going. I ended up getting several commissions for other historical homes as well as portraits. After the buildings I started my portrait series and the rest is history! Of course, there is so much more to this story, but this is the story of how it all began.

A word to any young artists who are reading this post. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t make a living as an artist. Sure, it’s not an easy life, sure, it takes time to build a name for yourself and a portfolio of art that you are proud to share, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The first most rewarding thing I’ve done was having 3 beautiful sons!

Artists starting out today have it much easier than I had it starting out. You have the internet and so many avenues to get your art work out there (Twitter, Instagram, weblogs like this one, and an infinity of other sites with a plethora of information). When I first started, the internet was out there, but not for the masses. I didn’t even have a computer until 6 years after I started!

One of the things I always wished I had starting out, was other artists to ask advice of. I was very isolated in a small town in Tennessee with no art scene to speak of. There were no smart phones or digital cameras. Thank goodness for the internet! There is so much information available in a simple Google search!

If you have any questions about starting out as an artist, please ask away in the comments and I promise to write another blog post in answer to any and all questions I receive.

“After Funk”

It happens every time. Inspiration. Flurry of activity. Everything done and posted and blogged about. Funk. I call it the “After Funk”, after I’ve worn myself out with inspiration and feeding my muse with creativity, I get into this “funk”.

What’s next?

Should I go back to painting?

Should I make more dolls?

Should I, should I, should I? I have lots of things on my “to do” list, but I’m not sure what to do next.

I spent the morning cleaning up my sewing mess. Pins scattered, threads hanging out EVERYWHERE! Every flat surface covered with remnants and disorder.

There is a roll of primed canvas in the corner calling out my name. I HAD to have it when I found it for $6 at that flea market in Phoenix. Now it sits, sending guilt my way.

Remember me? Remember all the paintings you were going to make?

Then I get sucked back in to Facebook and lose days. NOT THIS TIME!

Time to meditate, take it easy on myself, get all that “work” done. Tax forms to the accountant, listing digital prints in my Etsy shop. Doctor appointment and walking the dogs in the afternoon.

Eventually, my muse will say, “OK, it’s time to get back to being inspired!” Or, work until inspiration comes. It always comes. 🙂

My 2015 Bio/Artist statement

One of my least favorite tasks when it’s time to revamp my site and shop is to write a new Biography/Artist Statement. I’ve written plenty of them over the years, but it never gets easier to write about myself in third person! I just finished the first draft of my new Bio and I am going to share it with you all here for one BIG reason. Can I ask you all a favor? Will you PLEASE read over this bio and give me some feedback? Not all nicey nice feedback, but REAL no holds barred feedback. Please, let me know what you think? Is the grammar correct? Do any of the sentences sound redundant? Is there a better way to say what I’m saying? Be honest! Thank you in advance for your help and without further ado, here it is!

Paula Manning-Lewis has been a professional artist since the young age of 21. Paula first decided to pursue a career as an artist because she wanted to be able to stay home with her kids. Now that her three sons are grown, she has more time to devote to her favorite past time.

Being creative is her passion. Whether she’s painting on canvas, vinyl records, or recycling old beat up guitars, making drawings for her next coloring book, creating designs for fine art needlepoint or creating functional pieces in fabric on a sewing machine, she lives to be creative. Art is her purpose, spreading love, joy and peace is her goal and living her dream of making a living with her art is nonnegotiable. Art isn’t only something she does it is a spiritual expression from the deepest part of her soul. The art Paula creates is inspired by her Divine Source through daily meditation. Her connection to Spirit is highly important to her process. She is constantly aware of her intuition and enjoys trying out new forms of creative expression.

In addition to her visual and functional art, Paula is a singer in the group, Sunlight, with her husband, Aaron Lewis. Together, they also own Chroma Studios, an Albuquerque business and community where musicians and artists rent private studio spaces in a professional working environment. One of their biggest joys in this business is to encourage and mentor other artists and musicians to follow their dreams.

Drawings are done! Happy birthday Mama!

Last five coloring book designs

The last 5 coloring book designs, pencil sketches before they are inked in.

I have spent the past few weeks working on my new coloring book and today I finished all the drawings! My shoulder is hurting from hunching over my drawing table for too long! I should know better, but sometimes, inspiration just pushes me to keep going. I’m so excited about this coloring book! My first book had 10 designs. This book has 20.

Working on this coloring book had me thinking a lot about childhood and how much I used to love coloring. Even into my 20s, when my kids were young, I colored in coloring books often. Adult coloring has apparently become a trend lately. I always preferred drawing to coloring, so drawing my own coloring designs just made so much sense. I WILL color them too, once done! 😉

design #19

Design #19 before photoshop clean up. Almost there!

Thinking of my younger years got me to thinking about my mom. This weekend is her 70th birthday! I had to mention her here because she is the one personally responsible for my love of drawing and art in general. I don’t remember being younger than about 5 years old, but she tells the story of giving me a stack of paper and pencil when I was under 2 years old and how I would spend HOURS sitting and drawing.

Me and my mama

Me and my mama

In honor of my mom’s birthday week, I had to tell her here, THANKS MOM! Thank you for ALWAYS encouraging me to follow my dreams of being an artist. She has attended just about EVERY art opening and open studio I have ever had. (minus the times she was out of town!) I love you and I’m so glad you are my mama! Happy birthday, with MANY MORE to come!