Category Archives: bio

“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. 🙂

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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!

3, 2, 1….

photo of our view of Albuquerque from our neighborhood park

Our favorite view of Albuquerque, from our neighborhood park, Pat Hurley Park.

The countdown is almost over! In two days we will be pulling out of Albuquerque in our vintage Travelmate motor home and embarking on our latest adventure!

The past month has gone by so slowly, yet here we are, about to leave. We had a huge list of things we had to take care of before we could leave for a long absence. There were home repairs and improvements that had to be done so we could rent our house. We had to move all of our belongings that didn’t fit in the RV into storage. There was painting to be done at Chroma Studios. We had chickens to find a new home for. Our two male dogs had to be neutered! Plus, a bunch of other things here and there that popped up.

We do, in fact, still own a business here in Albuquerque. Chroma Studios is still here and going strong. Luckily, for us, it doesn’t take a lot of time to run and our youngest son is looking for experience with managing a business. He is currently enrolled at our local community college, majoring in business. What better way to learn about business than to manage one? He will take care of day to day operations, though we will still oversee everything from afar.

photo of my new painting area in RV

My new space for painting, yes, it’s the table in our RV!

Because we have spent the last month working on preparations for our adventure, we have had to put our music and art businesses on the back burner for the most part. I am so excited to get back to being creative again! It is the one thing that keeps me sane! Let’s just say this past month has been pretty crazy! We did get a few opportunities here and there to be creative, but now, we will be spending ALL our time on our creative endeavors.

I have a new art project to get moving on, we have new songs to write and learn, and of course, I will be blogging regularly about our latest adventures in travel!

Our first stop is a personal one, we will head south on I-25 to Las Cruces, New Mexico to visit with my brother and his wife for about a week before we go west to Arizona. There may also be a stopover in the Gila National Forest for a bit of decompression time, ie peace and quiet away from everything!

My plan/goal is to post a new blog every Tuesday, possibly Thursdays too. If you aren’t already subscribed to my blog, now would be a great time to do so! Stay tuned for more about our adventure! 🙂

The Big Adventure!

I’m not sure if I have talked about our big upcoming adventure here on the blog before. I guess now is a good time for it, seeing as we are only about 2 weeks from heading out!

If you have read my story, you know that I was a very young mom. I started having my sons at the age of 16. Being thrust into motherhood at such a young age had it’s pitfalls, but I prefer to look on the bright side of things. Though life was tough when I was in my late teens and twenties, the good side of that equation is the fact that now my sons are grown and I am still in my early forties!

My husband and I have been dreaming and planning for the eventual empty nest for years. Now that it’s here, we are ready and raring to go! Our youngest son actually graduated from high school just over 2 years ago. We decided to give him a couple of years before we left town.

Here we are now, a motor home sitting in our driveway, all of our belongings packed into storage or the RV, the house is almost completely ready for our tenants and we will be hitting the road in just under 2 weeks if all goes as planned. We still have quite a to do list to accomplish before we can go, but we are getting there!

Many people have misconceptions about exactly what we are up to, so I figured I would get into a bit more detail here on the blog. Traveling is something we have always wanted to do. We are NOT vacationing or even semi-retired though. We are going to be working while we travel. One of the things we couldn’t do when the kids were younger and still in school, was to tour the country with Aaron’s music. My husband, Aaron Lewis, has been a musician for 25 years. He put his career somewhat on hold all these years. Any musician will tell you that the only way to get your name out there and build a fan base is to tour, regularly. We have made a few trips here and there, but now we are putting our whole hearts into it! Now that Aaron and I are also performing as a duo, we have even more reason to tour.

Another thing we plan to spread around the country is my art work. When I first started out as an artist, over 20 years ago, we would travel around and sell my prints at various shops, galleries, etc. This was before the internet made selling art a bit easier. Even with the internet however, it’s still better to get out in person, visit the galleries I would like to place my art with and connect in person, face to face.

The most important aspect of this adventure is getting out in the world, meeting with fans and friends face to face! We look forward to meeting lots of wonderful people out there on the road, making new lasting friendships and memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We are taking our music and art with us and will continue to create new art and music as we go. Stay tuned for updates; blog posts, videos and pictures of our travels.

Living My Life Backwards

Aaron and Paula hiking in the Cibola forest

My husband Aaron and I during our most recent hike in the Cibola National forest, NM

I have always done things backwards. When I was 16 I gave birth to my first son, THEN I got married when he was 4 months old. Divorced by age 25, I found the love of my life when I was 26. Graduated college at the age of 30. Raised all three of my sons by the age of 42. Now at almost 43, I’m living the life of a 20 something! Playing music and making art, no worries in the world. Traveling, taking risks, life is good.

I have often heard people say “youth is wasted on the young”. I agree! When I was in my 20s I was so serious about everything. There was no time for fun and games! Now that I’m in my 40s, my body doesn’t always agree with the active life I lead. If only I could have appreciated my young body instead of being so self condemning. Looking back it’s always easy to see your mistakes and misperceptions. Do you think that will stop me? Heck NO!

A few years ago at one of my art shows, I met an 80 something woman who was such an inspiration. She told me how her “kids” were disgusted with her for acting like she was in her 20s. She was enjoying her golden years, taking trips around the world by herself, but her kids were worried for her safety. I mentioned something about “growing old gracefully” and she corrected me by saying, “I have no intention of growing old gracefully, my goal is to grow young disgracefully”.

Her statement has stuck with me all these years. That is exactly my intention! I plan on using up this body completely, and enjoying every minute of it! I have had many senior citizen friends throughout my life. I LOVE old people! They aren’t afraid of what other people think about them. They do what they want, when they want, and how they want. They have so many great stories to tell. The healthy ones stay active, live life to it’s fullest! It’s the key to a long, happy life, staying active.

My dad never made it to his senior years, he died the day before his 65th birthday. I plan to live way past that, but you never really know when it will be your time to go! My dad was another role model for this way of life. To celebrate his 50th birthday, he went skydiving! Not long after that, he cashed in his retirement fund, bought an RV and traveled around the country for 2 years until the money ran out. Looking back, I’m so happy he did that! He eventually went back to teaching, but he never got to enjoy his actual retirement because he died 2 months before he was set to retire.

view from the top, aspens changing color

View from the top of the mountain, looking across to the opposite peak where the Aspens are changing colors

That’s why my husband and I are working on a plan to put our belongings into storage, buy an RV, and travel around the country, playing music and selling art as we go. We may even backpack across Europe, after we hike the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles long!) LIVING LIFE TO IT’S FULLEST! EVERYDAY! THAT is what life is all about. Stepping out of the comfort zone of a boring, everyday life and doing the things you have always dreamed of doing. NOW, before it’s too late. Life is too short to spend it saying “someday”. NOW is the only time you ever really have.

Wake Up Call!

The past couple of weeks have been quite a doosy! (sp?) During the last week of March, on Tuesday/Wednesday I started having heart palpitations that really freaked me out! I have had them before, but usually just once in a great long while. Last week they started and didn’t let up. I had a bit of stress on Thursday and started having chest pains. Even more freaked out, I told my husband who immediately took me to the emergency room. Because we don’t have health insurance, we have to go to the local University hospital. This is an awful place to go to the ER! I figured with chest pains I would get back to see a Doctor right away, WRONG! It was over 12 hours before I was finally lead back to a bed at 4am in the morning. They ran every test possible and apparently my heart is healthy, thank God, but they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Now, for those of you who don’t know it, my dad died almost 4 years ago of a heart attack. He was only 64 years old. His first heart attack hit when he was 59. So, needless to say, I was a bit shaken. Perhaps I have always had a fear that this would happen to me, perhaps I caused it with my worry. Or perhaps I have inherited my father’s heart issues. We still don’t know. I go back tomorrow to get a mobile heart monitor which I will wear for 2 weeks. After that I will go back for another echo cardiogram stress test. Update: I now have my heart monitor and will be wearing it for 4 weeks, not two.

This scare was my wake up call. I have always been pretty healthy, last time my cholesterol was checked it was 93 for crying out loud! Of course that was 5 years ago and I have since turned 40. After my gall bladder surgery 2 years ago, we stopped eating so much meat, in fact, we usually eat vegetarian and recently switched to organic fruits and veggies. I have slacked off on my exercise routine lately and we have been doing a bit more social drinking than usual. However, as of that visit to the ER, I am back to my regular exercise schedule and eating right. The Dr. also suggested meditation which I have tried to do regularly, but now I’m back to everyday with that as well. Working on staying stress free as it seems stress makes it worse. Now that I’m wearing the heart monitor in my everyday life, it’s interesting to see how often my heart rate goes up.

Once again, I have been reminded of the brevity of this life. My sense of urgency has been renewed and I am working on getting back on track with certain goals I made for my art. Recently, I have slacked on those goals and let everything slide. NO MORE! It’s time to live my life to it’s absolute fullest!