This year has been a year of new beginnings for me. We made a major move to another town, in another part of New Mexico. Selling one house and buying another, I’ve never experienced such anxiety driven stress! Needless to say, my energy has been very intense this year!
I’ve said it here before, and I will say it again, art is my therapy. I was diagnosed with PTSD in February and started seeing a counselor at the VA in Albuquerque. At first I was happy with the treatment I was getting, but it quickly went south when I found out it would be difficult to get treatment in our new town. After months of back and forth with the VA, I was finally connected with a counselor in Silver City at the end of May. I have since switched to private insurance after being completely frustrated with the VA system.
When we finally moved in to our new house in April, we didn’t actually close until the end of June, I was extremely frazzled. While I was grateful we were able to move in, there was still much anxiety about whether the sale would go through.
Once we unpacked, I bought a box of 20 12×12″ canvas and got back to painting! I decided to use these canvases for exploring and possibly changing my painting style. Whatever happened, I was going to paint and calm my frazzled nerves. Painting is a meditation for me, it helps center me in a sea of peace.
“Feminine Energy”, 12×12” oil on canvas, Energy Series, SOLD! ❤️
I’m always amazed at the work that comes out of me when I’m particularly stressed. Some of my most popular images came to me during my most stressed days. Letting go and letting the painting tell me where it wanted to go. I was shooting for making my style a bit more loose. This is where the Energy Series began!
“Shine”, 12×12” oil on canvas, Energy Series, this one was given away to one of my lucky email subscribers! ❤️
My idea was to express the energy I put into my paintings in a more direct way. In a physically visual way. All of my art has an intention of love, joy, peace and other positive energies painted into it, but this is the first time I’ve attempted to make it more real. The wavy brushstrokes signify the energy. The colors represent different kinds of energy or intensity of the energy. Blue and green are peaceful, while red and yellow are joyful and purple and pink show love.
The paintings shown in this post are the first six in the series, stay tuned for more to come! Click on any of the images above to go to my website.
I love the way it looks like this tree is holding up the rock! In reality, the rock is an overhang of the cave behind me and the tree seems to have grown around it.
It’s been too long since I’ve posted a hiking blog. That’s mainly because it’s been a while since we’ve been hiking on a new trail AND had the camera! I always say, that’s why I’m not a professional photographer, I ALWAYS forget the camera when I should have it. Last weekend we hiked for a couple of hours on Saturday and picked up a load of firewood on the way home. Let’s just say it was an exhausting day.
Rocky Canyon walls with grass growing on top of moss
This time we drove a bit further into the Gila National Forest and hiked on the Gila Wilderness side of the forest. In case you are unfamiliar with the Gila, there are two Wilderness areas within the Gila NF. The Gila and the Aldo Leopold. There is one main road that takes you up through the middle of the Gila NF, this road is what splits the two wilderness areas. Main road is a bit deceiving as this is still a dirt forest road. In fact, it’s recommended that you take only a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle on FR 150. There are some hairy areas, but we have taken our Subaru on the road with no problem.
Mountain stream in Rocky Canyon
Rocky Canyon is the hairiest part of the road. There is a campground and a hiking trail that heads east from the campground. We had driven by the location before, but this was the first time we stopped for a look around and a hike. Every single other time we have driven through the canyon, it was bone dry. This time? Water literally everywhere! The canyon stream was running full force and there was water seeping from rocks as well as swampy areas on the trail. I cannot tell you when the last time was I saw this much water in the Gila! We have received a ton of rain this year, thank goodness!
This small ledge cave was hidden in the side of Rocky Canyon. It was just big enough for us to climb into, though it was filled with mouse droppings, so we jumped right out!
I probably took over 50 photos that day. There was so much green and so much water, the forest was gorgeous. There were rocks with fresh, green moss with grass growing from the moss. The bright green of the moss on the rocks was so cool.
One thing I’ve noticed about the Canyons in the Gila, there are faces everywhere! This one even has a moss beard!
The Gila is located in the desert southwest part of New Mexico (again, for those who don’t know). It’s an oasis of trees, springs and wildlife. When it’s dry, it’s beautiful, but when it’s wet, it’s an amazing paradise! It’s one of the many reasons New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. It’s also one of my favorite places in the world. I’m so grateful to call it home!
This rock wall looked painted, but it is actually the colors left from water streaming down the Canyon walls.
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, 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!
Last week I mentioned I was working on my 2019 art calendar. Today, I picked them up from the post office! I tried a different format and of course different images for the 2019 calendar. The size is 8 1/2 x 13″ when open, which is a bit smaller than last year’s calendar. The plus is that I can sell it for $10 less than last year’s calendar. You can purchase your 2019 calendar on my website for only $15!
Image from the August page
Only a couple of days left to get signed up for my email list and be entered to win a FREE original 12×12″ oil painting from my 2018 Fall Portfolio! Everyone on my email list will be entered in the drawing. I plan to announce the winner here on the blog and on social media this Thursday, the 25th. This is also the day my 2018 Fall portfolio will be available to everyone on my website.
Image from the April page
I ordered 3 large 36×36″ canvases yesterday, by next week I should be getting started on a new painting. I’ve been so looking forward to painting large, it’s been too long! It’s been over a week since I’ve painted at all. Something about having business to take care of!
Stay tuned for the announcement of the free painting giveaway winner!
Aaron and I standing in front of my art at the Common Ground Gallery in Silver City. The art show has been extended for the whole month of October!
I had a great time in Colorado last week, though it was cold and rainy the entire time I was there. I am so glad I went to the Artist Mastermind Workshop, it was worth every penny! I am loaded up with goals and a new planner, ready to take on the Holiday season.
Me with my art at the gallery show in Silver City
I have so much work to get done in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be putting together my 2019 calendar today. It will be available to purchase sometime next week. I have a new portfolio of paintings to release by October 25th. Everyone on my email list will get a preview of the new collection by the end of this week. I’m also giving away one of the originals from the collection to one lucky person on my email list. Sign up for my list on my website to be automatically entered.
So many cool rock formations in the Gila National forest!
I won’t be painting this week with all the business stuff I have to accomplish. I will share some of my favorite photos instead. I’ve been thinking about putting my favorite photographs on my website. I’ve always loved taking photos and there is so much material for excellent photos around here!
Our new truck in it’s happy place, Gila National Forest!
I’m working at the house as much as possible this week. We are experiencing an early cold front in southern New Mexico and my studio is not yet insulated. Luckily, I have a wood burning stove, but it takes hours to warm up the whole space. At least the sun is out today, it’s supposed to be back in the 60s by the weekend.
One of my favorite wild flowers, purple Asters
I’m so grateful for everything in my life! If someone had told me I’d be here at the end of my forties, I would not have believed it. Thank you so very much for your interest in my art and my blog! I appreciate each and every one of you! Life is good. ❤️
“Intense Energy”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, part of my 2018 Fall portfolio, release date October 25th
October is the month of my birth. Last year I started celebrating the entire month, because, why not?! This birthday is the turning of the calendar to the last year of my 40s!!!!! I’m not ashamed to share my age, I’m proud to be where I am now. There were times in my life where I didn’t think I would make it this far. Just a couple of days ago my husband and I lost yet another friend barely 50. It makes me sad to think of friends who will never be 50. I’ve lost quite a few over the years. It never gets easier. I’m going to do what I can to honor those lives lost by living the rest of my life to it’s absolute fullest! I’m going to proudly share my real age. Why not? I’ve learned so much in my 49 years. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I also wouldn’t want to relive most of it. I’m grateful for it all. It made me the person I am today.
“Feminine Energy”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, original SOLD! Prints will be part of 2018 Fall portfolio
Aaron and I took the day off on Monday, after hearing about the passing of our friend, and took the truck out 4 wheeling and then went on a hike. It hit us both pretty hard. Needless to say, I’m a bit behind on my work this week, but who cares! Life is more important sometimes.
Friday I am taking a couple of paintings to Silver City for the Silver City Art Association’s Indy Artist show. The show runs Oct 6th-8th. I wish I could say I will be there with my art, but I’m leaving on Saturday to go to Denver, CO for an Artist mastermind conference. I’m really excited about it! I’ve wanted to take a workshop with Alyson Stanfield for about a decade. I finally decided this was the year. No more putting things off for this or that reason. No more excuses!
“Balanced”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, part of my 2018 Fall portfolio, release date Oct. 25th
I’ve finished all 23 paintings I was working on! Hoping to have them up on the website by October 25th(my birthday). I am giving one of these paintings away to one of my email subscribers on the 25th! I still haven’t decided which one. To enter, go to MY WEBSITE, sign up on my email list when the box pops up, and wait for the email announcing the winner! It’s that easy.
I will be out of the studio all next week, so I most likely won’t post a blog. I will be back to the blog the week of the 15th. Stay tuned!
I’ve recently had a major burst of energy, I love it when that happens! I’ve been getting lots of painting done and have a few more finished since my last blog post. I’m also starting on two new 12 x 12″ paintings. The deal I made with myself was that I wouldn’t buy new large canvases until I finished using the canvases I still had. At the beginning of the Summer I stocked up with 20, 12×12″ canvases and 3, 20×20″ canvases.
“All I Speak is Love”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, part of my 2018 Fall portfolio to be released October 25th. This painting was inspired by the song “3 Monkeys” by Alison Reynolds.
I’m 3 half paintings away from finishing up all 23 canvases! I consider myself prolific, but 23 in one Summer has to be a record for even me. This new portfolio of work will be released soon on my website. I’m shooting for a release date of October 25th, because it’s my birthday! I’m going to do a drawing for a FREE original painting on October 25th to celebrate my latest releases. I haven’t decided yet which painting it will be, but for sure it will be one of the new canvases completed!
Another 12×12″ oil painting in progress
All you need to do to enter is go to my website and sign up for my email list. Everyone on my email list will be entered in the drawing. There will be only one winner, but everyone who signs up will get a FREE downloadable PDF version of my mandala coloring book!
“Spinning”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, finished this week and available with my 2018 Fall portfolio release on October 25th.
One more thing, I almost forgot about! I will be participating in my first group show in Silver City the first weekend of October. I will have two paintings in the Indy Artists Pop Up show for the Red Dot Weekend at the Galleries! I recently joined the Silver City Art Association and happened in at the perfect time for their annual event. If you happen to be in Silver City October 5-8th, head downtown and check it out! Follow the Red dots for the art. 🙂
12×12″ oil on canvas, finished yesterday, untitled for now
The title of this blog is a bit misleading! I’m really not complaining about all the rain we’ve received in southern New Mexico these past couple of months! That said, I just want to go hiking! I guess I will post another blog about the paintings I’ve been working on instead of the hiking blog I was planning on. Our doggies really want the rain to stop! They are dying to go out for a hike! Not to mention, my little Bernie Bern is very afraid of the thunder and lightning.
Our new truck! 2018 Nissan Frontier
We just took delivery of our brand new 4×4 Nissan truck. Even more reason we are itching to get out for a hike, this time we are going deep into the woods! We can now go places even our Subaru AWD can’t reach. Stay tuned, once this uncharacteristic rainy season is over, we will be doing lots of exploring in the Gila.
12×12″ oil painting on canvas, that I finished yesterday.
Another issue with the rain? The supposed “new” 30 year roof on my studio has sprouted several leaks. One is right over my computer desk. This is the reason I’m leasing this building and not buying it, for now. It will help to know what’s really up with the building.
12×12″ oil painting on canvas, finished yesterday, untitled for now
I’ve been super busy in the studio this week. A whole lotta painting going on! I finished another 3 paintings since Tuesday’s blog. I now have 3 more to finish before I can buy some new LARGE canvases. I cannot wait to paint LARGE again! Another plus of the new truck? I can transport my large paintings! I have two stored at my mom’s house in Albuquerque because we couldn’t fit them in our car.
Though these paintings are finished, I haven’t found titles for them just yet. Leave a comment if you have any suggestions? Thanks!
Finished yesterday, 12×12″ oil on canvas, still untitled.
I’ve been busy, busy, busy in the studio this week already! I’ve finished a couple more 12×12″ paintings and I’m currently working on another. That leaves 7 more to finish up from this Summer.
In the past, I’ve released paintings as soon as I finish them. This year that changes. From now on I will release my new work when I have a group of paintings done. They will be released as a collection. The next release will be my Fall 2018 Collection. I’m working towards an October release date, but I have to finish up the last 7 first! I’m not sure how many collection releases I will do in a year, I’m thinking a collection for every season, but it will depend on what I get painted!
Finished and untitled, 12×12″ oil painting on canvas.
When I do release the new works, they will be released to my email list first. This gives my collectors and people who follow me the first chance to buy my new work. Then I will release them to the general public on my website. Go to my website and subscribe to be one of the first to get a chance to buy my new paintings!
My current work in progress, another 12×12″ oil on canvas.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a “Hiking the Gila” blog. We have been pretty busy, and though we have gone on a couple of hikes, I have either forgotten the camera, or we’ve hiked a trail I already blogged about. This Thursday I’m planning on another hiking blog. Stay tuned!
“Wild Heart”, 12×12″ oil on canvas, available soon with my Fall 2018 collection
Though I am really anxious to start working on some large paintings now that I have all this space, I have a bunch of small works in progress I need to finish up first. Nine to be exact! Ten if you include the one I finished this morning. “Wild Heart” is a continuation of the brushstroke/energy idea I wrote about in my last blog. I’m focusing on each brushstroke and making them individuals. Emphasizing each color without blending them into each other.
Detail from Wild Heart in progress
This whole group of paintings started this Summer as play. I hadn’t relocated my muse at that point and I had no ideas. Funny thing is, play like this is where the ideas come from!
Brushstroke detail from Wild Heart
I’m thinking I’ve totally transitioned now, to using black gesso on the canvas before I start to paint. I’m in love with the way the black background makes the color pop! Even when all of the black ends up covered, the color seems brighter. I guess it’s the contrast, it doesn’t seem right that a darker background would make the foreground brighter, but there it is!
20×20″ work in progress, this one is getting really close!
My Summer Studio Clearance sale is almost over! But wait! I’ve decided to extend it until Monday! Head over to MY WEBSITE and check out the 40 select paintings at 30% off! AND you can get an extra 20% off coupon code when you sign up for my email list! What are you waiting for? Get over there, sign up for my email list and start/add to your Paula Manning-Lewis collection TODAY, OR any day before Monday is over! Thank you for your support! I love y’all! ❤