Category Archives: Coloring books

How I got my groove back!

oil painting on canvas

My current work in progress. 12 x 12″ oil on canvas. A suggestion from a facebook follower pointed me in a different direction.

I spent most of March and a couple days in April working on my brand new website! I have been researching and learning about artist websites for YEARS! This is the year I finally found the perfect website solution for my art. Art Store Fronts is amazing! They have all the tools I need to run an efficient website. Everything I’ve been learning about and had no idea how to actually implement, is built in to their awesome software. I highly recommend them. Needless to say, I NOW have a brand new artist website with everything! I invite you to go check it out and please let me know what you think! PaulaManningLewis.com is now LIVE! I have closed my Etsy shop and now have everything available for sale on the new site. Actually, I’m still working on getting EVERYTHING available. My current portfolio is all there, coloring books, dolls and older work is coming soon.

Now that the majority of website work is done, it’s back to painting in preparation for a show at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery starting in June and showing through August. I will have at least 20 pieces in the show! I also have a show coming up in August at the local Sierra Club offices. I have a LOT of painting to get done in the coming months! The painting above is my current work in progress, in a totally different direction. Instead of the sun or a flower, this one is focused on the Moon.

In addition to my paintings on canvas, I’m getting ready to start two different mural projects. I will share more about that in my Spring e-newsletter. Please visit my new website and sign up for my email list to receive the newsletter when it goes out soon.

This Saturday is ChromaFEST, an art and music festival and fundraiser for our local business, Chroma Studios. My band, Sunlight will be performing at 5:55pm-6:35pm. Also, my husband, Aaron Lewis, will play a solo guitar set as well right before Sunlight, starting at 5:30pm. Hope to see my local friends there! 🙂

I’m still thinking about whether or not I will keep my blog here on WordPress or transfer it over to my new website. I may just link the two together. I’m super excited about taking my art to the next level! I feel like I finally found my groove again!

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Friday Funday: Artist Date!

 

Friday is Funday in my art studio. I like to put aside all the “business” stuff and have a day to play and enjoy being an artist. Julia Cameron, who wrote the book, “The Artist’s Way”, which I read for the first time almost 20 years ago, recommends taking yourself on an “Artist date”. This is something you do to feed your inner artist. Whether it be going to an art supply store and browsing supplies, or going to an art gallery or museum and looking at art for inspiration. You can do what I do and play in your studio or wherever you make your art.

I forget about this a lot of the time but it’s a great idea! Not just for artists either! EVERYONE should have self dates to feed their creativity or their spirit. You can go it alone or with a friend. Museums and galleries always fuel my inspiration. There is nothing quite like seeing what other artists are doing to light a fire deep inside me to create something new. I recently made a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe with some out of town visitors. Georgia’s work has always had a way of making me want to go out into the desert and paint a landscape. Even though it’s been YEARS since I painted a landscape!

This week, I decided to stay in the studio and paint. This would seem like a normal day in the studio for me but for Friday Funday it’s all about being free and not trying to control what I’m painting. No judgements, no mistakes, just FUN!

8 x 10" oil painting on canvas is a work in progress, "Abstract flower".

Playing with paint today this 8 x 10″ oil painting on canvas is a work in progress, “Abstract flower”.

Today, as everyday, I started with a 20 minute meditation. I had another painting show itself to me today (see above). Before this week, it had been about a year since I had taken out the paints and brushes. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was looking for something new to do. My thinking was I needed to make art that was functional. Something that would be used and not just hung on a wall or stuck in a closet.

It started last summer with creating an adult coloring book. Interactive art! I hand drew 20 mandalas and published my own book. Now available in printed and pdf format in my Etsy shop.

After the coloring book I was reminded of how much I enjoy sewing and pulled my dusty old sewing machine out of the closet, and had it cleaned up and serviced so it would work again! I found Spoonflower.com and designed my own custom fabric using my art. I started making dolls and art pillows using my custom art fabric.

Now that I’ve totally taken a tangent from my original topic, I will come back around to say it’s all related! Art and creativity is all about play! It’s about going with the flow and creating whatever comes to mind. Why be pigeonholed by painting? Painters can create in other mediums too. The coloring book project forced me to pull out pencils and markers to make line drawings. The sewing project took me completely out of my normal creation zone and back to being a kid who made dolls for the State Fair. Not to mention creating custom fabric bringing out the graphic designer in me to create designs in photoshop.

What I’ve learned from the whole process is sometimes it’s important to do things differently. When we feel like we are in a rut, shake things up! Get out of your comfort zone. Instead of painting, try your hand at ceramics or sewing! I still have an urge to make pottery, but haven’t gotten that far just yet. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Fab Bags!

Coloring Fab Bag with a bunch of goodies make a GREAT gift!

Coloring Fab Bag with a bunch of goodies make a GREAT gift!

I love to make things! I don’t like to confine myself to painting alone. Recently, I was feeling a little uninspired with my paintings, so I took a little break. As I posted about earlier, I decided to reinvent my website, my art and what the heck I’m doing with my creative expression!

During this time, I found a great website, Spoonflower, where artists can design and create their own fabric! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had someone tell me “your art would look great on fabric”.

 

Coloring tote bag

My first coloring fab bag with front pocket

I guess because I had just completed my second coloring book, I decided my first fabric project would be a coloring design. That of course, led to me thinking about what on earth I would make with this fabric. Tote bags were the first thing that came to mind. Why not a cool little tote that colorists could carry their coloring books, crayons, markers, pencils, etc. in!?

Coloring tote with cute recycled pocket

Coloring fab bag with cute recycled pocket

So far, I’ve made 3 coloring tote bags, the first used the coloring fabric for a front pocket and the next 2 I decided to change up the design and used the coloring fabric for the side panel of the bag itself. Other pockets were made with recycled fabric samples I got from an interior designer in my building.

These fab bags don’t need to be used only by coloring enthusiasts! Anyone with an creative flare would love to get one as a gift! Or buy it for yourself! Why not? Each Coloring Fab Bag comes with goodies as pictured above. (fabric markers, colored pencils and one of my new coloring books!) Bookmark my Fab Bags page to come back and see what I make next!

Long time!

It’s been too long since my last post. Lots going on in my private life right now. Half of August we were gone on vacation. We visited the Pacific NW for the first time ever and we really liked it! It was a great trip and we visited some friends and some family. Met a few of my facebook friends that I had never met in person before, plus a college friend I hadn’t seen since 1999!

original oil painting on canvas and wood

Orange flower triptych, 12 1/2 x 12 1/2″ oil on canvas and wood, $215

I’m back to work in my studio, mainly been working on getting my coloring books out in the world. Yesterday, I started on a new coloring page design. I’m having so much fun with these mandala drawings!

mandala pencil drawing in progress

New coloring page mandala in progress

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling down and in a dark place. For whatever reason, I decided that I should add some black paint to a few older paintings, just to see what they would look like. I really am happy with the outcome. I didn’t actually use black paint out of the tube, but mixed my own black with Ultramarine blue and Olive green. It’s on old artist trick to make the black more luminous.

original oil painting on canvas and wood

Green flower triptych, 12 1/2 x 12 1/2″ oil on canvas and wood, $215

The painting above is being auctioned in my facebook fan group, starting bid $40! If you are interested, you must be a member of the group to bid! To join the group, go to THIS PAGE and click the join button. 🙂

I guess the main reason I haven’t posted here in so long is that I’m feeling like I’m at a turning point with my art and I’m not sure where it’s going next. I’m working on simplifying things, but with all the art I have piled up in my studio, that’s not an easy task. Stay tuned, I promise to keep you in the loop! 🙂

original oil painting on canvas and wood

Yellow flower triptych, 12 1/2 x 12 1/2″ oil on canvas and wood, $215

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!