Category Archives: goals

How many artists paint the Universe?

I wish I could say I’ve been too busy recently to post a blog, I guess I could, but it would be a lie. I’ve been in a deep down funk. Working on keeping myself busy and pulling myself out of the hole I’m in. I’ve had other things going on, like being the event coordinator for the Silver City Studio Tour and working on my paint party class.

Recently finished, 36×36” oil on canvas, part of my Space series, untitled for now.

I’m teaching my third paint party class tonight in Silver City with plans for more in April. It’s been fun, plus it gives me something to do away from the house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home and the entire environment around my home, but I’m a social person and I need to get out and talk to people from time to time. I did get to spend a few days in Santa Fe at the beginning of March. It’s always inspirational to see the galleries and exhibits. I really needed that boost!

Detail of my current work in progress, another “Space” painting.

Since returning from Santa Fe, I’ve been spending more time in my painting studio. I recently finished the next painting in my “Space” series and started another. I’ve committed myself to building up my large painting inventory so I can approach galleries about showing my work.

I have been having a difficult time lately being positive about my art career, but I’ve also been working on being kind to myself. My most important goal is to keep making art that speaks to and from my soul.

I recently had a comment on a post of one of my paintings and after I thanked the person for their kind words, they said, “it’s not everybody who can draw the Universe”. It made my day and made me think. I guess I am painting the Universe, in a small way. The Space series is definitely my most ambitious series. I’m not attempting to paint it just like it is in photos, but how I feel it in my soul. My art has always had a much deeper meaning, even if I don’t know how to express that meaning in words.

I guess that’s why I chose painting to express myself!

Paula’s Paint Party!

Tree landscape, my next painting class subject.

The last couple of days I’ve been busy getting paperwork together for our taxes. Ugh. I wish I was done! In reality, I’ve been procrastinating book work by painting the next sample painting for my paint party class! Since my first class went so well, I’m doing it again in March. I haven’t confirmed the date yet, but it’s looking like Thursday, March 14th. I will share all the information once I confirm the date with the Brewery.

I think the most difficult part of this process is deciding what I’m going to paint! If you have any ideas, let me know! The best part of teaching this class? I get to paint something different that I may have never painted otherwise. It’s a fun break from my usual style. I may end up painting some landscapes for the fun of it too! 😜

I’m getting settled into my home studio for now. I’m in temporary space until we have time to build my home studio, probably not until this Summer. I am participating in the Silver City Studio Tour coming up the first weekend of May, so I have lots of work to prepare for that. On top of preparing my own studio I am the Event Coordinator for the Tour. I am coordinating the advertising, promotion, event reception and meetings leading up to the event. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing art community!

Facing Defeat

In a manner of speaking anyway. I really wanted to make that huge, cool commercial space work for my studio. So much so that I let it become an obsession past the point of it making any sense. Yesterday was my realization day. A building filled with smoke hit me like the sign from the Universe I believe it was meant to be. Not that a clogged stove pipe is such a tragedy, it can be cleaned. It was the meltdown that followed that made me realize I was fighting a useless uphill battle that I didn’t want to fight anymore. I have a beautiful home in the Mimbres Valley with gorgeous views and plenty of room to make and store art.

My new studio, the whole building is all mine!
I’m giving up the dream studio!

At the point where I completely lost it, my sweet husband showed up for his lunch break. He calmed me down and suggested I make a pros/cons list to help make my decision easier. I have never been good at making decisions. I’m super wishy washy when it comes to having to chose one thing over the other. Thank goodness for my sweetie who always makes sense of my chaos.

I decided first, to go home to make my list. I needed to be in a place where I could breathe. A smoky room doesn’t really fulfill that need! After making the list it was very obvious what my decision should be. Funny thing is, it was the opposite choice from what I THOUGHT I wanted, but as soon as I saw it on the page? It was like a two ton weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt some relief from the anxiety and depression I’ve been feeling for over a month now.

I have a habit of putting undue pressure on myself. I’ve always held myself to this ridiculous standard that no one could ever achieve. I’m done. Time to love myself and let myself go with the flow for a change!

Photography

As long as I can remember, I’ve had a camera for taking photos. I got my first camera when I was 8 years old. My mom graduated from college that year and she received a 35mm camera for a graduation gift. I inherited her old 110 camera. Obviously, this was back in the film only days. I took photos of my life, friends, animals, scenery.

Sunrise in Mimbres
“Sunrise in Mimbres”, one of my favorites!

My maternal grampy was also a photographer. He was mainly a portrait photographer, his photos were of family, but he sometimes took photos for friend’s life events as well. I always loved his portraits, in fact, I painted a portrait of myself as a 2 year old using one of his photos for reference.

“Grampy’s Girl”, watercolor on paper, not a great photo, it was taken with my very first digital camera which was less than 1mp and cost over $500 at the time! (Around 2000)

In my first year of college at NMSU, I took a photography class so I could learn how to develop my own film. I had already spent time in my grampy’s dark room, but I was too young at the time to learn from him. My most vivid memory of his darkroom was the day I made the mistake of running out into his print shop and ran right into a paper cutter with my forehead. I had to be taken to the ER for a few stitches that day. I was 6.

“Desert Textures” poster, 11×19″ on paper

Back to that first year of college, I had originally signed up to be an art major, but after a boring Art 101 class and a very cool photography class, I switched to Photojournalism. About midway through that year, I decided to join the Army and my goal was to become an Army photographer. Unfortunately, that job was rare and I would have had to wait years to get it. Being the impatient person I am, I ended up giving up on that goal.

Sunrise in Mimbres II
“Sunrise in Mimbres II”, the sky is so gorgeous where we live!

While I was away at Basic Training, my husband (now ex!) decided to sell my 35mm camera given to me by my mom. He had a drug problem, he also sold my car! Needless to say, it was a while before I had a camera again. I honestly don’t remember when I finally bought my next camera, but I know it was years. I remember using those cheap disposable cameras at the time. I was heartbroken over the loss of my fancy camera, and went back to my art. A pencil and piece of paper were much cheaper.

"Reflection"
“Reflection”

Fast forward to now, and I still don’t have a good 35mm camera. I use my ipad to take photos, for now! My sweetie has promised to buy me a new digital camera soon. Even so, the ipad takes really good photos. I love all the functionality of it. “Live” photos, video, looping, etc.

Golden Moss
“Golden Moss”, my latest addition to the Textures series.

I have recently had several people ask me about purchasing my photos. I sold my photography in my etsy shop years ago, but haven’t really thought about it again until someone asked. It doesn’t hurt that I live in this gorgeous place where it’s super easy to get a GREAT shot! Needless to say, I will start selling my photography again this year.

Garden Gate
“Garden Gate” my favorite part of the garden to photograph, it’s like the entry into the Secret Garden!

The plan is to release a photography portfolio of 10-20 images to start. It will be a part of my Spring 2019 Portfolio. Most will be landscape and skyscape photos, but I will most likely include my “Texture” series of abstract detail photos I released several years ago. There are two posters of images, one of “Desert Textures” and the other of “SW Forest Textures”. If you have followed me for years, you may remember them! I can envision doing more “Texture” photos in the future, they were so much fun!

Stone and Sky
“Stone and Sky” landscape in the Gila Wilderness

Some people have commented on my photos that they would make great paintings, and though this may be true, I see my paintings and photographs as totally unrelated. I see photography as an art in itself. I used to paint landscapes and it frustrated me. Mainly because it’s impossible to improve on nature, so why try? Not that I don’t completely appreciate a gorgeous landscape painting, but it’s not for me.

This is just a small sampling of photos I intend to make available for purchase. Stay tuned for more, coming soon! You can subscribe to my blog above, or go to http://www.paulamanninglewis.com and sign up for my email list to make sure you get my updates!

Abstract

I have always loved abstract art. I’ve attempted to paint in an abstract style for years, but never felt I did it right until these five paintings. When I started the 20 plus canvases this Summer, my goal was to paint them all completely abstract with no recognizable objects. No suns or flowers, just pure abstraction. I ended up going in several different directions. These five stayed true to my original intention. Several wandered back to my spiral abstract series style with the mandala effect. Six became my new Energy series that I wrote about in my last blog post. Plus a handful of heart/love related paintings.

This one is still a work in progress, 12 x 12" oil on canvas

This one is still a work in progress, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas

I have one that is still a work in progress. Somehow it slipped by when I was finishing up the Fall Portfolio. Not sure how it will be completed, I suspect it’s very close to finished in it’s current state.

Landscape with Rain, 12x12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

Landscape with Rain, 12×12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Landscape with rain” was painted in my home studio, looking out over the Mimbres Valley. The clouds were settled in to the valley and it rained daily. Though I meant this to be a pure abstract, looking at it now, I can see the hills and clouds and rain. It feels like Summer rain to me.

"Balanced", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“Balanced”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“Balanced” was done after I moved in to my new studio in Santa Clara. I called it balanced because I felt it was the closest to my original goal for this group of paintings. A Pure Abstract painting. It started as a scribble and the colors were filled in with pure intuition. It was one of those paintings that felt perfect and great as I was making it. It flowed from a place of pure inspiration. Al

"All I Speak is Love", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“All I Speak is Love”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“All I Speak is Love” was inspired by a song written and performed by a musician friend. Alison Reynolds is an incredible song writer and musician in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This painting was specifically inspired by her song, 3 Monkeys. Give it a listen!

"Eye of the Storm", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Eye of the Storm”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Eye of the Storm” was started in August at my home studio. In the midst of above average rainfall, storms were on the mind when this painting was started. We had some intense thunderstorms with spectacular lightning shows. Someone on social media pointed out the eye in the middle and it stuck. Not easy to paint a pure abstract without someone seeing something represented! 😉

I definitely see more pure abstracts coming in the future. I love concentrating more on the colors and composition of the brush strokes. Not thinking about whether it “looks like” anything. Stay tuned for more! If you want to get notice when I paint more, subscribe to my email list and get regular updates on new paintings, blog posts and studio sales! My Small Business Saturday Sale is coming up THIS WEEK!

 

 

 

Hiking the Gila: Rocky Canyon

Tree holding rock

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

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

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!

Small ledge cave hidden in the rock canyon

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.

Faces in the rocks

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!

Painted rocks

This rock wall looked painted, but it is actually the colors left from water streaming down the Canyon walls.

 

Feeling Isolated

New canvas has arrived!

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

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!

Oh and friendly reminder! Your 2019 Paula Manning-Lewis Art Calendar is now available for purchase on my website!

 

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