Category Archives: goals

Burst of Energy!

Latest abstract painting in progress

Latest 12×12″ abstract oil painting in progress

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 oil painting

“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 12x12" oil painting in progress

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

“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. 🙂

Rain, Rain, go away!

12x12

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

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.

One of 3, 12x12

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.

12x12

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!

Seven to go!

Finished yesterday, 12x12" oil on canvas, still untitled.

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, 12x12

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 12x12

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!

Finishing up

photo of Wild Heart oil on canvas

“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

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

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!

20x20" work in progress, this one is getting really close!

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! ❤

Current 12x12" work in progress, detail

Current 12×12″ work in progress, detail

Progress This Week…

I’m enjoying my new studio and getting back to a regular painting routine. I’ve been working on a couple of 20×20″ oil paintings over the last few weeks and I do believe they are finished! For sure one of them, not completely sure on the second. lol.

“Emanate”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, available soon!

The first one finished is the second painting started. While painting the first I had an idea I wanted to try out, just not on that painting. So I started another! This is the third painting where I’ve used this idea. The idea is many streams/brushstrokes/waves of color coming out from the middle of the painting. The idea behind it is energy. The idea that energy emanates from the core of a person, from our heart center. It’s not necessarily a scientific idea, more of a spiritual thought.

I hate trying to describe my ideas with words, but I’m pushing myself to get better at doing just that. Most of my ideas come straight out of my wondering brain. Some days from meditation, some days they just pop up while I’m “in the zone” and painting.

20x20" oil on canvas, still in progress?

20×20″ oil on canvas, still in progress?

Pushing myself to paint in a more abstract style makes it even more difficult to describe with words. I don’t really think Abstract work should be explained. It should evoke different feelings in different viewers. IMHO anyway. As a viewer of art, do you CARE what the artist was thinking or what their ideas were? I’m serious, these are things I wonder about! I would love to hear your opinion!

This week is my annual Summer Studio Clearance Sale. I have 40 original paintings available at 30% off. The discount has already been taken on my website. You can get another 20% off if you sign up for my email list on my website.

Summer Sale starts Friday!

One of my current 20x20" oil paintings in progress

One of my current 20×20″ oil paintings in progress

Now that I have my huge new studio, I’ve been able to get all of my available art out and hanging on the walls. I have over 30 original pieces that will be available in my annual Summer Studio Clearance Sale, starting THIS Friday! The sale will be exclusively on my WEBSITE. Go to the website now and sign up for my email list. Everyone on my email list gets a coupon code for an extra 20% off the already 30% discounted prices on my website, for a total discount of 50% off! I will send out reminders about the sale to my email list as well. The sale runs September 7-14th.

I’ve been working on a couple of 20 x 20″ oil paintings the past couple of weeks. I didn’t get much done on the paintings last week as I was busy moving into my new studio. I’m working on a couple of ideas that came from several of the smaller paintings I was working on over the Summer. I may end up with a series from these ideas. I love it when an idea plays out over several paintings like that! It gives me a starting point for my next painting.

Another 20x20" oil painting in progress

Another 20×20″ oil painting in progress

I still need to order a few large canvases so I can try the ideas out on a larger scale. It’s been so long since I’ve had the space to work larger than 30×30″. I’m thinking I will start with a couple of 4 foot square canvases. Other than murals, I haven’t painted that big since I had a van! It’s very important when painting large that you have a vehicle with the capacity to carry your art. Lol. I’m currently storing a couple of my larger paintings at my mom’s house in Albuquerque, because I couldn’t fit them into my station wagon.

The plan is to get a truck by the end of the month. Living out in the country, we definitely need to have two vehicles for so many reasons. There’s the fact that we have to haul our own trash. Aaron and I are no longer working together everyday, so we need separate cars for commuting. There was that week we had to rent a car while our Subaru was having a new clutch put in. Of course, most importantly, I need to be able to transport large canvases! 😉

 

My Latest Studio

What I'm currently working on, 20x20

What I’m currently working on, 20×20″ abstract oil painting in progress

Friday afternoon I signed the lease for my new art studio. After 5 months of working in my home studio, there is no doubt in my mind. I need a studio outside of the house! While I LOVE our new house, I’m going stir crazy being in the house all the time. Not only that, but it’s very hard to separate work time from off time.

All that said, I’ve not had an easy time finding a studio in our new location. I wanted a studio in downtown Silver City, but it wasn’t meant to be. Recently, I dropped Aaron off at Central Elementary in Santa Clara where he teaches. As I was driving back out to the highway, I noticed a commercial building for rent on the main street. As a matter of fact, it is on the corner of the two main roads into Santa Clara. The sign said For Rent with a possibility of buying with a small down payment.

My new studio, the whole building is all mine!

My new studio, the whole building is all mine!

Of course, I took down the number and figured I would call later. I thought about it for a week or so. Aaron and I talked about it. I really wasn’t thrilled about taking a studio outside of Silver City, but Santa Clara is closer to Mimbres and it is also closer to the schools where Aaron teaches.

I finally decided to call on the building last week and we met the owner on Thursday so we could see the inside of the building. The outside of the building has been renovated. Fortunately for me, the inside is still unfinished. I say fortunately, because that is the fact that makes the rent affordable! I have agreed to do the finish work on the inside in return for cheap rent. The other benefit being any money we put into finishing the inside will be applied to our down payment when/if we decide to buy the building. I’m pretty sure we will purchase it. I would love to stay here forever. I’ve moved my studio over 20 times in 20+ years. I’m ready to stay somewhere.

Looking in from the front door

Looking in from the front door

The inside is HUGE! The one main room has 10 foot ceilings and measures 24 x 28 feet. I can paint BIG here! The framing, electrical and plumbing work has been done inside with a small bathroom, office and two storage rooms. Basically, I have to do the insulation, dry wall, flooring and install bathroom fixtures. There are also a couple of windows needed.

One of my favorite things about this building is all the empty wall space on the outside. I will definitely paint several murals in the future. I’ve now reconciled the fact that my studio will be outside of Silver City. I once promised myself I would never have a retail gallery again. This location makes that promise much easier to keep! lol! I do plan to participate in the local open studio tour and we will probably have an event or two a year, but this space will mainly be a working art studio. And storage! Lots and lots of storage!

Looking out the front door from the back

Looking out the front door from the back

I need to go order some LARGE canvases now! Stay tuned… 🙂

Back to work!

Window in to the past, Gila cliff dwellings

Window in to the past, Gila cliff dwellings

Summer break is officially over now. Aaron went back to work yesterday. We had company visiting, so I’m starting back today. I haven’t painted on canvas since June, but I did paint the house! We spent Aaron’s Summer break working on the house and exploring our new home. We hiked many miles and found some really beautiful areas. Mountain streams, lava flows, old dead trees, and an abundance of birds and wildlife. I probably took a couple hundred photos! We are settled in now and enjoying our new home to it’s fullest. I’m grateful to be living the dream!

Dusty hiking

Dusty hiking in Spring Canyon

I keep going back and forth about keeping my studio here at home or finding a place in town (Silver City) to rent. After searching town and making a few calls, it seems there isn’t much available and what is available is a bit overpriced. For now, I’ve decided to keep my studio at home.

On the scaffolding, painting the back side of the house

On the scaffolding, painting the back side of the house

With all the hiking trails in the area, I’ve decided to start blogging about our hikes on a regular basis. My goal is to blog 2 times per week. One will be about hiking the Gila and the other will be my art update for the week. Fingers crossed I can accomplish this goal! Our internet connection is spotty out here, so it will depend on how reliable it is on the days I blog.

View from atop the Black Range Crest Trail

View from atop the Black Range Crest Trail, this trail goes through a forest fire area from the Silver fire in 2013

Hiking is a walking meditation for me. There is nothing more calming or inspiring. My footsteps and breathing create a rhythm that takes me to another plane of perception. The trick is keeping that perception after the hike is over. Most of the time, it leaves as soon as I hop back in the car after a hike. My wish is to get to a point where I can keep that feeling while sitting here in my studio.

On the trail

On the trail

During our hikes I have been thinking a lot about writing. Words flow to me during my hiking meditations and I would love to get this flow down into words. That is what I’m working on. As a visual artist, words can be difficult. Putting what I see into words is not an easy task.

Another view from the Black Range Crest Trail

Another view from the Black Range Crest Trail

That said, the urge to write is becoming stronger than my aversion to writing.
I don’t know that what I have to write/say is important to the world in general, but it’s important to me and perhaps someone else will get something from it too.

View from the CDT trail

View from the CDT trail

Turkey Creek, Gila National Forest

photo of turkey creek

Shadows play on the surface of the water

This past Sunday was mine and Aaron’s 21st wedding anniversary. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the Turkey Creek Hot Springs trail. Turkey Creek feeds in to the Gila River, or at least it must when there is more water. Either that, or the creek goes underground at some point. The creek bed is currently dry by the time it gets down to the river, but after a couple of creek crossings, the water was flowing quite well. Lots of deep pools for soaking feet!

hidden windmill

It took a while, but we finally spotted the windmill that marks the trail head!

On our way out past the windmill

On our way out past the windmill

The road in is not for the faint of heart! It is a 14 mile drive in from Hwy 180. At about mile 8 the pavement ends and a few miles later the road starts winding it’s way up and over a tall “hill” or what some people call a mountain. The road is narrow, bumpy and there are no guardrails. We drive roads like this all the time, but this is one of the more scary roads we’ve been on. The drop offs at the top are almost straight down! 4 wheel drive or AWD with high clearance definitely recommended!

photo of Turkey creek

Turkey Creek, so pretty!

All that said, the scary drive is well worth the end destination! Aaron’s mom asked why we drive roads like that if they are so scary? Because the reward on the other side is SO worth it! It’s not easy to find the trail head, even with a trail book of directions. There are lots of four wheel drive roads, more like a maze of roads surrounding the Gila River. We had to park a mile or so away from the trail head. Even though we drive an AWD Subaru, the river is quite deep in some spots, so we decided crossing in the car was not a good idea.

turkey creek

Who knew there could be such a beautiful desert oasis hidden in these desert mountains!

Crossing the river by foot is quite refreshing at this time of the year! It was 94 degrees the day we were out there and the cool water felt lovely. After four river crossings, we wandered around a bit, looking for the trail head. There is an old private homestead with a windmill hidden in the trees. This is where the trail begins. Unfortunately for us, after making our way through the maze of roads and backtracking to finally find the trail head, we didn’t have enough time or energy to make it all the way to the hot springs. According to our trail book, the springs are another 3 miles up from the windmill. We made it up about 2 of the 3 miles.

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

Now that we know where we’re going, we hope to make it all the way up to the hot springs next time. We weren’t too disappointed though, considering how hot it was! The cool water in the creek and river were refreshing and more than enough for this trek.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

I’m planning on getting back to blogging twice a week. One blog will be about our latest hiking adventure and the other will be about my art. Subscribe to my blog above if you would like to be notified when I post a new blog. You may also want to go to my website and sign up for my email list to get more updates about my art and where our latest explorations have taken us!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

Inspiring Surroundings

work in progress 12 x 12

#7 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

It’s been a great week for art! I’ve painted every day this week! Yay! Starting to work the rust out and the ideas are flowing. My new surroundings are inspiring as hell! I look out the windows of my new studio and it still feels like a dream. It IS a dream, a living, breathing, dream! Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.

work in progress 12 x 12

#6 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

I’m feeling the love, so why not paint a few hearts? I’m digging the idea and what’s coming out of it. I have seven paintings in various stages of progress. A couple may already be done, not sure yet. The hearts are the most recent.

work in progress 12 x 12

#5 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

The photos in this post are in order from most recent to least recent.

work in progress 12 x 12

#4 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

I’m playing with the paints, trying out new things.  My goal is to play, not get attached to any outcome, just let it flow. These are sketches in paint. Idea generators. Inspiration.

work in progress 12 x 12

#3 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

I can feel my inspiration pushing me to evolve my style into something different. I guess it’s always evolving from painting to painting. This feels bigger.

work in progress 12 x 12

#2 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

I’ve already started putting more layers of paint on the canvas. Creating more depth, more mystery. Transparent layers showing a hint of what lies behind.

work in progress 12 x 12

#1 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas

More progress photos and posts to come! Thank you for visiting my blog! 🙂