Category Archives: my story

The Sun and the Moon

I painted my latest mural this past Sunday and Monday. I’m so excited about this one! I’m calling it “The Sun and the Moon” and I think it’s the best mural I’ve painted to date. I painted it for my brother and his wife. They had a neighbor build a new cinder block wall bordering their driveway, and they thought it needed some color! It was definitely my most ambitious mural yet, at 33 x 5.5′ feet!

I’m considering making prints of this one, it would have to be a triptych as the wall is too long to get it all in one photo. I tried taking a panoramic shot, but hard to do on a sloping driveway! What do you think? Or maybe I will do a smaller canvas version of it?

As with my other murals, I filmed the process and created a time lapse video to share with y’all. I think the time lapse videos are my favorite part, as I get to watch the progress too! It’s a different perspective for me as I don’t get to stand back and watch while I’m painting.

The music on the video is written and performed by my brother, Travis James Manning. He is a lifelong musician and currently plays in two bands, as well as playing solo acoustic shows in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM

Enjoy the video, share the video, comment on the video… any of these activities is greatly appreciated! Thank you for your continued support! πŸ™‚

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It’s All Too Much

Back to my studio today after working all weekend and taking Mon/Tues off instead. Attempted working on my self portrait, deadline is coming up soon.

Not happening.

So much hate, fear , disaster, death, anger, murder etc in the world. I am a highly sensitive person. I feel the emotions of the collective consciousness all around me.

We are all in despair.

Why are humans such a hateful race? I’m so directionless right now. I don’t know what to do, or say. It’s just depressing.

I have tried for years to spread love with my art. Painting the feelings of love the only way I know how. It’s what I know, what I can do now.

I am conscious of the way I treat other people. I smile at everyone I pass on the street.

I don’t understand why people are so quick to defend their right to own guns, when their is so much death and despair all around them. Defending a piece of paper written almost 200 years ago. Do those people want to be happy too?

Random thoughts going through my mind today. I can’t make sense of anything, so why try? I’m not personally depressed, but I can feel the heavy weight of sadness blanketing the planet.

Mother Earth is sad too. No, she’s angry. She’s tired of the abuse, tired of the sadness. She knows the cause of her pain, it’s US. HUMANS.

It’s very difficult for me to continue as an artist at times like this. I feel like nothing I do contributes to the betterment of society. Painting is more than therapeutic for me, but how does it help others? My hope is that people look at my work and FEEL THE LOVE.

I don’t know what else to do.

 

More Background work

work in progress, Veteran self portrait

Work in Progress, the white area is the space reserved for my self portrait.

Not much new to share today, except a little progress on my current painting! πŸ˜‰ Still working on the background, I really want to get to that portrait, but background first! Still going back and forth on whether I will paint the portrait or draw it. I may combine the two and paint the portrait in black and white. What do YOU think? Seriously, I’m curious! πŸ™‚

FYI, Friendly reminder, News Flash! In case you don’t already know, I’m having a Summer Studio Clearance Sale on my website right now! The sale ends on Friday, the 22nd of September, one week from tomorrow! 50% off select paintings and prints! AND, if you sign up for my email list, you will get a 20% off coupon for your next purchase of regularly priced paintings and prints!

Self Portrait for Veterans Day

Work in progress, self portrait painting for November Veteran's day show, 20 x 20

Work in progress, self portrait painting for November Veteran’s day show, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas

Last week I posted about my latest inspiration in this post. I worked on a couple of self portrait sketches last week and decided that I would, in fact, change the painting I’m working on for the Veteran’s Day show, into a self portrait. My second sketch came out much more satisfactory than the first.

Second self portrait sketch, good to go!

Second self portrait sketch, good to go!

It has literally been over a decade since I painted a portrait in oils or drawn in pencil for that matter. I stopped because painting portrait commissions was very stressful. Getting a likeness is one thing, but it’s impossible to make a portrait that matches what someone “thinks” they look like. Though I stopped taking portrait commissions, I have always enjoyed painting portraits. Self portraits are not as stressful for obvious reasons. I KNOW what I look like and what I “think” I look like, and there is absolutely no pressure there.

Today, I blocked out the silhouette in the foreground of my latest spiral abstract painting. The background will continue on as intended. The idea behind this self portrait is specifically about my time as a soldier in the US Army and how it changed my perception from childhood to adulthood. My once eager, patriotic mind was twisted and turned more cynical once my time was served. I became an advocate for peace and love, after being sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier and after seeing families torn apart because of war. I became even more peace minded after seeing my son’s generation of soldiers come home in pieces, physically and mentally, after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The spirals of red, blue and yellow surrounded by stars and eventually, stripes, is a representation of the flag after the twisting and turning. I use yellow instead of white to represent the staining of young hearts, forever changed by war. These torn souls will never know the innocence of childhood again. It’s not my usual happy go lucky inspiration, but it’s real. It’s my truth.

Did you say Self-Portrait?

Yes I did. I had a very creative outburst on Saturday night. Stayed up until 3 am to write and work on my “Paula Beck Story” art book. I tried to sleep but my muse wasn’t having it. At first it was one little idea, so I got out my small bedside notebook and started writing. After 3-4 pages I realized I needed to get to the computer so I could type. The words were coming faster than I could write them long hand with a pen and paper.

One of my flashes of inspiration came as the idea to do a self portrait in pencil as a special edition print to go with my art book. That turned into a self portrait in oils of me as a young Private in the Army, in front of one of my spiral paintings. In particular, the red, yellow and blue painting I’m working on for the Face-Palm Patriots show in November. It could turn into a series, who knows?

first pencil sketch

self portrait, pencil sketch

I started practicing a little portrait sketching today. It’s been over a decade since I’ve drawn or painted a portrait. I used to paint portrait commissions for a living. Painting someone else for a commission is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done as an artist. I had to stop.

Self-portraits on the other hand. Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. Need I say more? I think I may be starting my Frida phase as an artist. Only time will tell. I’m kinda into this idea. Stay tuned!

Replenishing My Creative Reserves

One of the many drawings I did for my historic building series. This is one of my "Paula Beck Prints" images, Copyright 1991.

One of the many drawings I did for my historic building series. This is one of my “Paula Beck Prints” images, Copyright 1991.

I haven’t had any creative time this week. No new paintings in progress to show today. I’m replenishing my creative reserves and will be ready to get back to painting, probably tomorrow! I’ve been editing my story and taking photos of my old images from the early 1990s. The image above is one of many.

I’ve been negotiating a contract with a management/publishing company the past week or so, hoping to get that finished up soon. Emailing lawyers. Working on building my email list. Editing and posting my latest time lapse video. Writing, editing and sending out my end of the month email. Writing blogs. Sold a painting on my website. Visited the hospital. Lots of the “other” stuff going on in my life right now.

I drove for Uber yesterday, encountered my first unpleasant person, a racist, who was shockingly polite and asked me if I minded the N word! UMMMMM, YEAH, was my answer. I was shocked by the question. I was very happy to get him to his destination and out of my car!

In other news, I have been invited to participate in a group show at a new gallery in Downtown Albuquerque. The owner is an artist friend of mine. “Face-Palm Patriots” is an art show of works by Veteran Artists and donations will be raised for Heroes Walk Among Us, an Albuquerque organization working to get homeless vets off the streets and improve their lives. Helping homeless Veterans is one of my most important causes I give time and money to. My personal opinion is that NO Veteran should ever be homeless! They have served our country and they deserve to be treated as heroes. I am also a Veteran, so they are my brothers and sisters too.

The show is happening at the KD Neeley Gallery at 104 4th St NW, Albuquerque and the date of the opening is Veterans day, Saturday, November 11th, 7-10pm. I will show a few pieces at this gallery for the months of September and October as well. πŸ™‚ Please stop by and see Katie and tell her Paula sent you! My art work will be there next month. πŸ™‚

This Saturday is the day I pick up my paintings from the NM Cancer Center show (minus any paintings that sold), and some of those will go straight over to Katie’s gallery in Downtown.

Also, a reminder, I still have my latest guitar painting and vinyl record art hanging at the Sierra Club office here in Albuquerque. I have it on my “to do” list to get those pieces posted on my website for sale. 30% of sales will benefit the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, until the end of that show, September 30th.

That’s all my news for now, hope you have a great weekend! Sign up for my email list at www.PaulaManningLewis.com and get exclusive access to my Summer Sale page for 50% off select paintings, recycled vinyl and prints!

Blast from the Past!

I’m getting back to work this week. I think my husband and I were in shock after his uncle’s motorcycle accident. It’s taken over a week to snap out of it and get back to our routine. Aaron’s uncle is still in ICU, but he is healing, slowly. Aaron still visits the hospital everyday, I go every so often. It’s so difficult to see someone in that condition, my empathetic self has a very hard time with it. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must be going through, not to mention his kids and wife and the rest of the family.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Back in the studio. I’m working on an art book of my “Paula Beck Prints” pieces from the early 1990s. I’m also negotiating a contract with a local management/publishing company to represent my art and specifically this book.

Sevier Station pencil drawing

“Sevier Station”, one of the first drawings I did as Paula Beck. Part of the Historical Building series I did in the Tennessee/Kentucky area around Clarksville, TN and Hopkinsville, KY.

I’ve been going through all the old images in my flat file and came across an envelope I had almost forgotten I had! Back in the early 1990s when I started selling my art, it was still that period in history when people wrote letters and sent things by what we now call “snail mail”. LOL! Luckily for me, my dad was pretty sentimental and he saved all of the art prints, photocopies, postcards and newspaper clippings I sent him. I found it after he passed away while cleaning out his things. Nine years later, I have rediscovered that envelope and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

I’m working on photographing and editing all those images from the past. There are about 25 of the historical building drawings I did in 1990-91. The newspaper clippings are from the very first two art shows I did in Clarksville, Tennessee. This was my first year after leaving the military at Fort Campbell.

"Abraham Lincoln", part of my Civil War series.

“Abraham Lincoln”, part of my Civil War series. I did portraits of Lincoln, Gen. Grant, Jefferson Davis and Gen. Forrest

I’m going to stop there. For more of the story you will have to wait for my book! πŸ˜‰ I hope to have it finished by the end of September, but it may be longer than that before it’s published. I plan to share excerpts here leading up to the release.