Category Archives: my story

Where have you been?

"Burning up for your love" guitar painting

Varnished, whole and ready to show! “Burning up for your love”, acrylic on solid Fender body, Available “as is” for $1,000. Price will go up once all the parts are added.

My solo show at the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club opens this Friday, 6-8pm. Tomorrow morning the show will be hung and ready to go! Today I took the guitar and neck to the guitar shop for connection. I’m excited about finishing up my first playable art guitar! It will be shown this month, as is, but after the August show comes down this guitar will get all it’s pick ups, tuning pegs and knobs, wiring, etc. Then it will be ready to be PLAYED! Until then, I had Aaron model the guitar for me, he’s a natural! 😉

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! ;-)

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! 😉

We went camping last week, in case you were wondering why there were no blog posts. We spent a few days with my brother and sister in law at the lake. They just got their boat up and running for the first time in YEARS, so we had to take it out for a test run! I had forgotten how much I love to swim! It was hotter than hell, but the water was PERFECT!

good times at the lake!

Me with (l to r), my brother Travis, Aaron and our SIL, Charlene.

After 3 days at the lake, I came home to a request from a local architect friend of ours. His firm, Design Group, is building a playhouse for Parade of Playhouses, an auction gala to benefit local non profit, NM Appleseed. His request was for my contribution to their playhouse project, in the form of painting a set of wooden gears that will be on the wall of the playhouse. The theme of the house is Dr. Suess. I was given the gears, a color scheme and the theme and this is what I ended up with. I am always happy to contribute my art work to good causes and NM Appleseed is a good one. From their website, “Focusing on issues like hunger, education and homelessness, New Mexico Appleseed’s goal is to make systemic change that yields permanent or long term improvement for the poor and under served.”

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

How on Earth did that get there?

Photo of the print found in the wall!

Photo of the print found in the wall!

I get emails from people quite often about my Paula Beck prints created in the beginning of my art career. 1991-1995 to be exact. Even after I posted THIS blog, I still get interesting emails about people finding my prints in their parent’s estates/storage, or an antique mall, etc etc.

The email I received this week definitely takes the cake! A man from Ingram, Tx explained that he had found one of my art prints thumb tacked to an EXTERIOR wall and UNDER the insulation while he was remodeling. The strangeness doesn’t end there. He sent me a photo of the print(see above) and someone had colored it in! The funny thing about that is the print is a black and white drawing of a BLACK AND WHITE piece of pottery. It was never meant to be in color. lol! This gentleman asked if I had any idea how or why it was hidden in the wall. I have no idea, but boy am I intrigued!

Any ideas on how on Earth this print ended up hidden in a wall? I’d love to hear your theories! I often wonder about my art and where it ends up, after all, I have well over 30,000 pieces of art out there in the world! I know for a fact my art has traveled much more extensively than I probably ever will! I never in a million years would have considered this scenario!

What are you so angry about?

I usually like to keep my posts about the art, but I recently had an epiphany and felt the need to share. I have been angry most of my adult life. Not that I ran around angry all the time, but it was always there, boiling just beneath the surface. I always blamed it on other people and their behavior. My ex, my family, people in traffic, etc, etc.

Since 2007, I’ve been on a search for inner peace. It’s been a long decade of reading tons of self help books, learning to meditate daily, creating art from my soul and self care. I’ve lost several friends along the way. Mainly because they weren’t comfortable with my changes and the fact that I was now standing up for myself. They didn’t like the “healthy” Paula.

I once had a shaman tell me that some people are like rocks in a backpack. Sometimes on the trail of life, we have to empty the rocks out of our backpack so we can lighten our load and be happy. Let’s just say my backpack was HEAVY with rocks. Not just people, but situations, memories and regrets. However, even after I dropped the rocks on the side of the trail, the anger was still there.

It’s been a long road and I finally feel like I’m moving on to the next decade of my life. The epiphany happened recently, after watching a video on facebook, of all places! Here’s the link: I highly recommend you WATCH this video!
https://www.facebook.com/comedien.voix.doublage/videos/10206832718043784/?hc_ref=OTHER&pnref=story

After I watched it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s so crazy obvious to me now! I have been angry at my 15 year old self for DECADES! I have been mad at myself for all the stupid choices I made, for not just saying NO to that 17 year old boy who got me pregnant. First of all, NO to sex, and then later, NO to marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that happened in my life HAD to happen. If not, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That said, I’ve been carrying this anger around all this time. All the resentment for how my life “could’ve” been or “should’ve” been.

It is what it is.

How can I still be angry at that young girl who was just looking for love and attention? I can’t. The fire has been extinguished. The anger is now sadness. Not a depressed sadness, but a melancholy sadness for all the anger I inflicted on my family and friends and everyone around me.

BUT, it’s OK! I finally GET IT! Now I move on to forgiveness. I have often wondered why, after forgiving literally EVERYONE who ever did me wrong, why was I STILL angry? It’s time to forgive myself. It’s time to tell that 15 year old girl that still lives within me, you’re ok, you’re loved, you’re FORGIVEN.

I will leave you with a work in progress, “The Best of Everything”.

"The Best of Everything", acrylic on 12" vinyl record, work in progress

“The Best of Everything”, acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, work in progress

How to Make an Artist Smile?

I just finished another vinyl record painting for my show next month at the Sierra Club here in Albuquerque. I made a shortened time lapse video for it, started about half way through. Once again, the music is an original composition by my husband, Aaron M. Lewis. I have 3 more to finish by the end of July. The new records won’t be available for purchase until the show, but you can see more of my record paintings on my WEBSITE.

I am gearing up for a Summer Art Clearance Sale this week. I’m putting up special pages on my website for the sale and there is only one way you can get that special link. Go to my website, www.PaulaManningLewis.com, and sign up on my email list. The sale will run through the rest of the Summer, but sign up now! There will be original paintings, prints, coloring books, art pillows and dolls. I’m clearing out the studio to make room for new work. I don’t have enough storage space to keep everything. Everything on sale will be 50% off!

This past Saturday was the reception for my mural painting at Sandy and Jeff’s house. Not a lot of people showed up, but one couple has told me they want a mural at their house too. That was just enough to make me smile! Hoping to get started on that one after I get everything done for the August show. Once it cools off a little! Stay tuned for more on that! 🙂

What to do with old Vinyl?

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

For the love of God, don’t ever paint on a priceless vinyl record! Check that stuff out BEFORE you paint on a record worth lots of money! I don’t have to worry about that. I ONLY paint on records that I or anyone else for that matter should NEVER listen to ever again! lol. Seriously though. I have blogged before about my dad’s record collection. I inherited it 9 years ago when my dad passed away. There were originally over 40,000 vinyl disks. In the 9 years since the first move of records to our house, we have moved said records another 7-8 times, at least. Last year, we sold a big bulk of the collection. 30,000 45 single records. We didn’t get near what I would think they were worth, but they did take the ENTIRE 45 collection. It was quite the load off, seriously, those things are NOT light! They are bulky and heavy and only have two songs per record! We never listened to them. We like albums. We are now going through the albums (about 8,000) to see what we will listen to and what we will never listen to. Everything gets at least one full listen, unless it’s REALLY bad! There is always the GONG option if either Aaron or I feel the need to stop the torture. Long story short, THOSE are the records I paint on!

vinyl record painting in progress

vinyl record painting in progress

I’m currently working on a new vinyl record painting. Actually, I’m working on a group of them for my show at the Sierra Club in August. This one is getting very close to finished. Recycled art is my favorite. It’s guilt free. It’s a dilemma I face as an artist. I am very conscious of my carbon footprint on the planet. I do what I can. I make recycled art whenever I have the chance, from my recycled vinyl paintings, to recycled guitar art and painting over old paintings. I guess I overcompensate in my life by not having a lot of other stuff. I often joke that I could easily live in a tiny house, as long as my studio is separate and LARGE.

How Does an Artist Support a Cause?

There are many ways to do this, but they all involve ART! I donate to several causes throughout the year. Either by donating a piece for a silent auction or by giving a percentage of sales to the cause. This Summer I’m helping a couple GREAT causes!

Strat guitar painting

My latest recycled guitar painting. This will also be my first PLAYABLE guitar painting once it’s done! Showing at the Sierra Club in August.

If you’ve been following the blog, you know I currently have 22 pieces showing at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery With a Cause until August 25th. 40% of the sales will benefit the NMCC Foundation. This wonderful foundation helps cancer patients cover non-medical expenses while they are in treatment. Great cause, right?! I’m honored to be included in such an amazing show with over 20 other awesome artists. You can see the pieces I have in the show on the NMCC Gallery With a Cause website. If you see something you like, just give them a call and they will handle the sale. You can also buy direct from my website and the 40% will still be donated to the cause.

Another cause near and dear to me is the environment, our wilderness areas and public lands. I regularly donate to the Sierra Club because I feel we need to protect our Mother Earth. From the Sierra Club, Rio Grande Chapter website:

The Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club is a volunteer-led organization representing more than 7,000 members in New Mexico and West Texas. Our mission is to explore, enjoy and protect the planet, and we prioritize action on protecting our climate, clean air, clean water, and conservation of wildlife and public lands in New Mexico and West Texas.”

Recycled Vinyl Record Painting

Recycled Vinyl Record painting, finished today, this one will also be shown at the Sierra Club in August.

I am showing my art at the local Albuquerque offices of the Sierra Club in August. I’m excited about this exhibit, as I will be showcasing my recycled art. A recently painted guitar and my recycled vinyl paintings will be featured. The opening reception will be the First Friday in August. I’m not sure just yet how much of sales will go to the Sierra Club, but I will let you know as soon as I do. I will share more information about this show in the coming month.

 

Talking about a Visual Medium

Me with my piece, "Find Your Shine", at the Opening Reception at the NM Cancer Center Gallery with a Cause.

Me with my piece, “Find Your Shine”, at the Opening Reception at the NM Cancer Center Gallery with a Cause.

Talking isn’t my strong point. Some may disagree with that. Let me clarify, talking about MY ART isn’t my strong point. There is good reason for this. When I paint, or think about painting, it’s not done with words, it’s done with pictures. I visualize a painting before I paint it. I don’t write about it or talk about it, I just paint it. Putting those visual images into words isn’t easy. I’m a self taught artist. I didn’t go to art school. I was never taught HOW to talk about art. I don’t know the language. All I know are my feelings when I paint and I’ve never been really good at expressing my feelings either.

This inadequacy doesn’t show up for me until I’m at an opening reception for my art. This was the case this past Sunday afternoon at the Opening for the “Artists on the Rise” show at the NM Cancer Center Gallery. Someone asked for “my thoughts” on one of my pieces and I kind of froze. I’m embarrassed to say, I was at a complete loss for words. I THINK I pulled it off though. I said something about that particular piece being my favorite and how the spiral in the middle is how I start all of my paintings like a meditation. Needless to say, I NEED to work on this! I guess it’s time to either memorize my artist’s statement or write something up that I can memorize so it doesn’t sound like a memorized artist statement.

Question for my artist friends, how do you deal with talking about your art?

Photo of all the artists in the show, plus the curator, and directors of the NMCCG, Gallery with a Cause.

Photo of most of the artists in the show, plus the curator, and directors of the NMCCG, Gallery with a Cause. I’m in the back row, 5th from the left.