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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I’m so happy to be back in the studio! I had a lovely Holiday break, time with family, lots of snow and thankfully, some serious peace and quiet. I’m rested and ready to get back to work.
I haven’t had the chance to paint just yet, so no progress pics to share. I figured it would be a good time to share some of my photos from the snow storm that hit just AFTER Christmas.
It was probably a good thing it snowed two days after Christmas, or our kids wouldn’t have been able to get home to Albuquerque! We were so happy to have all three of our sons, one DIL and one grandson down to visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We had a great time playing “Cards against Humanity”, Jenga and “Speak Out”, a hilarious game everyone should play at least once! I haven’t laughed that hard in years!
We had planned on hiking everyday during our vacation, but the weather had other plans. We did take a couple of hikes in the snow, but once it started to melt, the hiking trails were way too muddy! While we enjoyed hanging around the house and watching movies and reading, the dogs were less than overjoyed.
Once the roads cleared up, (the mountain pass highway from I-25 to our house was closed for days!) we made a trip to Las Cruces and then to Cloudcroft to visit more family. I’m happy to report my art will soon be showing at a new Bakery/Coffee shop/Gallery in downtown Cloudcroft, Eight the Cake.
It feels great to be back at the easel! This new large canvas I’m working on is exciting too! I can see it finished in my mind and it’s going to be awesome. A friend commented on a progress pic on instagram, “The eye”. I hadn’t noticed it before, but when the painting is turned sideways, there is totally an eye in there. Follow the link above to see some of my recent Instagram posts. I posted a couple of time lapse videos this morning while working on this painting. Follow me on Instagram to see all of my WIP posts!
Current work in progress, 36×36″ oil on canvas
The discovery of the hidden eye is so perfect! My spirals have always been about looking within, I guess the subliminal message is there too. I’ve always felt like my paintings came from some other place, like I am just the conduit or channel for the Universe. It makes sense that my paintings of the galaxies in space would have even more hidden meaning than what I am aware of. As the years go by, I find more hidden meaning in my work. It’s not intentional on my part, but perhaps it’s a message from the Universe?
Today I worked on the yellow section some more. I’m working from the middle out. I started to add in more blue and also put in the first layer for the bright yellow stars in the image.
I’ve said it here before, my paintings are a meditation. They are a meditation for me as I paint, but they are also meant to be a meditation for anyone viewing the finished painting. My intention is for you to go within yourself as you gaze at the painting. Think of it as a focal point for your meditation.
In this new Space series, I can feel my spirit soaring into the sky, like I’m viewing the galaxies and stars from the vantage point of the Hubble telescope. I recently saw an article about the Hubble telescope. Did you know it’s been 28 years since the Hubble was launched?! I remember it well, but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Are you as fascinated by the Hubble images as I am?
Hard to tell in this photo, but this is a HUGE tree!
I love trees! Shouldn’t we all? I mean, come on, they give us oxygen to live! When I was a kid, I loved to climb up into their branches. I even swung out of a tree with a garden hose once and had to get xrayed for a possible collar-bone fracture. It turned out it was just a bad bruise. I never swung out of a tree again after that day! I have climbed up into their branches again and again though.
Twisted Alligator Juniper with Aaron in the photo for scale!
Aaron and I went for a hike in the Gila Wilderness this past Sunday. We went back to Rocky Canyon since we didn’t make it far on the trail the last time. Actually, last time, we took a split in the trail to see a cave. This time, we hiked the main Rocky Canyon trail and I must say, the name is a bit misleading! The trail only stays in the canyon for about a half mile before climbing several hundred, possibly a thousand, feet up and out of the canyon. The trail then follows the ridge top for quite some time. We ended our hike after about 2 1/2 miles, at Brannon Park.
Alligator Juniper. This side shows the twisted trunk better
While on the ridge top, we encountered a massive grove of Alligator Juniper trees. Alligator Junipers get their name from the texture of their bark. It looks like the skin of an alligator. These specific trees have always fascinated me. They are usually old and twisted. This grove was OLD. The trees were HUGE!
Not sure what type of tree this one is, but I love it!
One in particular was very twisted. It looked as if a giant had spun it from the top, the trunk had several parts to it and they were all twisted around each other. Even the branches were twisted. I wonder what causes this? My guess is the wind, but if anyone knows for sure, let me know!
Charred remains of a Ponderosa Pine. That must have been a big fire!
It was quite obvious when we left the grove of Juniper trees. It was almost like a line had been drawn and the Junipers were separated from another grove of Ponderosa Pines. Brannon Park is where the pine trees lived and the park was at a lower elevation from the ridge top where the Junipers were. We came into the park as we came down the hill.
In Brannon Park where we stopped for our lunch break, there was a muddy stream bed that was drying out. Just enough water remained for the dogs to get a drink. As we sat eating we noticed there was a flock of Bushtits congregating around the dwindling water supply. We heard the squawk of a hawk, but never saw it. We don’t get to see much wildlife when we hike, thanks to the dogs. I guess that could be a good or bad thing!
I am so grateful to now live in southern New Mexico! It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day! Hearing about blizzards in other parts of the country, I’ll take a sunny end of November day anytime!
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
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, 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” 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” 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” 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!
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
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
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!
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.
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!
This rock wall looked painted, but it is actually the colors left from water streaming down the Canyon walls.