Category Archives: New Year

Happy New Year, 2018!

Feeding my youngest grandson, Danny, named after my dad!

Feeding my youngest grandson, Danny! He is named after my dad. ❤

A fresh new start! I love the New Year, it always gives me that feeling of renewal. A chance to hit the restart button. This year, the new start is personal. We are busy working on getting our house ready to sell. It goes on the market next Monday and we are having a moving sale this weekend. Time to get rid of the old, deep clean, pack up cherished belongings and get ready to move to our dream home! We aren’t sharing where that will be just yet. We have an idea, but we are saving the surprise for once the house is sold and we are on our way! Met with our real estate agent on Tuesday and found out it is now a seller’s market, so I guess our one year wait was worth it. All the street construction is done near our house, FINALLY! Fingers crossed it sells quickly!

Once the cleaning and packing is done, I will get back to my studio and working on my art for the new year. I have another mural coming up in the next month or so, waiting for the tile guy to finish his work before I can start on mine. This one will be down south in Las Cruces, and it will be an interior mural. It will also be my largest mural to date! I’m painting all 4 walls in a pretty large bedroom. Can’t wait!

I also have a show coming up in March at the NM Cancer Center Gallery, so I have a lot of painting on canvas to do to get ready for that.

My two youngest sons with their sons

My two youngest sons with their sons ❤

I hope y’all had a lovely holiday season! I was blessed to be able to finally see my second grandson again last Sunday. Took several photos and was able to hold and feed him. He is looking more like his daddy now. I bought them matching outfits for Christmas. I sure hope they will get the chance to be close cousins. ❤ ❤ ❤

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Reworking my Portfolio

Before and after I reworked "Generous, Kind, Hearts, Shine", 18 x 18" original oil painting

Before and after I reworked “Generous, Kind, Hearts, Shine”, 18 x 18″ original oil painting

It is so good to be back in the studio after the holidays! I do what I love and love what I do, so it can be difficult to take time off. Honestly, I have to force myself. My biggest hope for the world is that everyone could do what they love for a living!

Last month I received a critique on my art portfolio from a gallery owner that I have always admired. She is an artist too, which in my eyes means she is twice as qualified to give a critique. At first, I was a little hurt, which I guess is normal. I have never had a completely honest critique of my work. I don’t have an art degree, I am a mostly self-taught artist. Honest feedback is one of the things I feel I really missed out on with an art degree.

Once I got over the initial shock of getting an honest critique, I started thinking about what she said and realized she was absolutely right about most of what she had to say. The other 20% was personal opinion and things I will never change because they are what my art style is about.

This week being my first full week back in the studio, I’ve started working on one of the paintings that needed improvement. I’m sharing the before and after with you here to get some more feedback! 😉 I’m amazed at the difference a couple of hours made! What do YOU think? Thank you in advance for any and all comments, they are very welcome.

 

Open Studio

Paula Manning's studio space

My studio, all clean, pretty and ready for visitors this past Saturday

This past Saturday I opened my studio to the public. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I took! I used to be so good about getting photos during events like this. Not sure when I stopped. I was having so much fun socializing and greeting visitors that I totally forgot to grab my camera!

I guess this means I will have to a paint a picture with words for you. My husband, Aaron Lewis, aka Guitar Aaron, played his classical guitar for us in the front lobby of Chroma Studios. Three other artists opened their studios too. Victoria Bryers in studio #3, Tricia Thorp in studio #5 and Jasmine Carpenter in studio #6. My studio is #7. We had a table set up with refreshments in the back hallway/kitchen area.

The evening began with an ITEX member meeting. ITEX is a barter network that I am a member of. If you have ever thought about barter as a way of being, you absolutely, must check out ITEX. We had a toast with some yummy sparkling wine and I mingled with new people I hadn’t met before.

I was happy to see several artist friends that I haven’t seen in literally YEARS. After all, it has been just over two years since I last opened my studio to the public.

Towards the end of the evening a group of young artists came into the studio. They were dressed to impress and impress they did. One of them began by asking questions about how he should go about approaching local galleries about showing his art work. I offered my advice, basically, scout out all the galleries you can find and when you find one that you think your art would fit into, ask about their submission policy.

I asked them all some questions and found out they had JUST moved to Albuquerque from Virginia. Like four days ago. I so enjoyed talking with these young people. I was reminded of myself at that age. They were almost surprised that I was offering so much information to them. Of course, I said, I remember being where they are now. I remember not having anyone to ask these questions. I have always promised myself that I would help out young artists as much as was possible with my knowledge, gained over the past 23 years of being an artist.

I have been considering teaching a workshop on this topic and I think this encounter has pushed me over the edge of decision. I have decided that it’s important for me to share what I have learned. If I can help just one artist avoid the mistakes, trial and error I endured, it would be worth it. I guess I had better get myself in gear and write some workshop plans!

I hope that you all are having a great start to the New Year! 2014 is going to be a GREAT year, I can just FEEL it!

The End Draws Near….

The end of the year that is! What? Did you think this post was going to be all about the end of the world? LOL. Honestly, I don’t believe all that mumbo jumbo about the end of the Mayan calendar being the end of the world! I DO however believe there is a shift coming, a shift in consciousness, a shift in the way people act, feel and think. I can feel it coming, the “Age of Aquarius”. It’s not something that will come on a specific DAY, it has been slowly coming over decades and will continue to slowly shift over the coming decades. Who REALLY knows the future anyway? Not I! I won’t claim any special knowledge, all I can really say is that I FEEL it. I FEEL the love growing, I FEEL the change in the air!

As far as my personal and professional life goes, there is a LOT of change coming. I have already experienced TONS of change in this past year and it will continue into 2013. I haven’t figured it all out just yet, but I promise to keep you all informed. I do have to apologize for the LONG gap in between posts this last month or so. Honestly, I cannot even remember the last time I wrote a blog post. It’s been way TOO LONG!

December is a crazy month for us this year. On top of Christmas and all the usual busyness that comes with the holidays, our oldest son is getting married on December 29th! We have agreed to help with a few things, which translates to, I am baking the wedding cake/s! Plus, we have some shopping to do for the groom and his best men (his two younger brothers) for the clothes they will be wearing for the wedding.

This week is busy because my husband and I are working on recording a Christmas song, “Silent Night”, to release in time for this Christmas. Our folk group, New Mexico Sunshine, is getting ready to play a show at our local main library for their “lunchtime at the library” series on 12/12/12 at 12:00 noon.

Also, I am offering 25% off ALL purchases in my Etsy shop until This Friday, Nov. 30th. Just enter the coupon code: cybermonday when you check out.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a crazy busy month! I hope to get back to some semblance of a normal routine after the New Year. If I don’t get back here before that, may you all have a Happy Holidays (no matter what holiday you celebrate) and a very happy New Year!

If they could see me now…

Today is one of those days. Actually, it’s been one of those days for the past month. 2012 started out full of energy and positive outlooks, but by the middle of January, I fell into the deep pit of lethargy and self pity. I am pretty good at faking it, my outer demeanor is usually pretty happy. Unless you live with me. Then you know the real me. The insecure, scared, never lives up to her own expectations, hypocritical me.

I have been thinking about writing a blog about this for weeks. Knowing that if I could just get this dark side of myself out in the open and expose her weaknesses then maybe, just maybe, I could get past this “phase” of the moon (or sun or whatever universal force is weighing me down). I don’t like to be this way, I feel like I’ve gone back into the body of that teenage mom I once was, the one who had no self confidence and hid out in her living room watching TV all day and night because her life was such a mess. That teenage mom who could totally relate to the Jerry Springer show and even contemplated going on the show at one point! I KNOW I’m not that person anymore, but every once in a long while, she comes back to haunt me. WHY?

These are the days I wish THOSE people could get a peak into my life. You know THOSE people, the ones who go on and on about how lucky I am to be living my dream, spending my days painting and creating and BEING and ARTIST. They always say it like it’s all fun and games, like I have some rich husband (for those who don’t know, I’m married to a musician!) who pays for everything and I never have to worry about ANYTHING. Well folks, newsflash, it’s not all fun and games and I spend more time worrying and beating myself up than I do painting. In fact, I spend a LOT of my time painting AND beating myself up. At the same time! That’s the real reason why most of my paintings are so upbeat and happy….I’m trying to convince MYSELF! It’s the cheapest form of therapy I know!

To be fair, that isn’t always the case, I am happy more than I’m not, I’m just exaggerating because it’s been this way for a month and it feels like forever! I used to feel like this a LOT more than I have in the past four years. Strangely enough, it was the death of my dad that made me a more happy person. Sure, I grieved for years, but his death made me appreciate everything more. It reminded me how short life is and how we only get this one chance in our lives to DO something.

The issue now is, I feel like I’m slipping back in to the old me and I don’t know how to stop it. Painting gives me a temporary reprieve but unfortunately, I cannot spend 24 hours a day painting. I don’t know, now I just feel like I’m whining. My mom would tell me I’m depressed and it runs in the family and I should just admit to the fact that I can’t escape it. FOOEY! I don’t believe that!

See….just writing this post has already made me feel better. Looking at myself from the outside in reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for AND that I am merely human. GASP! I admitted it! I am merely human. 🙂

Life is Beautiful!

This has been such a crazy year! I can’t believe it’s already almost over! I can easily say that it has been the worst AND the best year of my life. Worst, because I lost my dad and I miss him terribly. Best, because all of my dreams that I have worked for over the years, have come true this year! I’m not sure why this is, perhaps a lesson from my dad to make sure I remember that life does go on without him. Maybe it’s him watching over me and making sure things happen for me. Maybe I’ve finally figured things out and losing my dad has given me a new motivation to achieve my dreams and goals. Whatever the reason, life is beautiful, sometimes in a sad, profound way, sometimes in an inspiring, wonderful way.

So, as I near the end of the week, and the beginning of my Holiday vacation, or time off in this case since we aren’t actually going anywhere, I have started thinking about what I have accomplished this year and my goals and plans for next year. Accomplishments this year are higher in number than any other year I can remember. I can hardly believe that I am now in the place I’ve been working so hard all these years to attain! For anyone out there who is just getting started, this is PROOF that it can be done! If I can do it, anyone can. It makes no difference where you come from, where you live, what your education is, how much money you have or even who you know. If you have a dream and the perseverance to see it through, you can do anything you set your mind to! I started out as a teenage mother, high school drop out, from a lower middle class family, who had people tell me that I would go NO WHERE! I guess it helps that I have always been motivated by people like that. In fact, I am extremely grateful for those people in my life!

My accomplishments for 2008:

1. We opened our Art Studio spaces and quickly expanded into an awesome gallery space. I am now in the position to help other artists with their dreams and goals

2. I have put together a complete body of work, large and small, in my new spiral abstract style.

3. I have started licensing my art for needlepoint designs, giving me a residual income!

4. We have paid off ALL our credit card debt!

5. I am now becoming a force in my local art scene, people come to ME for advice!

That’s all I can come up with off the top of my head, but it’s a huge list for me! Next year I have even bigger dreams! Now that we have almost made it through our first year in business, some of the smaller dreams within the business can be started. I have so many ideas that I can’t wait to begin.

May everyone have a wonderful, happy holiday season and a very happy new year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I know it’s supposed to be a holiday, but I’m down at the studio today. I have to get my studio packed up and ready to move. I’m not moving far, across the parking lot, into a smaller studio.

I have lots to blog about, but not much time to do it right now. Once I get the studio cleaned, packed and hopefully moved(I’m waiting on another artist to move out of the new studio), I will blog about my accomplishments for 2007 and my goals for 2008. I’m looking forward to a wonderful year!