Category Archives: original oil paintings

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!

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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.

Summer Sale! 50% off!

My Summer Sale recently opened to the public after a month of exclusive access for my email subscribers. What this means for you is 50% off selected original paintings and prints. This sale will run through Friday, September 22nd. There are over 60 items available in this massive studio clearance sale! After the 22nd, they will all go back to regular price. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to my website PaulaManningLewis.com, the sale is currently on the home page.

You can also get a 20% off coupon for regularly priced paintings and prints by signing up for my email list. The sign up form will pop up automatically when you get to the site. All of the photos in this post are images of sale items available in my Summer Sale. πŸ™‚ Click on the images/captions to go directly to the sale page for that image.

You can still see all of my newer and regularly priced paintings and prints on my website too. Just look for the “home” drop down menu at the top of the page.

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!

Face-Palm Patriots

It always ends up being weeks after a show opens before I get back to painting. This Summer was no different. After 26 years as an artist, I can see the pattern emerging! I had a flurry of painting activity this Spring and Summer for the shows at the NMCC and the Sierra Club. I picked up paintings from NMCC this past Saturday and the Sierra Club show goes until the 30th of September. It’s a process, I usually take a break, but eventually I get back to my studio. Today was that day! I’m starting a new painting dedicated to our Veterans.

Work in progress, Meditation for Our Veterans, 20 x 20" oil on canvas

Work in progress, Meditation for Our Veterans, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas

I have been invited to participate in an art show by Veteran artists, opening on Veterans Day and benefiting Veterans. The “Face-Palm Patriots” opening will be November 11th, from 7-10pm, at the new downtown Albuquerque KD Neeley Gallery. The gallery is located at 104 4th St NW. KD, the gallery owner, is an artist friend of mine and she is also a Veteran. In addition to the November show, I have ten paintings showing for September and October. There will be an opening reception next Friday, Sept. 8th from 7-10pm and she will also be open for First Friday this evening from 6-10pm.

Guest speakers will include Art Therapist Meg Carlson, all the way from Okinawa, Japan. Donations will be raised for Heroes Walk Among Us, an Albuquerque organization working to get homeless vets off the streets and improve their lives.Β 

I am a Veteran of the US Army(’88-’90). It feels like another lifetime now, I’ve blocked many of those memories out, for a variety of reasons. Regardless of that, helping Veterans is the cause nearest and dearest to my heart. Nothing is more important to me than serving the people who have served all of us. I don’t usually agree with our country’s reasons for military action, but I know from personal experience that our soldiers have no choice in the matter. Each of those individuals writes a blank check and gives up their lives to our country. In my opinion, if they are made to go to war, they should be taken care of for the rest of their lives. There should be no such thing as a “homeless” Veteran. It’s the least our government can do in return for the lives altered forever. OK, rant over! I hope you will join me at this important opening in support of our Veterans!

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! πŸ™‚

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.