Category Archives: photo

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย 

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 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