Category Archives: photography

Turkey Creek, Gila National Forest

photo of turkey creek

Shadows play on the surface of the water

This past Sunday was mine and Aaron’s 21st wedding anniversary. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the Turkey Creek Hot Springs trail. Turkey Creek feeds in to the Gila River, or at least it must when there is more water. Either that, or the creek goes underground at some point. The creek bed is currently dry by the time it gets down to the river, but after a couple of creek crossings, the water was flowing quite well. Lots of deep pools for soaking feet!

hidden windmill

It took a while, but we finally spotted the windmill that marks the trail head!

On our way out past the windmill

On our way out past the windmill

The road in is not for the faint of heart! It is a 14 mile drive in from Hwy 180. At about mile 8 the pavement ends and a few miles later the road starts winding it’s way up and over a tall “hill” or what some people call a mountain. The road is narrow, bumpy and there are no guardrails. We drive roads like this all the time, but this is one of the more scary roads we’ve been on. The drop offs at the top are almost straight down! 4 wheel drive or AWD with high clearance definitely recommended!

photo of Turkey creek

Turkey Creek, so pretty!

All that said, the scary drive is well worth the end destination! Aaron’s mom asked why we drive roads like that if they are so scary? Because the reward on the other side is SO worth it! It’s not easy to find the trail head, even with a trail book of directions. There are lots of four wheel drive roads, more like a maze of roads surrounding the Gila River. We had to park a mile or so away from the trail head. Even though we drive an AWD Subaru, the river is quite deep in some spots, so we decided crossing in the car was not a good idea.

turkey creek

Who knew there could be such a beautiful desert oasis hidden in these desert mountains!

Crossing the river by foot is quite refreshing at this time of the year! It was 94 degrees the day we were out there and the cool water felt lovely. After four river crossings, we wandered around a bit, looking for the trail head. There is an old private homestead with a windmill hidden in the trees. This is where the trail begins. Unfortunately for us, after making our way through the maze of roads and backtracking to finally find the trail head, we didn’t have enough time or energy to make it all the way to the hot springs. According to our trail book, the springs are another 3 miles up from the windmill. We made it up about 2 of the 3 miles.

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

Now that we know where we’re going, we hope to make it all the way up to the hot springs next time. We weren’t too disappointed though, considering how hot it was! The cool water in the creek and river were refreshing and more than enough for this trek.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

I’m planning on getting back to blogging twice a week. One blog will be about our latest hiking adventure and the other will be about my art. Subscribe to my blog above if you would like to be notified when I post a new blog. You may also want to go to my website and sign up for my email list to get more updates about my art and where our latest explorations have taken us!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

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Gila Cliff Dwellings

Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings

Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings

I may have blogged about this before, but it must have been years ago! That’s how long it’s been since Aaron and I visited. I love being back in southwestern New Mexico. It’s a homecoming of sorts. Different town this time around. When I was a kid growing up in Las Cruces, we spent countless weekends and Summers camping, hiking and exploring the Gila National Forest.

Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below

Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below

We brought visiting family and friends here to see the beauty of this vast wilderness. The Gila Cliff Dwellings is one of the most visited spots in the Gila. The other being the Catwalk trail near Glenwood.

The cliff face near the dwellings

The cliff face near the dwellings

When we go hiking with our dogs, we usually stick to trails without other people around. This past Sunday, we left the dogs at home. Mainly because dogs aren’t allowed at the Cliff Dwellings. They do have kennels for the dogs though, just in case!

One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it's distinctive window shape

One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it’s distinctive window shape

The road out to the site is a twisting, turning mountain road with no center line. Though it’s paved, it is definitely a back country road!

The hiking trail up to the cliff dwellings crosses over a small stream several times before zig zagging up the hillside to the ruins. The heat of the sun gives way to the cool of the cave as you climb the wooden ladder into the dwellings that haven’t been occupied in close to a thousand years.

Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings

Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings

It’s easy to see why the ancient ones chose this place, up high on a cliff overlooking a mountain spring. A view of the canyon, a source of water, a shelter from the weather.

Looking back as we head down the exit path.

Looking back as we head down the exit path.

If you ever find yourself in Silver City, New Mexico, I highly recommend you take the drive up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. You won’t be sorry you did!

Call Me Grammy, Again!

grammy and grandson

Me with my second grandson, born Nov. 16th at 5:29am, weighing in at 8 lbs even. Named after his late great-grandpa, my dad. ❀ I love him so very much!

The day I posted my last blog post I got the call I’ve been waiting for. My son called to let me know his girlfriend was in labor! The baby was on his way! The very next morning, my second grandson was born, but taken to NICU right away. His birth was very fast and he was having trouble breathing. Needless to say, I haven’t been in my studio much over the last few days. He is doing great now and should be leaving the hospital sometime today. He was a healthy 8lbs even. I’m so touched they decided to name him after my dad!

"Four Seasons of the Sun", 20 x 20" oil on canvas, work in progress.

“Four Seasons of the Sun”, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas, work in progress.

Today I started that next painting I was talking about in my last blog. “Four Seasons of the Sun” will be the cover image for the Sunlight CD my husband and I are currently finishing up. It’s been a couple of years in the making, hoping to have it released at the beginning of 2018. So far, the background is what you see, more to come, stay tuned!

I’m excited to announce that I will have not one but TWO calendars available in December! My publisher and I decided to create one for my early, Paula Beck images, and the other will include my later, spiral abstract series. Sign up for my email list if you would like to be informed when they are available for purchase. There will be a limited printing so I don’t expect them to last long.

Last but not least, I’m currently in the middle of my 2017 Black Friday sale! Go to my online art shop and use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY30 at checkout to save 30% on everything on the site! Sale ends Saturday at Midnight!

Replenishing My Creative Reserves

One of the many drawings I did for my historic building series. This is one of my "Paula Beck Prints" images, Copyright 1991.

One of the many drawings I did for my historic building series. This is one of my “Paula Beck Prints” images, Copyright 1991.

I haven’t had any creative time this week. No new paintings in progress to show today. I’m replenishing my creative reserves and will be ready to get back to painting, probably tomorrow! I’ve been editing my story and taking photos of my old images from the early 1990s. The image above is one of many.

I’ve been negotiating a contract with a management/publishing company the past week or so, hoping to get that finished up soon. Emailing lawyers. Working on building my email list. Editing and posting my latest time lapse video. Writing, editing and sending out my end of the month email. Writing blogs. Sold a painting on my website. Visited the hospital. Lots of the “other” stuff going on in my life right now.

I drove for Uber yesterday, encountered my first unpleasant person, a racist, who was shockingly polite and asked me if I minded the N word! UMMMMM, YEAH, was my answer. I was shocked by the question. I was very happy to get him to his destination and out of my car!

In other news, I have been invited to participate in a group show at a new gallery in Downtown Albuquerque. The owner is an artist friend of mine. “Face-Palm Patriots” is an art show of works by Veteran Artists and donations will be raised for Heroes Walk Among Us, an Albuquerque organization working to get homeless vets off the streets and improve their lives. Helping homeless Veterans is one of my most important causes I give time and money to. My personal opinion is that NO Veteran should ever be homeless! They have served our country and they deserve to be treated as heroes. I am also a Veteran, so they are my brothers and sisters too.

The show is happening at the KD Neeley Gallery at 104 4th St NW, Albuquerque and the date of the opening is Veterans day, Saturday, November 11th, 7-10pm. I will show a few pieces at this gallery for the months of September and October as well. πŸ™‚ Please stop by and see Katie and tell her Paula sent you! My art work will be there next month. πŸ™‚

This Saturday is the day I pick up my paintings from the NM Cancer Center show (minus any paintings that sold), and some of those will go straight over to Katie’s gallery in Downtown.

Also, a reminder, I still have my latest guitar painting and vinyl record art hanging at the Sierra Club office here in Albuquerque. I have it on my “to do” list to get those pieces posted on my website for sale. 30% of sales will benefit the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, until the end of that show, September 30th.

That’s all my news for now, hope you have a great weekend! Sign up for my email list at www.PaulaManningLewis.com and get exclusive access to my Summer Sale page for 50% off select paintings, recycled vinyl and prints!

New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery Show

"Find Your Shine", 24 x 30" oil on canvas, $1,050

“Find Your Shine”, 24 x 30″ oil on canvas, $1,050, just one of the 22 images in the show

On June 3rd I spent the morning with around 20 other artists, hanging our pieces at the NM Cancer Center for the Summer show, “Artists on the Rise”. Below is the flyer with all the information about the opening reception, “Walk and Talk” event and gallery hours. The gallery is open by appointment only out of respect for the privacy of the patients receiving treatment. Please join us for the opening THIS Sunday from 4-7pm. I would greatly appreciate your votes for the People’s Choice award! This show has been a long time coming, I first applied to show here several years ago. I’m excited to show/sell my work for a great cause! New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation is a non-profit organization solely dedicated to raising funds to alleviate non-medical needs for cancer patients. 40% of each art sale goes to the foundation and is tax-deductible. See you there! Even if you can’t make it to the show, of any and all sales of the 22 pieces I have showing, 40% will go to the NM Cancer Center Foundation. Whether you purchase at the show, or on my website.

2017 6, front

Tornadoes and Timelapse!

We took a weekend trip out of town last weekend. It was so nice to get out of town for a few days! On our way back to Albuquerque there was a pretty big storm up north of us and as we drove further, I could see a little wisp of cloud coming down from the storm clouds. As we came closer, the little tail of a cloud turned into a full on funnel cloud! We stopped just off the hwy as we drove through Carrizozo to take photos and I was able to film a pretty decent video of the funnel cloud (tornado!).

Tornado video, click here

I posted the video on instagram and was pleasantly surprised to get several requests from news channels, including The Weather Channel, to use my video on their broadcasts! I was pretty excited about it, but I didn’t expect it at all!

The NM Cancer Center Show is coming up quick! I have to get my images in by the 15th, so I only have time to finish up the paintings I’m currently working on. I took a short time lapse of one of the paintings today. Almost done!

Work in progress, 20x20" oil on canvas

Work in progress, 20×20″ oil on canvas

Next up, I have to get busy painting for my show at the Sierra Club offices in August. Stay tuned for lots of works in progress and videos coming up. . .

Finishing Up a Few Things

Before and current photos of "Believe in Love", 16 x 16" oil on canvas

Before and current photos of “Go with the Flow”, 16 x 16″ oil on canvas

Still working on “finishing” up a few paintings that I thought were done. Due to a recent critique, I decided to rework or actually, work more on a few of the paintings in my portfolio. The one I’m working on today (“Go with the Flow”) really needed it, I was never really sure it was done. It wasn’t. I’m putting another layer into the background, basically hundreds of little circles. I used to put much more detail into my backgrounds, I think I may return to some of that. I enjoy painting them, all that little detail work is a GREAT meditation!

Before and current photos of "Believe in Love", 16 x 16" oil on canvas

Before and current photos of “Believe in Love”, 16 x 16″ oil on canvas

The other painting I worked on last Friday (“Believe in Love”). This one needed all over shading/blending work. It was originally painted during a live music show at a local brewery, so it never really had that “finished” look. I’ve always loved the idea, but I think it’s better with an extra hour or two. I’m still not sure if it’s completely complete yet. What do you think? I do believe I will be revisiting this theme of heart flower petals in the near future.

One of my goals for the current year is to get back to blogging at least twice a week. After blogging for over 12 years, it can be difficult to come up with new, exciting ideas for blog posts. Do you have any suggestions? Is there an idea for a series of blogs that you wouldn’t mind sharing with me? I like to blog in series, makes it easier to come up with new material for some reason. Is there something about the life of an artist that you are curious about? I am going to keep with the theme of “the life of a New Mexican artist”, but there are a lot of places I can go with that. I want to blog about things that are of interest to YOU, my readers! How to videos? Video blogs? More painting time lapses? Photos of my travels? Please feel free to suggest, I’m all ears! πŸ™‚