Category Archives: random things about me

It’s All Too Much

Back to my studio today after working all weekend and taking Mon/Tues off instead. Attempted working on my self portrait, deadline is coming up soon.

Not happening.

So much hate, fear , disaster, death, anger, murder etc in the world. I am a highly sensitive person. I feel the emotions of the collective consciousness all around me.

We are all in despair.

Why are humans such a hateful race? I’m so directionless right now. I don’t know what to do, or say. It’s just depressing.

I have tried for years to spread love with my art. Painting the feelings of love the only way I know how. It’s what I know, what I can do now.

I am conscious of the way I treat other people. I smile at everyone I pass on the street.

I don’t understand why people are so quick to defend their right to own guns, when their is so much death and despair all around them. Defending a piece of paper written almost 200 years ago. Do those people want to be happy too?

Random thoughts going through my mind today. I can’t make sense of anything, so why try? I’m not personally depressed, but I can feel the heavy weight of sadness blanketing the planet.

Mother Earth is sad too. No, she’s angry. She’s tired of the abuse, tired of the sadness. She knows the cause of her pain, it’s US. HUMANS.

It’s very difficult for me to continue as an artist at times like this. I feel like nothing I do contributes to the betterment of society. Painting is more than therapeutic for me, but how does it help others? My hope is that people look at my work and FEEL THE LOVE.

I don’t know what else to do.

 

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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.

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!

Blast from the Past!

I’m getting back to work this week. I think my husband and I were in shock after his uncle’s motorcycle accident. It’s taken over a week to snap out of it and get back to our routine. Aaron’s uncle is still in ICU, but he is healing, slowly. Aaron still visits the hospital everyday, I go every so often. It’s so difficult to see someone in that condition, my empathetic self has a very hard time with it. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must be going through, not to mention his kids and wife and the rest of the family.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Back in the studio. I’m working on an art book of my “Paula Beck Prints” pieces from the early 1990s. I’m also negotiating a contract with a local management/publishing company to represent my art and specifically this book.

Sevier Station pencil drawing

“Sevier Station”, one of the first drawings I did as Paula Beck. Part of the Historical Building series I did in the Tennessee/Kentucky area around Clarksville, TN and Hopkinsville, KY.

I’ve been going through all the old images in my flat file and came across an envelope I had almost forgotten I had! Back in the early 1990s when I started selling my art, it was still that period in history when people wrote letters and sent things by what we now call “snail mail”. LOL! Luckily for me, my dad was pretty sentimental and he saved all of the art prints, photocopies, postcards and newspaper clippings I sent him. I found it after he passed away while cleaning out his things. Nine years later, I have rediscovered that envelope and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

I’m working on photographing and editing all those images from the past. There are about 25 of the historical building drawings I did in 1990-91. The newspaper clippings are from the very first two art shows I did in Clarksville, Tennessee. This was my first year after leaving the military at Fort Campbell.

"Abraham Lincoln", part of my Civil War series.

“Abraham Lincoln”, part of my Civil War series. I did portraits of Lincoln, Gen. Grant, Jefferson Davis and Gen. Forrest

I’m going to stop there. For more of the story you will have to wait for my book! πŸ˜‰ I hope to have it finished by the end of September, but it may be longer than that before it’s published. I plan to share excerpts here leading up to the release.

 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

This past week has been a rough one. It started out on a high note on Tuesday with negotiations for a contract with a management company that wants to represent my art and publish my Paula Beck Prints book. I’m still negotiating, but that had to be put on hold Wednesday afternoon.

An uncle of Aaron’s was in a horrific motorcycle accident and we got the call around 2:00 Wednesday. You may have heard about it on the local news. A truck was going the wrong way down I-25 and hit him head on. The doctors didn’t think he would make it past Wednesday night, but he did. He’s a fighter and he’s still fighting everyday to stay alive. Needless to say, we have dropped everything this past week to be at the hospital with him and other family members. It’s times like this that put everything into perspective. Life is so precious and we take it for granted so often. I’ve had these moments in life before and I always say I will never take another day of my life for granted.

Not always easy when you get back into the swing of everyday life. Let this serve as a reminder, hug your loved ones every chance you get and never let a day go by without telling them you love them. There is so much pettiness and unnecessary drama in our day to day lives, I’m guilty of it too. I’m still a work in progress, but I will work everyday to not sweat the small stuff. As they say, it’s ALL small stuff.

I’m still finding it hard to concentrate on anything I need to work on or get done, but I had to try today. I’m trying my best to be a strong shoulder of support for my husband and his family, after all, they are my family too. Please send prayers and positive energy for healing. It’s going to be a long road to recovery, and we are just taking it one day at a time for now.

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

What to do with old Vinyl?

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

For the love of God, don’t ever paint on a priceless vinyl record! Check that stuff out BEFORE you paint on a record worth lots of money! I don’t have to worry about that. I ONLY paint on records that I or anyone else for that matter should NEVER listen to ever again! lol. Seriously though. I have blogged before about my dad’s record collection. I inherited it 9 years ago when my dad passed away. There were originally over 40,000 vinyl disks. In the 9 years since the first move of records to our house, we have moved said records another 7-8 times, at least. Last year, we sold a big bulk of the collection. 30,000 45 single records. We didn’t get near what I would think they were worth, but they did take the ENTIRE 45 collection. It was quite the load off, seriously, those things are NOT light! They are bulky and heavy and only have two songs per record! We never listened to them. We like albums. We are now going through the albums (about 8,000) to see what we will listen to and what we will never listen to. Everything gets at least one full listen, unless it’s REALLY bad! There is always the GONG option if either Aaron or I feel the need to stop the torture. Long story short, THOSE are the records I paint on!

vinyl record painting in progress

vinyl record painting in progress

I’m currently working on a new vinyl record painting. Actually, I’m working on a group of them for my show at the Sierra Club in August. This one is getting very close to finished. Recycled art is my favorite. It’s guilt free. It’s a dilemma I face as an artist. I am very conscious of my carbon footprint on the planet. I do what I can. I make recycled art whenever I have the chance, from my recycled vinyl paintings, to recycled guitar art and painting over old paintings. I guess I overcompensate in my life by not having a lot of other stuff. I often joke that I could easily live in a tiny house, as long as my studio is separate and LARGE.