Category Archives: random things about me

How I got my groove back!

oil painting on canvas

My current work in progress. 12 x 12″ oil on canvas. A suggestion from a facebook follower pointed me in a different direction.

I spent most of March and a couple days in April working on my brand new website! I have been researching and learning about artist websites for YEARS! This is the year I finally found the perfect website solution for my art. Art Store Fronts is amazing! They have all the tools I need to run an efficient website. Everything I’ve been learning about and had no idea how to actually implement, is built in to their awesome software. I highly recommend them. Needless to say, I NOW have a brand new artist website with everything! I invite you to go check it out and please let me know what you think! PaulaManningLewis.com is now LIVE! I have closed my Etsy shop and now have everything available for sale on the new site. Actually, I’m still working on getting EVERYTHING available. My current portfolio is all there, coloring books, dolls and older work is coming soon.

Now that the majority of website work is done, it’s back to painting in preparation for a show at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery starting in June and showing through August. I will have at least 20 pieces in the show! I also have a show coming up in August at the local Sierra Club offices. I have a LOT of painting to get done in the coming months! The painting above is my current work in progress, in a totally different direction. Instead of the sun or a flower, this one is focused on the Moon.

In addition to my paintings on canvas, I’m getting ready to start two different mural projects. I will share more about that in my Spring e-newsletter. Please visit my new website and sign up for my email list to receive the newsletter when it goes out soon.

This Saturday is ChromaFEST, an art and music festival and fundraiser for our local business, Chroma Studios. My band, Sunlight will be performing at 5:55pm-6:35pm. Also, my husband, Aaron Lewis, will play a solo guitar set as well right before Sunlight, starting at 5:30pm. Hope to see my local friends there! 🙂

I’m still thinking about whether or not I will keep my blog here on WordPress or transfer it over to my new website. I may just link the two together. I’m super excited about taking my art to the next level! I feel like I finally found my groove again!

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How the Creative person stays sane!

 

"High Vibrations", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, SOLD!

My latest finished painting, “High Vibrations”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, SOLD!

Once again I have fallen off my blogging schedule! UGH! So much going on right now. I guess I thrive on the chaos. Life is more exciting with more going on, right?

I finished a new painting today, so figured it would be a great time to post a new blog. I was thrilled to have this painting sold before it was finished. I love it when that happens! I posted a bit of timelapse video to my Instagram today as I was finishing it up.

I was recently invited to show in the Summer show at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery. I’m really pleased with this, as I have been trying to get into the gallery for at least 7 years! The NMCCG is the largest gallery in the state of New Mexico. I will have at least 20 pieces in the show with room for more. Needless to say, I have a LOT of painting to do. I am also showing at the local Sierra Club offices in August. The two shows overlap, so I have to have at least 30 paintings available by then.

Side view of latest painting

Side view of my latest painting. Going back to wrapping the painting around the edge. Doesn’t need framing or it can be put into a floating frame to you can still see the sides.

I am currently working on a NEW website which is taking more time than I had hoped, but it’s going to be awesome! Once it’s done, my Etsy shop will close because I will have the ability to sell directly from my site. I have been searching for a solution for my website for literally, YEARS! I finally found it in Art Storefronts. They have everything I ever wanted in a website. Stay tuned for my new and improved site, hopefully launching by the end of March.

Along with the new website, I’ve been busy working on ChromaFEST, an art and music festival fundraiser for my other business, Chroma Studios. We are raising money to help us buy a building for our studios. We currently lease space and need more, so purchasing our own commercial building just makes sense. We have been in business for almost 9 years, it’s time for expansion.

I’ve also been spending as much time as possible with my almost 2 month old grandson. It’s so much fun being a grandma!

The Down Side

"In Anticipation of Spring", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, available for $215

“In Anticipation of Spring”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, available for $215. Completed last week!

I never got around to posting my second blog last week. Turns out I have an eye infection that has now spread to both eyes. Other than our show on Friday night, I’ve been at home in bed, resting. What a weekend it was! We had a GREAT Sunlight show on Friday night in Rio Rancho! Lots of email addresses collected, lots of compliments, lots of friends showed up, lots of tips and happy listeners and then the down side.

An email on Monday morning telling us we had significant complaints from regular customers. We never received a straight answer on what the complaints were, just something about the “type of music” expected being something other than what we played. Too many original songs? They didn’t like that one folk song we altered to include our LGBT friends? They didn’t like the song “Wonder” about Democrats and the GOP finding peace?

We may never know exactly. That is the life of an artist. If you don’t have a very thick skin, you may as well pack up and go home now. I must admit, it gets hard to keep on going when a “GREAT” show gets you fired from a regular paying gig.

I’m taken back to the Four Agreements, 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, 4) Always do your best. 1) We kept our word and played 3 hours of music and acted professionally, 2) I can’t take it personally that a couple of their regulars didn’t like our song selection, 3) I shouldn’t assume anything without having all the information, ie actual complaints made, 4) I KNOW we did our best and played our hearts out! Lesson learned; always listen to your gut! We had once decided we wouldn’t play late night gigs in bars. Not doing that again.

Hoping my eyes will heal soon so I can paint! It is getting better, slowly but surely, but still sensitive to light and hard to focus on anything without tears.  So much gratitude for my eyesight, you never really miss something until it’s not working right. Sickness is nothing but a reminder to be grateful for all the blessings in life.

A New Baby in the Family!

Baby Ben

Baby Ben ❤

Back in my studio today for the first time since Tuesday. I got the call in the afternoon. My middle son called to let me know they were going to induce my DIL soon. They had enough time to run home, pick up their bags and get back to the hospital. After MANY (about 18 total) hours, my first grandson was born at 1:22pm on Wednesday, January 18th, weighing 6 lbs 7.7 oz and measuring 19.5″.

Me with my son and grandson

Me with my son and grandson ❤

Mama, baby and daddy are all healthy and happy, if not completely exhausted! They came home from the hospital yesterday evening. It’s been all I can do to restrain myself and let them have their rest. My son and his girlfriend moved in with us in December so we could help each other out. My biggest worry has been that I don’t want to be a pain in the you know what about being grandma and in the same house!

Three of my sweetie pies! Hubby, son and grandson!

Three of my sweetie pies! Hubby, son and grandson!

I could see from their faces when they came home yesterday evening, they were so tired. I did get to hold the sweetie pie this morning, so my day has already been perfect. He is the most beautiful, peaceful, sweet little munchkin! My little Benny Bean! I’ve always known it would be awesome to be a grandma, but there is so much more to it! It’s completely indescribable. I feel like my heart could explode with all the love! I so look forward to seeing this little guy grow up. I think I must have been in shock for the first couple of days, I haven’t cried until this moment right now, loading photos of the newest member of the family. It’s such an amazing moment in my life and the lives of my family. I’m beyond grateful. ❤

Procrastination, my biggest fear

Work in progress, started this morning, 12x12" oil on canvas

Work in progress, started this morning, 12×12″ oil on canvas

I have always been a procrastinator. I’ve always blamed perfectionism. In truth, it’s fear. Fear of failure? Fear of success? I wish I knew, probably a bit of both. I have overcome a lot of fear in the 26 years I’ve been working as an artist. It’s still there. Clinging on for dear life. I’m aware of it, it’s always been there. Mocking me, telling me I’m not good enough to overcome it. Some days, I feel really brave. It’s easy to feel brave sitting here in my studio. I have WORK to do! I NEED to paint, right? I NEED to write another blog post, right? I NEED to work on updating my Etsy shop or my website, right? Of course I do, but I use these excuses as reasons not to get out in the world and share my art. I use these excuses to save myself from rejection. Nobody likes rejection. It’s not easy to hear NO when you are putting your heart and soul out there.

That all said, I have come to the point in my life where I have to either overcome my fear or give up trying. I’m starting to see why there are fewer and fewer artist peers as I get older. It’s not easy to keep getting back up after a rejection or a perceived failure. Truth is, it’s the ONLY way to succeed. Keep getting back up, dusting myself off and try again, and again. I have to talk myself into it some days. Today has been one of those days. I came into the studio this morning excited and ready to GO! As the day wears on, the energy wanes. I have a whole list of excuses by now. I have so many other things I COULD be doing right now.

I once read a book called “Art and Fear”. I highly recommend it. In fact, I think it’s time for a re-read. Time to get motivated and get out there!

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! 🙂

Happy New Year!

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Holidays. I really did enjoy all the time spent with my family in 2016. We also had a really fun and successful mini-tour to Arizona with our music. Sunlight performed in Phoenix, Tucson and Ajo, AZ and we were very grateful for the turnout and CD sales!

Margaritas in Mexico!

Margaritas in Mexico!

While in southern Arizona, we visited the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It was awesome to see all the huge cacti! Saguaros and Organ Pipe Cactus were everywhere. We took a short hike, but it was quite cold while we were there. Of course, it warmed up into the 70s on the day we left.

Serenaded by Mariachis

Serenaded by Mariachis

We made a very quick trip down to Mexico for dinner one of the days we were visiting in Ajo. It was supposed to be a full day trip, but my sweetie woke up sick that day and ended up sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Once he got up, we decided to go for it and drove down to Puerto Penasco for a wonderful dinner by the sea! The food was great, even if the weather was COLD and windy. Our waiter was awesome and brought us our own personal heater. We practiced our Espanol with him and he practiced his English with us. Other than the trucks of soldiers riding around with automatic weapons, nothing was out of the ordinary. I guess the soldiers were there to protect the tourists. Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary!

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage

I saw my first live Javelina while we were in Ajo! Apparently, they are regular visitors to the dumpster there. I only got one photo of one of them, but at night we were surrounded in our car by a herd/pack? of them! It was quite interesting, like watching a nature show in person! haha!

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP :(

Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP 😦

We arrived home in Albuquerque just in time for Christmas and spent several great days hanging out with our kids, siblings and parents. Only one day was a sad day, as we had to have one of our fur babies put down at the end of the year. She was old and sick, but Raven will be greatly missed! She was a great dog. ❤

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!

The last week of the year I was asked to create a coloring page for a new local quarterly paper. The Chronicle is New Mexico’s Cannabis Magazine. I created a Cannabis Mandala coloring page for the first issue of 2017. It was quick and fun, check out their website for more information.