Category Archives: travel

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!

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NM Cancer Center Gallery for a Cause

"Ecstatic", 20x20" oil on canvas, one of the two brand new paintings I did for the NMCCG show

“Ecstatic”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, one of the two brand new paintings I did for the NMCCG show

I’m baaack! My work is basically done for the upcoming show at the NM Cancer Center Gallery for a Cause. I still have to paint a few sides and put hanging wires on the backs. Hanging day is Saturday, February 24th, which is under 2 weeks away! I’m really excited about this show. I’m showing with some great Albuquerque artists and I’m so humbled to be included in a show titled “Movers and Shakers: Works by artists who teach, lead and inspire”. I’m extremely grateful to be included in this truly great group of artists! The show opens with a reception during March First Friday Artscrawl, March 2nd, 5:30-8:30pm. The show is at the NM Cancer Center near Paseo del Norte and I-25.

"Believe", 30x30" oil on canvas, one of the "reworked" paintings for the NMCCG show

“Believe”, 30×30″ oil on canvas, one of the “reworked” paintings for the NMCCG show

I ended up finishing five paintings on canvas for the NMCCG show, three were “reworked” older paintings I never did like. UNTIL I reworked them! Thanks to a critique from the curator, it turned out they were never quite finished in the first place. Now that they are finished, I’m really pleased! I also painted two completely new canvases. I’m deliberately getting into the layering and letting earlier layers show through. It’s exciting to see the evolution of my work. I feel like my style is seriously taking shape over the past year.

"Eternal Love", 30x30" oil on canvas, one of the reworked paintings for the NMCCG show.

“Eternal Love”, 30×30″ oil on canvas, one of the reworked paintings for the NMCCG show.

Even more exciting to me, is that I get to show my guitar and record paintings in this show! Though I didn’t get my final guitar painted in time for this show, I will have two others hanging. Below is the guitar I’m currently working on. Hoping to have it finished in the next week or so.

Guitar painting in progress, acrylics on wood

Guitar painting in progress, acrylics on wood

Hoping is the key word in that last sentence. I’m not going to have a ton of time for painting over the next month because, we sold our house! Our closing is set for March 13th. We are getting close to making an offer on our next house and I promise to share all the details once that is done and accepted. Either way, we have to move out of our house of 17 years by the 13th, which leaves us just over 3 weeks. Luckily, we packed most of our stuff before we put it up for sale. We have very little left to pack, just the last few boxes of things we use daily, and a few pieces of art (give or take 100!).

"Cosmic Love", 20x20" oil on canvas, one of the two brand new paintings for the NMCCG show.

“Cosmic Love”, 20×20″ oil on canvas, one of the two brand new paintings for the NMCCG show.

My goal is to get the show hung and finish up a few projects before we have to pack and move. Hopefully, there will only be a few days with everything in storage before we can move into our new house. Either way, we are taking a short vacation during the lag time! I would love to be moved in and working in my new studio by April, but we shall see!

 

And Just like that, another year is gone!

I’ve really enjoyed the month of October this year! My birthday is the 25th, and in the past I’ve only ever celebrated my birthday. This year, I decided to change that and celebrate my birth MONTH.

I’m feeling especially blessed this year as I was able to paint TWO murals during the month! I’m really excited about painting murals, it is so much fun to paint large and murals fit the bill, not to mention, I don’t have to store large paintings when I’m done. They live where they are painted! I think the best part is that they are living with people who truly appreciate and love them!

I took extra time off this month too. I enjoyed hikes with my family, time with my grandson and of course my sweetie, a baby shower for my 2nd grandson, dinners out, the Frida Kahlo photograph exhibit at the UNM Art Museum, time in Las Cruces with my brother and sister-in-law and much more! It’s been a great month and I am very grateful.

I apologize for the lack of blog posts, but I was so busy with murals and other stuff, the blog practically slipped my mind all month!

Oh, and there was the jaw pain! I’ve been in pain for most of the month. I finally broke down and went to the dentist last week and found out I have to get my one, final, wisdom tooth pulled on Nov. 7th. After a round of antibiotics and steroids, the pain is mostly gone, but the pressure is building and I cannot wait to get this tooth out of my head!

This weekend is my 30th High School reunion! I cannot believe it’s been that long already, but I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone! Aaron and I will be playing some Sunlight music for my classmates at the Saturday evening dinner.

Coming up on November 11th, is the “Face-Palm Patriots”, Veterans Art Show I’m participating in at the KD Neeley gallery in Downtown Albuquerque. This show will benefit the local organization, Heroes Walk Among Us. This is the show I’ve been working on the Self-portrait for. I’m just about finished with it, I have to take it to the gallery tomorrow! I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, considering it’s my first portrait in over 12 years!

Self Portrait for the upcoming "Face-Palm Patriots" Veteran art show

Self Portrait for the upcoming “Face-Palm Patriots” Veteran art show at the KD Neeley gallery in downtown Albuquerque.

The Sun and the Moon

I painted my latest mural this past Sunday and Monday. I’m so excited about this one! I’m calling it “The Sun and the Moon” and I think it’s the best mural I’ve painted to date. I painted it for my brother and his wife. They had a neighbor build a new cinder block wall bordering their driveway, and they thought it needed some color! It was definitely my most ambitious mural yet, at 33 x 5.5′ feet!

I’m considering making prints of this one, it would have to be a triptych as the wall is too long to get it all in one photo. I tried taking a panoramic shot, but hard to do on a sloping driveway! What do you think? Or maybe I will do a smaller canvas version of it?

As with my other murals, I filmed the process and created a time lapse video to share with y’all. I think the time lapse videos are my favorite part, as I get to watch the progress too! It’s a different perspective for me as I don’t get to stand back and watch while I’m painting.

The music on the video is written and performed by my brother, Travis James Manning. He is a lifelong musician and currently plays in two bands, as well as playing solo acoustic shows in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM

Enjoy the video, share the video, comment on the video… any of these activities is greatly appreciated! Thank you for your continued support! 🙂

Where have you been?

"Burning up for your love" guitar painting

Varnished, whole and ready to show! “Burning up for your love”, acrylic on solid Fender body, Available “as is” for $1,000. Price will go up once all the parts are added.

My solo show at the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club opens this Friday, 6-8pm. Tomorrow morning the show will be hung and ready to go! Today I took the guitar and neck to the guitar shop for connection. I’m excited about finishing up my first playable art guitar! It will be shown this month, as is, but after the August show comes down this guitar will get all it’s pick ups, tuning pegs and knobs, wiring, etc. Then it will be ready to be PLAYED! Until then, I had Aaron model the guitar for me, he’s a natural! 😉

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! ;-)

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! 😉

We went camping last week, in case you were wondering why there were no blog posts. We spent a few days with my brother and sister in law at the lake. They just got their boat up and running for the first time in YEARS, so we had to take it out for a test run! I had forgotten how much I love to swim! It was hotter than hell, but the water was PERFECT!

good times at the lake!

Me with (l to r), my brother Travis, Aaron and our SIL, Charlene.

After 3 days at the lake, I came home to a request from a local architect friend of ours. His firm, Design Group, is building a playhouse for Parade of Playhouses, an auction gala to benefit local non profit, NM Appleseed. His request was for my contribution to their playhouse project, in the form of painting a set of wooden gears that will be on the wall of the playhouse. The theme of the house is Dr. Suess. I was given the gears, a color scheme and the theme and this is what I ended up with. I am always happy to contribute my art work to good causes and NM Appleseed is a good one. From their website, “Focusing on issues like hunger, education and homelessness, New Mexico Appleseed’s goal is to make systemic change that yields permanent or long term improvement for the poor and under served.”

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

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.

Whirlwind Trip to Austin

Selfie taken on stage with the signature pink elephant at Carousel Lounge

Selfie taken on stage with the signature pink elephant at Carousel Lounge

We returned yesterday from our quick trip to Austin. Sunlight had a show at the Carousel Lounge on Saturday evening. We drove for 4 of the 5 days! Such a looooong drive, but well worth it. We just love Austin! We reconnected with a couple of friends, played some music to a very receptive and attentive crowd, and honestly, we enjoyed the drive!

We don’t have anymore Sunlight shows until December, so it’s back to work on the art side of things. I’m almost done pulling together my new portfolio of 20 of my best paintings. Once that is done, it’s time to get back out there and find places to show/sell my work. I also plan to start my next painting video this week.

We have a ton of work to do here at Chroma Studios! Tomorrow we are announcing some big news on the Chroma blog, it’s so hard not to share this news right now! For those who don’t know, Chroma Studios is a business owned by myself and my husband, here in Albuquerque. We rent studio space to artists and musicians.

This Saturday is my monthly Open Studios event. My studio at 1606 Central Ave SE suite 201, Albuquerque, NM will be open from noon-5pm. Stop by and check out my Studio Clearance sale in person, OR you can go to my Etsy shop to see what I have for sale. Most of the paintings on sale are 50% off OR MORE! This sale is on for a limited time only! Get a great deal on an original painting while you still can!

I guess that’s all I have to share today, I’ll be back with another blog post on Thursday! Have a great week!