Category Archives: Traveling New Mexico

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

Open Studio Time!

My blog post was bumped yesterday for a Valentine’s Day trip to the Peak of the Sandia mountains. It was cold, cloudy and snowy up there, but it was beautiful! If you’ve never been to Albuquerque, the Sandias are the mountains directly to the east of the city. It takes about 30 minutes to drive up to the peak. One of the biggest reasons we love Albuquerque! Usually, you can see the city from the peak, but yesterday everything was covered with clouds.

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My Valentine! โค

This week I’m getting ready for my monthly open studio event. Every month, I open my studio to the public, along with some of the other artists here at Chroma Studios. It’s a great time to get a behind the scenes look at the where I work and what I do everyday. You might even get a great deal on one of my paintings! I have prints available too.

Looking into my studio from the Reception area

The address is 1606 Central Ave SE, ste. 201, Albuquerque, NM. We occupy the whole upstairs of the building. It’s a really cool space with the high windows in the front. I have recently moved back into studio #1, the room I started in 9 years ago when we first opened Chroma Studios. It truly is the prime studio space. I sometimes feel guilty about taking it back, but I think after 8 years, it’s my turn again! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk

Looking up at my studio window from the front sidewalk

The high windows are on either side of my studio, with one looking out onto Central Ave. and the other one looking into the reception area.

My studio windows

My studio windows

Just a little tease of the artwork I have available for sale! Come by the Open Studios this Saturday to see more! See you there! ๐Ÿ™‚

The reception area outside my studio

The reception area outside my studio

 

 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Living in the Land of Enchantment: Nature is the Best Medicine

Subaru parked at the trail head

Parked at the trail head

I’ve been feeling down lately. Trying to stay positive and happy, but that doesn’t always happen. My personal life is good, but the world is losing it’s collective minds! So much fear and hate in the world, it can be hard to stay in the light.

Hiking selfie! :)

Hiking selfie! ๐Ÿ™‚

I know of no better healing/grounding than going out in nature! Our dogs agree 100%. Yesterday started as a “morning hike” day. We had planned to take our stir crazy dogs (it’s been over a week since our last hike) for a short hike so we could get back to our studios in the afternoon.

Aspens in their fall colors

Aspens in their fall colors

Some days end up very differently than we plan. We spent a couple of hours looking for a trail head that leads to the Continental Divide Trail. We never found the trail head and so we ended up backtracking to another area we’ve been to before. We did find a trail that we had never been on before (Penas Negras Trail) in the San Pedro Wilderness.

Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail

Old road trail; Penas Negras Trail

It started out very steep, but after about 20 minutes the trail leveled off and took us through a gorgeous ridge top. The trail was more like an old road that had grown over, probably for decades. We timed our visit perfectly as the Aspen trees are beautiful in their Autumn colors!

More colorful Aspens!

More colorful Aspens!

The ground was littered with beautiful quartz stones, sparkling in the sunlight. Needless to say, I LOVE the mountains!

Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!

Super tall Aspens, still wearing green!

Chroma Studios Open House: Saturday, Sept. 17, 12-5pm

Reception area at Chroma Studios

Reception area at Chroma Studios

This Saturday from noon to 5pm I will be opening my studio to the public. Not just my studio, but 3-4 other artists in my building will also be here to show their work! It’s been years since we opened Chroma Studios to the public and I am so excited to share all the color and energy with you all! We have 11 studios in all, though not everyone is able to be open this time around.

We have 2 studios that are currently being moved out of, so we also have 2 studios opening up for new artists at the beginning of October. If you are looking for an art studio, stop by and see what we have available! We are always happy to welcome new artists into the Chroma Studios fold. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria

Mixed Media by Dee Alexandria

I recently moved into a new studio that I’m sharing with another artist. Dee Alexandria has been a friend since we first met selling our art at the New Mexico State Fair almost 10 years ago! We decided to share a studio because neither of us needed a big studio to ourselves. Plus, it’s nice to have company in the studio. So often, artists are isolated from their peers. That is one of the things about Chroma Studios that makes it so nice! We have a community of artists here that help each other out. Mine and Dee’s work compliments each other perfectly as we both love color, flowers and spirals!

Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk

Landscape painting by Cynthia Zeedyk

Cynthia Zeedyck is another artist who will have her studio open this Saturday. She is a lifelong artist with 45 years of training and experience in the arts, including: Fine Arts, Appalachian Arts, Poetry, many styles of Dance, Wildcrafting Herbs, and Poetry. Cynthia was awarded with an Apprenticeship Grant from Ohio Arts for Traditional Heritage Basket Making. Her works sold both nationally and internationally. She was the largest female producer of Heritage Berry Baskets in the world.ย  Her designs and creations include landscape paintings, floral and contemporary. Newest works in Scrimshaw. Cynthia has been a Chroma Artist since 2014.

Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook

Mixed Media by Robert Medina Cook

Robert Medina Cook has been a Chroma Studios artist off and on for at least 5 years. He began his journey in the creative arts over forty years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A native New Mexican whose local family roots go back centuries in Northern New Mexico, in 2012 Robert was one of 7 artists honored for their excellence in the arts by being proclaimed a “Local Treasure” by the Albuquerque Art Business Association. Featured in several publications, his artworks have won numerous awards and can be found in corporate, museum, public art and private collections throughout the US and abroad.

Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil

Mixed Media by Phillip Vigil

Phillip Vigil (Jemez Pueblo/Chiricahua Apache) is a fourth-generation artist residing in Jemez Pueblo. He is new to Chroma Studios. He is a self-taught artist and has been working seriously on his art now for several years. He always had a love of art since he realized at a young age that the paintings on the walls were done by members of his family. He is highly influenced by the abstract modernists of the early and late 20th century. He works a lot on paper with oil pastels, oil sticks, oil paint sticks, spray paint, oil and acrylic paint as well.

 

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The Final Countdown!

Coming out of the dark oil on canvas

“Coming Out of the Dark”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, near completion WIP. Two paintings in one as this was painted over another painting I didn’t like!

My life has been so busy since my last post! I spent a good month working on my plans that I talked about in “Inspiration” back in May. About mid June we started work on remodeling our house. I’ve decided it’s been far too long without a post. I am still working on my plans to change things around here, stay tuned!ย  I currently have 3 paintings in progress with plans for 6 more to fill out my portfolio.

This week is my first full week back in my studio after a 2 month “vacation” to work on remodeling our house to get it ready to sell. We still have a couple of minor things to get done, but we are hoping to have it listed by the weekend. (Not sure how long these things take) I took some “after” photos but only one came out decent, so I will try again for my next post. (Sorry!) I really wish I had remembered to take “before” shots too, because the transformation has been amazing!

shower tile job

The one photo that came out ok. The new shower in our brand new master bedroom! I did this tile work all by myself! It took me 3 full days of hand shredding work. I must admit, I’m quite proud!

This shower started out as a bug infested back corner of our laundry room. It was used as storage for construction materials for the 10 year period we worked on turning this back closet into a bathroom! What was once a den/storage room/extra room is now a really lovely master bedroom with en suite. It was worth all the work!

Once the house sells, we will get our motor home remodeled and move into it! That dream we had back in 2013? It’s finally coming true! Depending on the house selling quickly, we hope to leave Albuquerque end of October, beginning of November. Our plan is to travel around the country, south in the winter and north in the summer with a month to 2 month stops in Albuquerque in the Spring and Fall.

Why, you ask? Why NOT, I say! Seriously though, we have dreamed of our empty nest years being quite different from our child rearing years. With kids, you have to provide a stable home. Without kids? We can now do all the things that were “unreasonable” when we had kids. My husband is a musician and we play together in a group called “Sunlight”. One of the best ways for performing musicians to make a living is touring. We plan to perform our music all over the country! Once upon a time, when I began my career as an artist, I made a living by traveling (actually my 1st husband did the traveling while I stayed home with our young children) and selling my art at hundreds of shops around the country. I’ve tried the internet route for over 16 years now, and it just doesn’t work as well. Besides, it’s not as much fun!

Of course, I will still be online, my ART will still be online! I will still blog here to tell you about our adventures on the road. I will still make art! Now, it will all be done from the comfy, cozy RV we will soon call home. This blog will become more of a travel blog, but will still be all about my art and life.

I’m really excited to step out of my comfort zone! I never have been much of a routine type of gal. I like adventure! I like new sights and sounds and smells. There are so many places I’ve never been, so many people I’ve met online that I cannot wait to meet in person! I hope you will follow us on our journey, it’s sure to be fun!

Living in the Land of Enchantment: Salinas Pueblo Missions

Abo Mission ruins

Abo Mission ruins

One of my favorite places to visit in New Mexico is actually split into 3 separate sites. The Salinas Pueblo Missions has three missions, Quarai, Abo and Gran Quivira. They are all located around Mountainair, NM. The Abo ruins are 9 miles west, Quarai ruins are 8 miles north and the Gran Quivira ruins are 25 miles south of Mountainair. I love visiting these sites and imagining a time when they were bustling villages. I wonder how they lived and what they did everyday to survive in this desert environment.

Quarai Mission ruins

Quarai Mission ruins, the largest of the 3 missions

Because of their remote location, there is rarely more than a couple of people wandering the ruins of any location. The Abo Mission is most visited as it sits near the highway to Mountainair. The Abo and Quarai Missions were built using red sandstone and the Gran Quivira Mission and pueblo was built with white/grey limestone. The red sandstone is especially beautiful when covered in snow.

Gran Quivira Pueblo ruins

Gran Quivira Pueblo ruins

All three were built during the 17th century during Spanish occupation. Although all sites were built as Spanish Missions, they also included Kivas in their buildings which could have been a concession to the beliefs of the Native Americans who lived there alongside the Spanish settlers. Nobody knows why all three sites were abandoned by the 1670s. My personal guess is they may have been abandoned after the pueblo revolt in 1680, when the pueblo indians from all over New Mexico chased the Spanish settlers out of the area. They would not return for 12 years. I would imagine, like other abandoned sites, water could have had something to do with it as well.

Salinas_basin

If you are looking for a day trip from Albuquerque, the Salinas ruins are a great choice. Make sure you fill up your gas tank and maybe even take a picnic lunch, as there isn’t much in the way of gas stations and food in the area. Mountainair does have a cafe or two, but gas can get expensive in those remote, rural areas of New Mexico. Pets are welcome, but must be kept on leash and cleaned up after.

Ruins of the Gran Quivira Mission

Ruins of the Gran Quivira Mission

All three sites are partially handicapped accessible and have handicap restrooms. All sites also have visitors centers with Rangers on hand to answer questions. All sites are open daily, 9 to 5 in winter months and 9-6 in the summer months. Of all the ruins I’ve personally visited across New Mexico, these three are most interesting to me. I highly recommend a visit next time you are in the area!