Category Archives: Upcycling

Summer Sale! 50% off!

My Summer Sale recently opened to the public after a month of exclusive access for my email subscribers. What this means for you is 50% off selected original paintings and prints. This sale will run through Friday, September 22nd. There are over 60 items available in this massive studio clearance sale! After the 22nd, they will all go back to regular price. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to my website PaulaManningLewis.com, the sale is currently on the home page.

You can also get a 20% off coupon for regularly priced paintings and prints by signing up for my email list. The sign up form will pop up automatically when you get to the site. All of the photos in this post are images of sale items available in my Summer Sale. 🙂 Click on the images/captions to go directly to the sale page for that image.

You can still see all of my newer and regularly priced paintings and prints on my website too. Just look for the “home” drop down menu at the top of the page.

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

Doing my part to Save the Planet!

"The Awakening", Acrylic on 12" vinyl record, work in progress

“The Awakening”, Acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, work in progress

So close! I am currently working on the final vinyl record painting(above) for my August show at the Sierra Club Offices. At the beginning of the Summer, I wasn’t sure I would make it. I really like to have all new work for new shows. For the NM Cancer Center show this was impossible. I was asked to show as many paintings as I could, up to 25 if I had them. I ended up with 22, about 6 were new paintings that hadn’t been shown before. The Sierra Club show however, will be ALL NEW work! Plus, ALL the art work is recycled art. I always feel better about recycled art. Something about making something out of a piece of trash, always makes me feel good. Not that these pieces were LITERALLY picked out of the trash. More like SAVED from going into the trash! Either way, I’m doing my little bit to save the planet. 30% of all sales at the Sierra Club show will benefit our local chapter of the Sierra Club!

"Be", Acrylic on 12" vinyl record, available in August at my Sierra Club show, $200

“Be”, Acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, available in August at my Sierra Club show, $200

In all, I am showing my latest guitar painting, along with 8 brand new vinyl record paintings. I will hang the show at the end of next week and the opening reception will be during the First Friday Artscrawl. I will share more info on all the particulars next week as the opening gets closer.

"The Best of Everything", Acrylic on 12" vinyl record, available in August at my Sierra Club show, $200

“The Best of Everything”, Acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, available in August at my Sierra Club show, $200

These vinyl record paintings SEEM simple and like they wouldn’t take very long to create, but the truth is, each brush stroke must be layered 3-4 times. The vinyl surface is very slippery, so it takes a few layers to make the paint opaque. At one point, I used paint markers for my record paintings, but the fumes were too much! I had to go back to using acrylic paints again. One of the things I like most about painting on vinyl is the way the matte finish of the paint looks with the shiny surface of the record peeking through. This is difficult to capture in the photos, these pieces must be seen in person to fully appreciate!

How to Make an Artist Smile?

I just finished another vinyl record painting for my show next month at the Sierra Club here in Albuquerque. I made a shortened time lapse video for it, started about half way through. Once again, the music is an original composition by my husband, Aaron M. Lewis. I have 3 more to finish by the end of July. The new records won’t be available for purchase until the show, but you can see more of my record paintings on my WEBSITE.

I am gearing up for a Summer Art Clearance Sale this week. I’m putting up special pages on my website for the sale and there is only one way you can get that special link. Go to my website, www.PaulaManningLewis.com, and sign up on my email list. The sale will run through the rest of the Summer, but sign up now! There will be original paintings, prints, coloring books, art pillows and dolls. I’m clearing out the studio to make room for new work. I don’t have enough storage space to keep everything. Everything on sale will be 50% off!

This past Saturday was the reception for my mural painting at Sandy and Jeff’s house. Not a lot of people showed up, but one couple has told me they want a mural at their house too. That was just enough to make me smile! Hoping to get started on that one after I get everything done for the August show. Once it cools off a little! Stay tuned for more on that! 🙂

“I Like to Live the Love”

“I Like to Live the Love” 12″ vinyl record painting WIP

On top of the fact that it’s a short week because of the 4th of July holiday, I spent the day sick in bed yesterday. I’m feeling much better today, the fever broke in the early morning hours this morning. I did manage to get a blog post done yesterday, but today I was able to sit up and get some painting done too. I’m still working on new vinyl record paintings for my show in August. Today’s photo is the current record I’m working on, still in progress. Most of my record painting titles come from a song on the record, or maybe the record label or something on the record itself. This one is no exception. “I Like to Live the Love” is a song by BB King. The record is a variety album of Soul Train songs. Like all of my record paintings, the back side of the painting can still be played. I’ve left the title song exposed so you can listen if you happen to buy this painting.

I finally took some video of my record paintings in motion on the turntable. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time and keep forgetting. Check it out below!

“Happy” Time Lapse

I am in full show prep mode now for my show at the Sierra Club offices in Albuquerque during August. This show will be recycled art only! My latest guitar along with 8 recycled vinyl record paintings. Here is the latest time lapse video for the vinyl painting, “Happy”. The original music is by my husband, Aaron Lewis. Enjoy and feel free to share! Thanks!

Memorial Day, Murals and Guitars

I hope everyone had a good Holiday weekend. I’m working through it so we can go camping this week. We always go camping the week AFTER Memorial day. We are the kind of campers that want to get away from everyone! Even in New Mexico, that is impossible to do Memorial Day weekend, so we wait until Tuesday when everyone else is back at work.

I’m writing this blog ON Memorial Day and remembering all the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I was in the military during Desert Storm and personally knew a few of those people. I will never forget them, their sacrifice or the families they left behind.

Painted guitar in progress, Strat body.

Painted guitar in progress, Strat body.

Over the weekend, I started my guitar painting for the Sierra Club show in August. I’ve had this Strat body sitting in my studio for literally YEARS! It has been patiently waiting for me to make it beautiful. It is still in progress and I’m hoping to make this one my first playable guitar painting. I’m counting on my husband to help me with building the guitar from the empty solid body it is now. I’m showing only recycled art at the Sierra Club, because what better place to promote recycling, right?

Mural design, 12 x 12" oil on canvas, this will be painted at 10 times the size of this painting!

Mural design, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, this will be painted at 10 times the size of this painting!

On Friday, I will be getting started on the mural project I’ve been writing about for the last couple months. I have created the design and have approval to get started! I’m really excited about painting LARGE! 10 x 10 feet large! I plan on making a time lapse video of the whole process so stay tuned. I may share bits and pieces of it during the process.

 

People Who Inspire Me: Scott White

Scott White is a phenomenal furniture maker based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I first met Scott when we represented Scott’s work in our gallery. I had seen his work around town for at least a couple years before we opened Chroma Gallery and when I started filling our huge 4,500 square foot space, I knew Scott’s furniture would complement the art perfectly.

Once I met Scott, what struck me immediately was his positive outlook on life. Like Aaron and I, he had experiences similar to ours with serendipity, and he knew he was following his heart by making things with his hands. This is what first struck me and still inspires me about Scott. He is living his soul purpose.

Scott uses recycled metal and wood in his craft, as well as plywood and other woods. His chairs are just plain gorgeous and comfortable to sit in. Though he doesn’t like to consider himself an artist, his furniture is sculpture and therefore, Art with a capital A!

Scott’s Statement about his Craft:

In the current environment where ‘disposable’ is practically shoved down people’s throats, my longing is to make objects that will outlive the owner. This culture needs to revive the art of craft wherein the pieces that reside in your space will effect you even when you aren’t physically there. They possess the energy of the maker where the hand touches everything and they think about every line. My technique has evolved predominantly, to that of sculpture, where the object appears to come out of a single piece of wood. I collaborate with the material and rarely make sketches, paying attention and sensing how the form will resolve. The process is conscious and deliberate.

Paula: If you had the power to change one thing in this world, what would it be and how would you change it?

Scott: I have the power to change many things in this world simply by opening my mouth…..or opening a door. Many have said “you’ll never make a difference,” but to those I say, “wait”. One never knows what a kind word or even gesture will do for someone else. I think we are all here to plant seeds…

Plywood chair by Scott White

Plywood chair

Paula: What or who inspires you?

Scott: People who are passionately authentic inspire me. Those who are willing to be vulnerable….anomalies in a culture that stresses uniformity.

Paula: Who has had the biggest influence on your craft?

Scott: In the realm of furniture, George Nakashima and Sam Maloof are my go-to people. I lean towards George’s aesthetic…….. “luscious utility”. I came across Sam years ago before I started building furniture and he was etched in my mind from day 1. He once told a story about the mailman being all worried that his mail contained some bills, knowing Sam and Freda, Sam’s wife, were struggling. Others include Rebecca Solnit, a force of nature who eloquently talks about real change. The natural world is huge for me….not that I get out a lot but to see the genius everywhere is invigorating.

Paula: What do you want your art legacy to be?

Scott:  I don’t use the word ‘artist’ to describe myself. That’s such an ethereal word and employed by a lot of people (on the outside) who deem what is or isn’t ‘art’. I make objects yet wouldn’t even go as far as to call myself ‘maker’. That said, I hope my ‘legacy’ is that I helped more than I hindered, and that I’m remembered occasionally.

Three Tiered Round Table, Mahogany by Scott White

Three Tiered Round Table, Mahogany.

What should I blog about?

I have some photos to show you of recent art pillows I’ve completed. Other than that, I cannot think of anything to blog about! I’m going to leave it up to my readers. What do YOU think I should blog about? What are you interesting in hearing about from me? What artist stuff do you want to know? Now, hold back a second, I’m not opening this up to ANYTHING! I want serious ideas here people! 😉 Process, progress, thoughts, ideas? What do you want to know about this artist? Thank you so much for any input and feedback! 🙂 I want you to WANT to read my blog, I want it to be interesting to YOU! I already know what I’m interested in, what I don’t know, is what YOU are interested in. Please, let me know! In the meantime, I will share some photos of my latest #Artpillows! All 3 of these pillows and others are available in my Etsy shop. Follow the link to see them all!

Recycling

shreddingwool2

shredding wool

I have been living with guilt. For the past few years I’ve thought an awful lot about recycling and reusing. As an artist who paints on canvas, I had a real problem with what to do about putting more STUFF out in the world. In my personal life, I’ve always been good about recycling and not wasting ANYTHING. I recycle everything I can. I’ve purged so much stuff out of my life. I consider myself a minimalist. I only buy my clothes used at thrift stores, except for underwear, socks and sometimes shoes. I take my own bags to the grocery store. We compost our organic trash. I even save water as much as possible since I live in the desert.

In my art life however, I’ve been faced with a dilemma. Not only do I use brand new canvas and wood stretcher bars for my original paintings, I use toxic paints. This is not an eco-friendly way to be. I switched to water soluble oil paints over ten years ago. So, I no longer use the solvents needed for cleaning up after using regular oil paints. Still, I use wood from trees and the canvas is manufactured somewhere.

I have racked my brain for ways to reuse more and not use toxic substances in my art. I  paint on recycled items, old vinyl records, beat up guitars, old furniture.

My recent change to sewing has helped so much with my new mind set. I reuse old clothing, upcycle sweaters into new items. Now that I’m making pillows and dolls I have to use something to stuff with that is soft and fluffy. I’ve done a lot of searching online and found so many different eco-friendly ways to stuff my creations! I never would have thought about stuffing my dolls with animal hair, or plastic bags?! Honestly, I didn’t think those were very good ideas. The animal hair? I’m allergic to it, and I know I’m not the only one! Plastic bags? Too much crinkly crunchy noise from the plastic! No thanks.

shredding wool

Using my rotary cutter and straight edge, I cut thin strips from the sweater and then cut crosswise to make soft little wool pieces.

The one idea I really like is shredding old wool sweaters. I had one here in my studio from another sweater recycling project, so I decided to test the idea. I used my rotary cutter and straight edge to cut the sweater into strips and then cut crosswise to make little pieces. There was a lot of fuzz from those little pieces! What a mess! I made two small pillow forms and filled one with fiber-fill and the other with shredded sweater pieces. I washed the pillow with the sweater pieces to see how it held up.

wool filled pillow form

Wool filled pillow form, you can see it’s a little lumpy, but still very soft!

I’m pretty impressed with how it came out. The wool pieces are a bit more lumpy than the fiber fill, not quite as fluffy and soft, but still a nice cushy pillow. My thinking is I’m making decorator pillows and not really sleeping pillows, so I don’t think they need to be super soft. What do you think?

The shredded sweater stuffing takes a bit more time and I think I can figure out a way to make it more fluffy. I saw a blog post about someone putting chunky fibers in a blender to make it more fluff, but I haven’t tried that yet.

What I like most is reusing something old (don’t worry I wash everything in hot soapy water first!) and making something new, pretty and functional. 🙂 Granted, I’m still putting more stuff out in the world, but at least it’s eco-friendly stuff that isn’t going into a landfill! 🙂