Tag Archives: art

Hiking the Gila: Purgatory Chasm

Snow covered tree in the Gila National Forest

A couple of weeks ago it snowed here in the Gila National Forest. We had to go into town that day and while I was thinking, “we should take the long way home so we can see the snow”, Aaron was saying “do you want to take the long way home so we can check out the snow?” He’s really good at reading my mind. Not always, but sometimes we are just on the same wavelength!

I can’t resist a texture photo! Plus, I like the footprint!

Rather than coming home the regular way, we headed north on hwy 15 out of Silver City. It was so beautiful! Snow everywhere! We stopped a couple of times so I could snap pics of nature covered in the cold, white powder.

Looking back at the opening to the chasm canyon

By the time we got to the split with hwy 35 and started heading south in the Mimbres valley, the snow was gone and the sun was starting to peek out of the clouds. We decided then and there to stop at the Purgatory Chasm trail head. It’s a short trail very near Lake Roberts that we had never been on. I believe it’s a 1 mile loop. It’s one of those tourist type trails, short, level and gorgeous!

I’m also a sucker for a reflection pic! 😜

About a 1/2 mile in there is a split where the loop trail begins. We picked the left fork and shortly after we came to the chasm. The rock walls seem to pop up out of nowhere and suddenly, you are in a very narrow, tall canyon. The rocks on the canyon walls form hundreds of faces! It’s almost as if you can feel the eyes of the ancient ones staring at you and hear their whispering as you walk through.

And then there was sun…

We didn’t make it all the way around the loop trail. Somehow, we lost the trail and ended up looking down at the canyon. It was getting close to sundown, so we decided to play it safe and turned around to go back the way we came in.

The sun/shadows make the rocks POP! Can you see the faces?

That was about the time the sun came out and made the rocks really POP! So, even though it LOOKS like these photos were taken on three different days, it was all on the same day. You know what they say about New Mexico weather? Wait 5 minutes, it will change! Just for fun, I’m throwing in a photo I took at Emory Pass after the most recent snow on the mountain. I love the heart in the clouds!

This is the heart in the clouds, taken from the look out at Emory pass.

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Space, Spirals and Stars

Spiral Detail

Spiral Detail

It feels great to be back at the easel! This new large canvas I’m working on is exciting too! I can see it finished in my mind and it’s going to be awesome. A friend commented on a progress pic on instagram, “The eye”. I hadn’t noticed it before, but when the painting is turned sideways, there is totally an eye in there. Follow the link above to see some of my recent Instagram posts. I posted a couple of time lapse videos this morning while working on this painting. Follow me on Instagram to see all of my WIP posts!

Current work in progress, 36x36" oil on canvas

Current work in progress, 36×36″ oil on canvas

The discovery of the hidden eye is so perfect! My spirals have always been about looking within, I guess the subliminal message is there too. I’ve always felt like my paintings came from some other place, like I am just the conduit or channel for the Universe. It makes sense that my paintings of the galaxies in space would have even more hidden meaning than what I am aware of. As the years go by, I find more hidden meaning in my work. It’s not intentional on my part, but perhaps it’s a message from the Universe?

Today I worked on the yellow section some more. I’m working from the middle out. I started to add in more blue and also put in the first layer for the bright yellow stars in the image.

Another detail

Another detail

I’ve said it here before, my paintings are a meditation. They are a meditation for me as I paint, but they are also meant to be a meditation for anyone viewing the finished painting. My intention is for you to go within yourself as you gaze at the painting. Think of it as a focal point for your meditation.

In this new Space series, I can feel my spirit soaring into the sky, like I’m viewing the galaxies and stars from the vantage point of the Hubble telescope. I recently saw an article about the Hubble telescope. Did you know it’s been 28 years since the Hubble was launched?! I remember it well, but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Are you as fascinated by the Hubble images as I am?

WIP (Work in Progress)

work in progress, 36 x 36

work in progress, 36 x 36″ oil painting on canvas, this is a center close up.

I haven’t painted in a couple of weeks. I took the week of Thanksgiving off from the studio, since it’s a vacation week for my husband. The beginning of this week was spent working on boring business stuff. Somebody’s gotta do it! This is a one woman operation, so I guess it’s me!

Detail of the layering

Detail of the layering

I started the current work in progress weeks ago. It’s always difficult to jump back into a painting in progress after a break. I forget where I left off, or what brush I used for a certain section. It’s mostly a mental psych out. I overthink it every time! This afternoon was the perfect time to jump in.

progress pic in mid layering

Progress pic during the layering process, darker blue was painted first, with light blue layered over the top

I’m working on the blue parts today. Layering with a darker blue and then a lighter blue on top. Layering gives the paint more depth and makes the blue part stand out a bit more. I’m pretty sure there will be more layers added. The blue in the original inspiration photo is very bright, it should be, there are stars in there! Not easy to recreate with paint! I’m using Cerulean Blue mixed with some Naples Yellow, but I may have to search out a brighter blue in the end. So far though? I’m liking the effect.

Another detail of layering

Tomorrow the temps are supposed to drop with a chance of rain in the forecast. Aaron and I will be working on finishing up the insulation in my studio. Hopefully, I will be able to work in the studio next week. The wood burning stove in my studio does a pretty good job of heating the building, but 1,000 square feet of space takes a while to heat! I’ve found that it heats up fine as long as the outside temps are over 50. Forecast is calling for 40s all next week, so we shall see if the insulation is doing it’s job! One of these days I will get a more reliable source of heat, but that will take more cash. Plus, we still have to insulated the ceiling, so….. Not going for sympathy here, I chose to be here. I LOVE my studio, but it sure will be nice when it’s all finished!

Abstract

I have always loved abstract art. I’ve attempted to paint in an abstract style for years, but never felt I did it right until these five paintings. When I started the 20 plus canvases this Summer, my goal was to paint them all completely abstract with no recognizable objects. No suns or flowers, just pure abstraction. I ended up going in several different directions. These five stayed true to my original intention. Several wandered back to my spiral abstract series style with the mandala effect. Six became my new Energy series that I wrote about in my last blog post. Plus a handful of heart/love related paintings.

This one is still a work in progress, 12 x 12" oil on canvas

This one is still a work in progress, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas

I have one that is still a work in progress. Somehow it slipped by when I was finishing up the Fall Portfolio. Not sure how it will be completed, I suspect it’s very close to finished in it’s current state.

Landscape with Rain, 12x12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

Landscape with Rain, 12×12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Landscape with rain” was painted in my home studio, looking out over the Mimbres Valley. The clouds were settled in to the valley and it rained daily. Though I meant this to be a pure abstract, looking at it now, I can see the hills and clouds and rain. It feels like Summer rain to me.

"Balanced", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“Balanced”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“Balanced” was done after I moved in to my new studio in Santa Clara. I called it balanced because I felt it was the closest to my original goal for this group of paintings. A Pure Abstract painting. It started as a scribble and the colors were filled in with pure intuition. It was one of those paintings that felt perfect and great as I was making it. It flowed from a place of pure inspiration. Al

"All I Speak is Love", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“All I Speak is Love”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225

“All I Speak is Love” was inspired by a song written and performed by a musician friend. Alison Reynolds is an incredible song writer and musician in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This painting was specifically inspired by her song, 3 Monkeys. Give it a listen!

"Eye of the Storm", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Eye of the Storm”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, Pure Abstract Series, Available for $225.

“Eye of the Storm” was started in August at my home studio. In the midst of above average rainfall, storms were on the mind when this painting was started. We had some intense thunderstorms with spectacular lightning shows. Someone on social media pointed out the eye in the middle and it stuck. Not easy to paint a pure abstract without someone seeing something represented! 😉

I definitely see more pure abstracts coming in the future. I love concentrating more on the colors and composition of the brush strokes. Not thinking about whether it “looks like” anything. Stay tuned for more! If you want to get notice when I paint more, subscribe to my email list and get regular updates on new paintings, blog posts and studio sales! My Small Business Saturday Sale is coming up THIS WEEK!

 

 

 

Energy Series

“Intense Energy”, 20×20” oil on canvas, Energy Series, available for $600.

This year has been a year of new beginnings for me. We made a major move to another town, in another part of New Mexico. Selling one house and buying another, I’ve never experienced such anxiety driven stress! Needless to say, my energy has been very intense this year!

“LovEnergy”, 20×20” oil on canvas, Energy Series, available for $600.

I’ve said it here before, and I will say it again, art is my therapy. I was diagnosed with PTSD in February and started seeing a counselor at the VA in Albuquerque. At first I was happy with the treatment I was getting, but it quickly went south when I found out it would be difficult to get treatment in our new town. After months of back and forth with the VA, I was finally connected with a counselor in Silver City at the end of May. I have since switched to private insurance after being completely frustrated with the VA system.

“Heart Energy”, 12×12” oil on canvas, Energy Series, available for $225.

When we finally moved in to our new house in April, we didn’t actually close until the end of June, I was extremely frazzled. While I was grateful we were able to move in, there was still much anxiety about whether the sale would go through.

“Wild Heart”, 12×12” oil on canvas, Energy Series, available for $225.

Once we unpacked, I bought a box of 20 12×12″ canvas and got back to painting! I decided to use these canvases for exploring and possibly changing my painting style. Whatever happened, I was going to paint and calm my frazzled nerves. Painting is a meditation for me, it helps center me in a sea of peace.

“Feminine Energy”, 12×12” oil on canvas, Energy Series, SOLD! ❤️

I’m always amazed at the work that comes out of me when I’m particularly stressed. Some of my most popular images came to me during my most stressed days. Letting go and letting the painting tell me where it wanted to go. I was shooting for making my style a bit more loose. This is where the Energy Series began!

“Shine”, 12×12” oil on canvas, Energy Series, this one was given away to one of my lucky email subscribers! ❤️

My idea was to express the energy I put into my paintings in a more direct way. In a physically visual way. All of my art has an intention of love, joy, peace and other positive energies painted into it, but this is the first time I’ve attempted to make it more real. The wavy brushstrokes signify the energy. The colors represent different kinds of energy or intensity of the energy. Blue and green are peaceful, while red and yellow are joyful and purple and pink show love.

The paintings shown in this post are the first six in the series, stay tuned for more to come! Click on any of the images above to go to my website.

Hiking the Gila: Rocky Canyon

Tree holding rock

I love the way it looks like this tree is holding up the rock! In reality, the rock is an overhang of the cave behind me and the tree seems to have grown around it.

It’s been too long since I’ve posted a hiking blog. That’s mainly because it’s been a while since we’ve been hiking on a new trail AND had the camera! I always say, that’s why I’m not a professional photographer, I ALWAYS forget the camera when I should have it. Last weekend we hiked for a couple of hours on Saturday and picked up a load of firewood on the way home. Let’s just say it was an exhausting day.

Rocky Canyon walls with grass growing on top of moss

Rocky Canyon walls with grass growing on top of moss

This time we drove a bit further into the Gila National Forest and hiked on the Gila Wilderness side of the forest. In case you are unfamiliar with the Gila, there are two Wilderness areas within the Gila NF. The Gila and the Aldo Leopold. There is one main road that takes you up through the middle of the Gila NF, this road is what splits the two wilderness areas. Main road is a bit deceiving as this is still a dirt forest road. In fact, it’s recommended that you take only a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle on FR 150. There are some hairy areas, but we have taken our Subaru on the road with no problem.

Mountain stream in Rocky Canyon

Mountain stream in Rocky Canyon

Rocky Canyon is the hairiest part of the road. There is a campground and a hiking trail that heads east from the campground. We had driven by the location before, but this was the first time we stopped for a look around and a hike. Every single other time we have driven through the canyon, it was bone dry. This time? Water literally everywhere! The canyon stream was running full force and there was water seeping from rocks as well as swampy areas on the trail. I cannot tell you when the last time was I saw this much water in the Gila! We have received a ton of rain this year, thank goodness!

Small ledge cave hidden in the rock canyon

This small ledge cave was hidden in the side of Rocky Canyon. It was just big enough for us to climb into, though it was filled with mouse droppings, so we jumped right out!

I probably took over 50 photos that day. There was so much green and so much water, the forest was gorgeous. There were rocks with fresh, green moss with grass growing from the moss. The bright green of the moss on the rocks was so cool.

Faces in the rocks

One thing I’ve noticed about the Canyons in the Gila, there are faces everywhere! This one even has a moss beard!

The Gila is located in the desert southwest part of New Mexico (again, for those who don’t know). It’s an oasis of trees, springs and wildlife. When it’s dry, it’s beautiful, but when it’s wet, it’s an amazing paradise! It’s one of the many reasons New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. It’s also one of my favorite places in the world. I’m so grateful to call it home!

Painted rocks

This rock wall looked painted, but it is actually the colors left from water streaming down the Canyon walls.

 

Feeling Isolated

New canvas has arrived!

New canvas has arrived! Three 36×36″ paintings on the way!

Making art is, for the most part, a solitary pursuit. I’ve been purposefully isolated ever since we closed Chroma Studios Art space in June 2017. I go back and forth between being an introvert and an extrovert. I enjoy my solitary time. Usually. I must be heading into an extrovert phase. I’ve been feeling a bit too isolated lately.

It’s been over 6 months now since our major move to the Silver City area. In September, I attended a meeting of the Silver City Art Association. I joined the group just in time to participate in their Indy Artist Pop up show at the Common Ground gallery in Silver City.

Last week I met with the President of the Association so we could get to know each other better. We talked about the challenges they face as a group. I told her a bit about the experiences I have had as an artist/gallery owner and I told her that I would be happy to pitch in and help wherever they needed me.

This morning I woke to a message from another member of the group asking if I would be willing to be their Vice President. I guess I made a good impression!

I’m excited for this new chapter of my art career and ready to be an extrovert again! The sense of failure I felt when we closed Chroma Art Studios in Albuquerque has faded. I know it wasn’t a failure, it ran it’s course and it was time for us to leave the big city for a small town. I’m happy to be where I am now.

One of the reasons I joined the group was the fact that they have an Open Studios Tour at the beginning of May. I guess I will now be helping to make it happen for 2019. My goal is to have my studio in Santa Clara finished and ready for the Open Studios Tour. I have my work cut out for me for sure!

Black gesso on canvas

Black gesso on canvas, drying time.

Yesterday was a very rough day for me personally. Thank God for art and the UPS guy bringing my 3 new large canvases! Today I’m prepping the new canvas to start painting tomorrow. I start each canvas with black gesso and it needs a good day to dry fully.

I’m leaning towards a new painting in the “Space” series. This series is based on images from the Hubble Telescope. Spiral Universes, stars and galaxies, more about this in my next blog, stay tuned!

Oh and friendly reminder! Your 2019 Paula Manning-Lewis Art Calendar is now available for purchase on my website!

 

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