Tag Archives: entertainment

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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First Friday Opening Reception, THIS Friday!

My art and the art of 20 other artists has been hung at the New Mexico Cancer Center for the Gallery With A Cause show, “Movers and Shakers”. There is some really amazing art at this show! I’m so grateful to be included in such an awesome group of artists!

2018 3, flyer

This Friday, March 2nd, 5:30-8:30pm is the First Friday opening reception. Located within the NM Cancer Center at 4901 Lang Ave NE, the Gallery With A Cause raises money to help lower income patients financially. 40% of every sale goes to the NM Cancer Center Foundation. Having lost family members and friends to cancer, this is an important cause to me personally as well.

"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 have 19 pieces hanging in the show, 6 paintings on canvas, 3 guitar paintings and 10 vinyl record paintings. I hope you will join me at the reception to see the art and potentially support the cause with a purchase. There will be a People’s Choice Award, so I would really appreciate the support and your vote!

"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

There will be a “Walk and Talk” event on Wednesday, April 18th, 6-7:30pm. If you are unable to attend either of these days, the gallery is open by appointment only. Call 505-828-3791 for more information or to schedule an appointment. All events are free to attend, and your support is greatly appreciated! See you there!

Down and Dirty in the Studio!

work in progress oil painting

12 x 12″ oil on canvas. This is one of my works in progress. Started out as playing with paints, just to get my hands back in the groove!

Finally, after getting our house up for sale, I am back in the studio! I’m getting busy with painting for a show in March at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery. I promised 15-20 paintings, so I have my work cut out for me. So far, I have 1 painting finished, 4 paintings I’m reworking, and 2 I just started this week.

LIght of love oil on canvas

This is the “background” painting that was once called “Light of Love”. It’s a 30 x 30″ oil on canvas that is now being “reworked”. See below for updated WIP.

When I say reworking, what I mean is I had some paintings that I was never really all that happy with. I guess you could say they were never REALLY finished the first time around. So I’m “finishing” them or reworking them. Some parts will be completely painted over, others will stay. As an example, I’m sharing a couple of photos of a painting as it was and then where it is now. One such painting is getting closer to being finished now. After looking at this painting for literally YEARS, I decided it was nothing more than a background. I’m painting a design over that “background” and adding more detail.

Viola! A new painting! Actually, it’s still a work in progress, but you get the idea. I made the center spiral a bit larger and centered it more on the canvas. There will be more details painted into the background to basically cover whatever was there before.

reworked oil painting

Here is the “reworked” “Light of Love” in progress. Can you see how I left the old painting showing through on the flower petals?

The 2 paintings I’ve started are so far nothing more than a background of color. Waiting for the paint to dry can be slow, so I have to work on multiple paintings at once, rotating them as they dry.

I always get excited about having a deadline as it lights a fire under me and always brings inspiration in waves. I don’t know why I always seem to wait until the last minute to finish these things, but somehow, it gets done! After this, it’s back to painting murals, I have my next one lined up for sometime in February, but first? I have a LOT of painting on canvas to do! Stay tuned for more works in progress photos. Follow me on Instagram to get daily updates.

The Design Process

First rough sketch

First rough sketch

It’s been a crazy, busy month. I haven’t really accomplished much, but it’s been busy. Unfortunately, my husband has been having an issue with his eye, so I’ve had to drive him to work and appointments. Of course, I would do anything for my sweetie! Next Monday he starts treatments, so fingers crossed his vision will be back to normal soon. In between my driving duties, I’ve been working on my latest painting on canvas as well as a design for my next mural.

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First colored sketch

The design process is done now and I will paint the actual wall this Friday afternoon and Saturday morning! This one will be different from the others, as it will not have a background. I’m painting sunflowers directly on the wall with the color of the wall being the background. I’m so excited and grateful to get the chance to paint another mural!

Sketch Change #2

Sketch Change #2

ICYMI: My Holiday Gift Sale is happening now, but it ends tomorrow at Midnight! 20% off everything on my website. I also have two 2018 calendars available! If you sign up for my email list or if you are already on my email list, you will/have also received an extra 15-20% off in addition to the automatic 20% off on my website. Giving you 35-40% off!

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Final design idea, finished mural will still have the 3 flower design, saving time by only sketching one flower for the design idea.

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! 🙂

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!