Tag Archives: Las Cruces

Happy New Year!

I’m so happy to be back in the studio! I had a lovely Holiday break, time with family, lots of snow and thankfully, some serious peace and quiet. I’m rested and ready to get back to work.

Enjoying the snow
Aaron and I enjoying the snow in front of our house!

I haven’t had the chance to paint just yet, so no progress pics to share. I figured it would be a good time to share some of my photos from the snow storm that hit just AFTER Christmas.

Our house in the snow
Our house from the back side, in the snow!

It was probably a good thing it snowed two days after Christmas, or our kids wouldn’t have been able to get home to Albuquerque! We were so happy to have all three of our sons, one DIL and one grandson down to visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We had a great time playing “Cards against Humanity”, Jenga and “Speak Out”, a hilarious game everyone should play at least once! I haven’t laughed that hard in years!

Sun peeking thru the clouds
After the snow, when the sun finally started to peek out again!

We had planned on hiking everyday during our vacation, but the weather had other plans. We did take a couple of hikes in the snow, but once it started to melt, the hiking trails were way too muddy! While we enjoyed hanging around the house and watching movies and reading, the dogs were less than overjoyed.

Rock cairn in the yard
Rock cairn in the yard

Once the roads cleared up, (the mountain pass highway from I-25 to our house was closed for days!) we made a trip to Las Cruces and then to Cloudcroft to visit more family. I’m happy to report my art will soon be showing at a new Bakery/Coffee shop/Gallery in downtown Cloudcroft, Eight the Cake.

Hiking near the Mimbres River
Hiking near the Mimbres River in the Gila National Forest.
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People who inspire me: Alison Reynolds

"I Don't Speak Your Name", work in progress, 12x12" oil on canvas

“I Don’t Speak Your Name”, work in progress, 12×12″ oil on canvas

This past Saturday we went into Silver City to catch some live music. A friend of ours from Las Cruces, Alison Reynolds, was playing at the Little Toad Brewery in downtown. I’ve always loved her music, but this time we finally picked up her CDs too. She does a great live act with a loop pedal to bring in all the different parts of her songs. She plays the cello and the guitar. Yesterday, I finally got the chance to listen to her latest CD, In Times Like These, and I was blown away.

More progress on "I Don't Speak Your Name", still a work in progress

More progress on “I Don’t Speak Your Name”, still a work in progress

Every song on the album is really good, but the first song stuck in my head all day long. 3 Monkeys is about not hearing, seeing or speaking the name of a certain someone who “runs” our country. It’s a song about letting love rule. I refuse to say his name as well and the song seriously reverberated with my heart and soul. The cello is mesmerizing! The lyrics are meaningful and the tune just sticks in the head.

Untitled abstract painting in progress, this is one of the new abstracts I've been working on

Untitled abstract painting in progress, this is one of the new abstracts I’ve been working on

I’ve been working/playing on moving more towards an abstract style with my art. My life has changed so profoundly since we moved to the mountains, it’s been a dream forever! Somehow, it feels like my art is ready for a change as well. I’d been having problems finding inspiration for my latest work and have been “playing” just to get the creative juices flowing.

Another abstract work in progress, this was the first one I did

Another abstract work in progress, this was the first one I did

Sometimes inspiration hits while I’m painting, but other times, a song, a movie, a book, or a news story will trigger my muse. This time it was Alison’s song. I asked her if I could use her song for my latest time-lapse painting and I’m so happy she said yes!

Painted over an unfinished painting for this abstract painting in progress

Painted over an unfinished painting for this abstract painting in progress

This abstract is pure expressionism. While I’m painting, I have Alison’s song on repeat and the brush strokes are moving with the rhythm of the music. I really have no idea what I’m doing, this is new to me, but I sure am enjoying it! It feels great to go with the flow! I hope you will enjoy it too!

Abstract work in progress

Abstract work in progress

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! πŸ™‚

Almost Mural Time!

I’m excited to share that I am getting ready to paint another mural! This one will be out of town, I’m going to Las Cruces (my hometown) to paint a mural for my brother and his wife. Needless to say, I will be filming another time lapse video for this one, so stay tuned.Β  I’m going to paint this one the weekend of October 7th. Below is the design sketch. The drawing isn’t to scale as I don’t have the exact measurements of the wall just yet. If you live in Las Cruces, you will be able to drive by to see it as this one is being painted on a wall in their driveway. I will share the address once I’m down there working on it. I’d love to have you stop by for a visit and you can watch me paint if you want. πŸ™‚

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#mural #design #sketch #art #WIP

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This weekend I am showing some of my art at the Healing Winds Psychic Fair!Β  I will be there for sure all day Sunday, 10-6, at The Source, 1111 Carlisle Blvd SE. I will mainly have prints with a few originals available. My prints make great gifts! Prices start at $15! Come by and say hi! It should be a fun and enlightening time!

This is the last week of my show at the Sierra Club office here in Albuquerque. I pick up my work on Thursday afternoon. You can see the pieces from the show on my website.

Week One

Would it be obvious to say it’s been an eventful week? We pulled out of Albuquerque last Thursday in the late afternoon. It didn’t take long for our first incident…

photo of our dogs in the RV

The dogs were ready to hit the road!

Just after we passed the first Belen exit, which is about 20 miles south of ABQ, the RV started sputtering and then stalled. We pulled over to the side of the road and I struggled not to have a complete meltdown! I fought back the tears, how could this be happening? All this time we had waited to leave town and we hadn’t even made it out of the area yet. As usual, Aaron stayed cool and calm, as he took the engine cover off and started looking at the engine. I suggested Aaron text Chris, the mechanic we had bought the RV from, since he had told us to call him if we had any issues. He responded very quickly and proceeded to ask Aaron questions and then told him that it sounded like the choke was sticking or a float within the carburetor was sticking. He suggested trying to start it with the gas held to the floor and sure enough, it started right back up! Back on the road after a few minutes, we didn’t have any issues after that. The RV runs quite well as a matter of fact. Our conclusion was the carburetor was clogged after sitting in our driveway for over a month.

New Mexico sunset photo

Sunset shot on the way south from Albuquerque

In Las Cruces Thursday evening, we parked the RV in my brother’s driveway. He has one of those great big driveways, especially made for RV parking. How convenient!

Go burger sign

Biggest, best burritos in Las Cruces!

Friday was my birthday! I always take the day off on my birthday, so Friday morning we got up and decided to take a walk to one of our favorite burrito joints in Cruces, Go Burger. That’s one of the nice things about visiting Las Cruces, you don’t really NEED a car. As long as it isn’t the middle of the Summer! This time of year however, the weather was a perfect 78 degrees. We initially thought the walk would take us an hour, but we arrived within 25 minutes and had our yummy chile relleno burritos in another 10 minutes. If you are ever in Las Cruces, I highly recommend eating at Go Burger, they have lots of great Mexican food, but the burritos, with their 12″(at least!) homemade tortillas, are the BOMB! Funny, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger there!

chile relleno burrito

Go Burger chile relleno burrito, YUM!

Our trips to Las Cruces usually revolve around food and eating out. The Mexican food is quite different even from southern to northern New Mexico. Having grown up in the south, we like it best! On regular trips to LC we eat as much Mexican as we can, but this trip even more so! Since we are getting ready to leave the state, we are getting our fill of our favorite food from home. Now, I know, I know, you can get Mexican food all over the country these days, but nothing is quite like Southern New Mexico style. The chile is grown locally and is famous for being the best in the world!

That evening my brother and his wife took us out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. We drove out to Old Mesilla, just outside of LC, and ate at La Posta. This restaurant has been around for a LONG time, it opened in 1939, it’s the place you take tourists when they visit. It’s an old historic building built in the 1840s. The food is good, but the atmosphere of the old adobe walls, lots of small rooms connected in a maze, with live parrots in a huge cage in the entrance is what makes La Posta such a magical place to visit. Of course, I didn’t take any photos this time! 😦 I promise to be better about that, still getting used to the idea that I promised to share our adventures!)

outlet and plug halloween costume photo

Aaron and I in our costumes, I was an electrical outlet and Aaron was the plug. I was actually surprised by how many times we had to explain our costume!

Saturday we spent time visiting friends in the afternoon, before my brother took us with him to a Halloween party. His band, Flat Blak, played and Aaron and I even played a few songs with my brother on drums and another friend, Larry, on keyboards. We spent the day driving around town searching for a costume for Aaron and ended up finding a couple costume that was so perfect and funny! I was an electrical outlet and Aaron was the plug! My brother and his wife had matching costumes too, my brother was the dude from Duck Hunter and his wife was an army girl. As usual when partying with my brother, we were up until 4:30 Sunday morning! Needless to say, we didn’t do much other than watch football on Sunday.

Duck Hunter and Army girl halloween costumes

My brother, Travis, and his wife, Charlene

There is still more to share but I don’t want to make this post too long. I will finish up on Thursday. Subscribe to my blog if you want to receive notice of my next post. I had planned to post a new blog every Tuesday, but a week is a long time and a lot to share, so I’m thinking of changing that to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending of course on how much we have to share or how busy we are. My next post will take you through Monday to Wednesday of this week. Hopefully, next week’s post will include photos of some new paintings or at least progress on a new painting. It is quite an adjustment to work while traveling, though it is nice to have our “home office” with us while we are on the road. We are currently planning to leave Las Cruces on Friday/Saturday and head to Silver City, NM and the Gila National Forest and Wilderness Area. Stay tuned…..

Dreams, Revisited

Since I was sixteen, my mantra has been “no regrets”. In other words, when I near the end of my life I want to be able to say that I have no regrets for the way I lived. When I was 16 a friend of mine died in a mountain climbing accident. At the time I had recently given birth to my first son. I was still in high school. That was my first wake up call. Life is short! I HAD to live it to it’s fullest! What if I died tomorrow?

I had a few years of floundering around, married the father of my son, joined the military, had a couple more sons, and started my first art business. Not long after my divorce from the father of my sons, I discovered that I was in love with my best friend. We moved in together and married 1 1/2 years later. We had a lovely little family, my new husband was content to help me raise my boys since I could no longer have babies. Basically, I have lived and continue to live my happily ever after. Fast forward 15 years, my youngest son has moved out of the house and we now have an EMPTY nest! When I was young I sacrificed some of my dreams in order to be the best mom I could be. Always with the thought that we would have an empty nest around the time I was 42, leaving plenty of life left to live out those long forgotten dreams.

For a few months, I have floundered around, yet again. Wondering what was next? I still love being an artist and have many plans and goals yet to achieve. Regrets? I still have none. My life isn’t over YET, after all. I’ve been revisiting some of the dreams I had way back when I was fifteen years old, before I became a young mother. One of them was to be a singer/performer/actress. It just so happens that I am married to not only my best friend, but a highly talented musician. We had tried to work together on a music project back at the beginning of our relationship. Before my husband earned his bachelors of music, before he had the patience and knowledge to help me find my voice. We had one gig back then. I SUCKED! I was so nervous, my voice never really came out, it just wavered and trembled and I was so embarrassed that I gave up on the dream. I went back to my art, my comfort zone.

Back to the future and 2008. April 2008 to be exact. My dad passed away unexpectedly and my brother (who is also a professional musician), husband and I decided we would play a couple of my dad’s favorite songs at his memorial services. The idea was reborn then. A folk trio playing all the old folk music my brother and I grew up listening to in my dad’s record room. Yes, my dad had a record ROOM. He had a record collection of over 40,000 records(which I now have). Yet another reason why my brother and I always loved music. We used to sing songs together as kids and even made it on the radio once! On our dad’s Oldies radio show. πŸ™‚

When dad died, it seemed perfect that we would put together an act in remembrance of him. So, for the last 4 1/2 years we’ve done nothing but talk about it. We always sing songs around the campfire when we take our yearly “memorial dad” camping trip.

This year, finally, now that we have so much extra time on our hands, Aaron and I started practicing folk songs together. We told my brother about it and now we are working on putting our folk trio together. We spent 4 evenings in July practicing before, during and after our yearly camping trip. We have practiced since then separately, and together (via recordings and email).

This Thursday is the moment we’ve been practicing for! It’s our first gig! We live 3 hours away from my brother, but we will be driving down to play and also, spend some time in his recording studio making demos of the music we have down so far. If you happen to be in or around Las Cruces, NM this Thursday, stop by Uno’s between 6:30 – 9:30pm and have a listen! I promise my confidence in my singing has improved. I am SURE it will be a good show this time around! I promise to share some photos and possibly video when I get home! πŸ™‚