Tag Archives: lessons learned

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! 🙂

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!

The Down Side

"In Anticipation of Spring", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, available for $215

“In Anticipation of Spring”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, available for $215. Completed last week!

I never got around to posting my second blog last week. Turns out I have an eye infection that has now spread to both eyes. Other than our show on Friday night, I’ve been at home in bed, resting. What a weekend it was! We had a GREAT Sunlight show on Friday night in Rio Rancho! Lots of email addresses collected, lots of compliments, lots of friends showed up, lots of tips and happy listeners and then the down side.

An email on Monday morning telling us we had significant complaints from regular customers. We never received a straight answer on what the complaints were, just something about the “type of music” expected being something other than what we played. Too many original songs? They didn’t like that one folk song we altered to include our LGBT friends? They didn’t like the song “Wonder” about Democrats and the GOP finding peace?

We may never know exactly. That is the life of an artist. If you don’t have a very thick skin, you may as well pack up and go home now. I must admit, it gets hard to keep on going when a “GREAT” show gets you fired from a regular paying gig.

I’m taken back to the Four Agreements, 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, 4) Always do your best. 1) We kept our word and played 3 hours of music and acted professionally, 2) I can’t take it personally that a couple of their regulars didn’t like our song selection, 3) I shouldn’t assume anything without having all the information, ie actual complaints made, 4) I KNOW we did our best and played our hearts out! Lesson learned; always listen to your gut! We had once decided we wouldn’t play late night gigs in bars. Not doing that again.

Hoping my eyes will heal soon so I can paint! It is getting better, slowly but surely, but still sensitive to light and hard to focus on anything without tears.  So much gratitude for my eyesight, you never really miss something until it’s not working right. Sickness is nothing but a reminder to be grateful for all the blessings in life.

Back to Painting

12 x 12" oil painting in progress

12 x 12″ oil painting in progress, still a lot of detail to finish

Working on a new painting this week. Started it last week but haven’t had time for a blog yet! I’ve been helping out a little here and there with the new grand baby, family has always been most important to me! I’m always happy to get back to the studio though. 🙂 I’ve been filming a time lapse of this painting in progress, you can see sections of the video on my Instagram.

I’ve been thinking about painting large again, only REALLY large, like wall/mural size. Signs seem to keep pointing me in that direction anyway. I was recently sent a link for a local public art project. The project is a huge mural wall and while I would love to submit for the job, I don’t have the portfolio of work to show to get a job like that. It came to me during my morning meditation that I should look for some mural jobs I could do to add to my portfolio. I did a mural years ago at a local church, not exactly what I would usually  paint, but it was good experience and taught me a lot about painting on walls outside!

What I’ve decided to do is offer to paint a mural for anyone locally who has a wall they want painted. For the cost of materials only. I will not charge labor for the first couple I do. I already have one possibly lined up, so I’m looking for one more wall in need of a mural. Please get in touch with me if you are interested. You can email me at plewis11@comcast.net, or send me a facebook message on my facebook art page.

Procrastination, my biggest fear

Work in progress, started this morning, 12x12" oil on canvas

Work in progress, started this morning, 12×12″ oil on canvas

I have always been a procrastinator. I’ve always blamed perfectionism. In truth, it’s fear. Fear of failure? Fear of success? I wish I knew, probably a bit of both. I have overcome a lot of fear in the 26 years I’ve been working as an artist. It’s still there. Clinging on for dear life. I’m aware of it, it’s always been there. Mocking me, telling me I’m not good enough to overcome it. Some days, I feel really brave. It’s easy to feel brave sitting here in my studio. I have WORK to do! I NEED to paint, right? I NEED to write another blog post, right? I NEED to work on updating my Etsy shop or my website, right? Of course I do, but I use these excuses as reasons not to get out in the world and share my art. I use these excuses to save myself from rejection. Nobody likes rejection. It’s not easy to hear NO when you are putting your heart and soul out there.

That all said, I have come to the point in my life where I have to either overcome my fear or give up trying. I’m starting to see why there are fewer and fewer artist peers as I get older. It’s not easy to keep getting back up after a rejection or a perceived failure. Truth is, it’s the ONLY way to succeed. Keep getting back up, dusting myself off and try again, and again. I have to talk myself into it some days. Today has been one of those days. I came into the studio this morning excited and ready to GO! As the day wears on, the energy wanes. I have a whole list of excuses by now. I have so many other things I COULD be doing right now.

I once read a book called “Art and Fear”. I highly recommend it. In fact, I think it’s time for a re-read. Time to get motivated and get out there!

Reworking my Portfolio

Before and after I reworked "Generous, Kind, Hearts, Shine", 18 x 18" original oil painting

Before and after I reworked “Generous, Kind, Hearts, Shine”, 18 x 18″ original oil painting

It is so good to be back in the studio after the holidays! I do what I love and love what I do, so it can be difficult to take time off. Honestly, I have to force myself. My biggest hope for the world is that everyone could do what they love for a living!

Last month I received a critique on my art portfolio from a gallery owner that I have always admired. She is an artist too, which in my eyes means she is twice as qualified to give a critique. At first, I was a little hurt, which I guess is normal. I have never had a completely honest critique of my work. I don’t have an art degree, I am a mostly self-taught artist. Honest feedback is one of the things I feel I really missed out on with an art degree.

Once I got over the initial shock of getting an honest critique, I started thinking about what she said and realized she was absolutely right about most of what she had to say. The other 20% was personal opinion and things I will never change because they are what my art style is about.

This week being my first full week back in the studio, I’ve started working on one of the paintings that needed improvement. I’m sharing the before and after with you here to get some more feedback! 😉 I’m amazed at the difference a couple of hours made! What do YOU think? Thank you in advance for any and all comments, they are very welcome.

 

Moon Circles

If you saw my last blog post, then you may have seen a sneak peek of the painting video I was working on last week. This video is the first of a series I’m working on. The series will be painting videos based on songs from my band, Sunlight. Each will, of course, be a painting video and each painting will be titled the same as the song it is based on. Needless to say, each video will also have the song related to it playing in the background. This painting is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Done with “Solitude”

Solitude original oil painting canvas abstract spiral sun

Solitude, 30 x 30" oil on canvas, $800

Just finished up the painting I started way back in January during my self imposed retreat to the mountains. The title comes from being alone for 6 days. Something I desperately wanted at the time but have since come to realize I don’t need for extended periods of time. An hour alone in the afternoon is quite fine with me now. 🙂