I’ve been back to work in my studio for a couple of weeks now. I use the word “work” loosely here. I’ve been depressed. To the point of not being able to get myself moving. I’ve been practicing self care and trying not to beat myself up too much. I’m my own worst critic. I guess we all are. I’m really hard on myself, I always have been.
I took time off for the Holidays, like I always do. I’ve always been excited to get back to work in the studio after a good break, not so much this year. I was working on a large painting before I took time off and I’ve had a really hard time getting back into it. I LOVE this painting, I cannot wait to see it finished, but there is this nagging anxiety that I can’t finish it because I might mess it up. I will eventually get back to it, but until then….
This Monday, I decided it was time to take a break from beating myself up over this latest painting. Time to play with paint and work over an old failed painting. I really LOVE doing this! It’s so fun to destroy an old painting while at the same time, creating a new one! It is a great way to get the rust out too. I finished one Tuesday morning and started another in the afternoon.
I’ve discovered I don’t use enough blue in my paintings. Apparently, blue is a favorite color for lots of people. Not one of my favorites, but I guess I could give it equal time! If not equal, at least give it a chance every once in a while.
My personal favorite colors, for painting with anyway, are red, yellow and purple and I throw green in every once in a awhile. The best part of this exercise of playing with paint? It’s pulled me out of my depression! It’s true what they say, art saves lives. It’s saved mine more times than I can count.
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!
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.
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.
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.
12×12″ oil on canvas. One of the paintings I’ve been working on this week.
3:33pm on a Friday and I’m sitting at the laundromat washing bedding and clothes. I’ve lived without a washer and dryer before. Long, long ago when a week’s laundry consisted of 15-20 loads of mostly baby and kids clothing! Gratefully, these days, it’s only three loads because it’s time to wash the comforter. I can sit here quietly watching the washers spin without any children screaming because their brother just ran over their fingers with the rolling laundry cart they were told not to play in. Some days I miss those days, but definitely not while sitting at the laundromat!
12×12″oil on canvas. Another work in progress from this week.
It’s not hard to believe it’s already June, with the move and everything that has changed in my life over these past 6 months. We are still waiting to close on our new house but the end is getting close! I’m settling back into a painting routine and the rust is gone. My creativity has been flowing! I haven’t finished much, but I’ve been in a painting frenzy. Life is great!
#7 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
It’s been a great week for art! I’ve painted every day this week! Yay! Starting to work the rust out and the ideas are flowing. My new surroundings are inspiring as hell! I look out the windows of my new studio and it still feels like a dream. It IS a dream, a living, breathing, dream! Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.
#6 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
I’m feeling the love, so why not paint a few hearts? I’m digging the idea and what’s coming out of it. I have seven paintings in various stages of progress. A couple may already be done, not sure yet. The hearts are the most recent.
#5 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
The photos in this post are in order from most recent to least recent.
#4 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
I’m playing with the paints, trying out new things. My goal is to play, not get attached to any outcome, just let it flow. These are sketches in paint. Idea generators. Inspiration.
#3 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
I can feel my inspiration pushing me to evolve my style into something different. I guess it’s always evolving from painting to painting. This feels bigger.
#2 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
I’ve already started putting more layers of paint on the canvas. Creating more depth, more mystery. Transparent layers showing a hint of what lies behind.
#1 work in progress 12 x 12″ oil painting on canvas
More progress photos and posts to come! Thank you for visiting my blog! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.