I wish I could say I’ve been too busy recently to post a blog, I guess I could, but it would be a lie. I’ve been in a deep down funk. Working on keeping myself busy and pulling myself out of the hole I’m in. I’ve had other things going on, like being the event coordinator for the Silver City Studio Tour and working on my paint party class.
Recently finished, 36×36” oil on canvas, part of my Space series, untitled for now.
I’m teaching my third paint party class tonight in Silver City with plans for more in April. It’s been fun, plus it gives me something to do away from the house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home and the entire environment around my home, but I’m a social person and I need to get out and talk to people from time to time. I did get to spend a few days in Santa Fe at the beginning of March. It’s always inspirational to see the galleries and exhibits. I really needed that boost!
Detail of my current work in progress, another “Space” painting.
Since returning from Santa Fe, I’ve been spending more time in my painting studio. I recently finished the next painting in my “Space” series and started another. I’ve committed myself to building up my large painting inventory so I can approach galleries about showing my work.
I have been having a difficult time lately being positive about my art career, but I’ve also been working on being kind to myself. My most important goal is to keep making art that speaks to and from my soul.
I recently had a comment on a post of one of my paintings and after I thanked the person for their kind words, they said, “it’s not everybody who can draw the Universe”. It made my day and made me think. I guess I am painting the Universe, in a small way. The Space series is definitely my most ambitious series. I’m not attempting to paint it just like it is in photos, but how I feel it in my soul. My art has always had a much deeper meaning, even if I don’t know how to express that meaning in words.
I guess that’s why I chose painting to express myself!
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.
My latest finished painting, “High Vibrations”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, SOLD!
Once again I have fallen off my blogging schedule! UGH! So much going on right now. I guess I thrive on the chaos. Life is more exciting with more going on, right?
I finished a new painting today, so figured it would be a great time to post a new blog. I was thrilled to have this painting sold before it was finished. I love it when that happens! I posted a bit of timelapse video to my Instagram today as I was finishing it up.
I was recently invited to show in the Summer show at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery. I’m really pleased with this, as I have been trying to get into the gallery for at least 7 years! The NMCCG is the largest gallery in the state of New Mexico. I will have at least 20 pieces in the show with room for more. Needless to say, I have a LOT of painting to do. I am also showing at the local Sierra Club offices in August. The two shows overlap, so I have to have at least 30 paintings available by then.
Side view of my latest painting. Going back to wrapping the painting around the edge. Doesn’t need framing or it can be put into a floating frame to you can still see the sides.
I am currently working on a NEW website which is taking more time than I had hoped, but it’s going to be awesome! Once it’s done, my Etsy shop will close because I will have the ability to sell directly from my site. I have been searching for a solution for my website for literally, YEARS! I finally found it in Art Storefronts. They have everything I ever wanted in a website. Stay tuned for my new and improved site, hopefully launching by the end of March.
Along with the new website, I’ve been busy working on ChromaFEST, an art and music festival fundraiser for my other business, Chroma Studios. We are raising money to help us buy a building for our studios. We currently lease space and need more, so purchasing our own commercial building just makes sense. We have been in business for almost 9 years, it’s time for expansion.
I’ve also been spending as much time as possible with my almost 2 month old grandson. It’s so much fun being a grandma!
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.