Tag Archives: progress

More Background work

work in progress, Veteran self portrait

Work in Progress, the white area is the space reserved for my self portrait.

Not much new to share today, except a little progress on my current painting! πŸ˜‰ Still working on the background, I really want to get to that portrait, but background first! Still going back and forth on whether I will paint the portrait or draw it. I may combine the two and paint the portrait in black and white. What do YOU think? Seriously, I’m curious! πŸ™‚

FYI, Friendly reminder, News Flash! In case you don’t already know, I’m having a Summer Studio Clearance Sale on my website right now! The sale ends on Friday, the 22nd of September, one week from tomorrow! 50% off select paintings and prints! AND, if you sign up for my email list, you will get a 20% off coupon for your next purchase of regularly priced paintings and prints!

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Self Portrait for Veterans Day

Work in progress, self portrait painting for November Veteran's day show, 20 x 20

Work in progress, self portrait painting for November Veteran’s day show, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas

Last week I posted about my latest inspiration in this post. I worked on a couple of self portrait sketches last week and decided that I would, in fact, change the painting I’m working on for the Veteran’s Day show, into a self portrait. My second sketch came out much more satisfactory than the first.

Second self portrait sketch, good to go!

Second self portrait sketch, good to go!

It has literally been over a decade since I painted a portrait in oils or drawn in pencil for that matter. I stopped because painting portrait commissions was very stressful. Getting a likeness is one thing, but it’s impossible to make a portrait that matches what someone “thinks” they look like. Though I stopped taking portrait commissions, I have always enjoyed painting portraits. Self portraits are not as stressful for obvious reasons. I KNOW what I look like and what I “think” I look like, and there is absolutely no pressure there.

Today, I blocked out the silhouette in the foreground of my latest spiral abstract painting. The background will continue on as intended. The idea behind this self portrait is specifically about my time as a soldier in the US Army and how it changed my perception from childhood to adulthood. My once eager, patriotic mind was twisted and turned more cynical once my time was served. I became an advocate for peace and love, after being sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier and after seeing families torn apart because of war. I became even more peace minded after seeing my son’s generation of soldiers come home in pieces, physically and mentally, after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The spirals of red, blue and yellow surrounded by stars and eventually, stripes, is a representation of the flag after the twisting and turning. I use yellow instead of white to represent the staining of young hearts, forever changed by war. These torn souls will never know the innocence of childhood again. It’s not my usual happy go lucky inspiration, but it’s real. It’s my truth.

Did you say Self-Portrait?

Yes I did. I had a very creative outburst on Saturday night. Stayed up until 3 am to write and work on my “Paula Beck Story” art book. I tried to sleep but my muse wasn’t having it. At first it was one little idea, so I got out my small bedside notebook and started writing. After 3-4 pages I realized I needed to get to the computer so I could type. The words were coming faster than I could write them long hand with a pen and paper.

One of my flashes of inspiration came as the idea to do a self portrait in pencil as a special edition print to go with my art book. That turned into a self portrait in oils of me as a young Private in the Army, in front of one of my spiral paintings. In particular, the red, yellow and blue painting I’m working on for the Face-Palm Patriots show in November. It could turn into a series, who knows?

first pencil sketch

self portrait, pencil sketch

I started practicing a little portrait sketching today. It’s been over a decade since I’ve drawn or painted a portrait. I used to paint portrait commissions for a living. Painting someone else for a commission is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done as an artist. I had to stop.

Self-portraits on the other hand. Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. Need I say more? I think I may be starting my Frida phase as an artist. Only time will tell. I’m kinda into this idea. Stay tuned!

Face-Palm Patriots

It always ends up being weeks after a show opens before I get back to painting. This Summer was no different. After 26 years as an artist, I can see the pattern emerging! I had a flurry of painting activity this Spring and Summer for the shows at the NMCC and the Sierra Club. I picked up paintings from NMCC this past Saturday and the Sierra Club show goes until the 30th of September. It’s a process, I usually take a break, but eventually I get back to my studio. Today was that day! I’m starting a new painting dedicated to our Veterans.

Work in progress, Meditation for Our Veterans, 20 x 20" oil on canvas

Work in progress, Meditation for Our Veterans, 20 x 20″ oil on canvas

I have been invited to participate in an art show by Veteran artists, opening on Veterans Day and benefiting Veterans. The “Face-Palm Patriots” opening will be November 11th, from 7-10pm, at the new downtown Albuquerque KD Neeley Gallery. The gallery is located at 104 4th St NW. KD, the gallery owner, is an artist friend of mine and she is also a Veteran. In addition to the November show, I have ten paintings showing for September and October. There will be an opening reception next Friday, Sept. 8th from 7-10pm and she will also be open for First Friday this evening from 6-10pm.

Guest speakers will include Art Therapist Meg Carlson, all the way from Okinawa, Japan. Donations will be raised for Heroes Walk Among Us, an Albuquerque organization working to get homeless vets off the streets and improve their lives.Β 

I am a Veteran of the US Army(’88-’90). It feels like another lifetime now, I’ve blocked many of those memories out, for a variety of reasons. Regardless of that, helping Veterans is the cause nearest and dearest to my heart. Nothing is more important to me than serving the people who have served all of us. I don’t usually agree with our country’s reasons for military action, but I know from personal experience that our soldiers have no choice in the matter. Each of those individuals writes a blank check and gives up their lives to our country. In my opinion, if they are made to go to war, they should be taken care of for the rest of their lives. There should be no such thing as a “homeless” Veteran. It’s the least our government can do in return for the lives altered forever. OK, rant over! I hope you will join me at this important opening in support of our Veterans!

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!

What are you so angry about?

I usually like to keep my posts about the art, but I recently had an epiphany and felt the need to share. I have been angry most of my adult life. Not that I ran around angry all the time, but it was always there, boiling just beneath the surface. I always blamed it on other people and their behavior. My ex, my family, people in traffic, etc, etc.

Since 2007, I’ve been on a search for inner peace. It’s been a long decade of reading tons of self help books, learning to meditate daily, creating art from my soul and self care. I’ve lost several friends along the way. Mainly because they weren’t comfortable with my changes and the fact that I was now standing up for myself. They didn’t like the “healthy” Paula.

I once had a shaman tell me that some people are like rocks in a backpack. Sometimes on the trail of life, we have to empty the rocks out of our backpack so we can lighten our load and be happy. Let’s just say my backpack was HEAVY with rocks. Not just people, but situations, memories and regrets. However, even after I dropped the rocks on the side of the trail, the anger was still there.

It’s been a long road and I finally feel like I’m moving on to the next decade of my life. The epiphany happened recently, after watching a video on facebook, of all places! Here’s the link: I highly recommend you WATCH this video!
https://www.facebook.com/comedien.voix.doublage/videos/10206832718043784/?hc_ref=OTHER&pnref=story

After I watched it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s so crazy obvious to me now! I have been angry at my 15 year old self for DECADES! I have been mad at myself for all the stupid choices I made, for not just saying NO to that 17 year old boy who got me pregnant. First of all, NO to sex, and then later, NO to marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that happened in my life HAD to happen. If not, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That said, I’ve been carrying this anger around all this time. All the resentment for how my life “could’ve” been or “should’ve” been.

It is what it is.

How can I still be angry at that young girl who was just looking for love and attention? I can’t. The fire has been extinguished. The anger is now sadness. Not a depressed sadness, but a melancholy sadness for all the anger I inflicted on my family and friends and everyone around me.

BUT, it’s OK! I finally GET IT! Now I move on to forgiveness. I have often wondered why, after forgiving literally EVERYONE who ever did me wrong, why was I STILL angry? It’s time to forgive myself. It’s time to tell that 15 year old girl that still lives within me, you’re ok, you’re loved, you’re FORGIVEN.

I will leave you with a work in progress, “The Best of Everything”.

"The Best of Everything", acrylic on 12" vinyl record, work in progress

“The Best of Everything”, acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, work in progress

How to Make an Artist Smile?

I just finished another vinyl record painting for my show next month at the Sierra Club here in Albuquerque. I made a shortened time lapse video for it, started about half way through. Once again, the music is an original composition by my husband, Aaron M. Lewis. I have 3 more to finish by the end of July. The new records won’t be available for purchase until the show, but you can see more of my record paintings on my WEBSITE.

I am gearing up for a Summer Art Clearance Sale this week. I’m putting up special pages on my website for the sale and there is only one way you can get that special link. Go to my website, www.PaulaManningLewis.com, and sign up on my email list. The sale will run through the rest of the Summer, but sign up now! There will be original paintings, prints, coloring books, art pillows and dolls. I’m clearing out the studio to make room for new work. I don’t have enough storage space to keep everything. Everything on sale will be 50% off!

This past Saturday was the reception for my mural painting at Sandy and Jeff’s house. Not a lot of people showed up, but one couple has told me they want a mural at their house too. That was just enough to make me smile! Hoping to get started on that one after I get everything done for the August show. Once it cools off a little! Stay tuned for more on that! πŸ™‚