Tag Archives: the artist’s path

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.

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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.ย 

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!

Replenishing My Creative Reserves

One of the many drawings I did for my historic building series. This is one of my "Paula Beck Prints" images, Copyright 1991.

One of the many drawings I did for my historic building series. This is one of my “Paula Beck Prints” images, Copyright 1991.

I haven’t had any creative time this week. No new paintings in progress to show today. I’m replenishing my creative reserves and will be ready to get back to painting, probably tomorrow! I’ve been editing my story and taking photos of my old images from the early 1990s. The image above is one of many.

I’ve been negotiating a contract with a management/publishing company the past week or so, hoping to get that finished up soon. Emailing lawyers. Working on building my email list. Editing and posting my latest time lapse video. Writing, editing and sending out my end of the month email. Writing blogs. Sold a painting on my website. Visited the hospital. Lots of the “other” stuff going on in my life right now.

I drove for Uber yesterday, encountered my first unpleasant person, a racist, who was shockingly polite and asked me if I minded the N word! UMMMMM, YEAH, was my answer. I was shocked by the question. I was very happy to get him to his destination and out of my car!

In other news, I have been invited to participate in a group show at a new gallery in Downtown Albuquerque. The owner is an artist friend of mine. “Face-Palm Patriots” is an art show of works by Veteran Artists and donations will be raised for Heroes Walk Among Us, an Albuquerque organization working to get homeless vets off the streets and improve their lives. Helping homeless Veterans is one of my most important causes I give time and money to. My personal opinion is that NO Veteran should ever be homeless! They have served our country and they deserve to be treated as heroes. I am also a Veteran, so they are my brothers and sisters too.

The show is happening at the KD Neeley Gallery at 104 4th St NW, Albuquerque and the date of the opening is Veterans day, Saturday, November 11th, 7-10pm. I will show a few pieces at this gallery for the months of September and October as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Please stop by and see Katie and tell her Paula sent you! My art work will be there next month. ๐Ÿ™‚

This Saturday is the day I pick up my paintings from the NM Cancer Center show (minus any paintings that sold), and some of those will go straight over to Katie’s gallery in Downtown.

Also, a reminder, I still have my latest guitar painting and vinyl record art hanging at the Sierra Club office here in Albuquerque. I have it on my “to do” list to get those pieces posted on my website for sale. 30% of sales will benefit the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, until the end of that show, September 30th.

That’s all my news for now, hope you have a great weekend! Sign up for my email list at www.PaulaManningLewis.com and get exclusive access to my Summer Sale page for 50% off select paintings, recycled vinyl and prints!

Where have you been?

"Burning up for your love" guitar painting

Varnished, whole and ready to show! “Burning up for your love”, acrylic on solid Fender body, Available “as is” for $1,000. Price will go up once all the parts are added.

My solo show at the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club opens this Friday, 6-8pm. Tomorrow morning the show will be hung and ready to go! Today I took the guitar and neck to the guitar shop for connection. I’m excited about finishing up my first playable art guitar! It will be shown this month, as is, but after the August show comes down this guitar will get all it’s pick ups, tuning pegs and knobs, wiring, etc. Then it will be ready to be PLAYED! Until then, I had Aaron model the guitar for me, he’s a natural! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! ;-)

My guitar playing husband modeling the new guitar for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We went camping last week, in case you were wondering why there were no blog posts. We spent a few days with my brother and sister in law at the lake. They just got their boat up and running for the first time in YEARS, so we had to take it out for a test run! I had forgotten how much I love to swim! It was hotter than hell, but the water was PERFECT!

good times at the lake!

Me with (l to r), my brother Travis, Aaron and our SIL, Charlene.

After 3 days at the lake, I came home to a request from a local architect friend of ours. His firm, Design Group, is building a playhouse for Parade of Playhouses, an auction gala to benefit local non profit, NM Appleseed. His request was for my contribution to their playhouse project, in the form of painting a set of wooden gears that will be on the wall of the playhouse. The theme of the house is Dr. Suess. I was given the gears, a color scheme and the theme and this is what I ended up with. I am always happy to contribute my art work to good causes and NM Appleseed is a good one. From their website, “Focusing on issues like hunger, education and homelessness, New Mexico Appleseedโ€™s goal is to make systemic change that yields permanent or long term improvement for the poor and under served.”

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

Gears for the Cat in the Hat Playhouse

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!

Two Paintings in Time-lapse

The past couple of weeks I’ve been busily working on two new paintings in preparation for the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery show opening in June. I usually work on more than one painting at a time. Because I work in layers, there is always time in between waiting for the oil paints to dry. While I wait for a layer to dry on one painting, I start and work on another painting. I go back and forth between the two until I finish. I’ve been taking short clips of time lapse while working on these two and figured it might be cool to show you the back and forth. These videos are mixed in the order they were taken. My goal is to finish these paintings this week and next week I will start on the next two. The four new paintings will be added to the 21 I already have ready to go for a total of 25 paintings in the show. I hope you enjoy the video and please feel free to share!

Works in Progress…

I love it when I have a show coming up and I have a reason to paint EVERYDAY! I don’t always get to spend this much time painting. There is so much other work to do and it seems like I’ve spent the past few months working on my website. It was really only about a month of straight time working on the website, but that kind of work just drags SOOOOOO much! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good news is, I’m temporarily done with that and getting ready for showing my 20-25 paintings at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery. Did I mention before that 40% of all sales at this show are donated to their foundation which helps low income patients pay for their cancer treatment? I love that. I prefer my art supports great causes like this. My art is all about healing and love, what better way to contribute!

Work in progress, 20x20" oil on canvas

Work in progress, 20×20″ oil on canvas

I have four canvases prepped to go, currently working back and forth on two of them. I have to admit, I’m a bit obsessed with circles right now. In the background, hundreds of little circles. It’s like a bunch of little bubbles, water or air, makes no difference. It’s very mesmerizing, painting all those little circles. It gets me into my “zone”.

Work in progress, 20x20" oil on canvas

Work in progress, 20×20″ oil on canvas

I’m working on the same paintings I shared in my last blog post. One with a new color combo that I’m really falling in love with. Something about that sky blue makes me swoon. As I said in my last post, blue is NOT one of my favorite colors, but this blue is beautiful! It reminds me of the bright, blue New Mexico skies. It may become a new regular on my palette. Funny thing is, it’s been so long since I used this particular blue, that I can’t get the cap off the tube! I’m squeezing the paint out of a tiny hole in the body of the tube. Needless to say, I need to pick up a new tube of that color!

In other news, I’m having a special sale on my website for Mother’s Day! The sale ends this Friday, May 5th (gives me time to get everything shipped in time). Use the coupon code: Mom30 to get 30% off everything on my website. ๐Ÿ™‚