I hope everyone had a good Holiday weekend. I’m working through it so we can go camping this week. We always go camping the week AFTER Memorial day. We are the kind of campers that want to get away from everyone! Even in New Mexico, that is impossible to do Memorial Day weekend, so we wait until Tuesday when everyone else is back at work.
I’m writing this blog ON Memorial Day and remembering all the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I was in the military during Desert Storm and personally knew a few of those people. I will never forget them, their sacrifice or the families they left behind.
Painted guitar in progress, Strat body.
Over the weekend, I started my guitar painting for the Sierra Club show in August. I’ve had this Strat body sitting in my studio for literally YEARS! It has been patiently waiting for me to make it beautiful. It is still in progress and I’m hoping to make this one my first playable guitar painting. I’m counting on my husband to help me with building the guitar from the empty solid body it is now. I’m showing only recycled art at the Sierra Club, because what better place to promote recycling, right?
Mural design, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, this will be painted at 10 times the size of this painting!
On Friday, I will be getting started on the mural project I’ve been writing about for the last couple months. I have created the design and have approval to get started! I’m really excited about painting LARGE! 10 x 10 feet large! I plan on making a time lapse video of the whole process so stay tuned. I may share bits and pieces of it during the process.
Posted in abstract, accomplishments, art, art show, artist self promotion, artists, blogging, camping, canvas, commission, creativity, daily painting, daily paintings, design, galleries, gallery, gallery opening, gallery show, goals, gratitude, guitar, Holidays, I'd Rather be in the Studio, inspiration, large painting, marketing, mural, mural project, new painting, new paintings, new work, new work in progress, oils, opening, original, original oil paintings, Originals, painted guitar, painted instruments, Painter, painting, painting video, paintings, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photos, progress, promotion, random things about me, recycled, recycling, show, shows, spiral abstract series, spiral art, Traveling New Mexico, Upcycling, vacation, video
Tagged abstract, accomplishments, art, art show, artist self promotion, artist's life, artists, blogging, camping, canvas, commission, creativity, daily painting, daily paintings, design, galleries, gallery, gallery opening, gallery show, goals, gratitude, guitar, holidays, I'd Rather be in the Studio, inspiration, large painting, lifestyle, marketing, mural project, murals, new painting, new paintings, new work, new work in progress, oils, opening, original, original oil paintings, Originals, painted guitar, painted instruments, Painter, painting, painting video, paintings, Paula Manning-Lewis, photo, photos, progress, promotion, random things about me, recycled, recycled art, recycled guitar, recycling, show, shows, spiral abstract series, spiral art, travel, Traveling New Mexico, Upcycling, vacation, video
Aaron and I at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Holidays. I really did enjoy all the time spent with my family in 2016. We also had a really fun and successful mini-tour to Arizona with our music. Sunlight performed in Phoenix, Tucson and Ajo, AZ and we were very grateful for the turnout and CD sales!
Margaritas in Mexico!
While in southern Arizona, we visited the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It was awesome to see all the huge cacti! Saguaros and Organ Pipe Cactus were everywhere. We took a short hike, but it was quite cold while we were there. Of course, it warmed up into the 70s on the day we left.
Serenaded by Mariachis
We made a very quick trip down to Mexico for dinner one of the days we were visiting in Ajo. It was supposed to be a full day trip, but my sweetie woke up sick that day and ended up sleeping until 3 in the afternoon. Once he got up, we decided to go for it and drove down to Puerto Penasco for a wonderful dinner by the sea! The food was great, even if the weather was COLD and windy. Our waiter was awesome and brought us our own personal heater. We practiced our Espanol with him and he practiced his English with us. Other than the trucks of soldiers riding around with automatic weapons, nothing was out of the ordinary. I guess the soldiers were there to protect the tourists. Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary!
Javelina helping himself to some grub in the garbage
I saw my first live Javelina while we were in Ajo! Apparently, they are regular visitors to the dumpster there. I only got one photo of one of them, but at night we were surrounded in our car by a herd/pack? of them! It was quite interesting, like watching a nature show in person! haha!
Our dear, sweet Raven. May she RIP 😦
We arrived home in Albuquerque just in time for Christmas and spent several great days hanging out with our kids, siblings and parents. Only one day was a sad day, as we had to have one of our fur babies put down at the end of the year. She was old and sick, but Raven will be greatly missed! She was a great dog. ❤
Cannabis coloring page, will be available in The Chronicle sometime this week!
The last week of the year I was asked to create a coloring page for a new local quarterly paper. The Chronicle is New Mexico’s Cannabis Magazine. I created a Cannabis Mandala coloring page for the first issue of 2017. It was quick and fun, check out their website for more information.
Posted in Arizona, art, cold, Coloring, copyright, creativity, family, friends, gratitude, hiking, Holidays, inspiration, music, my story, new work, Paula Manning-Lewis, pets, Phoenix, photos, random things about me, shows, Sunlight, travel, trip, Tucson, vacation, winter
Tagged Ajo, Arizona, art, blogging, Cannabis coloring page, CDs, cold, coloring, copyright, creativity, dog, dogs, family, friends, gratitude, happy new year, hiking, holidays, inspiration, javelina, life, Margaritas, Mariachis, Mexico, mini tour, music, my story, new work, Organ Pipe cactus, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Paula Manning-Lewis, pets, Phoenix, photos, Puerto Penasco, Raven, RIP Raven, saguaro, shows, Sunlight, The Chronicle, tourists, travel, trip, Tucson, vacation, winter
“Coming Out of the Dark”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, near completion WIP. Two paintings in one as this was painted over another painting I didn’t like!
My life has been so busy since my last post! I spent a good month working on my plans that I talked about in “Inspiration” back in May. About mid June we started work on remodeling our house. I’ve decided it’s been far too long without a post. I am still working on my plans to change things around here, stay tuned! I currently have 3 paintings in progress with plans for 6 more to fill out my portfolio.
This week is my first full week back in my studio after a 2 month “vacation” to work on remodeling our house to get it ready to sell. We still have a couple of minor things to get done, but we are hoping to have it listed by the weekend. (Not sure how long these things take) I took some “after” photos but only one came out decent, so I will try again for my next post. (Sorry!) I really wish I had remembered to take “before” shots too, because the transformation has been amazing!
The one photo that came out ok. The new shower in our brand new master bedroom! I did this tile work all by myself! It took me 3 full days of hand shredding work. I must admit, I’m quite proud!
This shower started out as a bug infested back corner of our laundry room. It was used as storage for construction materials for the 10 year period we worked on turning this back closet into a bathroom! What was once a den/storage room/extra room is now a really lovely master bedroom with en suite. It was worth all the work!
Once the house sells, we will get our motor home remodeled and move into it! That dream we had back in 2013? It’s finally coming true! Depending on the house selling quickly, we hope to leave Albuquerque end of October, beginning of November. Our plan is to travel around the country, south in the winter and north in the summer with a month to 2 month stops in Albuquerque in the Spring and Fall.
Why, you ask? Why NOT, I say! Seriously though, we have dreamed of our empty nest years being quite different from our child rearing years. With kids, you have to provide a stable home. Without kids? We can now do all the things that were “unreasonable” when we had kids. My husband is a musician and we play together in a group called “Sunlight”. One of the best ways for performing musicians to make a living is touring. We plan to perform our music all over the country! Once upon a time, when I began my career as an artist, I made a living by traveling (actually my 1st husband did the traveling while I stayed home with our young children) and selling my art at hundreds of shops around the country. I’ve tried the internet route for over 16 years now, and it just doesn’t work as well. Besides, it’s not as much fun!
Of course, I will still be online, my ART will still be online! I will still blog here to tell you about our adventures on the road. I will still make art! Now, it will all be done from the comfy, cozy RV we will soon call home. This blog will become more of a travel blog, but will still be all about my art and life.
I’m really excited to step out of my comfort zone! I never have been much of a routine type of gal. I like adventure! I like new sights and sounds and smells. There are so many places I’ve never been, so many people I’ve met online that I cannot wait to meet in person! I hope you will follow us on our journey, it’s sure to be fun!
Posted in Aaron Lewis, accomplishments, albuquerque, art, artist self promotion, artists, dream, dreams, goals, gratitude, inspiration, kids, music, my story, New Mexico, new work, painting, Paula Manning-Lewis, planning, Sunlight, travel, Traveling New Mexico, trip, vacation
Tagged Aaron Lewis, accomplishments, albuquerque, art, artist self promotion, artists, cross country travel, dream, dreams, empty nest, goals, gratitude, house remodel, inspiration, kids, music, my story, New Mexico artist, new work, painting, Paula Manning-Lewis, performing, planning, RV living, RV travels, singer performer, Sunlight, tile work, touring, touring band, touring musicians, travel, traveling across the country, trip, vacation
Abo Mission ruins
One of my favorite places to visit in New Mexico is actually split into 3 separate sites. The Salinas Pueblo Missions has three missions, Quarai, Abo and Gran Quivira. They are all located around Mountainair, NM. The Abo ruins are 9 miles west, Quarai ruins are 8 miles north and the Gran Quivira ruins are 25 miles south of Mountainair. I love visiting these sites and imagining a time when they were bustling villages. I wonder how they lived and what they did everyday to survive in this desert environment.
Quarai Mission ruins, the largest of the 3 missions
Because of their remote location, there is rarely more than a couple of people wandering the ruins of any location. The Abo Mission is most visited as it sits near the highway to Mountainair. The Abo and Quarai Missions were built using red sandstone and the Gran Quivira Mission and pueblo was built with white/grey limestone. The red sandstone is especially beautiful when covered in snow.
Gran Quivira Pueblo ruins
All three were built during the 17th century during Spanish occupation. Although all sites were built as Spanish Missions, they also included Kivas in their buildings which could have been a concession to the beliefs of the Native Americans who lived there alongside the Spanish settlers. Nobody knows why all three sites were abandoned by the 1670s. My personal guess is they may have been abandoned after the pueblo revolt in 1680, when the pueblo indians from all over New Mexico chased the Spanish settlers out of the area. They would not return for 12 years. I would imagine, like other abandoned sites, water could have had something to do with it as well.
If you are looking for a day trip from Albuquerque, the Salinas ruins are a great choice. Make sure you fill up your gas tank and maybe even take a picnic lunch, as there isn’t much in the way of gas stations and food in the area. Mountainair does have a cafe or two, but gas can get expensive in those remote, rural areas of New Mexico. Pets are welcome, but must be kept on leash and cleaned up after.
Ruins of the Gran Quivira Mission
All three sites are partially handicapped accessible and have handicap restrooms. All sites also have visitors centers with Rangers on hand to answer questions. All sites are open daily, 9 to 5 in winter months and 9-6 in the summer months. Of all the ruins I’ve personally visited across New Mexico, these three are most interesting to me. I highly recommend a visit next time you are in the area!
Posted in albuquerque, hiking, inspiration, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, New Mexico, photo, photography, photos, snow in New Mexico, travel, Traveling New Mexico, trip, vacation
Tagged Abo ruins, albuquerque, day trip, desert, drive through the mountains, Gran Quivira ruins, hiking, inspiration, kivas, Living in the Land of Enchantment, Manzano Mountains, Mountainair, mountains, New Mexico, New Mexico destinations, New Mexico photography, New Mexico travel, photography, photos, pueblo ruins, pueblog revolt, Quarai ruins, red sandstone, Salinas Basin, Salinas Pueblo Mission ruins, snow in New Mexico, Spanish Missions, Spanish Settlers, travel, Traveling New Mexico, vacation, white/grey limestone
There are so many places to see and things to do around here, it’s really hard to pick just one to write about! This week, I decided to write about 10 (make that 11) things to do in the area. Technically, it’s more than ten, as I fit more than one into each number. Next time someone tells you there is nothing to do in Albuquerque, direct them to this post! 🙂
Ride the Rail Runner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
The ride alone is worth the trip as it takes you through the lovely New Mexico landscape. The tickets will only cost you $16 round trip! There are many stops along the route to start and if you take the train to the end of the line, you end up in the Santa Fe Railyard which is only a few short blocks away from the Plaza. The Railyard also has galleries and the famous Tomasita’s restaurant.
This May will be the Tram’s 50th anniversary, and though I have lived in NM most of my life, I STILL have not ridden the Tram up the mountain. It’s just one of those tourist things locals rarely do. One day very soon, I plan on it! I have heard from MANY sources that it’s something one MUST do. I guess I prefer hiking up the mountain to riding up! UPDATE, Oct. 2016: I finally rode the Tram! It was awesome!
Speaking of hiking, the Sandia mountains just East of Albuquerque have many, many miles of hiking trails! It can take a full day to hike to the peak, where the tram takes only 15 minutes. I have hiked to the South Crest several times and LOVE it! Please, make sure you go prepared. Water, jacket, hat. Many people have had to be rescued from these mountains because they don’t realize how quickly weather can change in NM. The weather can be warm and sunny in town and cold and rainy at the top of the peak.
This is one of the largest petroglyph sites in Northern America. Volcanic rocks were carved by Native Americans and Spanish settlers up to 700 years ago, leaving behind interesting designs and symbols for us to ponder over. Another cool place to visit, related to the petroglyphs, are the volcanoes on the west mesa overlooking Albuquerque.
Albuquerque has an awesome botanical garden with an indoor aquarium. The gardens are attached to the city zoo by a cool little open air train line that you ride between the two with out having to get in your car and drive. Also, while riding the train between the zoo and gardens, you will pass by Tingley Beach which is a series of three ponds, man made for fishing and remote control boats. In the summer months they have paddle boats you can rent for $10 an hour to paddle around the big pond in. The kids will also enjoy feeding the ducks and geese that call the ponds and river area home. The gardens are my favorite part, they have several different gardens, including a rose garden, Japanese garden and a farm with barn animals and New Mexico homestead. Great place to take the kiddos!
While you are down near the Bio Park, right next door in fact, is the Central Ave. entrance to the Bosque bike and walking trail. The Bosque is the area of trees and open space that surrounds the Rio Grande River.
See a Play.
Albuquerque has MANY theatres, over 35 to be more specific! We can boast that we have the most live performance theatres per capita than any other city in the country. Just about ANY weekend in Albuquerque, you can find a show you might be interested in. The Albuquerque Theatre Guild website is a great place to start your search for that perfect play!
Albuquerque has a great variety of museums for everyone in the family! There is the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Explora, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Maxwell Museum of Anthopology, the Unser Racing Museum and several more can be found HERE. I’ve linked to all their websites so you can learn more about each one you may have an interest in.
Antique/Thrift Store shopping.
Albuquerque has large variety of Antique shops and Thrift stores. Most are concentrated on Central Ave between Carlisle and San Mateo or on Menaul Ave. between Carlisle and San Mateo, but there are others all over town. You can find some really great deals on a variety of stuff. I could write a post about all the awesome thrift stores in this city. I have spent many hours sifting through the many shops.
This is another attraction I’ve never experienced, but I personally know one of the tour guides and KNOW it’s worth it! Yet another thing I plan to do someday. The Old Town of Albuquerque is VERY old! Over 300 years! There are rumored to be many ghosts living in the back alleys and old adobe buildings.
I hope you will get in touch and come visit me in my studio when you are in the area. I don’t hold retail hours, but I am always happy to open up the studio for out of town guests! You don’t have to buy anything, but I’m always pleased to send an Albuquerque memento home with a fan. 🙂
Posted in albuquerque, Chroma studios, galleries, hiking, inspiration, kids, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, New Mexico, open studio, Paula Manning-Lewis, planning, promotion, random things about me, Sandias, Traveling New Mexico, trip, vacation
Tagged 10 things to do in Albuquerque, Adobe buildings, albuquerque, Albuquerque art museum, Albuquerque theatre guild, Anthropology, Antique shops, Antiques, Aquarium, art museum, artist's life, arts, bike ride, Bio Park, Bosque Trail, Botanical gardens, Chroma studios, galleries, Ghost tours of Old Town, hiking, inspiration, kids, Living in the Land of Enchantment, mountains, museums, Native Americans, Natural history and science museum, New Mexico, New Mexico artist, Old Town Albuquerque, open studio, Paula Manning-Lewis, Petroglyphs National Monument, planning, plays, promotion, Rail Runner, Sandia mountains, Sandia Peak Tramway, Santa Fe, South Crest, Spanish Settlers, theatre, Thrift stores, Tomasita's, Traveling New Mexico, trip, Unser Racing museum, vacation, vacation planning, volcanoes, Zoo