Swallowing Beauty

Swallowing Beauty

My friend, Jens, has no filter when speaking his brilliant mind. It’s a quality I admire, especially when discussing creative edges that push our limits and call out for personal growth.

Recently, Jens and I were in my Santa Fe studio. Large disheveled under-paintings I had just begun were leaning against the wall. Over-worked paper pieces were scattered on the floor—in progress or abandoned? (It could go either way.) They felt vulnerable, raw, and not too sure of themselves.

Jens was animated as he discussed his latest project of turning mud into functionality and grace. He had just bulldozed and excavated a cave on land he recently purchased on the outer borders of New Mexico into Arizona. He was making livable space. Art.

I talked of mind clutter and the impatience/anxiety of feeling discomfort in visible vulnerability hovering around me. I mumbled something about re-creating what I had done in my last series. Exploring the tension points between the visible and unseen. Smokey, clouded layers covering the ambivalence of life.

Jens leaned in close, “So are you now making fake paintings?” I knew what he meant. I was at that edge believing painting existed in a realm that could be birthed like a machine.

I quickly responded, “Almost, but not yet.” That was the truth: Take the plunge of investigating the heart’s longing in the now, or be an imitated version of myself set on automatic go.

Zombie Formalism is what comes to mind. A term coined by artist and art critic Walter Robinson in 2014. My definition: production of abstract painting that is devoid of passion and more concerned with how it is made. Image, shape, color, singing together in a doable composition that is pleasing to the eye. Sometimes when hitting that uncomfortable edge, it’s tempting to go there. Production.

The how to, neglecting the deep inner crevices inside ourselves that ask of us “the why.” It takes time and care to birth a project. When we are not tending to the delicate needs, creativity requires of us bridging mind to heart, a radical distrust can set in.

For me, I usually need some space to become a bit untethered from daily left brain life. I guess my growing pains are asking of me to raise my frequency of light from the inside out. I still crave to paint just that.

And when I am still enough to wait out the unlpleasantries of my mind, I sometimes glimpse the realization that my vulnerabilities are my courage moved from the outside in, waiting to swallow beauty whole.

Personalized Private Classes and Studio Mentorship 

Open Studio Wednesday

Why Color is Important- One Day Workshop- Saturday October

Large Scale Painting Workshop October 25th-26th

Women's Spiritual Hunger's November 2nd-3rd

Video Tutorials

View the full list of upcoming workshops for the year.

Be Brave Now

Last weekend, as one of my workshop sessions was coming to a close, I asked the participants to "Be Brave Now" in response to their painting process.

These three words on reflection might make a great title for a book, a mantra, or just an upcoming workshop.
But on deeper reflection, what did I mean by uttering these words towards an end of a session?

To Be Brave asks of us to rise to an event calling for change. In painting and in life, these impulses usually appear at an impasse in our process, somewhat content where the painting/life is, but having an inclination it could be further developed and produce a more gratifying result. To Be Brave is asking of us to take a leap of faith, to push and grow.

Usually what I focus on in my teaching on any given day, month, or year is usually what I am asking for in myself, whether in my art practice or in my life.

My new workshop offerings are becoming more focused on a depth of individual process and how to address our capacity, or lack of, to take RISKS!  So, if I let this really settle in, I imagine my art practice/life is about to experience a risk-turned-shift. What does Being Brave Now look like for you?

Spring Emergence | Begin Again + Workshop Updates

In progress, 2018

Spring Greetings,

It is my hope all are gracefully emerging out of the hibernation of the winter season.

After having completed a large body of work last fall, along with a full teaching schedule, I have used the last few months to slow my internal pace in contrast to an outside world that has warped into quickening speed bringing more constant anxiety that seems to be the new normal.

As a painter, I search through abstract language to communicate how I experience the world in which I live. My art has evolved and changed over time, and I have grown to depend on my lived experience of the evolution or de-evolution of the world to come through me and onto surface in subtle ways.

Lately, my painting and teaching appears to be asking more of me, and I am not sure what that should look like. But, some deeper questions that have arisen are providing clues:

  • What brings inspiration to all of us in these changing times?

  • What brings deep nourishment and connection?

  • What acts or non-acts can I incorporate into my process and teaching to really listen and
    guide myself and others into more authentic ways of being in the world?

I believe engaging in creativity is a way to know ourselves and others deeply. Painting consistently with a group every Wednesday for the last four years has taught me that. Some participants have served as anchors every week while other visitors have attended from various regions of the world. I have witnessed how the power of creating can bring people closer to their selves and the seat of their souls.

I bear witness to my own painting process, and everyday learning to trust in the “not knowing”, but doing what I can to just show up and stay conscious to the subtle needs of the painting and to those that attend my classrooms. My hope is through this process we may all bring our deepest authentic and courageous selves into the world.

“Dare to not rush any faster than we are ignited from within. Dare to slow into true presence.” —Mark Nepo

Below is a short list of upcoming workshops and Mantecón Studio announcements and registration links are highlighted.

New Virtual Studio Mentorship
Mantecón Studio
Ongoing Wednesday Open Studio 1:30-4:30pm
The Creative Visionary Intensive Saturday March 24 with Catherine Trapani and Lauren Mantecon
Soul Work in Action: Art & Psych June 2 -3 with Nina Ross and Lauren Mantecón
Color Theory: Why Color is Important Lauren Mantecón
Anything Goes: An In-Depth 4-Day Mixed Media and Painting Investigation June 23 -26 with Lauren Mantecón
Abstract Painting with Krista Harris (Full. Please contact Krista for wait list.)
The Space Between: Painting with Intent & Intuition November 1 - 4 with Stacy Phillips and Lauren Mantecón

Weehawken Art Center, Ridgeway, Colorado
Expressive Painting & Mixed Media Techniques May 19 - 20 with Lauren Mantecón

New Work, Exhibits
Muse Gallery Hilton Head, South Carolina, August 2018
Cullowhee Mountain Arts Lake Logan Art Retreat North Carolina, August 20 - 25

Coming Soon! Online Video Tutorials