You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Creative Travel in Santa Fe, New Mexico: Intuitive Painting. Pottery. Photo Encaustics. Santa Fe, a place to inspire!

Creative Travel, Travel With Locals, North America, Travel Blog, USA 0

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Every day, I start understanding Santa Fe a little bit better. This creative hotspot here in New Mexico. I understand why so many artists & creative people choose to live here. Right here. “I just had to come back.” – “We both decided to move here.” – “I finally feel like I have arrived …!” Everybody feels welcome here, inspired, and embraced by the invisible, creative energy that rules this place. Angel Wynn for instance, has moved here owning and curating one of the world’s largest photo collections of Native American peoples.! Julie Claire does her best in inspiring me to allow for great intuitive painting techniques to happen. Theo Helmstadter prefers teaching creative visitors “his” pottery art rather than teaching in a local school system. Sasha Linda Wasko, who helps me create my own digital photo book. And finally … Lisa de St. Croix, who besides having an exceptional name and just as exceptional life story, is simply very good at painting and creative photo journaling here in Santa Fe. Once more, “Creativelena” has definitely found the right spot here. …


Those who travel with open eyes and an open heart, will find what they are looking for in Santa Fe. The concentration of creative, open-minded & friendly people is simply mind-blowing.

“When I was your age, I was still busy buying a ranch”, Angel laughs today. “Now, I am happy that ranch is sold and I can focus on my life work, creative photography & photo encaustics.” I smile at Angel’s words, trying to imagine her with cowgirl boots on a ranch. She has, however, always had deep connections with Native American people. “I used to grow up in Canada and have always had an interest for Native American history, especially their people. This has helped me grow as a person and develop my art as a photographer.” Looking around her beautiful studio located on Santa Fe’s famous Canyon Road, we can see traces of America’s first people everywhere. To dive into the creative arts scene of Santa Fe, means tapping into a whole new body of spirit and energy. Be sure to bring time: I do really take my time here exploring the city and meeting the artists thanks to Santa Fe Creative Tourism.

Zu Beginn unseres Kreativ-Workshops mit Angel Wynn erklärt uns selbige kurz die Technik der Foto-Enkaustik ...

Right at the beginning of our workshop with Angel Wynn, she introduces us to and familiarizes us with the technique of photo encaustics…


... derer wir uns anhand bestehender Bilder wie dieser hier bedienen: Angel gibt mir Bilder meines eigenen Reiseblogs zur kreativen Gestaltungsfreude, wie hier zur Eating London Food Tour

… a technique we are working with throughout the day: Angel has prepared some of my photographs off my travel blog here, such as this lady on our Eating London Food Tour just recently!


Noch sind wir gespannt, was aus all den bestehenden Fotos wird ...

Curious to see what comes out of these photos …


... es macht großen Spaß & Freude, mit der talentierten und heiteren Künstlerin zu arbeiten!

… and it certainly is a lot of fun working with dear Angel Wynn, whose delight in her own photography and encaustics encourages me & my fellow workshop participants to excel at our own art of creation!


Ein Blick auf Angel's Herkunft verrät: Diese Frau besitzt große Klasse, Talent & Weitblick!

Checking out Angel’s background in her studio workshop confirms me in working with a great, far-sighted and talented artist!


Die Freiheit und Ungezwungenheit, die hier im Umgang herrscht, beflügelt uns es ihr gleichzutun ...

And yet, she is very down-to-earth in her dealings and inspiration that she passes on to us as visitors, a fact I really like and enjoy about this workshop with her …


... und St John ist immerhin ganz klasse geworden, findet Ihr nicht auch?

… and see: St John actually came out quite well using photo encaustics, don’t you think?


Danke für so viel Schaffensfreude hier in Santa Fe, liebe Angel! Jetzt muss ich wirklich daran denken, ein großes Paket für den Heimtransport zu organisieren ...! :D

Thank you so much for all this creative inspiration, dear Angel! Now, I really have to start thinking about organising a big box for shipping items back home to Austria …! 😀


And the magic continues. On this sunny morning here in Santa Fe – the local climate with more than 300 sunny days a year simply has to get to you! – Julie Claire beams with happiness and warmth, almost like the sun itself. She comes to meet me right at Hotel Santa Fe where I am staying, driving us out to her studio on Upper Canyon Road. It is just so quiet and peaceful here. Brilliant. My steps crunching in the fresh snow are the only sound I can hear. “Come on in”, Julie laughs. “Make yourself at home – I’ll start getting the kettle going!” Virtually all my creative workshops here in Santa Fe start like this: With a cup of tea / coffee and a life story. #ibinsoinspiriert (I am so inspired!), my recent hashtag attribution given to me by my friends back home in Austria, comes to mind! It is a wonderful feeling indeed to meet the locals during this creative exchange right inside their very comfort zone and talk all matters life, work, travel and inspiration.

An zauberhafte Orte wie diese wäre ich nie gekommen, wäre da nicht Julie Claire's wunderbarer Morgengruß zum Kreativ-Workshop in ihrem Studio am Stadtrand von Santa Fe.!

I might never have reached magic spots such as this one here at Julie’s creative studio, had it not been for creative travel, and Santa Fe Creative Tourism, allowing me to do so.!


Gemütlich - einladend das offene, großräumige Studio der hier ansässigen Künstlerin ...

Cosy and comfortable, Julie’s big, inviting studio space provides room for up to eight participants at a time – Julie, who besides intuitive painting techniques also teaches holistic healing and life coaching …


... spontant bin ich gleich versucht, mich in eines ihrer Bücher zu vertiefen!

… I am very tempted to sit back with one of her interesting books I find on the shelf here, and stop time a little bit more. Creative travel definitely equals “Slow Travel”, time and space often ceasing to exist whilst in the mid of a workshop and creative activity.


Und nur so kann Kreativität wachsen: Am Beginn meiner intuitiven Malerei ...

And it is only like this, that creativity can start to happen and to flow. At the beginning of my intuitive painting class …


... entsteht in freier Assoziation ...

… I follow my own thoughts, feelings, and colour patterns that I choose on this particular day and mood for painting …


... dieses Kunstwerk in unserer Mitte: Vielen Dank, liebe Julie, für Deine Geduld & Deine Inspiration während dieses Vormittags hier in Santa Fe!

… with this final result between me and Julie: Thank you so much for a truly inspiring morning class here in Santa Fe! Can’t wait to find a good spot for it back home.!


Auf so viel spannende Gedanken, Meinungsaustausch & kreativer Schaffensfreude folgt erst einmal ... ein weiterer Kaffeehausbesuch! :D

All this inspiration and creativity demands you to slow down and relax: Santa Fe’s Railroad District with its “Ikonic Coffeehouse” being the place to go! 😀


Hier erwartet mich schon Theo Helmstadter, der sich ganz der kreativen Töpferei verschrieben hat und gegenüber sein Studio & Wohnhaus hat ...

Here, I am met by Theo Helmstadter, who likes to welcome visitors to his “Green River Pottery” studio and living quarters.


"Ich mache jetzt wirklich genau das, was ich möchte." Der Stolz spricht Theo aus sämtlichen Poren, tatsächlich führen wir eine drei Stunden währende Unterhaltung über die Faszination und Magie, seinen wahren Traum und seine Bestimmung im Leben zu leben.!

“I now really do exactly what I love and what I like.” Theo indeed is happy to talk about his life and dream of becoming a professional potter, something that has changed his life for the better. He is a true example of living the very responsibility we have in our lives to be a happy person: Both me and him talk for hours and hours about this great topic of conversation!


"Schon die alten Ägypter oder Babylonier haben getöpfert: Ich liebe die Verbindung zu diesem wohl ursprünglichsten Kreativ-Medium der Menschheitsgeschichte", sagt Theo. Begeistert erzähle ich ihm von meinem jüngsten, kreativen Töpferei-Erlebnis in der Algarve Portugals, beim Kreativkurs mit Hernando ...!

“Even the old Egyptians and Babylonians have already created beautiful ceramics: It gives me a strong connection to basically follow this very ancient art form, one of the oldest of mankind”, Theo says. I pick up on what he says and tell him about my recent creative pottery visit in the Algarve, planting a new travel seed in Theo’s mind certainly!


Theo trifft in seinen Werken garantiert "den richtigen Ton", er unterrichtet mit einer Sanftheit und Mühelosigkeit dass es eine Freude ist ...

Theo loves sharing his passion for working with clay …


... vielen Dank auch Dir, lieber Theo, für den schönen und inspirierenden Besuch in Deinem Kreativ-Studio hier in Santa Fe!

… and it is a true delight visiting him in his creative space and studio: Thank you so much for this inspiring visit, dear Theo!


Talking earlier about travel & inspiration: Sasha Linda Wasko is a truly exceptional artist in that she combines monotype printmaking with digital photography, inspired by no one less than her beautiful, noble horse Teddy. She offers to take me out into her countryside house south of Santa Fe, where she lives looking after both Teddy the horse and Shrek the goat! These animals really grow on me, and more so the love Sasha has as well as the inspiration she draws from them, expressed in the art she creates. We end up spending the entire afternoon out at her house, where she helps me get started on creating my own travel photo book! As night falls in this high mountain desert landscape, I watch the stars come out and “listen” to the silence surrounding us. Other than the occasional howling of coyotes, there is virtually no other sound whatsoever. Fascinating. I am mesmerized, and vow to come back here one day, now all inspired myself!

Meet Sasha Linda Wasko in her own studio house out in the countryside south of Santa Fe, who creates exceptional art inspired from her horse Teddy ...

Meet Sasha Linda Wasko in her own studio house out in the countryside south of Santa Fe, who creates exceptional art inspired from her horse Teddy …


... and ain't he a beauty? I truly love this painting made by Sasha. Wow. Such power and expression. Well done!

… and ain’t he a beauty? I truly love this painting made by Sasha. Wow. Such power and expression. Well done Sasha!


Right here in her studio & living room ...

Right here in her studio & living room facing the sunny south of Northern New Mexico …


... we both work on "creating a photography book"!

… we both work on “creating my first photography book” using Sasha’s favourite programme, Blurb, which is easy to download from the Internet and handle on my MacBook Air!


Here is a screen shot taken from my computer, showing you a couple of steps used in creating individual design pages.

Here is a screen shot taken from my computer, showing you a couple of steps used in creating individual design pages based on recent travel photos of mine.


As another source of inspiration, Sasha shows me tips from her own current project, a book on her horse Teddy.

As another source of inspiration, Sasha shows me tips from her own current project, a book on her horse Teddy …


... Teddy, who we both get to meet in all his majesty a little later!

… Teddy, who we both get to meet in all his majesty a little later!


So special: I will never forget this beautiful evening walk around Sasha's property, together with her and her horse while marvelling at the light of the setting sun in this special place that is Northern New Mexico ...

So special: I will never forget this beautiful evening walk around Sasha’s property, together with her and her horse while marvelling at the light of the setting sun in this special place that is Northern New Mexico …


... a place full of love for the art, the light, and animals, as it is!

… a place full of love for the art, the light, and animals, as it is!


The sun sets behind Sasha's house as she drives me back to Santa Fe ... Thank you for a great day out, dear Sasha!

The sun sets behind Sasha’s house as she drives me back to Santa Fe … Thank you for a great day out, dear Sasha!


Last but not least, I want to tell you about Lisa de St. Croix and me joining one of her creative travel journal workshops. Lisa has grown up in South Africa and migrated to the United States, to New York City, when she was 18 years old. For many years now, she has been living in Santa Fe, feeling entirely happy here. Her creative studio is just like that of any other artist I visit, a part of her house, full of light & life as well as the very inspiration that revolves around the city of Santa Fe. Here, you really cannot help but start feeling creative yourself!

Jedes Mal etwas Besonderes: Einen Künstler / Eine Künstlerin in ihrer einzigartigen, individuellen und sehr persönlichen Umgebung kennen zu lernen.

Special each time: To meet a local artist on their own terms. Lisa de St. Croix …


... beschäftigt sich in ihren kreativen Foto- und Reisebüchern mit ihrer eigenen Vergangenheit sowie der ihrer Familie ...

… has made a point of turning her beautifully crafted travel journals into a focal point for investigating her family’s history, both past and present …


... welche sie bereitwillig öffnet und mit mir teilt ...

… which she is happy to show me on many occasions …


... wie beispielsweise auch diese Reise hier nach Portugal, zur Internationalen Tarotkarten-Konferenz: Ist es nicht immer wieder spannend, was es alles gibt auf der Welt ?!

… even all the way to designing her own travel journal of having been to Lisbon, Portugal, for an international tarot conference. What a beautiful surprise – I did not even know this existed ?! 🙂


Die in vielerlei Hinsicht begnadedte Künstlerin Lisa de St. Croix hat in mehreren Jahren Arbeit ihre eigenen Tarot-Karten gemalt, ein imposantes Gesamtkunstwerk das sie mir hier zeigt. Meine Karte ist übrigens "The Chariot" - zielstrebig, fokussiert, immer in Bewegung und wissbegierig. Das STIMMT! :D

Lisa de St. Croix being a very versatile and gifted artist has managed to paint her own tarot cards in the form of this large wall painting over the course of several years – wow! Here, she points out “The Chariot” to me, my card as calculated based on my birth date, associated with values such as focus, target, movement and clarity. That certainly speaks for me! 😀


Und so beginnt meine eigene "Kreativ-Reise" hier in Lisa's Studio ...

And thus commences my own creative journey right here at Lisa’s studio …


... beim Gestalten und Verbessern meines eigenen, bereits begonnenen Reisetagebuchs von #CreativElenaRTW!

… designing and improving my very own travel journal started for the purpose of this #CreativElenaRTW trip of mine!


Ich kann Euch nur so viel verraten: Es ist wunderschön geworden und hat mich zu viel Neuem inspiriert! Danke auch Dir, liebe Lisa, für diesen schönen Kreativ-Workshop hier in Santa Fe!

I can only tell you this: It is indeed very beautiful and has certainly improved thanks to working with and learning from Lisa! Thank you so much, dear Lisa, for this wonderful meeting here in Santa Fe!


Looking for further inspiration on what to do & see in & around Santa Fe, New Mexico? Here is my hand-picked selection of creative foodie travel tips, as shown on this Flickr Photo Gallery:

Disclaimer: I have been invited by Santa Fe Creative Tourism to join Angel’s, Julie’s, Theo’s & Lisa’s creative workshops here in Santa Fe. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Creative Travel in Santa Fe, New Mexico: Nothing like exploring Northern New Mexico with a professional photographer!
Creative Travel in Santa Fe, New Mexico: #Foodlover Frenzy at Santa Fe School of Cooking!


  1. Angel Wynn

    It was a real pleasure meeting you and introducing you to photo encaustics! I can’t believe how fast you created your story and post. Your photos taken during our workshop together turned out fabulous. Until next time, take care and safe travels.
    Happy Shooting, Angel

    • Elena

      Dear Angel,

      To this, I can only say: “If you love what you do, it shows.” 😉

      Magic spilling over means me finding constant inspiration to write, publish & share! Thank you so much for taking the time & stopping by on my travel blog. Looking forward to our next meeting!

      Good luck & all the best,

      Elena 🙂

  2. Lisa de St. Croix

    I loved sharing my workshop with you on your creative adventure. Good luck with your book.


    • Elena

      Dear Lisa,

      Thank you so much !! I will definitely mail you a copy of the book once it is finally out, and keep you in the loop about it. So excited for “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook” and your wonderful contribution to it 😀




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