Jane’s eyes are sparkling whenever she reaches for her pastel colours. Teena is calm and centered, focused on her art space flooded by the sunlight of Northern New Mexico, an art space that forever carries the soft smell of hot bee wax. She and her husband Dave, a talented photographer, got married some ten years ago shortly after meeting on the Internet. “At our age, you don’t mess around”, he laughs with a happy glance over to Teena. And what about Andrea? “My wife is a DJ”, she too laughs looking over the speakers and turntables next to us. “We were lucky and got married three years ago, just when it got legal here in New Mexico. My wife supports me in many ways, I feel incredibly happy and thankful.”
Do you notice something? Wherever I go, I always meet happy people. All of them share a unique sense of passion for what they do, be it curating hot bees wax for creating beautiful encaustics or collecting shards of stone and earth colours to support individual paintings of New Mexico. It is my sense of passion, and happiness, to be able to meet and give back to all those creative and happy-minded people of Santa Fe thanks to my creative trip with Santa Fe Creative Tourism, and to take enough time in sharing what they do. Which is why I have chosen to spend almost two weeks here, so as to really connect with what essentially makes this place and its people tick.
Encaustics is a very ancient form of painting, even older than oil painting. Thanks to meeting Teena on this creative round the world trip of mine, I get to know and appreciate this beautiful art form even better.
“Our network of Creative Tourism in Austria also offers encaustic painting workshops”, I am just about to tell Teena. “But I have not had a chance to experience it myself yet.” – “Well, then today’s the day”, Teena smiles at me with a wink. She leads me through her Shutter & Brush Fine Art Studio that she manages together with her husband & partner Dave, whose presence results in more creative storytelling and great lunch shared together! “We are so happy to have found this place”, Teena tells me over leading me through her sunny garden and their large art space and living quarters. And that is the true merit of creative travel of all kind:
There is no better way to connect with the local fabric, the soul & sense of a place, than to travel the creative way. Meeting a local on their own terms, by crossing the threshold to their kitchens, workshops & houses, means engaging on a deeper level, with the established connection reaching to be as strong as with family and friends.
It really is like that, and I stress it by saying: Creative travel is a very intimate form of travelling. I take a seat at the family table of local person’s home. I use their tools. I better understand their passion. I learn about their unique and individual (family) history. And I get to share mine with them. The connection that derives from those meetings is such that I already end up saying, “See you next time round, dear Teena!” And I know – I feel, that I will be back here at some stage. Simply because of that very strong, and intimate connection!
Jane is completely fascinated by painting with pastel colours. Her large-scale canvas are alight with love and attention to detail, which she delights in sharing.
“Come on in”, Jane calls me as I make my way to her studio crossing the little garden next to her driveway. “We are right here in the back!” As I have already started explaining, it is always a very intimate first step when literally crossing the threshold over to creative travel: What should I expect? Will I like what I see and do? Will I understand the artist in that particular creative space, expecting me to become creative as well? And of course, the warmth & heartfelt welcome I receive upon each visit always make for any kind of concerns to dissolve almost immediately. “Relax. This is a place for you to feel good and to take your time. We are here to help you discover and explore your very own talent of being creative!”, is what they all seem to say. And this is exactly what happens here, during the pastel colour painting workshop with Jane Shoenfeld in a cosy little suburb of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Last but not least, I want to introduce you to Andrea. “Today, I will show you how to capture New Mexico on canvas!” And she is right: My painting is unique. I love it!
Pride is something that first comes in little doses and then literally bursts, flooding you with happiness. Thanks to all the inspiration of meeting the artists of Santa Fe, I am inspired to develop my own creativity. “You have already painted before, right?” – “Yes”, I answer modestly, “but never as much or as regularly. I simply enjoy doing it!” And Andrea Cermanski is your perfect teacher for encouraging the fun part in becoming creative. Just as Teena and Jane, Andrea has integrated her creative studio space into her home. We start our creative workshop with a nice cup of coffee, two dogs on the sofa and an interesting chit chat about Andrea’s artistic development as well as my journey to Santa Fe Creative Tourism. I feel relaxed, happy, and again somewhat “home” – home at Andrea’s, that is!
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 Teena’s, Jane’s and Andrea’s workshops. All opinions are my own.