Creative Travel in Santa Fe, New Mexico: Pure Painting Pleasures!

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!

Herzlich willkommen bei "Shutter and Brush Fine Art Studio" in Santa Fe, New Mexiko!

A warm welcome to “Shutter and Brush Fine Art Studio” in Santa Fe, New Mexico!


Hier empfängt mich die liebe Teena in ihrem Enkaustik-Studio: Besser kann man Einheimische "auf Augenhöhe" nicht kennen lernen.

Here, I am met and welcomed by dear Teena in her unique encaustics studio – once again, no better way to see “eye to eye” with the local people than by meeting them in their very own creative space!


Zu Beginn erklärt mir Teena geduldig Geschichte & Technik der Enkaustik-Malerei, und erklärt mir die vorbereiteten Farben und Werkzeuge für unseren Workshop.

Right at the beginning, Teena introduces me to the history and art of encaustic painting, explaining the preparation of hot bee wax and tools we are going to use in the workshop.


Stets umgeben vom zarten Duft nach heißem Bienenwachs, machen wir uns ans Werk ...

Infused by the gentle aroma of hot bee wax, we start by applying layer upon layer of bee wax onto a wooden frame, and binding them using heat.


Teena zeigt mir verschiedene Techniken, um Muster und Formen in der Enkaustik, der Malerei mit heißem Bienenwachs, herzustellen ...

Teena also shows me different ways and techniques of how to create a pattern in my work …


... et voilà: Mein erstes Meisterwerk ist (nahezu) vollendet! Ich nenne es, "The Perfect Embrace". :D

… et voilà: My first masterpiece is almost finished! I call it, “The Perfect Embrace”. 😀


Vielen Dank für diesen wundervollen Besuch und das Kennenlernen Eures einzigartigen, kreativen Wohn- und Atelieraumes, liebe Teena, lieber Dave!

Thank you so much for showing me around your work and creative living space here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, dear Teena, dear Dave!


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.

Willkommen bei Jane Shoenfeld's Skyfield Studios!

A warm welcome to Jane Shoenfeld’s Skyfield Studios!


Der Blick auf Jane's Studioumgebung verrät: Hier sind Farben, Vielfalt und Gestaltungsfreiheit am Werk!

Looking around Jane’s studio, I immediately take to the wealth and abundance of colours she uses in her artwork!


Gleich zu Beginn schenkt sie uns dieses Set an Pastellfarben: "Ihr könnt es gerne behalten und ich ermutige Euch, zuhause weiter zu machen: Ihr werdet sehen, das Malen mit Pastell beflügelt!", lächelt sie uns aufmunternd an.

She is happy to hand out this set of pastel colours for us to keep: “You are going to love working with the pastel colours!”


Schritt für Schritt folge ich Jane's Inspiration ...

And only a little later, I already delight myself in following Jane’s excellent, step-by-step instructions …


... die uns geduldig Aufbautechniken, Farbgebung und Perspektiven in der Malerei mit Pastellfarben erklärt.

… Jane Shoenfeld, who patiently explains the buildup of layers, colours, depth and foundation in working with pastel colour paintings.


Meine zweite Kursteilnehmerin und ich sind wahrhaftig inspiriert und am Werk, das Gesagte & Gezeigte selbst anzuwenden.

Both me and Sandra, who have come here to enjoy Jane’s class, are eager to apply Jane’s tips and knowledge as an artist.


Seht selbst, wie sehr Jane strahlt: Vielen Dank auch Dir, liebe Jane, für einen unvergesslichen Vormittag beim Kreativ-Workshop "Malen mit Pastellfarben" hier in Santa Fe!

And would you believe just how passionate Jane is about teaching the very art she loves: A truly delightful morning workshop here in Santa Fe!


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!

Die gute Andrea ist stets von ihren vierbeinigen Gefährten "begleitet und beschützt"!

Dear Andrea, always protected and surrounded by her two lovely dogs: You have to conquer three hearts in this house, I shall say!


Zu Beginn unterhalten wir uns gemütlich über Andrea's Werdegang und kreativer Malerei ...

Right at the beginning, Andrea shows me her paintings and talks to me about her work …


... bevor sie mir anhand eines ihrer letzten Werke erklärt, wie auch wir gemeinsam arbeiten werden.

… such as this one, with its intricate layers of colours and materials used serving as inspiration for my own piece to come!


Andrea verwendet in ihrer Malerei stets Elemente aus der Natur New Mexiko's, wie zum Beispiel diese Steinspiltter und Erdfarben hier ...

Andrea likes to use elements of New Mexico’s natural environment in her work, such as mica and earth colour dust / sand …


... die wir mit Klebstoffen unterschiedlicher Stärke auf die zuvor bearbeitete Leinwand bringen.

… which we attach to the canvas with different types of glue.


Ich habe so meine Freude (und Konzentration!) an der kreativen Ausdrucksweise ...

There goes a happy (concentrated) creative traveller …


... und präsentiere Euch hier, "mein New Mexiko"! Zu Recht, ein wenig Stolz ob der geschaffenen Werke an diesem Vormittag hier in Santa Fe.

… presenting you “my New Mexico”: Feeling just a little proud of what I have been able to achieve so far while staying here in Santa Fe.


Die "Leichtigkeit des kunstvollen Daseins" zieht sich übrigens wie ein roter Faden durch die Künstlerstadt Santa Fe: Überall locken Galerien, Exponate und Ausstellungen zum kreativen Besuch einer der ältesten Städte Nordamerikas.

And it is true that Santa Fe really inspires you to become creative. In fact, it literally is “in the air”, as you can see here while walking down the iconic Canyon Road, one of the prettiest and most historic roads in the entire United States of America! Santa Fe itself has already been founded in 1610, that’s over 400 years of history. Impressive – even from a European background!


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.


Dave Robinson 24 November 2014 - 19:26

Great write-up on a fun visit by an amazing person.

Elena 25 November 2014 - 02:10

Dear Dave,

Thank you so much for your feedback! I am really looking forward to us meeting again in the near future. It was wonderful spending time with you and your wife Teena, and I am so pleased to have met you thanks to Santa Fe Creative Tourism!

Cheers and take care now,

Elena 🙂


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