An artist retreat is a multi-day art class that allows attendees to restart their creative process and dive deep into an art medium, style, and/or technique. Art retreats are usually multi-day classes offered consecutively so that students have concentrated focus on the topic at hand. Huge leaps in progress can be made in retreats: some students who have never picked up a paintbrush will leave the workshop knowing intermediate skills and the confidence to create sophisticated work, others leave knowing how to refine their work and pursue gallery and art showings, while others leave refreshed with new techniques that inspire innovative pathways of working. Therefore, an artist retreat is extremely effective for any level of artist, and will surely result in learning a lot of new techniques, skills, confidence, and a connection with other artists who share a passion of painting.
The retreats Santa Fe Painting Workshops offers are focused on abstract acrylic painting, specifically non-representational and abstract landscapes. I teach students advanced skills in color theory, composition, painting mediums, mark-making with palette knives and other tools, natural pigments, how to write an artist’s statement, how to create a digital portfolio of your work, and signature techniques I only teach in my workshops. Each group is surveyed about the topics that are of interest before the workshop so that lessons are tailored to the group, and the small class size allows plenty of one-on-one attention for individual questions. Bubbly water, snacks, coffee and tea are provided during the retreat.
Topics we explore in the 3-day workshop are how to push yourself to take the creative risks necessary to advance your work, how to move through blocks so that you can re-boot your process, and how to keep an open mind to discover innovative ways of working. Each day comes with several demonstrations and a challenge that helps students to take more creative risks and feel inspired. Students share their goals and support each other in this small class in which close bonds are often formed. By the end of the workshop, students feel renewed by learning a multitude of techniques and ideas that will launch their work in new and exciting directions. This course is designed for all levels of painters, but beginners should contact me about meeting before the intensive to cover basic skills needed.
We work in my downtown Santa Fe studio, an historic adobe building that is adjacent to the plaza and one block from the legendary Canyon Road. I am across the street from the beautiful and shaded walking path along the Santa Fe river, where I walk almost daily to get inspiration. There is an outside patio area shaded with an apricot tree for particpants to rest, rejuvenate, and get inspired. The studio is inspiring, and the convenient location is next to many nearby casitas and hotels.
Here are my recommendations for where to stay in Santa Fe!
What better way to know what awaits you than to hear from past attendees! First, from Lynn, who attended the retreat two years in a row.
Quality instruction and inspiration was most definitely provided by Andrea. An artist and educator, Andrea gave and taught me using creative methods she paints with, and encouragement and tips for objective evaluation so my inner critic didn’t get the best of me. Color theory, principals of art and design, and texture application with all kinds of tools and mediums were the highlight for me. The time for instruction and application of concepts I learned was well balanced. An added bonus was instruction on professional aspects for artists including digital portfolios, artist biographies and statements. Her studio and instruction space is AMAZING! 3 full days to learn and create is long but a necessary retreat to break down barriers I was experiencing in my own creative expression. I returned home inspired, with direction and purpose and have been painting ever since! I have a show in April!
Next, from Denise, who is also a repeat student and booked a private 4-day intensive with the goal of finishing a large figure painting for her home:
When I was a child in art class, I always put my finished product on the bottom of the pile. I was ashamed. I had no artistic ability…none…zilch. Fast forward forty years, and I find myself wanting to develop a long-dormant (if not dead) part of my brain, the part where art resides. So when my husband recommended a trip to Santa Fe, I thought, “Ooh! Santa Fe! The mecca of artists!” And I started researching, looking for a venue where I could take private (non-judgmental) painting lessons…just to see…and then I found Andrea Cermanski. For four days, I met with her for three hours each day, and we painted, we drew, we discussed, and when things got hard, I told her I couldn’t do it, but she pushed me out of my box and coached me through it. I have learned how to draw, how to mix colors, how to create several different types of textures on canvas, how to paint. And I love it! If I ever forget what I learned, that’s okay…because Andrea painstakingly took notes for me while I learned, and I still regularly use those notes at home when I paint by myself. Andrea is a high school art teacher, and she draws from best teaching practices to instill in her private students the basic knowledge needed to get started and then, just as importantly, to work independently. I do not mean to infer, however, that Andrea cannot provide assistance to only beginners. She is an artist in her own right, having displayed and sold her beautiful works in Santa Fe galleries. I am afraid that this review will not serve justice to her abilities as a teacher and a coach, that I do not have the talent to convey what my experience with Andrea has meant to me. I still have zero talent, but I have a new love of creating art …and new confidence to do so. I cannot recommend Andrea highly enough!
As you can see from these two reviews, students make huge leaps in learning when they dedicate to a mulit-day workshops. If you would like to get more information about the art retreats I teach, cost, and dates for 2023, you can click the button below.