Art workshop journaling + culture in Oaxaca & Puebla, Mexico

Art Journaling Workshop Oaxaca to Puebla: watercolor, mixed media, collage, ephemera hunt

art workshop with watercolor, mixed media, collage + culture immersion
with Oaxacan artist Pedro Cruz Pacheco + Corrie McCluskey

DATES: September 22 – October 2, 2023  –  SOLD OUT, GET ON WAIT LIST
Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico


~  Hands-on, deep dive into the art and culture of Oaxaca, and weekend adventure in Puebla
~  Creative time with likeminded travelers in an intimate setting
~  Fill your well of inspiration + recharge your artist soul (you too, beginners!)
~  Develop your unique creative voice, fearlessly

Are you hooked on art journals and want to play with paint and collage while traveling? Love to incorporate found objects into your art? Want to go on a vintage ephemera hunt in a picturesque alley full of antique stores and an antiquities bazaar? This workshop is for creative hunter gatherers, cultural explorers, and lifelong learners who enjoy expressing themselves visually. First, a week-long deep dive into the art and culture of Oaxaca, with its soulful art scene, indigenous culture, and rich culinary and artisanal traditions. We’ll visit ancient ruins and artisan villages for weaving and red clay. Then, beautiful Puebla for a weekend search for vintage ephemera and collaging our found treasures. We welcome all levels, you too beginners!

When Corrie, our co-instructor, first started coming to Oaxaca, she was seeking an experience – to play with art, connect with likeminded creatives, immerse herself in the culture, and investigate the artisan studios and galleries that Oaxaca is known for. But going it alone was intimidating and she didn’t want a tourist experience. She stayed in a Mexican neighborhood a few blocks away from tourist central and put together a mix of art days + field trips for herself. We’ve created that trip for you.

Pedro & Corrie began a tradition of art adventures – hitting the road armed with a portable studio in a suitcase: a basic painting & collage kit, a box of paper & fabric scraps and torn fragments of painting experiments. They discovered the Callejón de Los Sapos (Alley of the Frogs) in the historical city center of Puebla, a street lined with antique/junktique shops and a weekend antique bazaar, spent afternoons hunting for vintage ephemera, and found great joy in creating with the treasures gathered on their scavenger hunt. An escape to fill the creative well and recharge the artist soul! This is what we’d like to share with you – an art + culture adventure.

This workshop is a combination of watercolor exploration and creative/visual journaling with mixed media (in a sketchbook or on loose paper) to develop your unique visual voice and mark making by playing with different materials. Be surprised by what shows up on paper, find the imagery that resonates with you. The ultimate goal: finding your symbols, talismans, and personal marks. Complete beginners are welcome and encouraged to join us!

Above: Santo Domingo Church, Oaxaca / Below: Callejón de Los Sapos, Puebla

Pedro is an amazing watercolorist who incorporates personal symbols, talismans, and the natural world into his art, and he’ll patiently guide you in exploring watercolor + painting with natural pigments. This is a chance to consider the “secret soul” of things that matter to you and bring them into your painting. There will be demonstrations in Pedro’s techniques to get you started, but participants will be encouraged to create using their own personal approach.

Corrie will introduce simple techniques and exercises for mixed media + collage to play with the materials at hand, find your voice, and get over your fears of making a mistake. You will experiment with mark making, using fragments, found objects and bits & pieces of ephemera – taking risks and letting go of needing to be perfect. You’ll use Oaxaca-sourced natural pigments and handmade paper in an artist book you create to take home.

Workshop details:

  • All levels, 5 days of art + culture workshop in the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 3 days of ephemera hunt + collage fun in Puebla, Mexico
  • Group field trips with private van
  • Maximum 10 participants
  • 7 nights at a beautiful secure private property in Oaxaca – simple apartments, a 20-walk from the center of downtown
  • Oaxaca apartments equipped with wifi, functional kitchens, hot water, surrounded by a lush garden to enjoy
  • 3 nights in a lovely quaint hotel in Puebla’s historic city center – all rooms with 1 bed, private bathroom
  • art materials lists for both watercolor & mixed media – for all levels of art experience
  • list provided of restaurants, museums & galleries, cool places to visit on your own

Preliminary itinerary:

  • Day One: arrive in Oaxaca – informal dinner in the neighborhood
  • Day Two: all day class, group welcome dinner
  • Day Three: AM field trip to Sunday market; PM studio visit of weavers + special lunch
  • Day Four: AM field trip to renowned art center + papermaking studio, PM art class
  • Day Five: AM field trip to Monte Albán archaeological ruins, lunch, PM art class
  • Day Six: day off to explore on your own
  • Day Seven: AM art class, PM field trip to ceramics artisan women’s collective
  • Day Eight: AM trip to Puebla, PM orientation in antiques barrio
  • Day Nine: AM ephemera hunt, PM art class
  • Day Ten: all day art class + art show, group farewell dinner
  • Day Eleven: depart Puebla

The art classes generally run from 10 am – 4 pm.

Pedro Cruz Pacheco is a painter from Santa Cruz Amilpas, Oaxaca, Mexico who works in watercolor, oil, and mixed media. He left his job in a brickyard in 1999 and initially began his career as a self-taught artist. He spent 8 years apprenticing in the studio of master Oaxacan painter Felipe Morales, and showed & sold his work for years in Labastida Plaza in downtown Oaxaca (by Santo Domingo church). Pedro has exhibited in Mexico (Oaxaca, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Merida, Monterrey), Texas, and California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sonoma County, Eureka), and has taught watercolor workshops in Baja, BCS, Mexico. Pedro’s style is very Oaxaca-influenced, with magic realism as an artistic point of view – a Mexican version of surrealism. His work is intimate, private, and incorporates personal symbols and talismans that reflect his own life experiences as well as the history and customs of Oaxaqueños. His work features bright, vivid colors and his own deeply personal and heart-felt spiritual view of the world around him.

Corrie McCluskey (the workshop coordinator) is a visual artist from Northern California who was a b&w photographer for two decades. She transitioned into visual journaling, mail art, collage, bookbinding and making artist books. She now focuses on mixed media on paper: encaustic monotypes, painting with natural pigments & India ink, graphite, cold wax with oil pigment sticks. Creative journaling is a part of her art expression: it’s all about process and discovery – a container for ideas and working through life experiences. She is a “Guidess”-in-training for people who feel unqualified or too intimidated to express their creativity because they think they can’t “do art”. For 20 years, she was a workshop and event coordinator, and she loves to bring small groups of people together and facilitate an amazing workshop experience.


Above: Our location in Oaxaca, art class on the terrace / Below: hotel & barrio in Puebla


Workshop location & apartments:
Private apartments in La Noria barrio, Oaxaca

Our unpretentious, comfortable & affordable lodging is just a quick 20-minute walk to the zocalo, the main center of the city. This family-owned villa is a peaceful walled compound with lush gardens; the owner is an Airbnb Superhost (with 700+ reviews and a 5-star rating). Our art workshop will be at the large home on the property, out on the beautiful terrace. There is a large supermarket, mercado, restaurants, taxis/busses all within walking distance.

We have reserved 7 individual apartments, all with kitchens. And at the large house, there is a big kitchen, beautiful living rooms on both floors, 2 private upstairs bedrooms with shared bathroom, and 1 downstairs bedroom with several beds (for a group traveling together) + bathroom. Lodging will be assigned to participants on a first-come, first-serve basis when they register and pay the trip deposit.

Quaint hotel in historic center of Puebla
We’ll stay in a lovely small Old Hacienda-style hotel (a refurbished casona from Colonial times) with interior patios, courtyard and walkways, high ceilings with wood beams, just a 5-minute walk to Barrio de Los Sapos and 10 minutes to the zocalo, historic churches, museums and restaurants. We have reserved 10 rooms, each with a double or king bed, private bathroom and wifi. We will hold our art class on the beautiful rooftop terrace at the front of the hotel.

: in Oaxaca, Friday, September 22
art classes + field trips: 5 days in Oaxaca, 3 days in Puebla
day off: (no class or scheduled field trips) Wednesday, September 27
departure: from Puebla, Monday, October 2 (fly out of Mexico City)
airport: arrive @ Oaxaca Xoxocotlan International airport (OAX), depart @ Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX)

Trip fee, deadline & cancellation:
$2550 for workshop participants – deadline to register extended to 6/1/23 – SOLD OUT, GET ON WAIT LIST

  • 50% deposit with registration guarantees your space – register early before the workshop sells out.
  • Deadline to register & pay deposit has been extended to 6/1/23. (Deposits, reservations, and arrangements are made well in advance of the trip, so we need to receive your registration + deposit on time.)
  • Balance is due by 6/1/23, or you can pay in full upon registration (deposit + trip fee).
  • Deadline to register in class is 6/1/23; no deposit or trip fee refund will be given after 3/1/23. No exceptions.
  • If you must cancel, contact Corrie, the workshop coordinator, immediately. You can transfer your deposit & trip fee to another person, at no charge. If there is a wait list, we will give you the first name on the list to whom you can offer your spot. Otherwise, no refunds will be issued under any circumstances. We encourage you to purchase trip insurance with “Cancel for Any Reason” to cover you for unexpected circumstances.

Registration + payment online:
To register and pay online, click below. Your payment will be processed through PayPal.

 Price includes:

  • apartment or shared house rental in Oaxaca – assigned on first-come, first served basis
  • hotel room in Puebla (single with one bed, private bathroom)
  • private van transportation (for all field trips & excursions in Oaxaca, trip to Puebla)
  • Oaxaca field trips to Sunday outdoor market, weaving, pottery, and alebrije village, art center & papermaking studio, ancient ruins
  • admission fee to Monte Albán Ruins
  • private van transportation from Puebla to Mexico City Intl airport – to catch flights home on 10/2

Not included in price:

  • airfare or transportation to/from Oaxaca airport
  • food & drinks
  • required trip insurance

Required travel insurance:
Why you need it: Oaxaca doesn’t have a robust healthcare system like you’re used to, so if you have a serious fall (sidewalks can be treacherous here), get sick, or the taxi you’re in has an accident, it could be very pricey to get you home for treatment. Therefore, we’re requiring everyone to purchase travel insurance for this trip (include medical evacuation of at least $50,000, international accident & health insurance including primary medical coverage, and trip cancellation coverage). There are also trip policies that include COVID cancellations. We recommend that you get PRIMARY medical coverage, not secondary. Proof of insurance must be sent to us at least 45 days before departure. We encourage you to purchase trip insurance with “Cancel for Any Reason” to cover you for unexpected circumstances.

suggested provider: Squaremouth –
More COVID policy info:
best choices on Squaremouth:
– HTH Worldwide, TripProtector Preferred, includes COVID cancellation
– Trawick Intl, Safe Travels Voyager, includes COVID cancellation
– TinLeg Gold, includes COVID cancellation
another provider:

You are required to send proof of vaccination to participate. You must send a photo or PDF of the documentation and forward it to us. Depending on COVID and the health circumstances in 2023 in Oaxaca,  participants may be required to wear face masks, use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing while we’re together. Proof of vaccination must be sent to us at least 45 days before departure.

Health & walking:
Oaxaca is high altitude, at 5100 feet and Puebla is at 7000 ft – some people need a few days to acclimate if they are coming from sea level. Can you walk 6,000 steps a day unassisted at 5100 ft? If not, you will be unhappy on this trip, and we only accept travelers who are in good health and can walk uneven cobblestone streets (narrow, with high curbs) and don’t have mobility or breathing issues. Also, dietary restrictions could be tricky, although there are restaurants that have gluten free and vegan options. Travelers will need to make personal accommodations and adjustments to meet group needs and schedule.

Valid passport:
Also, be certain that your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico – if not, you won’t be allowed entry into the country.

Flights & getting to/from the airport:
: arrival in Oaxaca Xoxocotlán Intl airport (OAX) on 9/22/23, departure from Mexico City – Benito Juarez Intl airport (MEX) on 10/2/23
You will fly INTO Oaxaca City (OAX) and fly OUT OF Mexico City (MEX). Previously, United had a nonstop direct flight from Puebla to Houston, but they have changed their flight schedules. Therefore, instead of flying out from Puebla at the end of the workshop, we will be traveling to the Mexico City Intl airport on Monday, 10/2 via private van to catch our flights home, so please book your return flights from MEX-Benito Juarez Intl airport (book a flight that leaves around 2 pm or later).
NOTE: United has a nonstop flight daily TO Oaxaca from Houston (IAH). If you choose another airline, Oaxaca is a 45-minute flight from Mexico City (MEX), with many available connecting flights on AeroMexico,  United, American, and other carriers (we don’t recommend Volaris). NOTE: if you fly TO Oaxaca thru Mexico City, book flights that allow at least a 3-hr layover in order to make your flight to Oaxaca (the line for passport control can be long and you could miss your flight).

Materials & suggestions:

  • We don’t supply materials for participants, please bring your own – we offer 2 lists of suggestions, watercolor or mixed media
  • For mixed media / creative journaling materials: materials list here
  • For watercolor – you can bring your favorite quality watercolor paints, brushes and paper. Here is an optional list with suggestions for those undecided about materials: materials list here
  • We suggest that you familiarize yourself with Pedro’s website and take a look at his artwork for inspiration as you begin to think about your own personal symbols and talismans.

If you have questions:
For questions regarding the workshop, lodging or transportation, contact the workshop coordinator:
Corrie McCluskey at corrie[at]