Thoroughly Oaxaca Art Experience 2

Thoroughly Oaxaca Art Experience 2: mixed media, natural pigments, symbols & talismans

watercolor + mixed media + culture workshop  ~  SOLD OUT, GET ON WAIT LIST
with Oaxacan artist Pedro Cruz Pacheco + Corrie McCluskey

DATES: March 17 – 26, 2023
Oaxaca City, OAX, Mexico


~  Hands-on, deep dive into the art and culture of Oaxaca
~  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

Experience the sights, sounds, moles and mezcals of vibrant Oaxaca with us! Immerse yourself in the soulful art scene, indigenous culture, rich culinary and artisanal traditions of this magical 16th century colonial city. Our adventures include field trips to a famed Sunday market, studio visits in a weaving village and alebrije village, and the archaeological ruins of Monte Albán. We’ll spend an afternoon exploring Francisco Toledo’s arts center and a papermaking studio. We’ll add locally-sourced natural pigments (cochineal, indigo, marigold) to our toolkits, and make uniquely Oaxacan memories on paper in a handmade artist book that we create.

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca, Mexico

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 mixed media + collage as a vehicle to find your voice, to get over your fears of making a mistake, and to play with the materials at hand. 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, 7 days of art + culture workshop in the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Group field trips with private van
  • Maximum 10 participants
  • 9 nights at a beautiful secure location – simple Villa apartments, a 20-walk from the center of downtown
  • apartments equipped with wifi, functional kitchens, hot water, surrounded by a lush garden to enjoy
  • large supermarket, mercado, restaurants, taxis/busses all within walking distance
  • 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 class, PM field trip to renowned art center + papermaking studio
  • 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: field trip to alebrijes artisan studio + ceramics artisan women’s collective
  • Day Eight: all day class, PM art gallery field trip
  • Day Nine: all day art class + art show, group farewell dinner
  • Day Ten: depart Oaxaca

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

When Corrie, our co-instructor, first started coming to Oaxaca, she was seeking an experience – to play with art (and get over fear of the blank page), 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 couldn’t afford the high-priced trips that stay at fancy B&Bs (nor did she want that level of pampering). The idea was to stay in a Mexican neighborhood a few blocks away from tourist central and have a mix of art days + field trips. We’ve created that trip for you.

Pedro & Corrie began a tradition of art adventures – going on the road, armed with a portable studio in a suitcase: a basic painting kit, a box of magazine clippings & pages from old books, scraps of fabric & paper, and torn fragments of painting experiments. They’d spent a few days holed up in a self-made pop-up studio, making mixed media pieces with collage, incorporating ephemera gathered on scavenger hunts from local flea markets. 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 journaling with mixed media (in a sketchbook or on loose paper) to develop your unique voice and mark making by playing with different materials. Getting out of your habitual way of doing things and being surprised by what shows up on paper. The ultimate goal: finding your symbols, talismans, and personal marks. Complete beginners are welcome and encouraged to join us!

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.


Workshop location & apartments:
Villas in La Noria district

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.
We have reserved 6 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.

: Friday, March 17
art classes + field trips: 7 days
day off: (no class or scheduled field trips) Wednesday, March 22
departure: Sunday, March 26
airport: Oaxaca Xoxocotlan International airport (OAX)

Trip fee, deadline & cancellation:
$1950 for workshop participants – deadline to register extended to 1/1/23

  • 50% deposit with registration guarantees your space – register early before the workshop sells out.
  • Deadline to register & pay deposit is 12/1/22. (Deposits, reservations, and arrangements are made in advance of the trip, so we need to receive your registration + deposit on time.)
  • Balance is due by 12/1/22, or you can pay in full upon registration (deposit + trip fee).
  • Extended deadline to register in class is 12/1/22; no deposit or trip fee refund will be given after 8/1/22. 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.

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

 Price includes:

  • apartment or shared house rental – assigned on first-come, first served basis
  • private van transportation (for all field trips & excursions)
  • field trips to Sunday outdoor market, weaving, pottery, and alebrije village, art center & papermaking studio, ancient ruins
  • admission fee to Monte Albán Ruins

Not included in price:

  • airfare or transportation to/from 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.

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 – 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:
: Oaxaca Xoxocotlán Intl airport (OAX)
Oaxaca City (OAX) 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 thru Mexico City, book flights that allow at least a 3-hr layover going TO Oaxaca (the line for passport control can be long and you’ll miss your flight), and 1-hr layover coming FROM Oaxaca.

Print out a workshop flyer HERE.

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 707-575-6801 or