Creating Emotional Portraits with Gillian Lee Smith
DÍA DE MUERTOS WITH GRACEANN WARN
Be still my heart. The multi-talented Graceann Warn is teaching an escape this October for Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. I have had a folder of her work on my desktop as inspiration so you can imagine how I felt when she contacted me to teach an Escape. I am so honored to offer this opportunity to create with her.
Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead is one of the most unique festivals in Mexico that honors and celebrates ancestors. There are many celebrations and traditions that we will witness as we share our time together in the UNESCO heritage city of Oaxaca.
Mixed Media Assemblage
Graceann paints and she constructs. Both her paintings and assemblages use the metaphor of excavation.
Her formal education in landscape architecture and classical archaeology provides structure to artistic flights of fancy that always seem to revolve around some form of revelation as she attempts to unearth an object or solve a mystery.
Uncovering/Covering. Leaving a Trace, a Vestige, a Palimpsest.
Assemblage is about transformation. It begins with seeing something in an object or material that may not be obvious at first. It is knowing that history and spirit are embedded there and can be made to speak. The nature of this work can also be personally trans-formative, frequently allowing us to find that place in which thought, emotion and hand combine to flow effortlessly and freely.
This workshop will focus on creating assemblages with water based gel medium as well as wax. We will create pieces by layering papers and found objects in the surfaces.
Graceann will bring her laptop (with Photoshop) and portable printer so that we can use photographs taken in Oaxaca. Oil sticks, metal leaf and various transfer techniques will be incorporated as we build pieces.
Content and intent will be emphasized as an integral part of the process.
Graceann's workshops are best described as intensive, inspiring and fun. Students will learn a wide variety of techniques as they create pieces aided by demonstrations and discussions. A great deal of one-on-one attention is given to each person along the way.
Day 1, Saturday October 28. 9:00 p.m. Everyone arrives and we will meet for introductions, a nightcap and antojitos before retiring for the night.
Day 2, Sunday, October 29. Have breakfast in the courtyard or restaurant before we begin our first day with Graceann at 9:30 a.m. After lunch or comida at 1:00, we will take a short walking tour in the area to help familiarize you. Afterward, we will continue our class. There will be free time this afternoon to catch all the activities going on around us before we meet at 7:30 for a fiesta.
Day 3, Monday, October 30. Breakfast, workshop begins at 9:30, comida at 1:00, continue with class. At 4:30 class is over and you have free time before dinner at 8:00 at Zincanda.
Day 4, Tuesday, October 31. Breakfast, class at 9:30. At 1:00, we will walk to the taco corridor at 20 de Noviembre Market (our friend, Chef Rick Bayless, takes you on a little tour here). Then you are on your own to wander and explore before this evening's tour to Xoxocotlan. Here we will quietly observe the traditions of each family as they prepare their altars and offerings to their ancestors.
Day 5, Wednesday, November 1. Breakfast, begin at 9:30, comida at 1:00, continue workshop until 4:30. Free time before a quick dinner and our next adventure to see special DOD performances at the Centro de las Artes (CASA) in San Agustín.
Day 6, Thursday, November 2. Breakfast and then class at 9:30. At 1:30 we will walk to one of our favorite comidas at Marco Polo where the fish is roasted in special ovens, or al hornos. That afternoon and evening is free to explore. Dinner is on your own and there will be suggestions for you in the trip packet.
Day 7, Friday, November 3, Breakfast and then today we are taking it on the road as we visit my favorite potter in Ocotlán, the village of black potters. He is the only potter to make the very special angels. Then we travel to San Martín Tilcajete where the alebrijes, those colorful wooden animals are made. There we will have a special class where you will get to paint your own animal. That evening we will have a class with Chef Ane Elena who will talk about the special foods of Day of the Dead. Be prepared to eat well!
Day 8, Saturday, November 4. Breakfast and then we will finish up our projects and have a show and tell before you are released for the day. Lunch is on your own today but leave room for a very special dinner at Origen with Top Chef winner, Rudolpho Castellanos. The restaurant was named one of the top 25 restaurants in Mexico in 2016.
Day 9, Sunday, November 5. Trip is over and everyone leaves, stays on, or continues their travels. We will have transportation to the airport for the 8:30 a.m. flight to Houston.
This Escape Includes
- 8 nights at Hostal de Noria or equivalent, double occupancy
- Welcome reception and fiesta
- All breakfasts, six lunches and 3 dinners (one lunch and dinner on your own)
- Visit to local cemetery
- Special Day of the Dead performances
- Visit to markets
- Cooking class with specific dishes for Day of the Dead
- Free time to explore
- Visits to local artisans
- Farewell dinner at Origen with Rodolfo Castellanos, Top Chef winner 2016
- A new art tribe
This trip is full and a waiting list has been started.
Price: $3,150, limited to 12 people based on double occupancy, limited single rooms are available for an additional $500.
A $1,000 non refundable deposit is due upon registration with the final payment due June 1, 2017
Price does not include airfare to/from Mexico
Airport: Xoxocotlan International Airport is an international airport located in Oaxaca City, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The Airport has only one terminal that handles domestic and international air traffic. Code: OAX. There is a United direct flight from Houston that leaves around 6:15 p.m. and leaves Oaxaca around 8:30 a.m.
This itinerary may change due to weather, new opportunities or the whim of the group.
Located in a colonial building just two blocks from the zocolo, Hostal de La Noria has free wifi, a restaurant, a pool (miniscule), bar and rooftop terrace. It is located across from the Textile Museum.
Although Graceann Warn’s academic background is in urban design and classical archaeology, she decided to take a leap of faith in 1985 to become a full time artist. She started out as an oil painter but throughout the 1990’s became best known for her assemblages. In 2,000, a 16-month long commission to design sets for a major opera production led to a shift in medium and scale in her studio work. Since that time, she has primarily been painting on wood panels using oils and encaustic. The present work reflects the structural logic of her architectural beginnings as well as her abiding interest in archaeology and science. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in the collections of Yale University, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY, US Embassies in Nairobi and Sarajevo, Pew Charitable Trusts and many others.