Who We Are



Kathie Vezzani is the chief organizer for Bellissima Art Escapes. She combines her extraordinary organizational skills with her passion for creating art in designing workshops for other artists. Her experience includes nineteen years working with Culinary Adventures, Inc. designing culinary trips to Mexico. She also tested recipes for three cookbooks written by Marilyn Tausend. Experiencing local cuisine is an integral part of every trip she plans, as well as visiting other artist's studios and local places of interest. And quite frankly, she believes chocolate is a food group so each trip is bound to have a tasting or two. In another life, she was a caterer. Kathie loves to paint, play with wax, rust and create assemblages. 

Who Teaches - Experienced Artists



Judy Wise is an Oregon artist who has worked as a printmaker, painter, writer and teacher for four decades and has kept daily journals of her writing and art since childhood.

Judy's workshops for Bellissima Art Escapes include: Paint Oaxaca - Sept. 2014, Paint Mexico City - 2015, Paint San Miguel de Allende - 2015, Indigo Indigo - 2015, Free Spirits Amsterdam 2016, Painting Big Spain - 2016, Journal with a Circle of Friends, Catalonia, Spain - 2016. Cold wax, 2017. In 2018, London/Northumberland.



Graceann Warn from Ann Arbor, MI, is a full time studio artist with work exhibited and collected nationally and internationally. Her paintings and assemblages use the metaphor of excavation in her artistic flights of fancy that always seem to revolve around some form of revelation. She taught Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, 2017 and Transformation - Encaustic and Assemblage, in San Miguel de Allende in 2018. In 2019, Encaustic Workshop in Gig Harbor, WA.



Geoffrey Gorman's mantra is "Old Sticks, New Lives" which is aptly demonstrated in his fanciful creatures that he builds out of found materials. He is from Santa Fe, New Mexico where his work is shown in the Selby Fleetwood Gallery, along with other galleries across the United States. His work is collected privately and in public collections across the country. He is teaching Finding the Soul of Forgotten Materials in Gig Harbor, 2017 and 2018. He co-taught Mixed Media Sculptures with Morgan Brig in San Miguel in 2019 with another planned for 2020.



Oregon artist Pam Nichols loves rust and wax and her passion is mixing the two in her paintings. She teaches the popular Dyeing to Rust workshop for Bellissima Art Escapes. She exhibits in Oregon, Utah, Arizona and WA (Western Australia) where she now lives with her husband, Bill in Perth. 

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Ane Elena is a pastry chef and caterer from Puebla, Mexico. She also worked for Culinary Adventures, coordinating everything in Mexico. She organizes the Mexican Bellissima Art Escapes with Kathie and often teaches a cooking class during the trip. 



California artist Orly Avineri is an avid journalist, teaching art making and journaling in workshops all over the world. She co-taught Integrative Portraits with Katie Kendrick July 2016 on Bainbridge Island, WA.



Vashon artist, Morgan Brig loves to evoke humor and playfulness in her mixed media sculptures that are collected by people all over the world. Her layers include etched metal detail, enamel patinas and found objects that suggest the old and familiar. She taught Mixed Media Sculptures on Bainbridge Island, WA. in 2017 and in Gig Harbor in 2018. She co-taught Mixed Media Sculptures with Geoffrey Gorman in San Miguel with another planned for 2020. She will teach in Oaxaca for Dias de Muertos, 2019.



Carla Sonheim is an internationally recognized mixed media artist. She is a published author and creator of her online network, along with her husband, Steve, of Sonheim Creative Inc. She co-taught two Escapes with Lynn Whipple, Spark Oaxaca in 2016 and Fiesta Flores in 2017. She taught Favorite Artist Animal Books in Chiapas, Mexico in 2018.



Pamela Caughey works in many media, with special interest in cold wax/oil, encaustic, mixed media and acrylic. Her work is in the permanent collection of several museums and public buildings nationally and internationally. After teaching foundations courses at the University of Montana, Bitterroot College, Montana, she is now a full time studio artist and teaches workshops from her Hamilton, Montana studio and around the country. She is teaching Personal Color and Powerful Design in San Miguel de Allende in 2018 and in Oaxaca 2019.



Lynn Whipple is a well known mixed media artist from Florida. She is a studio artist showing her work throughout the United States and is collected by many. Her work is shown in galleries and she has published numerous times. She also teaches online workshops and in person workshops. Together Lynn and Carla Sonheim taught Spark Oaxaca in February 2016 and Fiesta Flores in San Miguel de Allende in 2017. She also taught Face As The Muse with her husband, John Whipple in San Miguel in 2017 and in Oaxaca 2018.



Oregon artist, Tory Brokenshire is known for her three-dimensional work created in a variety of media. Tory has been teaching for more than 20 years across the country at large art retreats as well as small classes in her studio in Salem. She taught Santos Assemblage in Gig Harbor, August 2018



Gillian Lee Smith hails from England but is Scottish. She started her career designing costumes and then focused her many talents on sketching and painting. Her widely viewed courses are often touted as life changing for the artists who participate in them. Her drawing and painting style is easily recognizable by art lovers throughout the world. She has a quick wit and is a loving, patient and generous teacher. 2017 Workshops include two Moments in Time, in Seattle and Portland, and Portraits in Amsterdam. In 2018, Expressive Explorations, London/Northumberland, Unearthing Portraits in Seattle and Abstract Landscapes in Manzanita, OR. In 2019, Urban Landscapes in Seattle and Marks on the Landscape, Santa Fe, NM.



Frank Shelton and Debra Fritts are studio artists living their dream in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Debra is an internationally known sculptor and he is a painter and mixed media artist. They are collaborating and sharing their love of combining materials for art making in Oaxaca, Mexico. Hidden Voices: Seeking Responses, February 2018 and Connections in Gig Harbor, 2019.



Shannon Weber is a working studio artist and educator for 31 years working in 3D fiber sculpture. A self-taught artist, she has focused on using nature and whimsey in her unique creations that are held in private and public collections. She has been published in over 40 publications around the world. She is teaching Row, Row Your Boat in Gig Harbor in 2017 and Vessels with Pam Nichols in 2019.



How do you describe John Whipple? Master of whimsey that includes painting, sculpting and assemblage. He is an illustrator, experienced art director, graphic designer, and muralist with work in TV and movie productions at Universal, Disney and Nickelodeon studios. He taught alongside his equally talented wife, Lynn, in San Miguel de Allende for Faces: Surface, Story and Design in 2017 and in Oaxaca in 2018.



Katie Kendrick is a Washington mixed media artist who finds art making to be one of the most powerful ways to connect with her innermost essence. She has a passion for sharing her love of creating with others and teaches workshops all over the world.

She has co-taught Bellissima Art Escapes with Judy Wise in Oaxaca, Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende. They included Free Spirits AmsterdamIntegrative PortraitsPainting Big in Spain, and Journal with a Circle of Friends in Catalonia, Spain. She also taught Archetypes in Gig Harbor in 2018.