• Oaxaca
  • Oaxaca


John and Lynn are returning for a second Faces workshop, this time in beautiful Oaxaca City in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, an artist's paradise.


John and Lynn are so excited to explore with you this delightful subject matter, the face. You will be painting, drawing, collaging and collecting inspiration from this colorful and charming city.

You will gather ideas and images in your sketchbooks, and in photographs as we wander through Oaxaca’s historic cobblestone streets. We will soak in the city’s rich textures and colors as we fill our pages with ideas and artful possibilities. Back in the studio, we will create dozens upon dozens of interesting faces, discuss design, line, shape, mark and the bigger ideas of art and picture making. Our studio will become a laboratory of discovery and fun! 


Day One, February 24 Everyone will arrive and we will meet for a quick introduction that evening before everyone heads off to sleep. 

Day Two, February 25  After breakfast, we will start out in the morning with a sketchbook stroll. We will begin in the studio for a brief chat about what to look for and ways to collect ideas and images. Next John and Lynn will lead us on an inspiration gathering tour as we walk through and experience Oaxaca’s beautifully textured streets.  


We will head back to the studio and share our findings (always fun!) and get set up to make some faces! 

After Lunch, Lynn and John share some basics about drawing the face. We will start with a quick warm up with ovals and playful faces. Next we will go over some simple basics about drawing the form of the face that will inform your drawings to come. We will discuss proportion and use of shadow. And we will share some tips about connecting with line the features of the face to create more interesting drawings. Let the idea Laboratory begin!! This evening we will have a little fiesta on the rooftop at 7:30.

whipple face lab

Day Three, February 26  Breakfast and then meet in the studio at 9:30 for further exploration and play in the studio! Lynn will lead you in a great exercise that is not only fun, it will loosen you up. We’ll start with an eyes-closed, touch-and-continuous-line drawing exercise of our own faces to gather more information about the face and it’s form and structure. 


We'll walk to the market for lunch and then return to the studio where we will blaze forward with photo references, color and crazy mark making for wild and unexpected results. Be fast, energetic and playful. Finally, we’ll cut these up and rearrange! There will be free time before dinner that evening. 

Day Four, February 27  After breakfast, we will head out to visit the the woodcarving village of Tilcajete to visit Taller Jacobo y Maria Angeles. You'll watch as the artists carve, sand and paint the very colorful creatures. Then you will have your own opportunity to paint a small alebrijes to take home with you. Lunch will be provided. Then it is back into the studio.

Cie painting her owl alebrijes

Cie painting her owl alebrijes

Today is about working on the background first. John and Lynn will share with you ways to play with watercolor patterning, shape-making and stencils. Remember to splatter, because everything is better with a little splatter! Now it is time to play and make faces as you draw on top of the patterns you have created. Some of these will turn out, some maybe won’t, the big idea is to keep your hands moving and your brain engaged as you push towards new ways to explore and communicate with the face. Tonight we will have a cooking class with Chef Ane Elena. 


Set at the nexus of three valleys flanked by high mountains, Oaxaca City is surrounded by fascinating archaeological sites and colorful traditional villages and small towns with bustling weekly markets.

Oaxaca is a state of sixteen indigenous groups speaking twenty-seven different dialects. From 500 B.C. to 700 A.D., long before the Spanish arrived, Oaxaca City had been a center of high civilization, producing sophisticated masters of art. 

Today, artists and artisans alike are inspired by the area’s deep-rooted indigenous traditions and by its bright, clear southern light. The lighting may be what draws many an artist to the colonial city of Oaxaca, but the culture, its people and community of artists is what entices them to stay much longer than originally planned, sometimes forever. Everywhere you walk in this pedestrian-friendly city, art abounds, in the galleries, churches, plazas, mercados (markets), to the corner where a weaver from the outlying village of Teotitlán del Valle, has spread her rugs for the day, to the huichole that she is wearing rivaling the design of her weavings.

Throughout the art that you will find in Oaxaca, you will see a culture which reveres myths, using it as a catalyst for images of place, both internal and external. The work of local artists links us to a world of life and death, dreams, ritual and magic. Of course, there is the marriage and tension between religion and indigenous beliefs reflected as well.

This UNESCO heritage city will be the backdrop for our inspirations for Faces with John and Lynn. 

This ESCAPE includes

  • 8 nights accommodation, double occupancy
  • 6 days of instruction with John and Lynn
  • Welcome fiesta
  • All meals except for one lunch and one dinner
  • Visit to markets
  • Two cooking classes
  • Visit to local artisans
  • Farewell dinner at Origen with Rodolfo Castellanos, Top Chef winner 2016
  • New art tribe

Accommodations: Hostal de la Noria, double occupancy. Located across from the Textile Museum and two blocks from the zocolo


Price: $3,300, 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 October 17, 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.

John painting faces in San Miguel de Allende

John painting faces in San Miguel de Allende

Day Five, February 28  After breakfast, we are off to visit the Centro de las Artes (CASA) in San Agustín. We'll tour the facility and see a paper making demonstration with opportunities to buy paper.

Centro de las Artes (CASAS)

Centro de las Artes (CASAS)

Then it's off to Etla to Susana Trilling's Seasons of My Heart Cooking School for a lesson on cooking just a few of the moles from Oaxaca. It's a definite treat for foodies. You won't need dinner tonight. 

Callie, Pat and Lynn prepping for their dish at Seasons of My Heart Cooking School

Callie, Pat and Lynn prepping for their dish at Seasons of My Heart Cooking School

Day Six, March 1 After breakfast, it is collage day! Let’s play with colored and patterned paper shapes for hair, eyes, nose, mouth, neck and shoulders and backgrounds. We can incorporate some of the amazing handmade paper we gathered from our visit to the paper studio.

whipple face

John and Lynn will lead you through collage exercises that are not only fun, but add an extra layer in interest. Adding even one piece of patterned collage to your faces can open up design opportunities and bring unexpected brain surprises for you and for your viewer.


Pure fun! After you create some layers, you can draw on top, paint, and Make Faces!! Lunch will be provided but dinner will be on your own tonight. A list of restaurants will be provided.

Day Seven, March 2  After breakfast, we will continue to gather inspiration and materials from Oaxaca as we go into full mixed media mode with our faces. As always, we are on the hunt for great combinations and brain surprises! Start by playing the magazine swap game and then move on to using all of your media. You can incorporate words into your faces, add your faces last, or start with a photo reference and layer on top with paint, pencil and markers. Cover much of the face, but leave traces of the features showing through. Build mystery and emotion as you take liberties with line, shape and mark, creating a more moody tone and character. Remember this is all experimental and the bigger idea is to push you towards new art making and face-making possibilities. John and Lynn will both share tips with painting and layering with pattern and design. Lunch and dinner will be provided.


Day Eight, March 3  Breakfast and then to the studio. Now it’s time to take all the starts and explorations and see how they might become more finished pieces. You will look at each face separately by putting it inside a frame or background and see if it can stand on its own. Perhaps it will need a little tweaking by adding more darks or line work… perhaps a new series will be born… perhaps a direction will come into focus that will keep your hands moving for years to come. We will share our work from this week and clean up our supplies. Lunch is on your own and the rest of the day is free until our very special dinner this evening at Origen with Top Chef winner, Rudolpho Castellanos. The restaurant was named one of the top 25 restaurants in Mexico in 2016. 

Day Nine, March 4  The trip is over and everyone will head home or stay on to experience more of Oaxaca's offerings. 

This itinerary may change due to weather, new opportunities of the whim of the group.

John Whipple

John Whipple

John Whipple is an experienced art director, graphic designer, illustrator and muralist with work in TV and movie productions at Universal, Disney and Nickelodeon studios. Now, he creates his funky, whimsical paintings, sculptures and assemblages at McRae studio in Winter Park, Florida. His work is found in galleries and shows across the country and he has been published world wide.

Lynn Whipple

Lynn Whipple

Lynn Whipple loves what she does. She paints, collages, assembles and plays - a lot. Her artwork is collected by art lovers around the world and her playful style of art has been shown in galleries, published in magazines and in art shows across the U.S. She also teaches online workshops and her first book, Expressive Flower Painting: Simple Mixed Media Techniques for Bold Beautiful Blooms is being released August 2017.

This is Lynn's third Bellissima Art Escape and John's second

(Photos of John and Lynn by Sean Reagan)