Back to All Events


  • San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato Mexico (map)
Dying Sun Study

Dying Sun Study

In this mixed media workshop you will learn how to use charcoal to create a face or figure that will be used in a collage of re-purposed papers, handmade papers and all those lovely bits of paper you have been stashing away for YEARS! You will learn how to find balance in creating a chaotic, multi-layered painting using fragmentation and deconstruction techniques. You'll paste, sand, rip, cut into and start all over again until there is balance. If you do not want to draw your face, you can use a black and white photograph that you can deconstruct and re-purpose.


One of our favorite cities to take artists to is San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO heritage city that has been a home for artists since the 1930s. Cobblestone-lined streets, art galleries, colorful doors that open into mysterious courtyards, alleyways filled with beautiful plantings, centuries-old buildings and, of course, the bells of the pink Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel in the Jardin. You never know what or who you will find in the Jardin, day or night. 

My favorite mojiganga by Hermes Arroyo

My favorite mojiganga by Hermes Arroyo


Day 1. Saturday February 23. Everyone arrives and we will meet for introductions and walk to our favorite taco truck for a quick snack before everyone retires after a long day of traveling. 

Day 2. Sunday February 24. Each morning will start with breakfast either out in the courtyard or inside in the dining room. At 9:30 we will meet in the studio for our introduction to Paul and a demo of his work. We will break for lunch then head back into the studio for some warm up exercises. Class is over at 4:30 and there will be a short walking tour at 5:30 followed by dinner.

Day 3. Monday February 25. Today you will create your own collage material before beginning small study pieces on paper. The focus today will be on layering, building the surface and experimenting with materials. Lunch. Class is over at 4:30 with free time before dinner. 

Day 4. Tuesday February 26. You will continue working on your study pieces, refining, reworking, cutting, tearing and sanding into built up layers. Lunch, Dinner


Day 5 Wednesday February 27.  Today is a travel day. We will visit Hacienda del Jaral de Berrios, a large ex-hacienda that is now in disrepair, crumbling and hauntingly beautiful. Perfect setting for this class! 

During its heyday throughout the 19th century, the estate housed somewhere around 6,500 people and boasted its own railroad station, post office, parish church, and two primary schools. The main building featured frescoed walls and lavish furniture and was surrounded by numerous buildings with massive rooms and grand staircases. The main building now houses a tequila factory. We'll stop somewhere for a late comida.

Day 6 Thursday February 28. Today is the day to start a large piece to work on for the next two days. We'll break for lunch and that evening, there will be a cooking class with Chef Ana Elena Martinez. 

Day 7 Friday March 1. You will continue working on your large piece, moving towards completion! Lunch and dinner will be provided. 

Day 8 Saturday March 2. You will finish up, then clean up and share your work this morning. The rest of the day is free to explore until our final meal together tonight at our friend Paco Cardenas's beautiful home. . 

Day 9 Sunday March 3. Today everyone will say goodbye as we head home.


San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico February 23-March 3, 2019

My first introduction to Paul Cristina was through a friend who admires his work. When I met him in his studio in Charleston, South Carolina, he had just delivered most of his work to his first solo show in NYC. At first glance, I thought he was working with photographs, distressing them as he went through his process. It was surprising to discover that those were, in fact, charcoal drawings


I love artists who push the boundaries, who try any and everything with an attitude of, "let's just see what happens." In other words, rule breakers. Cristina qualifies.

He pastes, rips, sands, and adds strings for definition and texture. Colored paper, paint and oil bars are used creatively to further move your eye through the many layers he has applied and ripped through to expose what is underneath.

I am primarily interested in exploring ideas and images of uncertainty in places that exist underneath the exteriors of everyday life.
— Paul Cristina

This Escape Includes

  • 8 nights accommodation, double occupancy at Casa de Noche

  • beautiful studio to create in

  • aiport pickup/drop off at designated time at Leon airport

  • five and half days of workshops with Paul

  • all meals except for one lunch and one dinner

  • visit to an ex-hacienda

  • farewell celebration

  • cooking class

  • new art tribe

  • Price: $3,500, limited to 12 people based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for an additional $500.

    A $1,000 non refundable deposit is due upon registration with the final payment due August 30, 2018

    Price does not include airfare to/from Mexico

    Airport: Leon International Airport, Guanajuato, Mexico. Code: BJX  United's Flight 6091 is a direct flight from Houston that leaves at 6:05 p.m. and arrives in Guanajuato at 8:26 pm. We will have a driver pick you up and deliver you to the hotel which will take about 1.5 hours. Return: We will leave at 9 a.m. on March 3 for the 12:55 pm United flight 6227 to Houston.

    Casa de la Noche, a former bordello is owned by Barbara Poole, also an artist who supports the arts in San Miguel de Allende. Her beautifully renovated B&B is five minutes from the jardin. 

One of Casa de la Noche’s courtyards

One of Casa de la Noche’s courtyards

Chocolate Mousse by Paco Cardenas, Pic by Sean Regan

Chocolate Mousse by Paco Cardenas, Pic by Sean Regan

Paco Cardenas Pic by Sean Regan

Paco Cardenas Pic by Sean Regan

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

Head Shot_SMA.jpg

Paul Cristina is a self-taught artist, who  continues to develop his creative sensibilities through the study of books, film, music, people and photographic images. These sources of education continue to inform his work through the experimentation of various style and media.

His work has been primarily exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the north/southeastern United States and is currently held in private collections internationally. In 2015, Cristina was the recipient of the First Place prize for Fine Art and Drawing in the North Charleston Arts Festival Juried Exhibition. He currently lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina.

Check out Paul's Facebook and Instagram feeds.