Grateful for…painting as we like (in foreign lands)


It’s Thanksgiving time in the US, where I am from, so I thought I’d celebrate here on my blog with a few of the most recent things I’m feeling grateful for.

I’m writing from Mexico City after teaching a creative entrepreneur retreat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week.

The photo above is surprise, unposed shot I snapped of our group shopping for art supplies in Puerto Vallarta. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve haunted these little tiendas throughout Mexico on my own, stocking up on paints to take back to the US.

I’m so grateful to be able to share this experience with the kindred souls who join me at the workshops. I’m grateful for iphone photography, which I want to learn more about next year.

my favorite Mexican paints

These are my favorite acrylic paints, made in Mexico. They come in a rainbow of bright, opaque colors, perfect for using in a sketchbook or visual journal.

They have really tiny sized pots, which I love to pack up and carry in a travel art supply kit.

"Paint as you like and die happy." - Henry Miller

“Paint as you like and die happy.” – Henry Miller

At the workshops and in my own studio, the tables are covered with brown kraft paper. This provides an ideal surface for taking notes as we work.

I shared one of my favorite Henry Miller quotes with our group, and Suzy wrote it down with a water-soluble wax crayon, which makes the edges bleed a little when exposed to water.

I am grateful for the writers, like Henry Miller who came before us. Paving the way through censorship and their own dire circumstances, in order to share their creative gifts with the world.

I am grateful for water-soluble wax crayons.

I am grateful for my students, taking notes in their own hand on the work tables all week. I took photos of everything you wrote after the workshop was over, and all of our supplies were cleaned up.

I am grateful for the artifacts of creative expression.

We had so much great space to work with in the outdoor studio. The work tables were painted black, which provided such a beautiful backdrop for photographing the paints and work-in-progress.

Cynthia has a bottle of the coveted Mexican turquoise paint in her hand. I think just about everyone took a bottle of this color home.

I am grateful for sharing color, paint, ideas, inspiration.

stencil play

Plastic alphabet stencils are great to add to your supply kit, they work with so many different types of media, including paint and crayons.

I loved seeing all the ways that Helen used the stencils in her sketchbook. All week, we kept sharing techniques and supplies among the group, adding to our visual vocabulary.

I am grateful for any type of stencils.

I am grateful for the alphabet.

I am grateful for the free giving and sharing of techniques. There is always so much more to learn from each other. Endless!

This makes me want to run home and paint my work table black matte. What do you think?

sketchbook page in progress

Here’s a shot of my own current sketchbook in progress. I’ll share this spread in another post, showing you what it turned out to be.

There is so much more to share about the workshop, about the experience of working in foreign lands with a group of creative women. I have more photos, too…collecting them from the others who snapped away as we worked.

Meanwhile, I’m back to a bit of R&R here in Mexico City, before heading back to Oaxaca.

Yes, I find the throng of a city of 20 million people relaxing. An urban girl, through and through.

I am grateful for museums, and sidewalk tacos, and sidewalk juice stands, and the metro, and wide boulevards, and bronze statues, and thousands of individually beautiful buildings, for the faded old typography on so many doors and walls and window.

Really, I am madly in love with Mexico City, and look forward to sharing more about that in future posts. I also have a wild hair to bring a workshop here.

There is an amazing assault of visual stimulation here, perfect for artists. What do you think? Care to join me here? I’ll put something together if there is enough interest.

Meanwhile, I’m grateful for you, who are reading this. I’m so glad you stopped by.

What are you grateful for lately?

p.s. You can experience the goodness of creative expression virtually, by being a part of my popular online workshop, Creative + Practice. Will you be there?

12 Responses to Grateful for…painting as we like (in foreign lands)

  1. Marci November 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I’ve been in Mexico City back in 2007 and wished that I had more time to visit. I did drive by Casa Azul and would have loved to stop in, but I was on business and had not time. I would love to come back and take a class.
    And as far as a session in the Pacific Northwest – I would love it. I’m just west of Portland, Oregon.

  2. santina kerslake November 22, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I am grateful for having found out about you Lisa years ago (now). I enjoyed this piece and really wish I could come to one of your retreats. In fact it would be heaven if a retreat could be arranged in the Pacific Northwest – Seattle? Vancouver BC or even here where I live, Victoria BC. I’d be glad to be your little helper!!! Blessings to you for Thanksgiving.

    • Lisa Sonora November 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      @Santina – thanks so much for your kind words. I love the Pacific Northwest and would love to return. Perhaps we could plan something for July in your neck of the woods… xo

      • santina kerslake November 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

        sounds like a really great idea! I look forward to hearing from you and how I can help.

  3. Max Daniels November 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Um, yes! BIG yes to interest in doing something in Mexico City. Big cities terrify me. Toronto leaves me trembling. I have wanted to see Mexico City for a long, long time – I would love to go with you.

    And do art there.

    And museums!

  4. emily cline November 21, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    oooohhhhhh!! Wishing I was there. I remember that little art shop — so many more colors available now! Sending love and hugs. xo

    • Lisa Sonora November 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      @Emily: Let me know if you ever want any mexican colors…I can bring next time I come to the US. xo Missed you at the retreat…but I look forward to seeing you at our next adventure, wherever that may be.

  5. GVDeb November 21, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    I am grateful for your generosity of your written and visual creativity. Gratefully inspired!

    • Lisa Sonora November 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      @GVDeb: Oh, you just made my day with YOUR generosity. Thank you!

  6. Kimberley November 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    I am grateful for glitter and friends who get glitzy.

    • Lisa Sonora November 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      @Kimberley: Yeah, sistah! My glittery, glitzy inspirational twin.


  1. 10 Ways to Boost Your Mood & Energy — Thanksgiving Holiday Edition | Lisa Sonora - November 26, 2015

    […] I write and keep sketchbooks on my journeys, I create while traveling. These two things have become part of my strategy for making a meaningful life, no longer just […]

Leave a Reply