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New Class in San Miguel


Well that went fast–my drawing and painting workshops in San Miguel are full to the brim!

Since so many of you adventurous artists out there are still clamoring to draw,  I will be offering an overflow class, Sketching San Miguel. 

This class will be held Thursday afternoons, from 1-2:30pm, at various locations around Centro. We will sketch in some of the great coffeeshops, rooftops, parks, and hidden nooks  and gardens around San Miguel. The theme of travel sketching will help us learn to capture a moment in time in our sketchbooks, both improving drawing skills and creating a series of drawings that have the power to bring us right back into the moment of the sketch.

The class will be $200 pesos per day, or $50 USD if paid up-front (before Jan 28th!) through paypal.
I will be limiting the group to 10 students max for the ideal student experience, with lots of feedback from yours truly.
To sign up please email me at
Drawing on Location

Drawing on Location, Sketching SMA 2015


Parque Juarez Sketching SMA Class

Big Thoughts in Little Paintings

Now that Christmas is over I can unveil to you the little paintings I made for friends and family this year. I so enjoyed the process of making fun, simple little paintings whose sole purpose was to put a smile on the faces of my favorite people.

Be the Good in the World

Enjoy the Little Things

Everything you can Imagine is Real

Here Comes the Sun

Hooray It's Today

Magic is Sonething you Make

Stars can't shine without darkness

We are All Connected

Why the Hell Not

Zen as Fuck

I highly recommend making your own teeny fun watercolors with your favorite quotes. Here, I used Reeves watercolor paper and a travel watercolor set, then used white acrylic paint and sharpie for the lettering. I tried a white paint pen, but the watercolor paper sucked the color right up.

Send me a picture if you try this yourself! Happy holidays and a very happy New Year to all!

Quiz: To Paint or to Draw?

Are you feeling the urge to create, but don’t know how? Studio Antonelli is offering a drawing workshop and an oil painting workshop for 10 weeks this coming July 4th through September 9th. Compare the descriptions of the drawing class in pink and the painting class in purple to see which medium best suits you.
Choose the description in pink or purple that best fits you or what you are interested in learning.
Inline image 1
If you chose mostly Drawing (pink)
Have you noticed that you have been doodling on the side of the important notes you were supposed to be taking lately? You have got line and design on the mind and you are ready for a workshop experience where you can fast-forward your drawing skills to a new level.
-You are a beginner or intermediate drawing
-You are interested in getting really really good at making the thing you are looking at come out accurately in the drawing
-You haven’t taken many (or any) classes but you’ve always enjoyed drawing on your own
-You want to know how to hold your pencil for best effect, or how to use different media like charcoal and inks
-People always tell you you’re a good artist (even if you don’t believe them)
-You want to be able to capture the beauty (or the rough sides) of life in SMA
-You want to be able to draw what you see…and have it actually look like the darn thing
There are loads of great teachers all over San Miguel, but people say Jessica’s classes are really great.
If you chose mostly Oil Painting (purple)
Colors, colors everywhere and not a drop of paint. You feel good about your drawings (most of the time anyway!) but pen and pencil isn’t cutting it anymore–you want gobs of color to express in color the world around you. Although the detail of drawing is great, you’re ready to learn about big-picture skills like composition and color theory. 
-You have taken art classes before
-You may have worked in acrylic or oil before
-You know that there are different techniques to use with oils but haven’t tried more than one
-You are looking for feedback and workshopping of your work from peers and teacher guidance 
No matter what creative pursuit you are interested in, studies have shown mental health benefits of drawing and painting, including that they help dealing with chronic pain, and improving brain plasticity.

New San Miguel location for winter classes

front-courtyard La Mansion

A warm terra cotta courtyard draped with San Miguel’s signature mix of bougainvillea and cacti will be the setting for the next workshop series at La Mansion del Bosque.

You might know La Mansion from their hearty and delicious breakfasts, served 8-10am. Or perhaps you have smelled the heady scent of coffee while you strolled by their front door, since the charming BnB is just across the street from the much celebrated Parque Juarez in the center of town.

This winter, La Mansion will be hosting our oil painting and drawing workshops, starting Monday, January 18th, until February 24th.

The workshops run for a full 6 weeks, although you are welcome to customize your schedule if you are only able to attend one or more weeks. Practice is its own reward, however, a discount is available for students who choose to sign-up for the full 6 weeks. 

The 2 workshops on offer will be taught by yours truly, Jessica Antonelli.

10 Steps to Drawing Anything is a popular class which debuted in San Miguel last year. This class will meet you where you are at any level, however my specialty is bringing confidence and greater accuracy in drawing what you see to students who *think* they can’t draw. We will work both indoors and in the courtyard, with occasional field trips (walking) to sketch from life in the park. This class is kept to a cozy 8 students maximum, which means lots of personal attention from the teacher and a super fun studio vibe to draw in.
1:00pm-2:30pm, Monday Tuesday Wednesday, $600 pesos per week, or SAVE by signing up for all 6 weeks ($450pesos/week, aprox. $87US)  

Oil Painting Foundations is a class for beginning to intermediate oil painters. We will paint outdoors in the courtyard, which offers shaded areas and coffee nearby. Over the course of the 6 weeks we will cover materials and mediums, basic color theory and mixing, using glazes, all-prima (or ‘all at once’ technique), creating depth and emphasis, and composition basics. Subjects will be inspired from our San Miguel surroundings, although you are also welcome to bring in photos to paint from.
3:00pm-5:30pm, Monday Tuesday Wednesday, $750 pesos per week, or SAVE by signing up for all 6 weeks (save $1,000pesos/ aprox. $60US) 

For more information see the Take a Class with Me page, or sign up on the Contact page.

The School of Life: The Renaissance

If you don’t already know the School of Life, enjoy! This video inspires us to think of how a little vision can go a looong way…

Notes from this video:

The Renaissance was the artistic style that won my heart from an early age. I have to say it has inspired most out of the all the art that passes through my paintbrush…I was obsessed with the Renaissance and Medici family when I studied abroad, and if you can get your hands on a good Medici history book next time you visit Florence, your trip will be that much the richer.

The Medici vision was for beauty, truth, and wisdom. Can you ask for anything more? I swoon thinking of how it must have been for artists like Michelangelo living in the high Renaissance time in Florence. To me, this video really cracks open how much is possible when you hold to integrity to these values and put art on the forefront. I can get rrreal worked up on the modern school system, and how much we lose when we invest time in ONLY math and science, without valuing the liberal arts viewpoint. A definitive Renaissance Man is good at everything! A merger of arts and sciences leads to the most beautifully engineered cities in the world.

What would you like about living in the Renaissance? Would our cities look any different if we still worked this way? Comment below!

The Story Behind the Painting

I am thrilled to be a featured artist in San Miguel de Allende’s Lokkal online magazine,

Click here to read the story from the Lokkal website and to check out the other fabulous artists who share the stories about their work, or enjoy the story behind the painting “Antonia in the Jardin” below.

Antonia in the Jardin

I was walking through the jardin, gazing up in admiration at the Parroquia, when I looked down and the image in this painting stopped me in my tracks. There, on the stones before my feet was a perfect lace-circlet of shadows cast by the freshly sculpted trees. I snapped photos, promising to find the right painting to showcase this San Miguel secret.

At the time I was working on my Ladies of the Night exhibition, inspired by the history of San Miguel de Allende’s Casa de la Noche BnB. It was once a high-class establishment until public houses of prositution were made illegal in 1961.

I found Antonia’s picture among the aged photographs of the girls, class of 1936, which hang in the entranceway to Casa de la Noche. The photos were taken from the girls’ health certifications, which licensed them to work. Although she looked almost flirtatious in her photograph, my initial painting of her came out steaming, oversaturated with red…she looked angry.

I paint with a series of layers to build up depth of color and it was time for the next glaze to change the tone. Still, I felt she needed something deeper than a glaze of naples yellow.

Looking into the eyes I was painting, I sensed her energy coming across the canvas in waves of enmity. Touching fingertips to the canvas, I sensed the same fury that would be seen in the eyes of a jaguar in a zoo. She had also been caged, trapped her situation. Intuition told me that this woman had yearned for nature, that she resented cities and their trappings for failing her, for letting her fall through the cracks to end up where she was.

I love to create stories through my portraiture through collaging images that speak to the life of the subject. I chose to place Antonia’s image over the hills of the high desert visible from Umaran street, a bar dotted street she would have been sure to walk down on her way through the jardin.

Perhaps my story of Antonia is simply a conglomeration of my own feelings after researching the lives of women like her world over. But whether it was a whisper from the painting itself or inspiration from within, I knew that the laced leaves from the Parroquia’s trees were for her, like an olive branch offered in peace.

Much thanks to Lokkal Magazine for the invitation. This piece is the completed version of one of my 10 paintings in 10 days challenge, and was featured in the Ladies of the Night art opening in September 2015 in San Miguel de Allende.

Ciao from Italia!

I’m SO thrilled to be coming to you today from gorgeous Florence, Italy.

It’s been a whirlwind in Studio Antonelli. I have been in in a new city every week since the opening of our group show September 12th, The Ladies of the Night. We’re hard at work on a new gallery page to showcase the work from that very successful show–thanks to all who attended or bought a piece!

But back to Florence. I’m struck at how small this city is; the ratio of historical gems of the Renaissance to square footage of city is mind-boggling. If you haven’t been to Florence, put it on your list! But first be sure to stay tuned for my upcoming (online!) art class: 10 Steps to Drawing Italy.

10 Steps to Drawing Italy takes my popular “10 Steps to Drawing Anything” class all the way to that beautiful, boot-shaped country that is known all over the world for high culture, to-die-for food, and the movement that changed art as the Western world knows it, the Renaissance.

Much more to come! But for now, join me as I stroll through Piazza Santa Croce, in front of the church where the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo were buried, reminiscing on what it’s like to revisit a place I once spent hours sketching as a lil’ study abroad student in college.

Day Ten: 10 Paintings in 10 Days


Though it is still in progress, I present to you my final painting of this challenge.

Thank you, yes you, for following along with me. Your views and comments and likes and shares lit a fire under my butt to keep on painting. I learned about myself and the practice of painting, painted some of the best paintings I’ve done, and I couldn’t have done it without you.

This painting is another from the Storyville prostitutes, whose lives across the border mirrored the lives of their Mexican counterparts.  The women would all dance in the hall, turn a trick, and more often than not sit and play cards when business was slow.

Although this is a New Orleans sourced photo, I’ll be using the designs from traditional Mexican handicrafts for the pillows, and work in photo references from our Casa de la Noche show for the girls.

Now it’s time to finish off these paintings and get them ready for the show!

September 12th, 5-8 at the Bordello Galeria in Casa de la Noche, #19 Organos, San Miguel de Allende.




Day Nine: 10 Paintings in 10 Days


I have figured out what was flummoxing me in my initial paintings of these ladies of the night–texture. The gorgeous and CHEAP handmade canvas, with it’s almost 3 inch deep frame and pre-toned primer applies, has a very different texture than the usual plastic-wrapped sort I’d get at El Pato or art supply stores in the states.

The toothy, richly toned canvas is ideal for a dry brush technique, where just a tad bit of paint is scrumbled, painting in a circular motion. I originally discovered this on day 5 of the challenge, but I added too much paint and lost the lovely, delicate quality of soft-toned skin that I had fallen for just a few brush strokes ago…

That’s why Day 6 of the 10 paintings in 10 days challenge produced one of my favorite works of late-I applied what I learned in day 5.

I used the same approach for today’s painting.



The internet here in San Miguel seems to be taking a siesta…or more likely tipsy on tequila, since it’s past midnight as I clock in day 9, so I can only load this one photo of the process.

This dama  had a challenging, and yet resigned look in her photo. I was inspired to put the stamp of the San Miguel health inspection stamp on her card behind her head like an off-kilter halo. She immediately became Maria for me, a fallen angel, a very different manifestation of virgin mother…or perhaps more Mary Magdalene? Her breast is bared to offer sustenance, like each Mary did in her own way, and as all women offer themselves in one way or another to create life in this world.

I’m going to cut myself a break and add all the gold I want on this one. The Klimt influence gets to flirt with italian renaissance representations of the divine feminine. Loving that learning from my mistakes this past ten days, and learning how to use my materials, has led to the creation of this Maria.

Day 8: 10 Paintings in 10 Days

10 Paintings in 10 days? What was I thinking?

I have to admit, I jumped into this challenge without really knowing what I was getting myself into. I had adopted a looser, faster style recently, and felt confident that I could at least make a really strong start on all the pieces for the show coming up in TWO WEEKS.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

One thing I love about this challenge is that it is keeping me painting in the studio, as non-stop as I can manage between teaching and celebrating life, like you do in Mexico (it’s a requirement here, like sitting in traffic in the states).

I think of painting like working out, you go to the gym and it hurts every time and you sweat every time…but each time you get back in there, you’re able to lift heavier and heavier weights.

But I gotta admit that painting is HARRRD.

I tell my students that, if they’re lucky, they will like 1 out of every 50 pieces of their work. Most often, we see what we want to fix, or what needs work, not the nice painting others see.

For day 8’s painting I revised a canvas I had all but cast aside

I went back to the studio, and knowing that I HAD to paint something tonight, I revised a painting that is very special to me that I had set aside months ago in frustration.

This painting is a gift to the wonderful host family I lived with my first 10 months in San Miguel, a portrait of their 3 fantastic kids.

Breaking my own rules of painting

Unfortunately, when I began the painting, I was out of practice drawing and broke all of the rules I use now. In fact, I learned my rules from my mistakes with this painting: now, I draw the subject at least 2 or three times before painting–the more I draw studies, the better the final painting.


Rule 1: Do practice drawings first! Or else…


I began this painting a year ago, no drawing studies, little practice. But I did them! Although I wasn’t satisfied with the original lay-in, the drawing in paint that sets the stage for the final piece, I continued on. So today, I had to work on reframing the faces and fixing some basic drawing issues I had in the beginning. Next, I need to add color so they don’t look like vampires and do the background.


this might be ok if the painting looked like the girl on the right. but it doesn’t…

I may still have a few more visits to the art-gym before I finish this painting, but I’m grateful this challenge has pushed me to keep working on it!


getting closer