Category Archives for San Miguel de Allende

Happy Faces after Portrait Clinic

Common issues discussed at our Portraiture Clinic:

  • Cutting off the back of the head of the drawing
  • Making the eyes appear level
  • ANYTHING when the face is at a tilt or angle
  • How to capture a likeness

Student work at our mid-class break


Our stoic model and his very challenging (to draw) beard


Capturing a likeness of both the model and the other artists in class!


End of class group critique

And what did we learn?

  • The importance of negative space around the eyebrow/eye area
  • Just keep adding more to the back of the head until it looks funny, then scale back
  • Finding the proportions of the face (even with a beard!)
  • Tips for the 3 quarter view face tilt

We all went home with big smiles from putting theory into good practice, and with a pile high of resources to keep drawing from.

The next Portraiture Clinic is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 20th, 2-5pm.
email if you’re interested!

Experimenting on Art Student’s Brains

I got a great question awhile back from an art student-to-be.

“Hi Jessica, can you tell me the difference between the obvious two hour and three hour classes?

The short answer to her question? I was using you guys as guinea pigs to see how I can transform your BRAINS.

Here’s what I really replied…

I am experimenting a bit with the formats, but I designed this 3/hour a day experience based on some of the latest science on deep focus and re-wiring your brain.
The 3 hour block is about as long as you can optimally focus, with no distractions, for some SERIOUS brain re-wiring. I am excited to test out the theories I have been reading out in the book Deep Work by Cal Newport by putting them into action in this class. So, that’s the main difference!
The 2 hour class will not hit the full un-distracted 3 hour block as today’s class, but I will assign homework for each day during that week, so the focus would be a bit more divided. But the same material will be covered, and as always I customize the drawing subjects and mediums to each unique art student.”

I’ve been really influence by the book Deep Work, and another super-cool non-fiction book, Mastery, both of which have some exciting implications for how people can learn more deeply and more quickly.

Maybe I’m outing myself as a millennial by my amazement at what our brains seem to be capable of without the distractions built into our social-media mania lifestyles.Concentrating and focusing without distractions for 3-4 hour blocks can apparently super-charge your cognitive abilities to improve skills (like drawing!) and I wanted to try it out on my students 😉

By using this method, I hypothesized we’d be able to advance more in 2 weeks of 3 hour time chunks than in a longer session of only 2 hour classes.

The RESULTS are in. 

It’s been a month since my experiment began, and by now I’ve been able to compare student’s growth between 2 and 3 hour class sessions.

Guess which one works best?

3 hours of deep work, just as Cal Newport discusses in his book, have made a noticeable difference in student’s ability to make significant progress in just one week.

Check out some of their work!

BEFORE: Self-portrait by student day 1 of 3 hour class

AFTER 2 weeks of 3 hour classes, student self-portrait


Subtractive Drawing: “drawing” with an eraser

Although we accomplished a lot in the 2 hour class sessions, it often felt like we were leaving just as we were really getting into the groove.

Color mixing with watercolors

Check out the videos and links above to learn more about mastering skills and working deeply! It’s so useful for all kinds of creativity.

And if you’d like to try out a 3 hour session yourself, sign up for 10 Steps to Drawing class this December or January.  No classes Feb. 2018, but stay tuned for the spring schedule coming out before the new year.

Portraiture Clinic-Fix your Faces!

Have you been having trouble making people’s eyes “look right” when you’re drawing a person who’s not looking RIGHT at you? How about just getting the facial features where they’re supposed to be in the first place? Or how to make a flat, cartoony-looking face come to life?

Bring in your portrait-drawing problems to Studio Antonelli’s Portraiture Clinic this Saturday to cure what ails your portraits!

We will cover common problems to drawing realistic faces:
-Proportions of the Facial Features
-How to draw eyes at 3 quarter angle
-How to draw profile portraits
-Adding realistic shading and light to portraits
-Extreme angles of the face (as requested)

But mostly we will be working with exactly what YOU need help with!
Please bring in any faces you have drawn that you are not satisfied with. We will pin-point problem techniques and give you step-by-step demos on how to fix them. Lots of hand-outs and reference materials will be sent home to keep your portraiture practice improving over time. Bring your sketchbook and preferred drawing materials. Materials can also be provided on request for those who don’t have materials with them in SMA. Cost: $500 pesos or $30 USD

Email to RSVP or for more info

Why Oil Painting is So Hard

“I’m just a little terrified”

“To me it’s scary even to think about…”

No, we’re not talking world politics, death or taxes.

We’re talking ART.

Oil painting, to be exact.

The quotes above are from students, some accomplished drawers, others complete newbies to 2D creativity, talking about getting started with oil painting.

I am always surprised at how emotionally invested we can get…but then again, I’ve been in love with oil paint since I was a high school freshman, learning about the Renaissance and getting my first whiff of oil paint in art class. It smells like history, and classical artistic tradition. (C’mon, with a last name like Antonelli how can I NOT be in love with the Renaissance?)


So why is this lovely medium so scary?

Precisely because it’s so wonderful, with such a rich history behind it. As Ira Glass describes in his famous quote on creativity, the gap between what we create and what our (totally killer) taste recognizes as good art is wiiiiiide when we first begin painting.

Getting starting is FRUSTRATING.

That’s because unlike drawing, there is a LOT to know about your medium.

  • What angle to hold the brush
  • How to properly mix colors
  • What mediums to use, and for what purpose
  • Different techniques of applying paint (like, what’s a glaze vs. impasto?)
  • Different techniques of beginning a painting (To start with a drawing or no?)
  • The fat over lean rule
  • How to ensure your painting lasts and doesn’t crack over time
  • Color mixing recipes
  • What paints to buy for your purposes
  • How to blend

That is a LOT to know!

So if you’d like to overcome your apprehensions about starting out with oil, I suggest you try my motto:

“Action cures fear.”

Get into action by becoming curious about all the questions you don’t know yet about oil painting, and discover the solutions in a beginning oil painting class.

You can just jump in on your own, if you’ve got the materials and access to Youtube. But self-teaching yourself something like oil painting is more of a psychological battle than anything else. Without personal guidance, it can be tricky to tell if you’re on the right track.

If you’re in San Miguel de Allende, I’d love to guide you through the basics in my Basic Oil Painting Class, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 7th until Thursday Nov. 16th. 10am-1pm.

We’ll cover all the foundational practice you need to know so that you can begin oil painting with confidence.

And after the basics class, I’ll have an Oil Painting Studio class which will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5, Nov. 21st-Dec 14th. For those who have the basics down, we’ll be diving into improving our skills and finishing a painting or two in a supportive group setting.

So if you think you are ready to expand your artistic repertoire, email to sign up for classes. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions!


“Flower Girls” come to San Miguel

Samantha Wiley comes from a long line of Texan artists. She will join us here in San Miguel de Allende for an exhibit of her recent work, “Flower Girls,” oil paintings of southern belles from Galveston, Texas.
Samantha’s portraits have a luminous, elegant quality that brighten a room. The “Flower Girls” bring a fresh feeling of innocence and the feminine spirit to mind. The bright flashes of flower petals in the sun-spangled hair of the “Flower Girls” feel right at home in SMA, even if Ms. Wiley’s ladies are imported from coastal territories.
The “Flower Girls” will be on show at Studio Antonelli on Thursday, June 29th. Be sure to mark your calendar now for a lovely evening with floral touches and musical entertainment throughout the evening.

Would you like to be able to paint like that?

Nab your chance now while Samantha is in town! A graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting, Samantha has honed her craft studying under contemporary masters and will be sharing her wealth of oil-painting knowledge during a weekend workshop.
June 24th & 25th, Samantha will demonstrate her painting techniques and take you step by step through painting a portrait from a live model.
Email if you are interested in joining this short but powerful workshop on capturing light and likeness in your oil portraits. 


Kid’s Art Day Camp Summer 2017

Click here to download our Studio A Art Camp Brochure (o info en espanol-> Espanol Art Camp Brochure)

BIG News: Camp extended until July 28th…

Camp Overview:

Click here to check out our activities on Facebook

For kids ages 5-12
 Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm
 Dates: June 12-July28
​Studio A’s day camp for kids is more than just art. Spanish classes, field trips, jewelry making, dance, community service, cool science projects, and more will fill our days, and tasty healthy meals ​will fill our tummies.

Fun will include but is not limited to:
-Create your own comic books
-Learn what secret ingredients you need to make your own slime
-Create a paper-mache volcano, then make it explode!
-Games, painting & sculpture building
-Visit the park, Plaza Civica, and the Botanical Gardens

Sign up now and reserve your child’s spot with a deposit. Each week is limited to 20 students max.

Price: $350/week per child (*ask about sibling & local discounts for SMA residents) 


Reserve your campers spot


Your trash is our treasure! If you have old magazines, empty toilet paper rolls or other fun things we would re-use for camp, please drop them off for us to use to create with the kiddos! The importance of recycling, our planet, and coming together as a community are a big part of our camp.
June 1st
swing by between 10:30-4:00pm at #18 San Francisco
phone 415-109-8670

About Us:

Camp director Jessica Antonelli ran the successful “Growing Place Summer Camp” in Galveston, TX, and is a certified K-12 art teacher. Our staff includes wonderful bilingual counselors from here in San Miguel.

Past Summer Camp:

Click here to view the brochure from our past day program, The Growing Place Summer Camp  in Galveston, Texas.

And a few pictures from our fun with the kids!

Portraits: Drawing a Likeness Workshop

There’s something about drawing the portrait that artists just can’t stay away from. There’s the mystery of getting to know the face as it appears on your page, and the feeling of striking gold when the face you created actually looks like your model.

What you’ll learn:

How do we take our basic understanding of the proportions of the face and adjust them according to the face in front of us?

How can we add depth, shadows, and realistic textures, without losing the accuracy of our drawings?

What techniques and strategies can we use? What did the old masters do to “cheat” realism?


How the heck do you draw hair?

Who is this class for? 

Beginning, intermediate, and advanced drawers and sketchers.

What materials will we work with? 

We will focus on drawing with graphite pencil and charcoals, and pen and ink.

Watercolors and/or colored pencils are also welcome.

How much does it cost?

$500 pesos or $25 USD.

RSVP by paying now with Paypal below, or contact to save your spot and pay in cash or check in person.

Portraits Drawing Workshop

James Richards “Sketching the Energy of Places” Workshop


We were so pleased to have renowned urban sketcher James Richards teach his workshop “Sketching the Energy of Places” at Studio Antonelli.

Check out his blog here and see his photos of the trip, and some great sketches! He also offers a wonderful online sketching course and teaches workshops all over the world. Highly recommended!


“Postcards from San Miguel” Art Opening * Make-your-own-Postcard Party

“Postcards from San Miguel” 3-7:00pm Wednesday, March 15th

We’ve had the pleasure of having artist Shannon Troxler teaching Plein-Aire and Life Drawing classes this past few weeks at Studio Antonelli.

 She’ll  be exhibiting thirty small paintings at the gallery, a collection of oils, sketches and watercolors that capture the everyday moods of San Miguel. The paintings are small and informal, small enough to tuck into your suitcase and take home, just like a postcard.

Join us for the opening, 3-7pm Wednesday the 16th, and have fun making your own postcards in watercolor.

We will provide watercolor-paper postcards and all other materials. Shannon will work on a small painting of the lovely view of San Fransisco Church. Come by and enjoy the fun!

More on Shannon:

Shannon lives in Jackson hole Wyoming where she has been a professional artist for over twenty five years. Troxler started visiting San Miguel eight years ago in search of brilliant light and saturated color. Shannon enjoys painting the intimate corners of San Miguel. Her paintings are full of bustling cafes and restaurants, arches and fountains, church facades and rooftop views. She paints from life, and can be found in out of the way corners of cafes or perched on doorsteps, sketchbook and paints in hand. Her style is impressionistic and she loves loose, painterly brushstrokes  that evoke the fleeting passage of time and capture a particular moment.

Check out her work at



Goddess Art Opening

Artist Jessica Antonelli tells the story of her inspiration to paint the goddesses of the Tantric Hindu tradition.

Thursday, February 16th, 4-8pm
#18 San Fransisco, Upstairs
Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Join artists Jessica Antonelli and Emily K. Grieves for a showing of “Sacred Woman Revealed,” paintings of the Feminine Divine in the Studio Antonelli Gallery.

Hart Studios will feature a collection of beautiful jewels fit for a goddess. Fiber arts and Fashion by Billielee Mommer.

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