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Portrait & Figure Painting Workshop


6 weeks of the smell of oil paint in the studio, the live model falling asleep in their pose, and talking art with your fellow painters… heaven is spelled ‘Painting Workshop!’ and we’ll be focusing on the figure beginning in August, in San Miguel de Allende.

6 student limit

10am-2pm Tuesdays and Thursdays
at the Studio Space, Subida al Caracol #11
San Miguel de Allende, MX

This classic, academic style oil painting workshop will go in-depth into painting theory and techniques, including:

  • traditions of Italian Renaissance painters such as underpainting and glazing
  • short color study experiments to prepare for a final piece
  • anatomy studies
  • painting from the live model, costumed and nude
  • a study of the palettes of well known figure painters, such as the Zorn palette
  • recipes for mixing flesh tones

Whether you are a complete newbie to painting or a practiced painter, Jessica’s workshop brings energy and insight to your artwork. Each week you will complete 1 painting and several preparatory drawings and/or color study paintings. Moderate drawing ability required.

The workshop begins August 2 2016- September 8th, Tues/Thurs 10am-2pm.

MOST materials are included*, as well as model fees.  

6 Weeks: $650 USD or 12,000pesos

Pay by the Week: $125 USD or 2,300 pesos

*Materials included in the painting workshop are oil paint, brushes, wooden panel boards, practice canvas pads, towels, easels, and various accessories.
Your are advised to bring your own apron, any special sized canvas or stretched canvas for your own custom projects (optional), and a medium bottle of odor-free solvent.

Contact with any questions or to sign up. 

Or snag your spot now and pay with Paypal:

Length of session

A drawing a day…Video

January 1st, 2016, I began a personal challenge to do a Drawing a Day for 1 year.

Even if it was bubble-letter doodles or a 30 second speed drawing of my hand, I committed myself to switching that right-brained trigger once a day for the full 366 days of this leap year.

The results have been so swell that I wanted to take a moment to encourage you to begin your own drawing practice.

Even if you don’t jump right into a daily practice now, a quick low-pressure drawing can be relaxing and pave the way for major improvement down the road.

The photos in the video are form my instagram account, where you can follow me to keep track of how the daily drawing challenge is going. Follow me @jescantonelli

And if you really want some motivation, check out my online course 10 Steps to Drawing Anything. This whole crazy idea came from one of the 10 steps: #5 Every Day, Draw! If you happen to be in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, you can even take the class in person.

Now Go Draw!

I’d love to see your drawings! I’ll personally respond to each one, post your pic on the Studio Antonelli Facebook Page by clicking here.

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!

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.

Day Two: 10 Paintings in 10 Days

It’s day two, and we’re already facing the conundrum I expected when this challenge began…how will I ever show off my daily paintings when I tend to paint mostly 8-12midnight?

So, here is a little teaser of the painting I will complete this evening, and the process that I’ve gone through in creating this lady in red:

20150822_224933 20150822_230441 palette knife red over grey laying in red portrait in process lady in red

I love seeing how the portrait evolves, from a mess to something with a life of its own.

So what’s next for this lady in red?
I decided I want her red, red, red, but I’m not sure how this will manifest itself on the canvas. I love the simple lines of her blue underpainting, and since the reference photos are so blurred–they’re from 1936 after all–it forces me to keep it simple.

I am taking major inspiration from one of my all-time favorites, illustrator Camila do Rosario. Check out her work below:

Camila do Rosario

Camila do Rosario


I am OBSESSED with the gorgeous simplicity in her portraiture, and how softly she illustrates the texture of hair…in much of her work, it really feels alive. Not to mention the sexy, spicy color palette and the patterns and rhythm in the costumes of her ladies. The black and white figures make the colors in the accessories really pop.

Ok, stay tuned to see how I merge the lady in red with my muse Camila, I’ll have the final portrait up by midnight!

UPDATE 12:05

Well, the internet here is on Mexican time, but here she is!

lady in red


I have to say I am loving the time crunch! I put a 30, 10, or 5 minute timer on and try get one glaze of paint done in that time. It’s necessary considering how easy it is to lose track of time painting!

I think I’m going to turn up the contrast a big and elaborate on the details…I’ll keep you posted 😉


Oil Painting Process

This excellent video by Youtube expert MrPicment is an entrancing example of building up a composition using a very dark, textured background, and then adding lighter tones to create the final portrait.

The process of adding layers of color is one of my favorite things about oil color. In acrylic painting, by contrast, you most often directly lay down exactly the color that will be seen in the final painting from the get-go. What you see is what you get. In oil painting, the artist is uncovering a mystery, one glaze at a time. This video example in particular reminds me of lifting one veil after another until we finally meet the woman underneath.

Oil Painting 101

I am forever indebted to world-renowned photographer George Krause for the incredible show he has brought to Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende: The Sfumato Nudes of San Miguel. Not only are these beautiful nudes a well-done expression of the vulnerability, charm and strength that exists among all ages and shapes, but is is also an INCREDIBLE opportunity to sketch and paint the nude form!

I have taken every extra minute I have had the last week to camp out with my art materials in the show. I’d like to take the opportunity of this excellent show to go step-by-step through the same process we go through in oil painting classes.

Step 1: Highlights
Begin on a tinted canvas. It does not matter particularly what shade the canvas is painted, only that it is not excessively light or dark. We aim for a mid-tone, so that the highlights (the bright whites and lighter tones) and lowlights (your dark darks) will pop out strongly from the mid tone that you begin with. This helps paintings move along quickly. Also, working with a mid-tone influences the subsequent colors layered above them. A warm red such as I have begun with below, will lend it’s warmth to the final painting, even if we cover every centimeter of red with paint.

George Kruass

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Location change and Update for Sketching SMA Classes

Dear Artists,

There will be a location change for Day 1 and 2 for Sketching San Miguel, Monday Jan. 26th and 27th.

We will NOT meet at Cafe Rama on Monday, the 26th. The first class will begin at Via Organica, same time, 1pm-3pm. 

On Tuesday, the 27th, we will meet at Cafe Rama–just a little switcheroo.

We apologize for the inconvenience!

Monday, Jan 26th, 1:00-3:00pm-Meet at Via Organica, Margarito Ledesma Street # 2, (one block from the Calzada de la Aurora), Colonia Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
Via Organica Website

Tuesday, Jan 27th, 1:00-3:00pm– Meet at Cafe Rama, Calle Nueva 7, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
Cafe Rama Website

Wednesday, Jan. 28th, 1:00-3:00pm– Meet at the Gazebo in the center of the Jardin, the main square of San Miguel where the gorgeous Parroquia is located.


Classes for Sketching San Miguel, Mon-Wed, are now closed. Classes are 10 students or under in order for each student to get personal attention from the teacher.

Due to popular demand, classes will be offered Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week, from the 29th to the 31st.

We will be exploring even more of this beautiful city. Siqueiros Mural

Thursday, Jan. 29th, 1:00-3:00pm– Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 20, meet at the fountain in the center courtyard. Class focus: Learning from the Maestros. In partnership with B’nai Or Gallery, we will study in the tradition of renaissance masters: by copying the great works of local artists in San Miguel. We will choose one or two paintings to study in depth, and may also find time to sketch the Parroquia from the back patio, which offers one of the best views in town.

Friday, Jan. 30th, 1:00-3:00pm– Bellas Artes, Hernández Macías 75, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, GTO. Meet at the fountain in the inner courtyard. We will begin with warm up drawing drills, review linear perspective, then break into small groups to sketch the lovely architecture of the building, which includes a stunning mural from Mexican mural master Siqueiros.

Saturday, Jan 31st, 1:00-3:00pm– Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 20, Arts and Crafts Fair. Each student will be given $50 pesos to buy one item which we will use to do a group still life. Class will meet outside of the Instituto, and after we shop for our objects we will sketch on the back patio. Brave souls who care to try to sketch amidst the bustle of the fair will be welcome to sketch in the vendor area as well, where the layers of booths stacks and bursting with goods would make an excellent composition.

Classes are $600 pesos for 3 days, or $250 pesos for drop-ins. Please sign up here

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