Family Art Workshops in Costa Rica

Painting Workshop in San José

The experience of painting, like any other, can be a manifestation of joy, freedom and creativity, or a journey into the hell of insecurity, stress and pressure for continuous improvement. It will always be a choice.

One of the rules, perhaps the most striking of my workshops is that in principle, I ask not to imitate anything. Just paint, whatever comes out, however it comes out. It is not about painting “well”. It is about opening yourself to paint. To express yourself through colors and shapes. To give yourself the opportunity.

The painting workshop lasts between two hours but can be extended to three hours.

We start walking outside, in nature (weather permitting). We see details such as the play of shadows and lights, so magical when we talk about trees, wind and movements. We see textures, unusual formations. We look closely at the bark of the trees, and touch the softness of the petals: we witness the dry rigidity of what has died, and we contemplate, sometimes in absolute amazement, the contrast of something that is just being born.

And yes, of course, we see contrasts! We see colors, the differences, the similarities, what moves us, what makes us go into silence. We go around individually just looking at shapes, maybe even photographing the ones that call to us the most. We contemplate the macro, and how we perceive the world in 3D.

Observation is transcendent to understand that shapes are easier to imitate than we think and, on the other hand, it allows us to let our imagination run free in dimensions in which we do not move much.

In the second part, we return to the studio where, in principle, we review materials, and I give some technical directions:

  • Color mixtures to achieve shades
  • Brushes and their different uses
  • The use of rags, wet brush, dry brush, etc.
  • The direction of the shadows
  • Texture formation
  • Transcendent details


I usually work with primary colors, black and white.

We start painting on paper (if possible recyclable) and with acrylics.

This first part is more for testing, experimenting with brushes and their shapes, colors and their combinations, shapes, definitions, strokes. We test, and experiment.

It goes a little bit towards letting go of the expectations we had about the experience and facing our true feelings, which can often be uncomfortable and frustrating. And that’s exactly where the adventure begins!

When we realize that the image we have of ourselves painting and the experience of painting are not the same, we often dismiss ourselves as artists. We surrender to the “reality” that no, we are not as talented as we would have liked to think.

And yet! It turns out we do. We just have to give ourselves the gift of patience with ourselves.

We went on then. Already frustrated, already angry because it wasn’t so pretty.

That’s when I challenge you to let go of your expectations. To let go of what you imagined and let yourself be carried away by the brushes and the colors.

When we let go of the image we had of ourselves, we allow ourselves the luxury of freedom without compromise. You are what you are. You do what you do. You let yourself be carried away by the music, the conversation, the laughter, what you see, what you feel.

We move on to the canva

When you finally face the canva, that menacing white canvas that challenges you to turn it into something meaningful, you can answer it, painting over it, doing whatever you want. Saying every three seconds “What if …”  and challenging the colors to give you the result of the experiment. You discover the shape, the color, the texture; and in them you discover yourself.

We don’t pat ourselves on the back and tell each other we’ll do better next time. We just get our heads down on the canvas. It doesn’t matter if we don’t get it right. It’s about doing it, experiencing yourself as an artist and seeing what happens!

In my experience, when you let go of what you “should” and do what you “want” on the canvas, interesting things come out from underneath, you are surprised by yourself, by what you didn’t know. And it is that art often guides you to see a little bit beyond the image and to find yourself, how you see yourself and how you express yourself.

If you want to experience it, send me a message to +506-88615261 or to o.arteypaz@gmail.com.