December 5, 2016
Some of you have called or written to ask about easels. Well, there's a bunch of good options to choose from. I'm attaching a list I put together for you. I'm sure there are others out there but I didn't want to inundated you with stuff. Check out each one (if you don't already have one) and look at weight, cost and convenience. Keep in mind that you'll also need a brush washer:
2) Karen will put together a materials list for you that will go into greater detail. Keep in mind that at the end of your painting day you have 24/7 access to our painting studio where you can leave your wet paintings and easels and anything else you don't want in your room.
3) There are always people worried about the problems of flying with paints. In 23 years of organizing painting workshops around the world only twice did someone have their paints taken away. Once a woman decided to yell and scream at the TSA people. They sent her home but she was able to come back the next day and go on her trip. Moral of the story? Don't scream at anyone! I also wrote a bit about flying with paints (hereinafter called 'artists colors'. http://www.1worldarttravel.com/flying-with-paints1.html
January 3, 2017
I'm sending this e-mail to those of you already registered for Karen O'Neil's exciting San Miguel de Allende painting workshop and those still considering joining us.
The workshop is officially a 'go' so that means it's time to arrange getting there. The workshop dates are March 6 - 14 so those will be your travel days unless you would like to come early or stay later. You will need to let me know ASAP about your plans to arrive early to make sure your room will be available.
There are several options for you:
1) Fly into Dallas or Houston and then take a connecting flight to either Queretaro or Leon. When doing your search for flights use these airport codes: BJX- Leon and QRO-Queretaro.
2) Fly into Mexico City where you can likely find non-stop flights and take the van ride to San Miguel.
Whether you fly into Queretaro, Leon or Mexico City I will arrange van pick-up for you. The League is covering the cost of van pick-up for Queretaro and Leon but not for Mexico City.
Plan your arrival as early on the 6th that you can. It's just so much more comfortable to a get there early, unpack and take some time to explore the town. Following are some flight options I found today. If you search you might find some additional choices.
1) To Queretaro there are flights from LaGuardia on United leaving around 7:30 AM that have you change planes in Houston with about a 1 hour layover. There is a flight on American from Newark leaving 6:20 AM with a change of planes in Dallas and a 1 hour and 14 minute layover. The United flight gets you into Queretaro at 1:40 PM and the American flight gets you in about 1:19 PM.
2) To Leon there is also a flight on American from Newark leaving 6:20 AM with a change of planes in Dallas and a 1 hour and 14 minute layover. Also a flight on United leaving LaGuardia 7:16 AM going through Houston with a one hour and 22 minute layover. You will see that the flights to Leon are less expensive as of today.
3) To Mexico City from Newark or JFK there are a number of non-stop flights . These are the least expensive flights. However you will have to pay for the van pick-up for the 3 1/2 hour ride to San Miguel. If several of you choose this option you will save money because you will share the cost of the ride. The cost could be around $100 per van. I'll have to confirm that.
If you have any questions about any of the flights please ask me before you book them. I want to make sure you've got it right.
January 5, 2017
A gentle reminder: I mentioned that you should try to plan your travel so that you arrive as early as possible. The reason I gave is that it will afford you time to settle in and explore the town. There are other reasons:
1) I would like to make a group reservation for dinner the evening of the 6th - probably around 7 - 7:30 PM. If you get in later you will miss that. However there will be people at the reception desk if you do come in late so you will be taken care of. They will be able to direct you to a nearby restaurant.
2) The van ride to San Miguel from any of the airports mentioned is so much more pleasurable before it gets dark outside. Sunrise in March will be 7 AM and sunset 7 PM.
I understand that sometimes it just might not be possible to get in as early as you'd like, but please let me know what flight plans you're working on before you book them. I've been bringing groups of artists to San Miguel for 13 years and know that the first day is the most important day. I want it to go as smoothly as possible!
1) If you plan to bring a smart phone or computer or tablet these devices are dual voltage so there's no need to bring a transformer. Matter of fact the electrical receptacles are like ours so no need to bring an adapter either.
2) Speaking of phones - if you want to use yours in Mexico give your cell phone service provider a call. They have roaming programs you can sign up for that cover you while you're away. I have AT&T and use their Passport program.
3) Internet access exists all throughout Casa Contenta.
4) You might want to consider travel insurance. If you do, I would have you look at www.insuremytrip.com It's a site that compares different insurance companies based on the information you enter on their online form.
January 20, 2017
For those of you who missed yesterday's presentation I am sending you the 20 minute video I took of Karen. Be prepared: while the video is solid the audio is not so great. I situated myself in the wrong place to get full sound. But not to worry. Karen will be doing some of the same thing when we're all together in San Miguel.
Here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yi5xXqBMH4
Attached is Karen's materials list. It is suggested that you do bring as many canvas panels as you think you will need. I'm pretty sure the locat art supply store has them but I can't vouch for the sizes they have or the quantity.
Karen demonstrated a very cool and affordable easel - the Anderson Swivel Easel. You will see it in the video and it can be obtained here http://www.jerrysartarama.com/anderson-swivel-easel
I only have 1/2 of your itineraries so I'm cracking the whip - get your flights and let me know. If you're unsure please call me and let me know what you've found. I would like to look at it so you don't make life harder for yourselves.
I am planning to make a dinner reservation that first night - probably around 7:15 - 7:30. A fun restaurant where you CAN eat the salads.
Notify your bank about your travel plans so they don't block any charges they see on your card from Mexico. I also recommend paying for dinners and other things with cash as often as possible. The exchange rate is fantastic for us. An example: Just 1 1/2 years ago if you had a dinner that costs 220 Mexican Pesos that would have been about $22, Today? How about $10!! Eat up.
February 10, 2017
You've received most of the information to prepare you for Karen's San Miguel workshop. Just a few more pieces of information:
1) Don't forget your passport. I would also make a copy and keep it in a separate place. Don't underestimate the importance of having a copy. I'll tell you the story later.
2) Notify your bank that you'll be in Mexico so they don't block a debit or credit card payment you make while there.
3) Plan on bringing your meds on board - do not check them in with the luggage. Paints? Just the opposite: put them in your valise, do not carry them on board.
4) In case your flight is delayed and it looks like you'll miss your connecting flight let me know by email or text or phone call (917-273-7768). This number is a good one to carry with you. In case the van company cannot find you at the airport you can call me and I'll deal with them.
February 18, 2017
Here's the second to last letter... and an important one.
I'm attaching two files. One is your arrival information and the other is your departure information. Take a look and let me know if there are any errors. These files are going to the van company - BajioGo. They must be accurate so they can be there at the airport when you arrive. You will notice that the arrival times are not listed. BajioGo has all the information on the flights and they know when to be there. If you don't see flight information by your name that means I need it now.
If you’re painting in oils you might want to bring a solvent that’s safe for flying https://www.gamblincolors.com/oil-painting/gamsol/ Notice where it says: Gamsol’s flash point is so high it can ship via air cargo as a non-hazardous material. So this is safe to fly with. Of course as with all artists materials you should not take them on board but instead place them in your luggage with the rest of your “artist colors made with vegetable oil and no solvent”. http://www.1worldarttravel.com/flying-with-paints1.html There is an art supply store in town that carries odor free solvent but I cannot guarantee how much they have in stock. If you can bring some Gamsol do it.
I will make a group reservation for dinner for around 7:00. I would like us all to meet at Casa de la Noche at 5:30 for a meet and greet and orientation with me and Karen.
Here is an advanced forecast for the weather in San Miguel http://www.accuweather.com/en/mx/san-miguel-de-allende/232901/march-weather/232901
It can get cool at night and early in the morning so I would think about layers. Of course that depends on whether you're a warm weather person or a cold weather person. A light jacket and/or light sweater are good to have. Shorts are ok but you don't see them that much down there. Light weight cotton clothing is a good start. Sun tan lotion is important as is a good hat to block the sun and save your face. Good sturdy walking shoes or even good sturdy tennis shoes will be a good idea. It's very casual there but one set of clothes without paint stains on it might be in order for dinners out.
February 26, 2017
You might find it redundant that I ask you once more to confirm your arrival and departure information. I don't. This is the one part of our trip that has me losing sleep. While it is true that I'm getting there a day early and will be high tailing it to the van company office I want to make sure there are no mixups I have to unravel before that day.
That being said - here are the two files attached for your perusal. Look them over carefully and if there is one tiny thing wrong let me know.
1) You will have a van waiting for your at your arrival airport. They will be carrying signs with your name (probably misspelled) or the name of the company BajioGo. If your flight is delayed or you wind up missing a flight you need to call me at 917-273-7768. I will be in San Miguel and will go to their office to notify them. Those of you coming in to Queretaro or Leon will have the van paid for - but do leave the driver a tip of a couple of bucks (US or Mexican Pesos). If you're coming into Mexico City you will have to pay.
2) In the mornings the store owners are washing the sidewalks so some of the streets can be slippery. Keep that in mind when you plan on what shoes to bring.
3) You will be given a travel visa of some kind probably on the plane to Queretaro, Leon or Mexico City. Fill out both sides. When you arrive in Mexico they will of course check your passport and take 1/2 that form. The other half you will need to save and hand in when you leave the country.
4) Those of you staying at Casa de la Noche you might want to bring some ear plugs. Occassionally there are nightime fireworks for no apparent reason.
5) Karen and I will have an orientation meeting at Casa de la Noche at 5:30.. see you characters there. Dinner afterwards at one of my favorite joints.
69 bank Street Suite 102. NY, NY 10014-2184
phone: 212-414-8875 fax: 866-501-6873
69 bank Street Suite 102. NY, NY 10014-2184
phone: 212-414-8875 fax: 866-501-6873