Postcard from Tubac, Arizona

room2It went so slowly – and it went so quickly. And it was the best of times.

We have just wrapped up our Tubac Art Journaling Retreat and NOBODY wanted to leave.

It is Sunday morning in Room 2 here at the Tubac Country Inn and strangers inhabit the other rooms, something which feels, well . . . strange, after a whole week of “family” filling this place with art and laughter and just plain joy.

The retreat in Santa Fe last September was such a wonderful experience that you think such a thing can’t be as good again. But it can.

We all arrived last week-end and were so excited to see each other again. For those who arrived on Saturday, Sunday was a relaxing time to “come down” from our daily lives and enjoy the weather and the garden while we waited for the others to arrive.

Tubac is a small village jam-packed with great shopping and great restaurants, and it is amazing how much there is to do within about six square blocks. You can easily walk anywhere.

Our workshop ran from Monday through Friday, and we headquartered in the Gallery building at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – a block from the Inn. The Gallery building is open and light, and full of fresh air – a perfect place to learn to “dance” with watercolors.

otero otero2We learned some tricks to draw even the most complicated lettering by copying the Presidio sign itself . . .

presidiosign1 presidiosign2My sample is not perfect but it’s pretty darn close.

The grounds of the State Park and museum are bursting with interesting little scenes to draw and paint like these . . .


gourdsAnd one of our first assignments was to capture a minimum of five little scenes on a single page.

Here’s my example . . .

presidioWe spent the first two days learning everything we could jam into our heads about using watercolor, and practicing by painting scenes from the Presidio grounds.

There was much more to be painted, but Wednesday, we went out into the village of Tubac with a “scavenger hunt” list of things to put in our journals. We met up on the covered porch of Vesta’s gallery to share the challenges and see what everyone had found.

On Thursday, we went on a field trip to the Tumacacori Mission, which is a National HIstoric Site, with a beautiful old church and several adobe ruins.


Again, the grounds are so rich in history and beautiful things to sketch and paint, that it is hard to know where to start . . .

lynn tumacacori1 carolkayAnd everywhere, there are wildflowers . . .

wildflowerI am out of time this morning because Vesta and I are going to an art show up in Tucson. Thank heavens my friends Vesta and April are here or I think I would be feeling pretty lonely!

I have more photos to share – and some may even move you to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I’ll show you some of those next post.

The next retreat will be in Santa Fe in September, and I wonder if I dare hope that we can have this much fun and wonder yet again!

7 thoughts on “Postcard from Tubac, Arizona

  1. Deb Spindler

    There’s no place I’d rather go than to one of your workshops, Jessica. As I read this post I went on a journey in my head. One of these years I will make it there, when time and money are both available. I adore your blog posts. Thank you so much!

  2. Kay

    Tubac was wonderful and we did have a great time. We couldn’t have had a nicer group of people to be with for a whole week of artistic fun and inspiration. Now back to the everyday world of washing, ironing, cleaning house, etc. Have fun with Vesta at the art show and thank her again for our early Easter treat. :)
    Great retreat!

  3. Carole

    Thank you Jessica for a wonderful week. Your clear instruction delivered with your love for the area was inspiring. So enjoyable!

  4. vesta abel

    I loved every minute of your visit! What a great group of Artistic gals! It was fun sharing meals and the visit to the Mission. I already miss all the ladies and I hope I see them again someday. Tomorrow morning Jessica and I head to Santa Fe!

  5. LynnInColorado

    Unless I’m completely embarrassed by my lack of artistic prowess in September, I hope to be included in Tubac 2015!

  6. Lynn

    Jessica, Vesta and all the Tubac treasure-hunters,
    Would you believe I’m taking off work today to catch up on my sketchbook?! My sable brush arrived on Monday along with my Daniel Smith watercolor dots, so I’m ready to go.
    What a wonderful week it was, and I miss everyone SO! A better group of women could not be found. Love and hope we can reconvene next year. Lynn

  7. Betsy

    I don’t know when I have felt so blissful as I did that week in Tubac. I broke thru some self imposed barriers in playing with art, had so much fun with all of the best girlfriends ever, loved loved loved the Inn, and felt the magical beauty of Tubac. Can we do it again next week???

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