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A New Magdalene Journey

Mary Magdalene in the Butterfly's Garden by Tanya Torres, 2021

I have been painting "officially" since around 2001 and painting Mary Magdalene since 2005, when I discovered her after reading The Da Vinci Code and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar.

Throughout all those years, I have often taught people how to enjoy making art. I could say I have taught painting and drawing, but in reality, I don't teach to create artists, but to help people who are attracted to making art take the first steps, or the next steps, in their creative journey.

A side effect of attending a painting workshop of class is the sense of community that emerges in a room as people begin to relax and enjoy the moment and the process. Because we are not working to create a masterpiece (at least not yet!,) the mood is more that of a school classroom when the math teacher is absent and they send you to art class, no pressure. There is no test and there is no exact result. There is a base, but no need to follow the formula if you feel moved to paint a different color and draw a different line. And in this process, learning taking place in a subtle way, by trying new things, by discovery, and by being brave in a safe space.

Because this blog is titled Painting Mary Magdalene, I have always aspired to sharing this moments of flow with the readers. The last few years have been so difficult that I couldn't find the energy and mind to start anything, but this year, after the Mary Magdalene Celebration, I felt lifted up into a new place and a new stage. I decided to do something different, and counterintuitive.

In the past, whenever I had an idea, I put it into action. It was fun and exciting, I failed at some but some came out spectacular and really helped me learn and build toward the future. But for a while, I told myself, no I can't because I'm too exhausted, because I need to go to work tomorrow, because if I don't rest I will be tired... But then I had an idea, what if I think differently and do the opposite of what I've been doing?

So I started this school year intensely. I went back to work, planned a school trip for students and families each month of the school year. I also launched 2 different classes. One live, where we will be painting Spirits of the Forest, and once virtual, Painting Mary Magdalene.

Painting Mary Magdalene was an inspiration. I was planning the other class and just started writing about the Painting Mary Magdalene class, decided to do 1 hour per week, at a late time on Saturdays. Why late? Well, I was talking to some friends and they started telling stories about doing their creative work at night, once the phone and email stop, once everyone calms down. Since I aspire to do my own work during the day, then I'm free at 9pm!

So far I have 2 students! I'm so excited about that. Considering my announcement of the classes was an inspiration and I need to develop more information and paint a better picture of what the class will be like, I am just so grateful to my 2 Painting Mary Magdalene students for believing in me.

I have great plans for the class. I'm going to share things I have read and learned about Mary Magdalene and I'm going to guide my 2 students :) and anyone else who wants to join, to paint Mary Magdalene until they create a framed 8"x10" painting that I will include in the Mary Magdalene Celebration Art Exhibition. My hope is to recruit a whole group of people who love Mary Magdalene to paint her and join the collective exhibition. I want to invite my students to join and show other people that everyone who wants to, can create and express what's in their heart.

The class will start with a moment of relaxation, then we will learn something about Mary Magdalene by sharing classic paintings and excerpts from books, and ideas. Next we will get started. I will share a simple technique, and we will paint. Little by little we will build a collection of techniques and ideas for our own paintings. We will create small paintings and drawings until we are ready for a larger piece. After painting, we will share the process and if anyone is open to it, they can share their creation. When the formal class ends, we will have some time for open studio, no format, just some time to ask, share, or keep painting.

My grand goal for this class is to build community in a space dedicated to sharing Mary Magdalene. I also hope to build up to the Mary Magdalene Celebration.

For more information about the classes:

Some words from my former students:

"Encouraging in a gentle and knowledgeable way, Tanya guided me to express my creativity. Learning to draw and paint in her classes is a delight!"

Myrna Nieves

"My experience taking Art Classes with Tanya at her beautifully quaint spot en la Marqueta:

Tanya brings such inspiration to her work. She encourages to work from your truth and bring in your colors that speak to you. She gently guided me to freely express myself through art. I loved my end product. A visitor even offered to buy it although was in beginning stage! Thank you so much Tanya, for helping me to let go of any doubts and delve into my creativity."

Marta Morales


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Tanya Torres  
Art for Love, Peace and Joy

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