- Art Adventures Southwest

Art Adventures Southwest Blog

The Ethics of Nature and The Creative Process

janes jungle

I began teaching "The Ethics of Nature" over ten years ago. I created this continuing education course to meet the requirements of the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board. Each year I add new material - a few years ago it was poetry "My Cat Has Quit Eating" by Donald Levering (

This poem elicits exploration on the part of the art therapists and counselors taking the workshop. They question their need to "help" and ask themselves when it is best to let nature take its course. This year I added material about working in toxic environments. I feel compelled to bring up "environment" in a course called "The Ethics of Nature". Toxicity can be within an agency, a disturbed family situation, or within the natural environment when we poison the oceans and the air and cut down the forests.


Images from Nature and the Unconscious

Nature 7 the Unconscious Shoenfeld

This past Sunday I taught a workshop called "Taking the Inside Outside - Creating Images from Nature and the Unconscious." We began inside with a few expressive art activities designed to get people loosened up so that when we went outside, we would see nature, not only with our eyes, but with our whole selves.

The image that is featured on today's blog comes out of a personal experience where I had expectations for how "nature" should look. I had travelled to Lubec, Maine which is the eastern most point in the United States. Donald and I had rented a cottage with an "ocean view." I had spent time in Lubec a few years prior and was ready to work "en plain air." I had already done a large body of work based on the curve of the earth where the stretched horizon and the ocean meet. This time my ocean view was a small segment of tidal waters framed by beautiful trees. I sketched everyday, looking at the portion of water allotted me (when you live in the Southwest, you become needy regarding large bodies of water). The tides in Lubec are extreme, so the land would disappear at high tide and reemerge when the tide went out. I felt there was some secret hidden there, a secret that was hidden behind the trees, a meaning waiting to be revealed through the hour glass view of water which I had been given.


Grand Adventures

grand art adventures

In the past several weeks, I have been teaching and painting, both in my studio and outside. I taught my first Ghost Ranch class of the season at the end of April. Then, I worked with a group of eleven women staying at La Posada. This was part of Grand Adventures and they were up for it! I also began the a series of classes called Pastels at Twilight, which will go through late July. This series still has two openings and the first session was great.

It has to be fun for me as a teacher or I won't bring energy and a love of art to the class....and it was fun!, I experimented with new ways to get participants loosened up and connected to what they were seeing. We absorbed the wind into our art. Worked a lot with movement and also with fixed color relationships from the color wheel. Switching back and forth between learning by doing and learning by concepts. The concepts and skills are so ingrained in me that when I work in my studio I am able to give myself over to the wonderful (and sometimes very uneasy) place where I listen to what the picture needs, not what I think it should be.


Welcome Art Adventurers

Jane Shoenfeld Art Adventures

Choose among different types of individually designed art experiences.

All Fine Art classes and workshops focus on expressing your response to the landscape and architecture of New Mexico. Continuing Education classes focus on nature, the creative process, and art therapy.


Get Your CEU's Here!

Get CEU 's with Jane Shoenfeld Art Adventures -

Jane’s Continuing Education Workshops are approved by both the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board and the New Mexico Social Work Examiners Board. All Continuing Education Workshops focus on nature and the creative process and are open to anyone who has been inspired by nature, whether CEU's are needed or not! New Mexico Continuing Education units are generally transferable nationwide. Massage Therapy and Nursing Boards will accept these units if the practitioner feels they are applicable to his or her practice. Jane has been teaching on a post graduate level for 20 years. Her longer workshops have been called "life-changing" by participants. Her national workshops on the creative process have been so well attended, she has been asked to offer duplicate sessions.


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