NOLA Artist Retreat: A Historic Cemetery Exploration Through Mixed Media Encaustic

The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds – the cemeteries – and they’re a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay – ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who’ve died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn’t pass away so quickly here.
― Bob Dylan

When November 8-12, 2021

Limited to 12 participants!
Level: Beginner to Advanced
$1000 includes workshop and most workshop materials (see supply list below)

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner,

Payment Payment of 50% of the workshop fee + materials ($500) is due at the time of registration with the remaining 50% ($500) due approximately 6 weeks before the workshop date. Please contact Lorraine for payment details. For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner,

Where  New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studio, 727 Magazine Street NOLA (near the Convention Center)
Studio Contact: Jean Blair, 504-250-7277,

Who  A collaborative teaching venture with Heather Veneziano & Lorraine Glessner (Scroll down for more about Heather and Lorraine.

Workshop Description
Rebecca Solnit writes, ‘A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.’
Utilizing the natural luminosity, textural and layering possibilities of encaustic, participants will experiment with mixed media collage, imagery and marks to depict the spirit and essence of the history, stories and craft associated with New Orleans’ unique ‘Cities of the Dead.’ Excursions to New Orleans ethereal cemeteries and field trips to lesser known venues throughout the city are led by historian and artist, Heather Veneziano. Photo recording, journaling, sketching and in situ lectures provide the inspiration from which to develop ideas and areas of focus toward developing your personal artistic voice. Optional individual critiques with both Lorraine and Heather are offered to all participants.
**Please note that participants should be prepared to spend time outside as well as in the studio. In the event that participants are unable to participate in the workshop walks, participants are welcome to opt out and alternative outdoor creative exercises will be provided.

New Orleans is one of the most magical cities in the world. There is something about this city that has a tendency to take hold of you and won’t let go….For many people who move away they are drawn back by something intangible. There is a spirit and deep sense of belonging that the city seems to invoke.
-Richard Bienvenu

All images by Heather Veneziano. Visit her Instagram for more.

Workshop Itinerary

Sunday 5-7pm Orientation
Informal Meet & Greet with Wine, Cheese and Beignets.

Monday 9:30-4:30 Workshop
Heather will lead us on an excursion to St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, next to the French Quarter. While there, Heather will discuss interesting and inspiring history, stories and lore associated with the cemetery itself and with those buried there. Lorraine will introduce writing and mark making exercises designed to inspire creative expression, participants are invited to respond in situ. Back at the studio in the afternoon, we will recap and expand on the writings and drawings generated from the morning excursion.

Tuesday 9:30-4:30 Workshop, 7:00-9:30pm Optional Field Trip TBA
Heather will lead us on a slightly longer excursion to visit cemeteries at the end of Canal Street and Holt Cemetery, which contains unique grave markers. Plan to stop for lunch, writing, sketching, mark making and stories and head back to the studio when everyone is ready. Back at the studio, both Lorraine and Heather will present slide talks designed to inspire the studio work for the following days.

Wednesday, 9:30-4:30 Workshop, 7:00-9:30pm Optional Field Trip TBA
Lorraine will present encaustic and mixed media demonstrations throughout the day. We will continue with uninterrupted work time for refining drawings and painting, working toward a series and individual discussions with Lorraine and Heather.

Thursday 9:30-4:30 Workshop, 7:00-9:30pm Optional Field Trip TBA
Lorraine will continue with collage, texture, surface manipulation and mark making demos and exercises, encouraging students to develop a personal artistic voice. Personalized individual mentoring sessions with Lorraine and Heather continue throughout the day.

Friday 9:30-4:30 Workshop
Morning work time to complete projects and individual mentoring with Lorraine and Heather. Afternoon project show and tell with the group, clean up and good-byes.

What Else?

  • Color relationships, composition, application, content, proportion, scale as an effective foundation for other painterly information.
  • Learn how to use encaustic’s strengths (layering, transparency, luminosity) to tell your story.
  • Mark making exercises geared toward making simple or complex marks to generate a personal language.
  • The option of an Individual Consultation/Critique discussion with each instructor. Bring a piece of work, a question, a concern, a problem and discuss it with Heather and Lorraine.
  • Guided meditation and planned excursions will relax and open your mind and body to the city’s spirit and essence, helping to support and nurture your unique creative voice.
  • A slide talk with examples of contemporary artists whose work applies the ideas and concepts discussed in the workshop is offered for inspiration.
  • Lots of open studio time to explore and interpret the inspiration gained from the meditations and excursions.

All images by Heather Veneziano. Visit her Instagram for more.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE images of student work and fun scenes from retreats, hosted and taught by Lorraine and Heather’s preservation, art work and workshops. For more images of past Artist Retreats co-taught by Lorraine visit here, here and here and Lorraine’s Workshop Web Site. Additional blog posts related to artist retreats co-taught by Lorraine are here, here and here.

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner,

About Heather & Lorraine

About Heather Veneziano
Heather Veneziano is an architectural historian and cultural heritage advisor with the preservation-consulting firm of Gambrel & Peak, a role she has held since June of 2014, as well as the Director of Public Engagement and Development for New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries. In addition, she is also an award winning author and an accomplished editor and contributor to a number of published works focused on cemetery studies and the architecture of the Gulf South. She is also the owner and operator of Arcadia Weaving, a luxury textile company that produces handwoven and environmentally responsible home goods. She has taught studio-based textile courses at the collegiate level, and has exhibited and lectured nationally as well as internationally on her studio practice.
Heather’s expertise is in cultural heritage sites, vernacular architecture, deathscapes, and cemetery studies with a focus on historic preservation and placemaking. She is well versed and experienced in hands-on masonry conservation, digital archiving, project management, and a wide variety of craft-based processes. 
She holds an advanced degree in studio-based craft from the University of the Arts, a Master of Fine Art from the University of Edinburgh, in addition to a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University. In 2017, she co-founded the state chapter of the Association of Gravestone Studies and currently serves as co-chair.

Visit Heather’s Instagram for more images of New Orleans and Heather’s art and preservation work.

Yes, it’s the customs, traditions, the music, the food, the architecture, the history, all the different ethnic groups who’ve put their indelible mark on [New Orleans]. And it’s something more. It’s this something that is in the air, that bubbles up from the streets, that silently sings to you in a sultry evening. It’s this indescribable otherness that some have tried to put into words over the decades but somehow manages to escape description.
-Richard Bienvenu

About Lorraine Glessner
Lorraine Glessner’s love of surface, pattern, markmaking, image and landscape has led her to combine disparate materials and processes such as silk, wood, wax, pyrography, rust, paper and more in her work. Lorraine is a former Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, a workshop instructor and an award-winning artist. She holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, a BS from Philadelphia University, and an AAS in Computer Graphics from Moore College of Art & Design. She has a diverse art background with skills that include painting, sculpture, graphic design, interior design, textile design, photography, digital imaging and much more. Among her most recent professional achievements is a Second Place award in Sculpture from Art of the State at the State Museum in Harrisburg, PA, a recently completed artist residency at Jentel Foundation and an acquisition by Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Lorraine’s work is included in the recently released Encaustic Art in the 21st Century by Ashley Rooney and Nuance, a curated book by artist, Michelle Stuart. Lorraine frequently lectures and participates on academic panels at various Conferences including The International Encaustic Conference, SECAC and The College Art Association Annual Conference. Her work is exhibited locally and nationally in galleries, museums, craft centers, schools, libraries, universities, and more. Like her work, Lorraine brings to her teaching a strong interdisciplinary approach, mixed with a balance of concept, process, history, experimentation, problem solving and discovery.

Visit Lorraine’s Web Site for more images of her mixed media encaustic work.

Materials Included: the following list of materials is provided for the student

  • All encaustic paints, encaustic medium, tools and equipment
  • A variety of pigment sticks
  • Sumi ink & other misc. drawing media
  • Misc. drawing papers
  • Paper towels/rags
  • Extra encaustic brushes
  • Stencils and other textures
  • Misc. collage materials

What to bring: the following is a list of materials for the student to bring to the workshop

  • Sketchbook/notebook, pencil or pen for note taking
  • 1-2 drawing media of your choice (pencil, pastel, conte charcoal, oil pastel, Crayon, graphite, felt pen, etc.)
  • Closed toe shoes for safety in the studio and excursions
  • 3-6 wooden painting panels (your preference of 8×8 or 10×10, but no larger or smaller, please) Other suggested substrates are: masonite (coated with encaustic gesso), Ampersand Encausticbord, MultiMedia Art Board. If you decide to bring something other than what is suggested here, it must be rigid and not coated in acrylic or acrylic gesso!!
  • 2-4 actual OR images of your work, digital prints or phone/iPad sharing is fine
  • 4-6 hake or hog’s bristle natural hair brushes in 1-2 inch sizes for encaustic painting (1 brush will be designated your medium brush, so it must be free of color if you are bringing used brushes)
  • Materials for collage (fabric, papers, magazine images, photos, etc.)
  • Digital Camera or smart phone or point and shoot camera or DSLR

Optional Materials Smock, any encaustic paint color or pigment stick color you favor, Iwatani torch with extra butane, any tool or material for any technique that you normally employ while working with encaustic, textured objects and/or sharp ended tool for pressing into/incising/writing/drawing into wax, 1-2 inspiring books to share with the class.

Excursion Equipment Recommendations

  • Comfortable closed toe shoes
  • Butt pack or small backpack
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Light rainwear or disposable ponchos
  • Hat
  • Large water bottle
  • Bug repellant
  • Sun block
  • For portable art supply ideas, visit Lorraine’s Amazon Store

Cancellation In the event that you need to cancel your workshop, please notify Lorraine at least 30 days prior to the start of the workshop and your deposit will be refunded. No refunds will be available for cancellations occurring less than 30 days from the start of the workshop.

Food There will be water available in the studio, however, you may want to bring other preferred beverages. Other than granola bars, there will be no food served during the workshop, you will have to bring lunch and other preferred snacks.

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner,

There are certain cities and certain areas of certain cities
where the official language is dreams.
Venice is one. And Paris.
And New Orleans, the city that dreams stories.

Andrei Codrescu

Images of student work and fun scenes from retreats, hosted and taught by Lorraine and Heather’s preservation, art work and workshops. For more images of past Artist Retreats co-taught by Lorraine visit here, here and here and Lorraine’s Workshop Web Site. Additional blog posts related to artist retreats co-taught by Lorraine are here, here and here.

Author: lorraineglessner

I'm a mixed media artist, workshop instructor and former assistant professor at tyler school of art in Philadelphia, PA.

8 thoughts on “NOLA Artist Retreat: A Historic Cemetery Exploration Through Mixed Media Encaustic”

  1. Please count me in for NOLA Loraine. Is there a paypal link I can send a deposit? The story/history and imagery are exciting and relatable to my work. Never done New Orleans. Perfect opportunity!!!


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