Watercolour Painting + Pigment making workshop with Stella Maria Baer May 2020 - Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. Learn more here!


Photo:  Stella Maria Baer @stellamariabaer painting at Ghost Ranch

Photo: Stella Maria Baer @stellamariabaer painting at Ghost Ranch

About the trip:

In this workshop we will learn how to make watercolors from sand and dirt and then paint our own color study meditations with the natural pigments of the desert. We will paint outside in the cool of the day. Participants may choose any subject matter for their painting, whether abstract, figurative, or landscape. The instruction will focus on how to make natural pigments from the landscape and paint meditations on color, with an emphasis on experimentation and contemplation.

From Santa Fe, we travel 70 miles north to the tiny community of Abiquiu where we will spend the next 4 days exploring the region and learning to paint with Stella surrounded by the visually stunning landscapes of Ghost Ranch that captivated and influenced the work of Georgia O'Keeffe. 

This workshop is open to all ability levels from beginner to experienced. 

"Earth, Wind, Water, Time" painting made from dirt by Stella Maria Baer

"Earth, Wind, Water, Time" painting made from dirt by Stella Maria Baer

Photo 2 - 4: Stella Maria Baer @stellamariabaer pigments + painting at Ghost Ranch during our 2019 trip.

This Ace Camp includes:

  • 3 day Watercolour Painting + Natural earth pigment workshop with Stella Maria Baer

  • 5 nights (1 night in Santa Fe and 4 nights at Ghost Ranch) — please see rooming notes below*

  • 5 dinners

  • 4 lunches

  • 5 breakfasts

  • A Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Tour

  • Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs entry

  • All transportation during tours and to and from Santa Fe to Abiquiu/Ghost Ranch

  • All admissions to sites during included tours

  • An Ace Camps Cotton Tote bag

*Rooms are shared with one other guest, unless single supplement is selected below. (limited to 4 rooms)

**OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $350 This includes a private room for all 5 nights (1 night Santa Fe and 4 nights at Ghost Ranch): — Please request a single room in the comments section of your registration. **(limited to 4 rooms)


Airfare to Santa Fe, New Mexico OR Albuquerque, New Mexico is not included.

Group Size: Minimum 8 guests and maximum 12 guests.

This trip does not include alcoholic drinks except where noted.

You will be sent a workshop supply list closer to the trip date. Please see further supply info below.

We’re sorry this trip has sold out! If you are interested in painting and pigment making with Stella Maria Baer please add your email to our notification list by clicking the button below - we will contact you as soon as we launch our next workshop. Thank you!


Due to the varying backgrounds of participants, you will be given an option closer to the workshop to purchase materials from us or to gather your own from a list we send to you. You will be required to bring a traveling french easel. These easels are fairly easy to travel with and allow you to be mobile while painting on site at Ghost Ranch.

Optional Activity - Ghost Ranch offers daily horseback trail rides. You will ride out to the area where Georgia O’Keeffe found her inspiration, completed several paintings and owned a home. The cost is approximately $115.00 USD and Ace Camps can make a booking for those interested closer to date.


Located in the heart of Georgia O'Keeffe country, Ghost Ranch offers simple accommodations reflective of its origins as a working ranch. The rooms are fairly “rustic” but offer breathtaking vistas of colorful sandstone cliffs, cottonwoods, and distant mountains. After sundown, the expansive skies offer dazzling panoramas of the planets and stars without pollution of city lights. 



Stella Maria Baer is a painter and photographer originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. In her work she explores the mythology of the desert, the cosmology of space, and the topography of the human body.

For the past four years she has worked on a series of paintings of moons and planets, bleeding out her memory of growing up in the desert while meditating on a sense of feeling at home in a place that looks like another world. In the past year she has explored at the relationship between women and land, in paintings of the human figure, photographs of women in the desert, and in making paint from sand, dirt, and cacti.

Stella's paintings and photographs have been featured by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Time Magazine, Scientific American, and Sunset Magazine.  Her pieces are in public and private collections all over the world.  

You can follow Stella @stellamariabaer on instagram .

Photos:  Stella Maria Baer @stellamariabaer painting at Ghost Ranch

Photos: Stella Maria Baer @stellamariabaer painting at Ghost Ranch


"Dinosaurs once walked the soggy wetlands that became the arid high desert of Ghost Ranch. Millions of years later Navajos and various other tribes roamed the valley. The Spaniards settled here and then came the cattle rustlers, the wranglers and the dudes. Arthur Pack, one of the country's first environmentalists, bought the Ranch and sold a little piece of it to Georgia O'Keeffe. Scientists took respite time here from the stresses of building the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos. Famous guests have included Charles Lindbergh, Ansel Adams and John Wayne. 

Ghost Ranch gave O'Keeffe the freedom to paint what she saw and felt. Knowledgeable visitors can look around and identify many of the scenes she painted. Red and gray hills like those across from the roadside park south of the Ranch headquarters were frequent subjects. Kitchen Mesa at the upper end of the valley is an example of the red and yellow cliffs she painted many times. Pedernal, the flat-topped mountain to the south, was probably her favorite subject. “It’s my private mountain,” she said. 'God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it.' ” - On behalf of Ghost Ranch

We will spend four days here at Ghost Ranch painting amongst the red rocks and white cliffs, gathering inspiration from the landscape around us. There are many trails to hike in the morning before class should you be interested.

Photo 1+2: Stella Maria Baer @stellamariabaer


ACE CAMPS  will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements. This email will always be sent 90 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 90 prior to the camp. If this Ace Camp fills prior to 90 days we will let you know right away so you can plan. 

You may choose to arrive at either Santa Fe Regional airport or fly into Albuquerque International airport and take the Sandia Shuttle direct to Santa Fe in about an hour. 

There will be no refunds for this Ace Camp due to the planning and logistics involved. 


Ghost Ranch has a very dry, high desert climate with intense sunlight. May sees average high temperatures hover in the mid-70s, with infrequent afternoon showers and comfortably cooler nights.

This regions high altitude (7,000 feet above sea level) means air is rarefied, thinner. It usually takes about 48 hours to adjust and staying hydrated helps.


The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and are there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it. They also work with the local guides to insure the right combination of pace, information, and duration - and, well...keep the ball rolling.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MOBILITY: You should be comfortable walking or standing for extended periods. Excursions include navigating uneven terrain such as hilly and gravel paths.


DAY ONE - MAY 4, 2019

Travel Day - plan to arrive in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Make your way to our hotel. This evening we have a casual welcome dinner.

DAY TWO - MAY 5, 2019

Breakfast at the hotel

This morning we wake up early and travel north to Abiuqiu, NM. Once in Abiquiu, we head a few minutes down the road to one of our favourite local spots to view incredible rock formations and start gathering inspiration for our workshop.

We have an early lunch at the Abiquiu Inn.

This afternoon we head towards Ghost Ranch,once we arrive we'll begin with a history of natural pigments, then survey the different color dirt and sand found in the high mountain desert. Then we’ll go for a walk in the hills and gather our own dirt, sift it, grind it, and begin the water refinement process for making the pigments. 

Late afternoon we'll learn how to mix gum arabic, honey, and glycerin into the refined pigments, and store the paint in trays for long term use.  

Dinner - TBD

DAY THREE - MAY 6, 2019

Optional — Pre-breakfast hike around the ranch.

Breakfast at Ghost Ranch      

In the morning we will continue the refinement process of turning the dirt into paint. Mid morning we will break for a Landscape Tour of Ghost Ranch inspired by some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. You will glimpse her original home, and be awe-inspired by the quiet beauty of the rock formations and local flora. We will return back to our workshop space and start experimenting with making our own paintings using the watercolors made from natural elements.

Lunch - Ghost Ranch

This afternoon we will focus on different watercolor techniques: washes, bleeds, and the use of salt and gum arabic.  We will experiment with making color study meditations inspired by the landscape around us. 

Optional — This afternoon or evening Ace Camps can arrange for those interested in taking a trail ride with horses around the ranch. (Additional Fee).

Dinner - TBD

If the skies are clear tonight, it will be a perfect time for star-gazing.


DAY FOUR - MAY 7, 2019

Breakfast at Ghost Ranch      

This morning we will make a second color of paint from natural pigments and then experiment using the new techniques with the watercolors. Late morning/early afternoon we will head out on the road towards an afternoon of relaxation and reflection. Our first stop is lunch at a local cafe.

From here we travel about 45 minutes away to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. You will have a couple different options for your afternoon. You can either visit the mineral springs (included): The sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years. Ojo Caliente is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic.

Or you may prefer to go for a hike on their extensive grounds, you may like to bring your easel with you and set up in the hills above the spa. The hilltop trail to the ancient Posi Pueblo introduces you to the rich heritage of Northern New Mexico. There is also a wine bar on site incase you prefer to just sit back and relax.

Dinner tonight is at the Ojo Caliente restaurant. Return transfer back to Ghost Ranch after dinner.

DAY FIVE - MAY 8, 2019

Breakfast at Ghost Ranch    

Today we will continue with our painting projects, exploring landscape, figure or abstraction in our watercolor meditations.  In the afternoon we will make a color chart  from the different natural pigments, looking at mixing and  gradation. We will finish the time with a final meditation, painting using all the techniques we’ve learned and drawing on the forms in the landscapes we’ve seen on our trip.

Lunch- Ghost Ranch

Dinner - Abiquiu Cafe

DAY SIX - MAY 9, 2019

Breakfast at Ghost Ranch     

Departure day: After breakfast, we say our goodbyes to this incredible landscape + transfer back to Santa Fe. 

We’re sorry this trip has sold out! If you are interested in painting and pigment making with Stella Maria Baer please add your email to our notification list by clicking the button below - we will contact you as soon as we launch our next workshop. Thank you!

Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.