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Art and Soul: Giving wings to creativity

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Anna Magruder’s work drifts between realism and surrealism. An oil painter, she is attracted to faces, people and the stories behind them. But she also likes to add an imaginative or unexpected element to her work.

“I love painting children with wings,” she said. “But they are not traditional wings — I use elephant ears, sea turtle flippers and even antlers. It is about children discovering that they have this very creative way of flying through life. And don’t we all?”

Magruder owned a freelance graphic design business for five years in Portland, Oregon, and worked for agencies and small design firms before that.

“After 14 years as a graphic designer, I just burnt out,” she said. “I had started to show my art and was receiving a good response and so I decided to make that my career.” She first visited Taos in the summer of 2015. She had been a full-time artist since 2009.

“Then I was honored with a 10-week artist residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation,” she said. “I fell in love with the mountains, people and land, and I moved here permanently in November 2015.”

In mid-2016, what Magruder describes as “an unexpected, serendipitous thing” happened to her — a new business fell into her lap.

“Local website developer Mark Harrell – of Rezo Systems – handed over the reins of his Arts & Carafe business to me,” she said.

Arts & Carafe offered paint-along workshops at local eateries where attendees could purchase beverages while they painted. “I changed the name of the business and website to Art and Soul and made it more about offering workshops that emphasize art as a healing mode and that combine art and spirituality,” Magruder said. “But we still offer Arts & Carafe paint-alongs with Elizabeth Jose and Rich Nichols as instructors.” In the meantime, Magruder has continued working as an artist. Her cards, prints and some of her paintings are available in some local venues, like OptiMysm and Taos Print and Photography on Kit Carson Road. She also does commissioned portraits.

“Sometimes I add elements that give the paintings a more surreal look,” she said. “I allow room for the viewer to create their own stories for the subjects.”

Art and Soul offers classes, workshops and gatherings that use art as a tool for self-expression and self-exploration.

“I find immense joy in encouraging others to pursue any artistic expression,” Magruder said. “Art is extremely healing.

Here, we provide a nonjudgmental and supportive environment that nurtures creativity, personal growth and healing and awakens inner joy and transformation.”

She also organizes workshops for other instructors.

“If they need a larger or different space, I seek out the best location for them,” she said. “Art and Soul isn’t about ‘my space.’ It is more about offering workshops, which may be located anywhere. Up to now, they have included collage and soul card and empowerment through art classes and art journaling workshops, among others.” Magruder offers workshop facilitators and teachers a series of services that range from reserving an appropriate location and acquiring tables and chairs to developing a promotional campaign.

“I post the class on my website’s calendar and on our Facebook page and market it with flyers, occasional Tempo ads and my monthly newsletter,” she said. “I also provide supplies when necessary.”

The space complies with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. It is also available for speech therapy, hypnotherapy and other services.

Upcoming workshops include an Arts & Carafe paint-along on April 20 from 4-6 p.m. at the Trading Post Cafe. British fine artist and singer Elizabeth Jose will guide participants step by step to re-create one of her signature paintings, “Shadow of the Three Gossips.”

Cost is $40 and includes all art supplies. Alcoholic beverages and drink specials will be available for purchase at the café.

“I’ve taken Elizabeth’s class before,” Magruder said. “And I learned so much from her!”

Sajit Greene, soul astrologer, said that when she first learned about Art and Soul, she felt it was “a perfect match for her work.”

She will offer the workshop “Masks of the Divine Feminine: Her Faces both Tender and Fierce” on April 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $95 and all supplies are included. Attendees are asked to bring their lunch.

“In this workshop, you’ll discover a face of the divine feminine that speaks most powerfully to you,” said Greene. “In the first half of the day, attendees create their masks. Once they are complete, music and movement will be used to evoke our masks’ special magic and messages.”

The Art and Soul workshop space is located close to Taos Plaza. To find out more about the classes or register for a workshop, visit ArtandSoulTaos.com or call (971) 255-9928.

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