Awaken the Artist Within - Rancho La Puerta
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Awaken the Artist Within

Week of November 9, 2019


Awaken the Artist Within
Join us for a vibrant and inspirational slideshow/talk with Erin Lee Gafill.  A museum-exhibited painter and textile artist, memoirist, and international teacher, Erin’s slideshow weaves together personal stories and stunning color-rich art with practical tips on carving out time and intention for your own creative practice.  Born into the mayhem and magic of Big Sur in the 60’s, Erin shares her stories of growing up at Nepenthe Restaurant, the legendary watering hole for poets, writers and dreamers, her deep California art roots, and a chance encounter that changed her life forever and set her on her path as an artist.  Her stories will touch your heart, her tips will inspire YOU to create, and her gorgeous paintings will send you home dreaming in full color!

Awaken the Artist Within
Acrylic, Torn Paper Collage, Watercolor
A progressive experience – but flexible enough to allow you to start any day.  Every day Erin will guide you through a series of creativity exercises culminating in several finished pieces.

No experience required!


An award-winning painter and author, Erin Gafill has inspired people around the world with her inspirational art, heartfelt stories, and uniquely engaging teaching methods.  Her work bridges art, craft, and community, weaving observation, intuition, and imagination into her painting, writing, teaching, and public speaking.  A fifth-generation California artist, she was born in Big Sur, California in 1963, the daughter of a beatnik and a hippie and the great-great-granddaughter of Carmel’s first artist-in-residence. Growing up at her grandparents’ legendary restaurant, Nepenthe, a mecca for poets, bohemians and dreamers, she drew inspiration from its ever-changing cast of characters as well as the stunning and mystical beauty of the coast, which today infuses her work with a deep sense of calm, transcendence, and peace.  Erin is the founder of the nonprofit Big Sur Arts Initiative, and founding member of the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association. In 2001 Erin was honored to serve as the first American Artist-in-Residence at the Hamada International Children’s Museum, Hamada, Japan.  In 2009, she and her husband Tom Birmingham were named Champions of the Arts by the Arts Council of Monterey County and were honored by the United States Congress for their service to the community through the arts.  The two are foundational instructors for Rancho La Puerta’s annual Family Week, now going into its ninth year.  Her work can be seen at and will be featured in Spring/Summer 2020 at the Monterey Museum of Art. Her inspirational memoir Drinking From a Cold Spring, a Little Book of Hope is available at Drinking From A Cold Spring: A Little Book of Hope