Sketches from the Museum of International Folk Art

There’s no shortage of great museums in Santa Fe, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to see them all. I did spend a couple of hours at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and there are others on my must-see list for the next visit, like the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

I love sketching in museums, especially if collections are colourful and 3-dimensional. It’s the best way to really spend time looking at and appreciating the art. But sketching in many museums is often not permitted, at least with anything more than a pencil. I often bring a small sketchbook to the MMFA, work in pencil in the galleries and then add colour to my sketches in the museum café because, understandably, using ink or watercolour near the artwork is prohibited.

But there are exceptions to this rule, and if you checkout each museum’s guidelines for visitors, you can prepare properly with the right materials before visiting. One of the most welcoming museums for sketchers is the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. I spent a day there with each of my workshop groups, and I think we all felt a day was not enough! First all all, sketchers are welcome to set up stools, draw in the galleries, and even use ink and watercolour in front of the display cases. Plus, the collections of folk art from around the world are so fascinating that you do actually need a few visits to absorb them all.

We only had a morning there, so most of us filled our pages with ink drawings, and then added colour later. I sketched objects from many countries, picking and choosing based on the shape of the object, working from large to small and filling in blank spaces with progressively smaller shapes. I added lettering later too. If you are in Santa Fe, don’t miss a visit to this place, hopefully with your sketchbook in hand.

7 Comments on “Sketches from the Museum of International Folk Art”

  1. Prior... says:

    Looks like a great museum with some flexible sketching policies – enjoyed or photos


  2. Patricia says:

    This is an overwhelmingly beautiful museum of outstanding, incredible, colorful displays of folk art like your’ve never seen or imagined. A person could spend days there. A heartwarming place to be.


  3. I love the colorful sketches and the variety of items you chose. I didn’t get to that museum when we were in Santa Fe…wish I did. Great job!


  4. TonyU says:

    Lovely sketches full of character and colour. The perfect way to spend a morning!


  5. Brilliant idea! I did this once on a pouring down rainy day in Italy and it was really fun. The folk art would be the most fun due to the colors and the variety. Your pages are just wonderful!

    I was at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California for the preview show of their annual art auction last Thursday. I have a piece in the auction hanging upstairs in the museum. On my way up I passed many African figurines and there are some tall two story totems you can see looking over the balcony from the second floor. I told my husband that I wanted to come back with my sketch book an have a go at sketching them. Maybe one of the 100 degree plus days I know we will have again this summer. So any of you Sacramento are Skechers out there who follow Shari an want to join me at the Crocker, DM me on Facebook.


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