Joanna C. Cooke opens eyes and hearts in Puerto Morelos


“Shipwrecked” by Joanna C. Cooke

Joanna C. Cooke says, “I am a passionate artist who believes in re-using and up-scaling outdated things people get rid of to create new and beautiful projects.”

Joanna is a Canadian artist who now makes her home in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. “Some challenging experiences gave me a greater knowledge of what life is about and taught me to follow my dreams and never give up,” she adds. Joanna describes her early life on Canada’s west coast in British Columbia as that of a “fairly untamed, creative beach baby.” She envisions making a more beautiful world, re-created in part from objects that people discard. She shares that vision in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, where for the past decade she says she has “found a place where her heart, soul, body and mind flourish and yearn to be.”

She continues, “My work with the Shamans as a Solar Initiate of the Itza Maya is very profound and has left an impact of the greater wisdom of the cosmic universe and knowledge of the ancients. My studies as a Mayan Day Keeper (keeping track of the days of the Maya calendar) for close to 15 years has gifted  me with a resonance to the stars, a deeper connection to all living beings, plant, mineral, human, animal, earth sky and water, and myself.” Sacred Geometry is a common thread of Joanna’s work in familiar forms like sunflowers, as well as abstract complex geometric designs. She finds inspiration in “the mystery of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, and the light of the stars and moon in the night skies.”

Her formal education includes Color Therapy and Crystal Therapy. She mentored with Canadian artists James Picard and Robert Genn, and studied at San Miguel de Allende and Langara College. At Vancouver Community College she learned jewelry design and goldsmithing.

Her paintings and art installations have been exhibited in Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States. Her labyrinth work was featured on HGTV’s “That’s Clever” and in an article in “Labyrinths of British Columbia–A Guide for Your Journey.”

I joined Joanna and an enthusiastic group of women one balmy Tuesday afternoon at La Sirena Restaurant. A long table, set with easels and canvases was ready for us on the restaurant balcony with a view of the turquoise water of the Caribbean. She provided brushes, paint, water and a painting for inspiration. The restaurant served cocktails and wine. With Joanna’s gentle encouragement and as much or little instruction as we wanted, each of us produced something that looked a little like her professional rendering of the lopsided lighthouse, icon of Puerto Morelos. The damaged lighthouse commemorates the fishing village’s “Never Give Up” spirit after Hurricane Beulah almost erased it from the map in 1967. We relaxed bodies, minds, and spirits, focusing on the magic of paint, brushes, canvases, and our own hands to create beautiful and satisfying shapes and colors.

Artsy Cocktails is just one of the many ways that Joanna C. Cooke shares her gifts and insights in the Riviera Maya. She offers classes, workshops, retreats, private sessions, 3D installations, and collaborative projects. Her long-term visions and goals include the creation of an Artists’ Retreat Center in Puerto Morelos with a focus on healing and learning to re-use resources. A limited number of her paintings are displayed and available for purchase at El Nicho and Chilpayas restaurants. Her future plans include creating functional and decorative home art from garbage and beach finds for a gallery space opening soon in Puerto Morelos. and leading a community project to create a house in the jungle using only garbage.

JEWEL OF THE MUDRA by Joanna C. Cooke

Joanna says she has been brought to Puerto Morelos “as if by a hand of fate over the past decade.” I wonder if that hand of fate brought me to the balcony of La Sirena Restaurant on a balmy Tuesday afternoon.

See more about Joanna C Cooke at



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