If you only make one new friend in San Feipe, it needs to be Ruth. Why is it to important to know Ruth? Because knowing her means having access to great food, incredible wine, and a hands on artistic experience that is unique to San Felipe.

Ruth Olivar Millan is owner and director of “Galeria Olivar Millan,” a unique art gallery located at 2514 Camino Del Sur in San Felipe. She opened the doors to this exciting and one of a kind gallery in October of 2012, and it has quickly become a popular destination for locals and tourists who are looking to do something a little different with their time in San Felipe. 

Ruth has an extensive academic background, has traveled the world and is highly skilled in various forms of art, such as oil, ceramics, block printing and sculpture. She is a resident of El Dorado Ranch and an outstanding Mexican citizen.

The art gallery features artists whose art focuses primarily on the beautiful city of San Felipe. Local artists who paint, draw, sculpt and create with San Felipe as their inspiration hang their masterpieces here for everyone to see. You will see common themes throughout the gallery, such as the Sea of Cortez. Since the sea plays such a huge role in the lives of the people who live here, it only make sense that their major lifeline, the sea, would be a main focus in the art they create. You will also see gorgeous paintings of Mexican men, women and children, wearing traditional Mexican costumes or displayed in front of important San Felipe landmarks. The love and passion for the town is obvious in each and every individual hand crafted piece in the gallery.

The galley is a small, square yellow building sitting alongside a dirt road. Right behind the gallery is the breathtaking view of the sea and the mountains in the background. Talk about a great place to be inspired! When you walk in, you’ll notice the brightly colored walls are adorned with large painted canvases, some on easels, some in elaborate painted frames. On shelves under the paintings you will see all different kinds of ceramics. Get up close and check out the attention to detail on each piece. You can see the time and effort put into all of the artwork displayed here. Ruth’s specialty it woodblock printing, or Retablos.

Retablos are devotional paintings, often on rectangular sheets of tin that illustrate holy images such as Christ, the Virgin Mother or one of the hundreds of saints. Retablos are important in Mexican culture because they are a physical representation of holy images. They are said to come from the need humans have to interact on a personal level with divine spirits. Creating a Retablo is a personal and interpretive  art form. They can be made in many different ways, but the most important part of the retablo is the representation of a miraculous event. That is why most artists try to use bright, vibrant colors to portray the significance of the ‚Ä®event. Before, Retablos were made locally from natural materials, colored earths, plant extracts, and cochineal bugs, whatever the artist could find to sketch or carve into. Toda, you can find retablos painted of tin, wood, paper mache and cigar boxes. Retablos at the Galeria Olivar Millan in San Felipe Baja have special meaning for Ruth, personally.  As she paints, carves or cuts aluminum, she prays and gives thanks for good health for her family and herself. It is through this kind of expressive art that she finds peace through prayer, meditation and therapeutically creative fulfillment. Families have started collecting her pieces and they are considered treasured heirlooms that are to be passed down from generation to generation.  To her collectors, the retablos symbolize protection, fertility and healing. They are hung on walls, Christmas trees and are given in place of Christmas cards. They are an extremely personal gift of love and good wishes. You can purchase a large art piece for $20 at the gallery, or ask Ruth how you can make your own! 

If you are going to be spending a few weeks in San Felipe, it is highly recommended to take up a beginner’s art class or two, taught by Ruth. These classes are a great way to get hands on experience, and Ruth teaches the basics of artistic expression while teaching culture and history at the same time.

As if the extensive creative outlet opportunities weren’t enough, Ruth has even more in store when you visit the gallery. Nothing goes better with a dab of paint and pain brush than a cool crisp glass of wine. Upstairs in the gallery is the wine loft. Follow the stairs above the gallery and you’ll notice right away the beautiful view of the Sea of Cortez. Round the corner and step inside the wine bar, where you can choose from a variety of delicious wines to satisfy your pallet. There are plenty of chairs in the sun and in the shade, all with an unobstructed view of the sea. You will find wines from nothing but the best wineries from across Baja. Ruth is a wine expert, who will occasionally, on Saturdays, pair wine - especially wines from Mexico, and particularly from the Guadalupe valley - with cheeses from the Ojos Negros area of the Baja, near Ensenada. Drink a few glasses of wine, munch on some authentic Mexican cheese, and use the sea as inspiration for your next artistic masterpiece.

If you are in San Felipe celebrating a birthday, anniversary or wedding, contact Ruth about hosting your fiesta at the gallery. This artistic and inspiring place is a unique place to get everyone together for a deeper look into the history and culture of San Felipe, while tasting great cheeses and wines at the same time.  The gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10-4. If you are interested in using the ceramic studio, call ahead to make an appointment.

Ruth Olivar Millan is a very good person to know in San Felipe. She will be a refreshing and welcomed addition to your San Felipe vacation, and can bring out the artistic side is everyone.

  • Address: Camino del Sur 2514, San Felipe, Baja California, 21850, MX
  • Email: [email protected]

  • Phone: 686-577-0804
  • Studio hours: Thursday thru Saturday 10am to 4pm

Villa 22-4

House ID: Villa 22-4

An open staircase from the great room takes you to the master suite....200 square feet of privacy. Look out from the patio of this San Felipe vacation rental condo and enjoy the stunning views of the golf and if you feel like playing go ahead, residents get discounts. This San Felipe rental has plenty of room to relax by the cozy fireplace or in the huge continental bathroom with steeping tub. There is a big walk-in-closet. The other two bedrooms on the first level both share a covered patio. On ....more->

Location: San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

Bedrooms: 3 | Bathrooms: 3 | Sleeps: 8

  • Regular Rates: $120/nt
  • ~ Weekend Rate: $150/nt