Current News

Small Res

I have two happy announcements to make! First of all, I am honored to be the June 2015 Artist of the Month on I hope you’ll enjoy visiting the website and reading the article.

Secondly, I am honored to have a painting juried into the 2015 China/National Watercolor Society Small Image Exchange Exhibition. The images submitted by National Watercolor Society artists were juried by Zhou Tianya, and Linda Doll was the juror for the Chinese artists’ paintings. The paintings will be exhibited in the Shenzhen Art Museum in December, 2015. In 2016, the paintings from both countries will travel from China to San Pedro, California and will be shown in the National Watercolor Society Gallery from July 30 to August 28, 2016. The painting in today’s post is my entry. The title is In the Garden, and the size is 6.5 x 8.5 inches. 

Happy Painting!

Upcoming Workshop News

Uptown Girls

                    Adding the You Factor to Paintings

My next Adding the You Factor to Paintings workshop will be held in Traverse City, Michigan July 20-23 at the Crooked Tree Arts Center Traverse City (formerly The Art Center Traverse City).  The emphasis of this workshop is getting past the “explanation factor” and zeroing in on the most important factor of all in your work – you! You will learn how to create and rely on a personal rather than a rule based approach to composition and design. The focus will be on painting an eye-catching arrangement of value masses and color shapes rather than description and details. In addition, there will be talks on working effectively with color, working with opaque watercolor, and adding gesture and personality to the picture surface with line, texture, and pattern.
All levels are welcome. I will be using watercolor and white gouache in my classroom demonstrations but this workshop is open to all media, with the exception of oils. Students will work from their own reference materials (photos, sketches, still life set-ups, etc.).
Here is a direct link to sign up for my Crooked Tree Arts Center Traverse City workshop:

Main website:

New Email for the Traverse City Crooked Tree office:

Phone: 231-941-9488 (same as the old one)

New Address: Crooked Tree Arts Center Traverse City

322 Sixth Street

Traverse City, MI 49684


Lunch in Old TownGirl-With-the-Pink-Umbrella-low-res

2015 NYC 085a

My painting, Holding Her Near, was juried into the 2015 American Watercolor Society International Exhibition. I’m thrilled and honored!

Happy Painting!


Mark Your Calendars!


I’m excited to announce that I am partnering with the very popular Flying Colors Art Workshops in February 2015 to teach a workshop in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! Come and spend next Valentine’s Day with us in a tropical paradise!

Our location is a beautiful sun drenched colonial seaside town on the Bay of Banderas, the largest bay in Mexico. Our hotel, with its beautiful colonial architecture, has one of the best beaches of the tourist area with everything you need for ocean water sports, plus three swimming pools and a lovely spa. The hotel offers one of the best breakfast buffets in the area and has several lovely restaurants. Facing an unbelievable blue sea, sunsets are fabulous from this location, and the charming town has fun restaurants, lots of art galleries, boutiques, and a river front area full of arts and crafts.

Our workshop will be a more casual version of my popular workshop, Adding the You Factor to Paintings. The emphasis will be on FUN, SUN, and EXPLORATION. And the theme a simple one: turning everyday subjects into creative and personal paintings. We will begin each morning in the studio with a short talk and a focus for the day. Working with the daily focus, either in the studio or on location, comes next. Individual instruction and timely critiques are also part of the curriculum. Johanna at Flying Colors Art Workshops and I are planning to have a VERY GOOD TIME there and hope you’ll join us!

To reserve a place in the workshop, please contact Johanna at, or by phone at (858) 518-0949.

If you are thinking of joining us, you will need to reserve a place in the workshop by October 15 so that we are sure the workshop will be a go.

Happy Painting!

10 Things You Should Know About Color

Zagotta Moving On

“To control color is to understand it. An enriching, creative experience in which the intellect merges with the intuition can only happen when a solid base of knowledge already exists.”  Patricia Lambert

Over the last five or so years, I’ve focused more and more on color in my work. I’ve done a lot of research and scholarship on color, but when all is said and done, putting together colors in a painting is an extremely complex activity that can’t be boiled down to systems, recipes, formulas, or rules. As David Friend points out in his book, Composition, “Finding colors and color relationships is a challenging habit of search and joyous discovery, one of the deepest satisfactions in the life of an artist.”

However, I’ve come to realize that there are certain “facts of life” concerning color that artists must be aware of. Here are ten of those “facts”:

  1. Everyone perceives color differently.
  2. A color’s identity can only be determined by comparing it with another color.
  3. It’s easier to reduce a color’s intensity than it is to brighten up a dull color.
  4. Whenever we work with color we are also working with color’s four properties of hue, value, intensity, and temperature – whether we’re of it or not.
  5. The color wheel represents the sequence of spectrum colors that are found in the rainbow.
  6. The closer hues are to each other on the color wheel, the closer their relationship. The farther apart hues are to each other on the color wheel, the stronger they contrast with each other.
  7. Color wheels are important studio tools for artists because they organize information for how to mix colors, for understanding how colors relate to each other, and for creating color schemes.
  8. The Munsell color wheel is important to the artist because it contains true visual complements – complementary pairings that are based on actual afterimage effects. However, the Munsell color wheel is not meant to be use as a guide for mixing colors.
  9. To paint an accurate version of a color wheel’s spectral hues requires the artist to have the right colors on his palette.
  10. The less factual an image becomes, the more options increase for personalized and creative color.

Happy Painting!

The Color Project

Image (679)

I’m excited to announce that I have an article in the current (April) issue of Watercolor Artist Magazine! In the article, I documented my Color Project, the project I’ve been working on for a few years now. I created the project with the goal of taking my passion for color to the next level and working more effectively with color in my paintings. I started the project with three intentions: to enrich and enlarge my color vocabulary, to develop a deeper sensitivity to color, and to find fresh new color combinations and color palettes for my paintings.  I also talk about the research I did on various color wheel theories and systems, the four properties of color, and I painted one subject in six different color schemes. I hope you’ll pick up a copy – I think you’ll like it!   

Happy Painting!


I am a watermedia painter and I teach painting workshops all around the country. As anyone who knows me or has taken one of my workshops can attest to, I love talking about art, thinking about art, reading about art, writing about art, looking at art, and practicing art - so grab a cup of coffee, join me in the studio and let's talk art!

NEW! Donna's DVD



February 14-20
Flying Colors Art Workshops
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Phone: (858) 518-0949

July 20-23
Crooked Tree Arts Center Traverse City
Traverse City, Michigan
(231) 941-9488

August 10-14
San Diego Watercolor Society
San Diego, California
(619) 876-4550
Contact: Cris Weatherby

September 28-October 1
Artist Showplace Gallery
Dallas, Texas
Contact: San Cheang
(972) 233-1223

November 9-12
Nevada Watercolor Society
Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact: Sharon Menary
(702) 463-2454

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