Tag Archives: series

Doing Great Work


Donna Zagotta, Look Both Ways

I’m excited to say that my painting in today’s post, Look Both Ways will be included in the 2010 National Watercolor Society Exhibition that opens later this month in San Pedro, California.  It was a breakthrough painting for me, it’s one of my favorites, and I am so thrilled that the jurors liked it too!  

In his book Do More Great Work, Michael Stanier writes, “There’s a basic pattern, a rhythm, to the creative process, a backbeat driving the emergence of ideas:




                         Create/ Select 

You open up, expand possibilities, and have ideas (out, expand, diverge, create). Then you narrow your focus, close down options, and make a choice (in, contract, converge, select).  And repeat.”

Half the battle of improving our work and getting it closer to where we really want it to be is knowing what we want. I find it extremely helpful to sit down with my art journal and get my “wants” into specifics. I make lists of the ideas and elements I want to add to my work, and then I search for ways to implement them. The second list of “ways” is actually more important than the first list of “wants” because the items on that list will often be outside of our current areas of expertise and therefore will require learning something new, trial and error experiments, failing, leaving behind old habits, and starting from square one again.  While it sounds simple, it’s not easy. But, it is the secret to doing more great work! 

Happy Painting!