Donna Zagotta Workshop – Adding the “You Factor” to Paintings – September 12-14, 2019

Instructor: Donna Zagotta, Painter

Date: September 12-14 10am – 4pm

Location: Grand Haven Community Center

Cost: $550 

Early Registration: $495 (must be paid in full by July 31, 2019)

Maximum participants: 15

Click here to register:

(upon registration, we will send you more information regarding suggested lodging, suggested tools and supplies that you will need to bring with you to the workshop.)

Donna Zagotta teaching a painting workshop

Donna Zagotta Workshop

Adding the “You Factor” to Paintings

The emphasis of this lively 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, design, and the formal elements. This is a key ingredient in turning everyday subjects into creative, imaginative, and expressive paintings. Each day’s lesson will focus on an individual aspect for getting there: seeing and personalizing shapes; abstract understructures; non-representational value patterns; creative color schemes; and more. Donna will also discuss the advantages of using a medium that allows for spontaneity, improvisation, correction, and revision. She will be using watercolor and white gouache in her demonstrations, but students are free to work in any media. Participants will bring reference materials to work on during the week – sketches, still life set-ups, or personal photos.

Specifically, this workshop will cover:
• How to organize the visual elements for successful composition
• The importance of seeing subject matter as flat shapes
• The construction of a painting: How to build it from the ground up.
• Achieving depth and atmosphere: What works and what doesn’t.
• Colors and intensities and how they relate to values.

  • Student Level: Advanced Beginner and up. Students should have a basic
    understanding of how to work with their materials, plus some paint mixing experience.
    You should also have a knowledge of perspective and a capable drawing ability.
  • Location: Beautiful downtown Grand Haven’s Community Center, located close to
    coffee shops; restaurants; micro-breweries; and retail shopping. We can assist you with
    renting an apartment, condo, or hotel room.
  • Workshop Fee: Early Registration by July 1: $495. July 2 on: $550. (No refunds after
    July 1) You need to bring your own paint brushes and other tools. A smock, painting
    shirt, or apron is also suggested. Maximum 15 participants.
  • Hours: 10-4pm daily. We will break for lunch each day. You will be able to visit our
    varied restaurants. On Friday evening, from 4:30-6pm, we will host a wine and cheese
    event at C2C Gallery, where you will be able to view more of Donna’s paintings.

And much more! We will cover the entire painting process from concept to completion. Don’t miss out!

Tools of a painter donna zagotta

Information about Donna:

Donna Zagotta teaching painting workshopActive professional for more than 20 years, Donna Zagotta is a nationally recognized artist, teacher, and juror. She has accumulated numerous awards including the first place awards in the 2005 Arizona Watercolor Association Exhibition and the 1997 Watercolor West Exhibition, the second place award in the 1999 National Watercolor Society Exhibition, and the Samuel Leitman Award in the 2008 and the Ogden and Mary Pleissner Award in the 2000 American Watercolor Society Exhibitions. She is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and Midwest Watercolor Society. Her work appears in numerous publications and can be seen on the cover of Watercolor Expressions and The Artist’s Magazine. She was selected as Watercolor Magic Yearbook 2001’s “Ones to Watch”, and she was featured in Watermedia Focus magazine as “An Artist Worth Noting”. Donna has been teaching classes and workshops since 1990 and she served as one of
the jurors for the 2002 National Watercolor Society Exhibition.

Donna Zagotta’s paintings have evolved from an early emphasis on traditional watercolor techniques and traditionally influenced realism to an unconventional use of the watercolor medium and the exploration of the area that lies between realism and abstraction. Donna has a passion for art history with a special interest in Modernism and finds inspiration in the work of Edouard Vuillard, Henri Matisse, and Richard Diebenkorn, master painters who were more focused on expressing color and spatial
ideas than in rendering the particulars of subject matter.


Joan on Mar 12, 2019
Extremely informative class. Better than most workshops I have attended. Donna is a great, creative artist.

Mary on Mar 14, 2019
Love the way she explains each movement of her brush in using color: all colors in every color is her mantra. I am very intrigued by the look she achieves through careful choice of composition and integrated use of color…I think the concepts will transfer to other media as they are universal concepts.

Excellent Workshop!
November 6, 2012
If you have admired Donna Zagottas paintings, and wondered how you, too, could learn to paint that way, then this is the workshop for you!  Donna takes you through every step of her process, from selecting a subject and carefully simplifying and refining the design to choosing your colors, applying them in many layers, until you like what you see! Donnas paintings are representational, but not ‘realistic’. Donnas palette consists of transparent watercolors with the addition of Permanent White Gouache. Her process however resembles that of an oil painter, as she works up to a thick layer of paint the consistency of
toothpaste. The advantage of this technique is that you can change your mind as many times as you need to, as you explore where you want to go. While the carefully worked-out design provides the framework of which only minor details are changed or eliminated, choosing and applying the paint is a seemingly endless process of discovery. This is at times frustrating to watch, but actually fun to do, as it takes much of the anxiety out of painting with watercolor. The quality and detail of instruction, complemented by a generous gallery of Donnas paintings, make this a very worthwhile investment.

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