Embrace What Comes Next

watercolor figure painting

“My process has always been a mix of deliberation, improvisation, and experimentation,” says Donna Zagotta. “I focus on color and value, composition, abstract shapes, mark-making, pattern, and painterly brushwork with the intention of transforming my subject into an expressive and creative visual statement that’s more about me than it is about the subject that inspired it.

watercolor figure painting
“I find that my creative process is always in flux. I seem to be forever searching for a truer, clearer, more creative, and more authentic way to express myself. The more I paint and the more I learn and grow as an artist and as a woman, the more my work wants to change. Currently, I’m working on letting go of a good amount of the deliberation, exchanging it with the notion of letting things happen more spontaneously on the picture surface, letting the paintings develop more organically in the directions they (not me) want to take. For more than 20 years I’ve been teaching a workshop titled, Adding the YOU factor to Paintings, and I find that I’m still on that journey, still searching for my own vision and my own visual language.”

watercolor figure painting

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
“For me, advance planning means mentally organizing my creative process for the painting I’m about to do,” she says. “I like to decide on the size of the figure and its placement on the picture surface, the size and shape of that picture surface, the color palette and working palette I’ll use, along with what other media and tools I’ll use if I’m planning to work in a mixed-media approach. Basically, my plan is a plan to get started. Once I begin painting I allow myself the freedom to make changes at any stage. I use my intuition to guide me as I put down paint or marks and respond to what shows up in the painting and what the painting needs next.

watercolor figure painting

Donna Zagotta (The You Factor: Powerful, Personal Design in Opaque Watercolorhas been active professionally for over 25 years. Her paintings have been exhibited internationally and across the USA. She has accumulated numerous awards and her work appears in many publications. In 1990 the University of Michigan School of Art invited Donna to create and teach a 400 Level summer watercolor course. This first experience with teaching art ignited a strong passion for teaching that put Donna on a new and unexpected life path teaching watercolor workshops nationally and abroad.

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.

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