Studio Locations


Donna's Studio
Paseo de Guayabitos, (just off the main street, beside the Oxxo, near Teriyaki Alex )
Rincon de Guayabitos, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Galeria San Francisco
#1 Calle San Francisco, San Miguel de Allende, GTO., Mexico

tel: (cell) 045 322 888 7219

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Paintings from San Miguel and Guanajuato December 18 2011

'Passing Through the Plaza' Guanajuato oil 9 x 12 in. I had fun using a  palette knife on this one over a thin under painting. It kept it simplified and not fussy. I was happy with the results.
'Colorful Book Store' Guanajuto sold 8 x 10 in oil .This was a plein air that I painted with our San Miguel Meet up Group. That was really a great day. Eric , Marylou and Tom and I painted together although we were all spread out.

Calle Aldama Early Morning watercolor 11 x 15" One of the most painted streets in San Miguel! Plein air Monday DEC  the 26th ,we will be in the Jardin at 2pm til 4:30 or 5pm. That is if we have enough around that are interested in going out.A lot of the plein painters are away. We'll see how it goes. Meanwhile Happy Painting!  and all the best for the New Year.. Thanks for viewing my blog.Donna

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No Plein air this week and a new studio Class Nov 27 2011

"Baskets and Flowers for Sale "15 x 11"  watercolor  This was another of the old vendors on the streets that I love to paint so much. She was just down the street from the last one on Aldama. Starting next week a new class will be added on Friday afternoon. 'DRAWING JUST FOR FUN' It will be 1:30 til 3:30pm to start with. In this class we can explore different techniques in drawing, pencil, pen and ink charcoal, adding w.c. to pen and ink etc. We'll work from still life, sometimes drawing in the jardin and also in the courtyard , tackling nature , birds and animals. From exploring composition and line and texture we'll have lots of opportunities to play. There won't be a plein air Monday afternoon class as everyone is away this week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Rooster for Thanksgiving? and a few new colorful pieces. Nov.19th 2011

'Rooster in the Barn'  watercolor  15 "x 11" SOLD  This guy is pretty happy with his domain, so far he's the top banana!
"Flowers on Aldama"  watercolor 11" x 15" Who couldn't stop to admire all that beautiful color? The flower sellers are usually here on this street or just around the corner when it gets too sunny in the afternoon.
"Morning Tasks" oil on panel  8" x 10" SOLD  It's amazing how often the people going by wear  perfect colors for the scene they are passing through! This lady in Neutla blew me away! Happy painting this week end Donna

Art classes; new hours in the afternoon and new paintings Nov. 19 2011

For the cool months I've switched the watercolor classes and the oils to the afternoon. So for the next couple of months it will be- Tues. and Thurs. 1:30 to 4:30pm in studio.
Here's Carolyn out in the countryside 2 weeks ago.A beautiful panorama in front of her.
The studio is much warmer in the afternoon and so more comfortable for painting!
Plein air has been in the afternoon for awhile now.  We still meet at the Gallery at 2:15 pm to go out on location from there.
This week Nov 21st, we will revisit the site of 2 weeks ago near San Miguel Viejo  and paint 'the old hacienda' this time. They usually have laundry hung up to dry on Mondays......should be quite colorful. I don't know how old the hacienda is but looks to be quite old and still a working ranch.

'Evening Rio Laja' oil on panel  8 x 10"    By the time we finished painting last time, evening had fallen . A perfect ending to a perfect afternoon of plein air painting. No wonder it's so popular!

'Sunlit Interior' oil on panel  8" x 10" Instead of going out on location last Monday we painted in the courtyard at the gallery, watching the changing patterns of light and shade which the transparent rooftop created.A challenge to keep to the original shapes of the darks and lights that you saw to begin with.That's where the value of a black and white thumbnail sketch comes in handy. Donna

Friday, November 4, 2011

Next Plein Air Monday Nov.7th 2011 2:15 pm San Miguel Viejo Area

Yvonne caught this picture of a friendly local guy coming by to check us out.  Tom was trying to concentrate on his painting. Meet at the gallery upstairs 2:15 pm Monday ,Nov 7th 2011. Leaving by car at 2:30 sharp. We'll be going back to the area of San Miguel Viejo just out of town, but to a new area we haven't painted yet.We'll get those greens right with lots of practice! Last week there was sooo much yellow in those greens.

From last week's plein air group - Les , Tom, Yvonne and Karen. In the distance you can just make out the cows on their way.
And here come the cows !

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Upcoming Plein air Monday afternoon Oct 31st 2011

Some pro's painting at San Miguel Viejo last Monday. It was a bit breezy but fun.
Gail up on the higher slope, Karen, Donna and Yvonne.
We'll meet at the Gallery at 2:15pm Monday to go out to the same area, near San Miguel Viejo. This time we'll be painting the view through the trees. The corn fields are turning a beautiful  golden color.Hope you can make it, Donna

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some New Plein Air Paintings from the Countryside OCT 26 2011

'Casa en El Campo'  Watercolor  11 X 15 "
We met the folks that live in this place while we were painting one day in Potrero. A very friendly family that invited us to a corn roast on their Milpas.What fun!

'Path near the Church', San Miguel Viejo oil  8 x 10"
'Off to another Pasture' watercolor 11 x 15'' 
It was fun painting the sun and shade in this one. We're finding all kinds of interesting people tending horses, cows, sheep and goats .They pass through a little amazed to find someone painting in their midst. Cows definitely have the right of way on the back roads.You have to keep your camera handy at all times.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Plein air Monday at 2:30 pm Oct. 24th 2011

Our Monday plein air class will now be in the afternoon as the mornings are chillier altho' not bad, the afternoons are definitely warmer and pleasant for painting. Monday we'll be going back to San Miguel Viejo but not to the church site this time. There is another location out there that will be fun to paint along the edge of the presa.When the water levels are higher it is a lake,but at the moment it is now fields of corn with a fringe of trees for shade.It's a  beautiful pastoral setting. Time to work on those subtle shades of green.
Remember to bring a hat, drinking water, perhaps a snack, an apple or trail bar to keep up your energy.
White is not a color that you should wear plein air painting. First of all you get reflections of light bouncing onto your painting from your shirt. Secondly too hard to keep clean! Just wear something semi neutral and bring a smock or apron. Paper nappies are handy and a grocery bag for your garbage.Only bring what you'll need for the afternoon of painting and leave the kitchen sink at home! :-) 
Meet at the gallery about 2:15pm  We'll be sharing a ride. Please let me know if you're coming. Donna

The presa is very low at this time. What would be lake is now fields of corn and other crops. In the  photo below you can see the higher  water levels.
Looking across from San Miguel Viejo towards Los Frailes

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Painting plein air in the countryside .Oct 4th 2011

Tom painting in a sleepy little place called Neutla.
It's been awhile since I've written. We've been putting together a couple of upcoming workshops. The first one in February 2012 here in San Miguel . And the 2nd one in the Burgundy area of France June 2012.
The information about both of these are on my website. If  you wish to see more information about either workshop. go to the workshops link at the top of the home page.
This is an interesting pale pastel pink Church, perhaps a bit lumpy, but fun to paint .It's in a place just outside of ComonfortThe cloud shadows showed up the mountain slopes well.
The cows moved in as we started painting the pink church.Later on a woman from one of the nearest homes came out to us with freshly roasted corn on the cob to feed  us! Wow!
The field workers deciding if Tom got it right!
It's been a lot of fun finding some new places to paint in and around San Miguel. From the use of magical Google Earth, Tom has become expert at finding interesting roads with potentially good painting locals .The weather has been perfect for plein air painting.  Sunny days with just enough clouds to make nice shadows on the hillsides.The people are really not used to having painters show up painting their corn fields and little towns. It's really quiet too! The country folk have been inviting us to share food and full scale corn picnics.The locals are saying the corn has not grown as well this year due to scant rainfall, but it's been great eating all the same. They have so little but are so happy and hospitable.One fellow in Nuetla came to talk to us for awhile then went home and talked to his mom about us. He returned with an invitation from his mother to bring us home for comida! They are unbelievably kind. Everywhere we've been painting we're finding new friends.
I'll post some finished plein airs soon. saludos  Donna

Monday, September 12, 2011

Plein Air Painting Workshop in San Miguel with Donna Dickson Feb.24 - Mar.2nd 2012


                                     FEBRUARY 24th. to MARCH 2nd.  2012.
                                    Contact Donna:

After attending Donna's classes it is not unusual to hear her students express their satisfaction with something like; "I've taken lots of workshops and classes in the past but this is the first time I've felt like I really learned a lot that will push my work forward!" Beginner or advanced, Donna gently coaxes the best out of her students and with over 25 years of teaching experience, she knows just where and when that coaxing should be applied...........(see student testimonials at bottom of this page)  This will be a fun filled week of painting the colorful historic streets, churches, sights and sounds of beautiful, Colonial, San Miguel de Allende. As well, we are planning an excursion or two, out to the nearby countryside to paint the rural ranches and local scenery.  The country or "campo" is only minutes outside of San Miguel but provides a quiet counterpoint to ones lively in-town experience. There is a rich agricultural base in  this area which relates back thousands of years to the first indigenous peoples, such as the Otomi and Chichimeca Indians, - one of their ruins, a 1200 year old pyramid is located but a short distance from town and definitely worth a visit! Best of all, the end of February  is a perfect time of the year here, with predictably warm, sunny days, just right for plein air painting. This is a very safe, friendly town with a large arts community. The Mexican people are very kind and helpful, even if you can't speak Spanish. Even a few words of Spanish go a long way in communicating. It's impossible to become bored in San Miguel de Allende, there are too many things to do and enjoy.

All smiles after a morning of painting in the town's central plaza, the "Jardin".
  Our studio, Galeria Dickson overlooks this park.
In this workshop we will concentrate on all the basics but especially color - we'll further develop our color seeing skills, observing those saturated hues in the darks and less saturated colors in the sunlight. We'll be  looking for warm and cool colors and how they relate to our overall composition. If your drawing skills are good that's great but getting the overall colors right and  values correct will make the difference between a so/so painting and one with expression and drama.
We'll be looking for the big shapes and main elements in your picture. Holding  those minute details 'til the last and including them only if they are necessary to complete the expression of your picture, not just because the details are there. We'll learn to simplify quickly, as the light changes in a flash - "time flies when you pick up a brush ."
While this workshop is open to all levels of painters, it would help to have some on-location experience, just so you will have more fun when you get here. It 's best to get familiar with painting outdoors and also get used to working with your equipment. If you have a new easel, make sure you know how to set  it up and take it down. Oils, watercolors or acrylics are welcome. I will  be doing  demos primarily in oil but will be happy to accommodate the watercolorists in the group as well.

                                               YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS

Morning in the Posada Carmina Patio - It's always a delight to view this patio

....................A COUPLE OF OPTIONS
One is the Posada Carmina Hotel ( pictured above ) on Cuna De Allende, - long established and popular, literally  only steps away from my studio and "the Jardin," the very center of San Miguel. It's a beautifully  restored, large18th century Colonial home, with a restaurant  in the plant filled interior courtyard and double or single options. From the rooftop there are superb views of the whole town, including most of the principal churches. Rooms are clean and charming, opening onto the upper plant filled balcony in the Antiguo (colonial) area of the Hotel.  TV, and WIFI are available. Staff are friendly and the receptionist speaks very good English and smiles a lot.

Suites Casa Mia on Calle Correo,  This option is a little bit of an up-hill hike but only about 2 blocks from the Jardin, - a 5 minute walk. It's an easy down-hill walk of course and taxis are very inexpensive (approx. $2.00)  for taking your gear or heavy things back to your room. It features pretty, self -contained suites with kitchen, sitting area, bedroom and bath which opens onto a lovely interior courtyard. This is a little more economical for those who would prefer to spend less money on lodging and it does allow more room for painting gear etc. Only 2 available for this week but if these are taken and you want other affordable options I'm sure I will be able to find them for you.                                                                                 

Interior Patio,  Casa Mia
               These are both good choices and some English is spoken at the desk.

                                               Daily Painting Plan
 We will meet every morning after breakfast at around 9:30, to get an early start. (A list of some of my favorite cafes for breakfast will be provided.)
On location  I'll start with a demo to show how  I begin the painting and where I will be going with it. I like to keep the  demo short as you'll need to get started painting when the light is at it's best, but I will detail my methods of starting and working into the painting. As time permits I'll work a little more on mine and have you see it at various stages of completion. You'll be welcome to watch that process and of course I will be offering  experienced guidance while you're in the midst of developing your own work. My husband, artist Tom Dickson will  be accompanying us on our painting days too, unless he is busy with studio work or commissions at that time. Hopefully you'll will be able to see his works in progress too. 
We'll paint until about 1:30, then gather together for a friendly discussion and critique of the mornings work.

"Abandoned Chapel"  9x12in. oil on panel   Tom Dickson

West side of the Jardin with the Parrochia Church and The Allende Museum in background
............ a very typical morning in San Miguel
After our morning's work, I'm sure everyone will want to go for a hearty lunch. I'll have lots of suggestions to give you, as there's such a wide range of options. There's great traditional Mexican food you'll want to try, or Italian, Asian, Thai, Argentinian, Lebanese, American, Vegetarian and Vegan.You won't go hungry! For the late afternoon, you're on your own to go shopping, exploring, touring, painting or just taking a siesta!
NOTE: if we're painting out of town on a ranch or other location, we will have an earlier catered lunch. In that case, we'll probably paint another scene in the afternoon, before returning to San Miguel.

WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THIS WORKSHOP ?  Daily painting instruction and short demos.  Lodging, and Transportation to any painting sites out of town. An evening welcome party on arrival day. There will be a group Farewell party with food and drink on your  final night. Lunches will be provided at ranch or country painting sites.The use of my large studio to finish your paintings or just to store your wet ones is an included option after we are finished on location for the day.. A suggested materials list will be provided. I will have odorless turps available. A limited number of light-weight easels and plein air kits will be available for rental or purchase. There will be lots of encouragement and one on one help to aid  you in improving your skills.
Some of my students at a nearby horse ranch


The cost of 5 days tuition plus 7 nights lodging, plus some ground transportation and the extras mentioned above, as well as use of my studio, all taxes included is:

 At the Posada Carmina :  $1225 US per single person room with king sized bed.
                                                               single person with 2 double beds $1325 US. 
                                              with shared rooms this would be $1085 per person

At the Suites Casa Mia:    $1230 US. per single person with king sized bed.
                                              if 2 students share a suite it will be $923 per person.
Not included is your airfare to and from San Miguel. The nearest airport is Leon BJX, about an hour and half drive from San Miguel. There is an excellent, affordable Shuttle service that I can recommend for pick up and return to Leon. If you fly into Mexico city,  ( about 3 hours driving from San Miguel ) there are flights or buses to nearby Queretero.( About 1 hour away ) You can continue on a comfortable  bus to San Miguel or have a driver meet you in Queretero for the final leg to SMA.
A deposit of $400.US  is required to hold a space for you. Room selection will be filled on a first come first serve basis. You can send a cheque or pay with Pay Pal. I'll send you the address or invoice for Pay Pal as soon as I receive your email. There is a standard additional  3% transaction fee for using Pay Pal.
The remaining payment must be received 45 days before the class begins.

A limited number of spaces will be available for students not requiring lodging. $625 for 5 days tuition, including instruction, attendance at the group arrival and farewell parties, use of studio, transportation to painting sites and provided lunches.

                                                Contact Information

                   email: .........  phone 011-52-415-152 8216 ( Day)
                                                                                         011-52-415-154 4291 ( Eve.)

HASTA LUEGO -  Looking forward to hearing from you soon,   Donna Dickson


"Donna is an excellent teacher. Her demonstrations in oil and watercolors are awesome and her critiques of your work helpful and encouraging. Painting plein air with Donna in San Miguel? - you will love it!"                Yvonne Hayes  (student) 

 "Donna is a highly gifted teacher and painter. She makes each class inspiring, challenging and rewarding, and we always manage to add quite a bit of laughter to the mix. Her demos and patient observation and suggestions provide tremendous insight and knowledge, - there is always something new to learn about color, composition, shadow, light and "loosening up".
Painting in such a unique and beautiful setting such as San MIguel is a privilege and a delight,  Donna enriches that experience even more.
"               Karen Lee (student)

 "Donna is a fabulous teacher - I always learn so much under her tutelage"  June Sturrock 
I feel fortunate to have had Donna inspire me in painting with watercolors. I painted with Donna twice a week for three months. I came to her studio as a beginning  painter and gained a foundation of technique and confidence that I will carry throughout my creative life.
Both Donna and Tom have an amazing intimate knowledge of San Miquel. Plein air painting always seemed to be at the perfect location in the ultimate light to bring out the best in each painter. Donna provided great guided demonstrations. She gave clear, individual evaluations that  always included solutions. I especially appreciated her insight and instruction in tone, shadows and perspective.
Donna's excitement for my progress as a new painter made me feel like I was painting with a friend.                                                                                  Steve Stockman  (student)

I took some classes with Donna in San Miguel de Allende last winter and can't speak highly enough of her skills.  The sessions were very informative and relaxed, and the encouragement was always there.  As well as the in-class instruction,  there were great opportunities to join her on some fabulous plein air excursions. 
                                                                                             Jecka Meertens


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

End of August Street Scene and Still Life , San Miguel

'Green pepper with eggplant friends'  oil  9 x 12 in. After a trip to the Saturday organic market last week, I came home with these beautiful purple mini eggplants to paint. The green pepper looks large beside them.
Steve was just here visiting  for one week but enjoyed getting into the detail of this still life. Well done.
Still life with Limes and Apple oil  9.5 x 8 .25 in. I liked playing with the yellows, greens and blues in this one.Of course I like to get Mexican pottery into it  too.
Callejon Blanco 14 x 18 in oil One of my favorite streets in San Miguel. There's always something to paint here, either looking up or down towards San Juan de Dios Church. It's very short only 1 block long ,but packed full of painting opportunities.  Saludos Donna

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A San Miguel Market Scene and vendors on the Street Aug 17 2011

"En el Mercado'' 9 x 12 oil. This the market scene we did in one of my classes at the end of July. This is the one everyone was complaining about it being too complicated! I liked getting into the Degas pastel colors.
"Platicando en la Calle" 9 x 9 oil on panel.( Sold)  The doll seller and and old lady chatting on the street . I loved doing their clothes and shadows. The doll sellers here in San Miguel wear really beautiful dresses and skirts.Just like the dolls they make. They are a lot of fun to paint.Donna

Friday, August 12, 2011

Paintings for the Daily Paint Works weekly Challenge

This was in response to the birthday wishes for artist Carol Marine this week., on the painting challenge. I thought this looked cheery enough for a birthday wish or 2. Tequila and limas ! I love the blown glass that they make here in San Miguel. Especially the blue! Donna

This is a small oil study ( 6" x 6") of 2 guitar players at a corner store in San Miguel. (Calle Refugio at Orizaba) .I had planned to enter it in the "challenge " about music, but didn't get around to it. Always carry your camera with you on the streets of San Miguel .You never know what's around the next corner, happy painting!. Donna

New plein air class this week at "the Monjas " Aug 15 2011, Mon. 9:00 am

From last Monday morning at El Charco, Botanical Gardens. The mist in the early morning was beautiful over the lake . 2 students from New York, Marina and Raisa doing watercolors from the dam. This week we will be painting from the grounds of the very old Monjas church at the corner of Canal and Hernandez Macias, next to the Bellas Artes. Remember hats and water, altho' there is some shade from some huge,old Laurel trees in the courtyard.See you there Donna

Friday, August 5, 2011

PLEIN AIR Monday El Charco Botanical Gardens. AUG. 8th /11 8:00 am

I entered this in the Daily Paintworks Challenge last week. You could only use Red ,Yellow ,and Blue plus white. Only 3 brushes and it had to be done on location . Time limit was one hour! A challenge in deed but it was fun.   
One can paint the lake as well , it's now filling up with water after a very dry season..Plein Air this week will be at El Charco . We'll meet at the entrance at 8 am to get the best light.Remember to bring a Sun hat , water and snacks. We'll probably be finished about 10:30am. It's very beautiful early in the morning! See you there Donna.
The Nopal Cactus are full of red "tunas" at this time of year.
One of the paths to wander in the park, this one leading to the canyon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Monday Plein Air in the manana. Meet at location. 9:00 am Aug. 1st 2011

The market scene we painted in the studio week. This has a lot going on but you have to simplify simplify!!c Try to see the big areas. Don't get caught up in too many little details. Sometimes hard to avoid.Learn to generalize and see how little you can put in and still have the feeling of a lot of details.
On the far end Ann and Sheila and Dee and Joan, just beginning the market scene.
In the studio, from the left, Joan, Delores,Magdalena,Leslie and Joan B.. Hard at work. We worked on  this one  in 2 sessions.
Plein Air: August 1st.This week we will switch back to the morning, as there's a very interesting corner at Recreo at Terraplen that is best to paint in the morning.We will meet at 9:00m there at that corner instead of going to the gallery first. Many of my plein air enthusiasts have left San Miguel, so I'm thinking we will have a small group on Monday.
In the studio we have been working on various projects, a market scene and a still life with a copper vase.

Plein Air from Relox photos July 23 2011

This is the  colorful corner we were painting . The sun and shadow were a bit weak just as I took this picture. The values were actually stronger then this. The location of the gallery is upstairs in this yellow building the other side of this upper window, facing the Jardin or plaza. If you're not in San Miguel right now you might like to try this scene at home.
The doll sellers in their colorful dresses and skirts like to hang out in this area.
I'm calling this the challenge of painting outdoors.Or what can go wrong! We just got started when this bus parked in front of us!! Luckily they moved after  some suggestions from Liz.
A perfect afternoon painting on Calle Relox . Liz and I among the throngs. "We" were definitely the entertainment on the street today  We had crowds around us at times. Funny though when you're involved in you're painting one barely notices. saludos Donna