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

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