Tara Sweeney
Watercolor Portraits: Color that Glows

Sep 11 - Sep 16

4 Teaching Days


Returning for the 3rd year in 2022

Watercolor’s spontaneity and range make it the perfect medium for expressing character strengths (and quirks) in glowing color and lively brushwork. Its playful lead reliably jumpstarts creativity, wakes up intuition and strengthens technique—all of which helps you create a painting instead of a copy of a photo. Through daily demos, guided practice and individualized feedback you learn a three-layer, four-value, hold-the-whites approach to transparent watercolor. We begin with a step-by-step value study. The same techniques used for these simplified shapes and monochromatic values help you see and paint the complex shapes and values of color. Individual style emerges as we explore compositional planning, drawing tips, vibrant color mixing, pigment characteristics, wet-into-wet mingling magic, lively gestures, and intentional lost and found edges in this fun workshop for all levels.



Tara Sweeney is a prolific painter, illustrator, author and teacher from Saint Paul, MN. Her watercolor portrait, “First Sip,” was selected for NWS 50 Stars 2020 exhibit and was awarded best of show in MNWS 2020 exhibit. The original watercolor illustrations for her debut picture book, A to Zåäö: Playing with History (University of MN Press, 2019) are the focus of a solo exhibition, Extra/Ordinary, at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis 2/29-7/5/20. TPT2 public television’s MN Original recently showcased her work. Her award-winning watercolors have been exhibited with the National Watercolor Society and Transparent Watercolor Society of America, among many others, and are held in public and private collections.

She holds signature membership in NWS, RRWS and MNWS where she has served on the board since 2014. She earned undergraduate degrees in design and studio art from the University of Wisconsin, and an MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is professor emeritus with Augsburg University where she taught drawing and painting for 25 years. She teaches popular watercolor workshops in the Twin Cities and a variety of regional locations. When she’s not painting, you’ll find her partner dancing just about anywhere there is room to swing.

Affiliations: NWS signature member, RRWS signature member, MNWS signature member, MNWS board 2014-2020

Learn More about Tara Sweeney


If 12 or more students attend class (all teaching days): $575
If 11-10 students attend class (all teaching days): $655
If 9-8 students attend class (all teaching days): $755
If 6-7 students attend class (all teaching days): $970
Room & One Dinner Fee plus tax: $470
(There are 5 nights’ accommodations included in the “Room & One Dinner Fee” listed above.)


Sunday, Sept 11
Check-In to your unit at Dillman’s (check-in time is 3:00)
5:00 Welcome Reception (included in package)
6:00 Dinner at Dillman’s (included in Room and Meal Package. $25 additional for day students.)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday – Sept 12-15
Breakfast On Own
9:00 a.m. – Noon Class in Session
Lunch On Own

Meals are on your own. All accommodations have cooking facilities. You may preorder box lunches and dinners for meals to be taken alone or with your group in: your studio, the lodge deck, cafe, or your accommodation. (Pre-ordering for lunches and dinners is required.)

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Class in Session

Thursday, Sept 15
9:00 a.m. – Noon Class in Session
NOON Champagne Toast & Dessert (included in package
Lunch On Own
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Class in Session

Friday, Sept 16
Depart – check-out time is 10:00

Optional Events – Sign Up Required / Subject to Change:
Monday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)
Monday 7:00 p.m. S’more Roast (no charge)

Tuesday 8:00 a.m. Yoga
Tuesday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)

Wednesday Noon & 4:00 p.m. Pontoon Ride on White Sand Lake (no charge)
Wednesday 5:00 p.m. Moondeer & Friends Gallery Tour (no charge)
Wednesday 6:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner

Thursday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)

Dine-Around Dinners: Registration required at the front desk, meet at 5:00pm in the main lobby for carpooling.

Day students are welcome to attend the Welcome Reception and Farewell Reception (included in your package). You are also invited to join the class dinners (additional fee). PAL’s (Participants at large) can vacation at Dillman’s for $40 per night for accommodations. Costs for box lunches and dinners are additional.

COVID Precautions

For the 2023 season, all artists should be prepared to abide by current CDC recommendations.