Tara Sweeney
Watercolor Portraits: Step by Step

Aug 27 - Sep 1

4 Teaching Days


Paint a watercolor portrait with character and glowing color—not just a copy of a photo. Jump start creativity and strengthen technique with playful exercises, daily demos, guided practice and individualized feedback. Learn a three-layer, four-value, hold-the-whites approach to watercolor portraits. Begin with a step-by-step value study. Then, use the same simplified shapes and values to paint a portrait in color. Explore compositional planning, drawing tips, vibrant color mixing, pigment characteristics, wet-into-wet mingling magic, lively brushwork, 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 award-winning watercolors have been exhibited with NWS and TWSA, among others, and are held in public and private collections. She is a signature member of NWS, RRWS, MNWS and Northstar Water Media Society. Tara’s watercolor portraits were awarded Best of Show in Northstar’s 2021 National, in RRWS professional member show, and in MNWS 2020, 2021 and 2022 juried exhibitions. Her work was selected to represent MN in the NWS 50 Stars 2020 exhibit. Her picture book, A to Zåäö: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute (University of MN Press, 2019) was a MN Book Award finalist and the inspiration for ASI’s year-long solo exhibition, Extra/Ordinary in 2020. TPT2 public television’s MN Original showcased her work https://www.tpt.org/post/artist-tara-sweeney/. 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 and led 10 European travel sketching programs. Tara’s popular watercolor workshops are taught virtually and in person. When she’s not painting, you’ll find her partner dancing just about anywhere there is room to swing. Follow her on Instagram @tarasweeneyart and on the web at:  tarasweeneyart.com.


If 12 or more students attend class (all teaching days): $585
If 11-10 students attend class (all teaching days): $665
If 9-8 students attend class (all teaching days): $785
If 7-6 students attend class (all teaching days): $980
Room & One Dinner Fee plus tax: $475
(There are 5 nights’ accommodations included in the “Room & One Dinner Fee” listed above.)


Sunday, August 27

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. $27 additional for day students.)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday – August 27-31

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, August 31
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, September 1
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 7:30 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.