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The Five Senses Through Collage

A seven day art retreat
October 1-7, 2024

Come experience the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch of vibrant 

San Miguel de Allende in Mexico for a collage workshop with Donna Watson.

Join Donna for 7 days, when you will travel to a beautiful city, 

rich in history. Each day, after class, you will have time to explore the city, looking

for inspiration and collage papers in sense-luscious San Miguel.

  • Paint papers to use in your collages.

  • Find out more about our 5 senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

  • There will be an introduction of design elements, principles and composition.

  • Explore San Miguel for inspiration and collage papers. Our senses define who 

         we are, and you will be surrounded by an abundance of the wonders of 

         touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight.

  • Discover more about your identity as you work to find content in collage.

You'll stay in a centrally-located hotel with an interior courtyard with swimming pool and luxurious garden. Classes will be held there. Some meals are included, but you'll also have a chance to explore the city's many first class restaurants on your own. 



San Miguel de Allende, located in central Mexico is a Heritage UNESCO puebla magica, not to mention voted one of the best places in the world to live by Conde Nast Traveler two years in a row. Come and be captivated by the friendliness and beauty of this town! Linda Laino has lived in San Miguel for twelve years and is helping Donna facilitate the retreat.

More on San Miguel below.

Retreat Venue


We are sure you will be delighted with the accommodations and facilities. Hacienda de las Flores is a family owned, old-world style hotel in the heart of centro making it a super convenient and easy home base from which to explore San Miguel. 

About Donna Watson


Donna Watson is a mixed media painter and collage artist for 40 years.  Her works have been accepted into numerous juried national and international exhibitions and she has received many awards.  Donna is president emeritus of the National Watercolor Society and the Northwest Watercolor Society.  She has signature memberships in the American and National Watercolor Society.  Donna has extensive experience as a juror and workshop instructor all over the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Her works have been widely published in art magazines like American Artist and The Artist’s Magazine.  Her works have also been published in books including MASTERS COLLAGE: Major Works by Leading Artists (Lark) and THE PULSE OF MIXED MEDIA by Seth Apter (Northlight Books).  Her works have also been published in 100 ARTISTS OF THE NORTHWEST (Schiffer) and STORYTELLING WITH COLLAGE by Roxanne Evans Stout.  Most recently, her paintings have been included in the book COLD WAX MEDIUM by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin…and FRAGMENTATION AND REPAIR by Shelley Rhodes.

Her works can be found in the Lynn Hanson Gallery (Seattle, WA) and the Maztke Fine Art Gallery (Camano Island, WA).


Please make your reservations to arrive at Leon (BJX) or Queretaro (QRO) airports. Information about easy and reliable shuttle service will be shared with participants. Please note, if you decide to fly into Mexico City, it is another four hours to San Miguel.

*Note: Please wait to make your flight arrangements until we inform you the retreat is full.

Please click here for pricing and registration




Donna’s workshops are confidence builders for artists. As a teacher, Donna is generous and knowledgable, and able to help individual artists drill down

to develop their individual, creative voice.”  Leslie Avon Miller, collage artist

“I have had the distinct pleasure and good fortune over the last several years to haves tudied with Donna Watson in several of her workshops. Her workshops go

beyond simply learning techniques; it’s a deep dive into your artist self.Donna is very skilled at getting students to think for themselves, to push

their boundaries, to open their minds.Another strength is her ability to give every student equal time and

individualized instruction or assistance.”  Lyn Hart, weaver and mixed media artist

“This course is a beautifully conceived and organized journey. The presentations and discussions were inspiring, and the printed materials and

exercises gave us a lot to work on during the week.”  Nancy Nordquist, mixed media and collage artist

“I enjoyed your class so much. The information and ideas you gave in your class was something I wish I had at the start of my artistic journey. You

explain things in a clear and understanding manner. I would love to take another class from you.”

Barbara George, mixed media and collage artist


October 1 - Arrival

October 2 - 9am workshop begins

                    12-12:30 lunch

                    1-3pm workshop

October 3 - 9am workshop begins

                     12-12:30 lunch

                     1-3pm workshop

October 4 - 9am workshop

                     12-12:30 lunch

                     1-3pm workshop

October 5 -  9am workshop

                      12-12:30 lunch

                      1-3pm workshop


October 6 -  9am workshop

                      12-12:30 lunch

                      1-3 workshop

                      farewell dinner

October 7 -  Depart  


Cancellation Policy Please Review

All deposits and balances for workshops are non-refundable.  We understand that it is sometimes difficult to plan ahead for a trip such as this and these uncertain times have created a bit more challenge. We thank you for your understanding of the need for these policies on our end. We ask that retreat participants be vaccinated. Note: Mexico never closed its borders to travelers during 2020. 

Please read our full cancellation policy here.

Retreat Waiver

All participants will be asked to download and sign the waiver form and provide emergency contact info. Please email to:

Linda will provide all participants with a "Survival Guide" with lots of info about SMA, recommended restaurants and useful phone numbers.

About San Miguel de Allende

Mexico is a huge country that offers its visitors an amazing amount of diversity. San Miguel de Allende is located in the geographical center of the country and is said to be built upon a bed of crystal quartz. Many people believe this legend aids in the “magical” quality so often associated with this town. San Miguel is a peaceful, safe environment, full of friendly people, sophistication and charm to spare. It is small, but far from sleepy. The streets are always full of visitors and locals in a lively and festive atmosphere.

There is more than plenty to see and do on off hours during the retreat. Most days you can count on very cool mornings, warm to hot sunny afternoons, and slightly cooler evenings. Think layers and bring a light sweater. There is virtually no humidity. San Miguel is quite hilly in parts, and the streets are cobbled. You will most likely be doing a lot of walking (the best way to see the town!), so we suggest to bring good shoes.

We are at 6000 feet and if you have not been in high altitudes, you may feel a bit tired the first day or two. Luckily, there are numerous cafes, parks and plazas for rest and refreshments all over town. There are also ample and inexpensive cabs (and Uber) available should you need a break from the walking. The cab drivers, incidentally are some of the best locals to practice your Spanish with!

The web is full of articles and videos about San Miguel. Here are two to whet your whistle:

"The Best City in the World"

"San Miguel de Allende Travel Guide"


About Linda Laino

Linda is an artist, writer and teacher who received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. She has lived in San Miguel de Allende for twelve years where she formally taught English Language Arts and continues to paint and write. She has organized writing and painting retreats of her own in San Miguel and is recently sharing her love and knowledge of this charming and colorful town with other artists and teachers. Her many pleasures in San Miguel include terrace cocktails with friends, hiking in the countryside and feeding the hummingbirds. Her painting and writing can be accessed here:


We look forward to welcoming you to San Miguel in October, 2024! Please do not hesitate to contact us. For questions about the workshop, please contact Donna at For questions about San Miguel, contact Linda at

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