A great deal of Donna’s inspiration comes from the visual richness of the natural landscape, her love of travel, and the experience of other cultures. She is fascinated with the patterns formed on weathered surfaces, fossilized traces of vanished lives, archaeological digs that reveal the evidence of varied cultures, and graffiti covered walls of urban landscapes.
Donna will often begin her paintings with a complex surface of marks in acrylic and plaster, collaged papers and textured materials. She then continues layering with more paint and plaster – scraping and masking the surface reveals glimpses of other layers. The painting becomes a history of its own development. She sees her process paralleling the natural forces of time that build, erode and decay. Donna tries to balance randomness and chance against the human desire to organize and resolve. She wants the resulting paintings to be elusive, yet suggestive, of the interaction between natural and man made environments.
Donna was born in North Bay Ontario in 1952. She moved to Ottawa in 1961 where she attended school. In 1971 she moved to Toronto to attend the Ontario College of Art. Donna worked as a freelance transparency retoucher in Toronto for about 12 years, and in 1993 returned to painting after an inspiring trip to the US Southwest. Donna and her husband, photographer Ron Watts, moved to Vancouver, BC, in 1994, and then to Salt Spring Island in 2000. Donna has studied with Margareta Bootsma at the Vancouver Academy of Art, and John Luna at the Vancouver Island School of Art.