Wednesday, May 18, 2016

an EPIC Donna Downey weekend♥

(Photo heavy post!)

It is time for me to spill my guts about my EPIC weekend in North Carolina with Bill & Donna Downey at Donna Downey Studios.

I am already so thankful and humbled and still even a little bit in disbelief to have my spot on the Donna Downey Artist Gang... well my artsister Michelle and I hopped onto an airplane (My first plane ride ever!) on Thursday and headed our way to take an IN PERSON class and studio session with the uber talented Donna.

 The Vegas Valley Sunrise. Up at 4 am to be at the airport around 530 and fly out at 7. SO exciting!

Above the clouds during my first plane ride! We had a lay over in Chicago and then flew onto Charlotte.

After settling in at the hotel and relaxing for an evening.. the adventure was about to begin! Up early the next day with a quick drive and.... Here we are.. AT THE STUDIO!

My first photo with THE Donna -- and former artist gang member Shawn, too! Donna had a beautiful setup waiting for us... little personalized berets and aprons, a new paintbrush and rag and two huge 36 x 36 inch canvasses ready to paint.

After everyone got in and settled.. the master set to work with some beautiful demoing! 

Then it was our turn... nothing says a new adventure like a brand new palette and every color under the sun. ♥♥♥ 

Starting to work -- a little slow going in the beginning but after a full day of  painting, smearing, mark making and more... I ended up with...

 THIS! Two beautiful canvasses waiting for the next day's adventures.

And after a full day's work I also walked away with these beauties.. a delicious palette and hand full o' paint.

 Day two was about finding our subject matter. We each drew some random lines with ink on one of our two canvasses. Then it was a great collaborative effort with the whole group. We took turns showing our canvas and brainstorming different subject matter that could be found between the lines and colors.

 Then individually we did some some refining with charcoal and shadowing and highlighting in golden's fluid acrylic.

 More shadows and a bit of body painting ♥

 Working... Working... Working. This was the end of Day 2.

 Day 3 brings our chariot.. the first two days Bill swung by to pick us up. The third day Donna carted us over!

Pretty sweet demo work.. using our delicious collage style backgrounds to help formulate a beautiful vase of flowers.

 Michelle & I ♥

Here is Michelle working on her own florals! She's so cute in her artsy clothes and her moody florals make my heart sing.

My very own floral canvas evolution. It starts as a dark moody collaged canvas.. moves onto a warm toned background with gray flowers.. and then to a muted sort of tan background.

Me and the level of completion that both of my canvasses reached this weekend. I cannot WAIT to get these babies and work more detail into them. I am so happy with everything went on this weekend.. including me, my artwork, the demos, Donna, her talent, being here with my artsister, meeting Bill, too!, connecting with others who are learning artistry and more. 

BUT >>> That surely isn't everything. There was so much goodness happening EVERYWHERE.

The whole class busy as bees in the studio. ♥

When you first come in through the "back" door there is a long hallway, jam packed full of delicious work by Donna. A beautiful gallery waiting to be purchased and find forever homes. 

Immediately to the right is STUDIO Coffee -- a great little warm room waiting to serve some delicious coffee and tea. Bill will make ya almost anything you want! There is also a lot of really comfortable furniture, art journals from Donna and even more beautiful artwork. A perfect little place to rest a moment, grab some caffeine and chat. If you keep going down the hall and turn to the right there are two bathrooms... 

One where the walls are full of altered paint brushes from all sorts of artists!!!

And one where you can find a new favorite pantone color ♥
After that you can go right into the studio area or left into the store and boutique. and MY OH MY are either delicious...

Now I didn't take pictures of EVERYthing but I got fairly close. The store is a mix of gifts / boutique items / and tons o' art supplies. Pens, pencils, bags, soaps, lotions, found items, a huge wax display and some of the most gorgeous artsy clothes ever. I NEED to lose weight to fit into more of these!

 Paint brushes, inks, (more artwork!) acrylic paints...

and the STENCILS oh god the STENCILS. I did definitely do a little damage while I was here. <3 I got a new wooden palette (featured earlier,) a new WET palette, new stencils and more.

And after all the goodness was said and over.. we all got together and took a group photo. Yes please! 

WHEW -- I think that's it. OH!!! ONE MORE THING!!!!!
The hosts (Bill & Donna) are so damn gracious.. I'm telling you.. there's a fridge full o' drinks and some snacks to keep you satisfied through the day.. PLUS all three days Grandma Cookie makes the most delicious lunches. The first was a great cob salad.. the second was a delicious club sandwich, potato salad, pickles, cupcake.. YUM. and the last lunch was a pasta salad with chicken & brownie. 

Just. WOW. 

I wish I could do this every weekend. every. weekend.

Sigh.. not that I want you to take my place ;) But if you ever get the chance.. GO!


  1. That looks like it was beyond amazing. And the colors used are fabulous. Some day maybe but if not Ill just live thru you. What an great story to tell and pics to go with it.

  2. Wow! it looks like a great fun :) And great artwork :)

  3. What an incredible weekend! I wish I could have joined you! It would have been a perfect weekend! p.s. beautiful work!

  4. I so enjoyed this great re-cap and your photos of the weekend! I'm still smiling from all the artsy goodness and laughter!! It was such a pleasure to meet you and enjoy your crazy-good talent in person! Hope you'll come back to NC soon. Looking forward to seeing the finished canvases too.

  5. You did a great job of capturing a fantastic workshop! I'm still pinching myself!

  6. Very proud of Deedee, our granddaughter. She's becoming an awesome artist. I'm very happy for her as she is getting something I longed for all my life. I've done some but never as much as her. Thanks to all the awesome people who help her! She is very talented! Grandma Charleen Smith

  7. Oh wow - this all looks amazing! I love your woman canvas especially! Awesome!

  8. Sounds like you had the time of Your life!!! Would really loved to have been there!

  9. This is an amazing post! Thanks for sharing. I love your canvases

  10. Glad you had such a great time! Your work is inspiring, when do you think your Mixed Media Guide page will be ready for viewing? Us beginners need a little help in the right direction ☺