In June of 2016, I attended my very first artist’s retreat, in North Carolina at Donna Downey’s Studio. To say it was amazing is an understatement. Where do I begin to try to explain this experience?
It all came about when I found out that Jane Davenport, an amazing Australian artist, was going to be doing a 3 day workshop at Donna’s Studio. I watched social media as the spaces sold out. Devastated about something I never thought was possible for me to attend, I expressed my disappointment to my husband. And then, something amazing happened…a second 3 day workshop was opened up, and I had put myself on the waiting list, so I got an email offering m a spot before it was public knowledge! I spoke with my husband again. We weren’t in a very good position financially at the time, but it was a year away and I could save up. So I did it! I registered! I had something fun and amazing and new to look forward to, to help me move out of my then deep depression.
As the year progressed, I made my payments, and another amazing thing happened…Donna offered a 2 day abstract florals workshop just 2 days before Jane’s was scheduled! I was already going…why not tack on a few more days? So I did just that, and I kept saving and making payments.
Donna and her family and business people made everything SO easy. From being picked up from the airport and delivered to the hotel, or shopping center, to every day being driven to and from the studio. They provided lunch, and all art supplies. Plus they had an amazing little coffee shop and a wall of candies if we desired more during the day, and an art supply store right on site for any additional art supply needs. Seriously one stop and everything was there. It was amazing.
And then, there were the artists, both teachers and students. I was in awe of the kindness, encouragement and generosity of everyone. I felt like crying the day that I realized that THIS is my tribe. THIS is where I feel I belong! There was no judgement, only encouragement. There was a shared appreciation for colour and texture. There was a shared excitement about creating something beautiful. There was no perfectionism.
Every since this experience, I have had the desire to create a studio like Donna’s here in Hamilton, Ontario. To host artists from around the world here, at my very own studio. A studio with an art supply store, and a fancy little coffee and smoothie shop. (yeah…I want smoothies too). A studio with a gallery to display and sell MY art, as well as the art of fellow artists and teachers. A place to accommodate local artists in both learning and having a platform to share their skills. A place to bring people together in open and positive creative energy to support one another and to discover that they do have a community of like-minded individuals.
I am no where close to manifesting this dream…yet. HOWEVER… I do have a first step to creating this dream as a reality! I will be hosting Donna Downey herself, here in Hamilton, on August 9 and 10, 2019!!! She has created an amazing figurative and flowers travelling workshop. And I was able to find space for her here, in Hamilton, to share her magic both on the canvas, and in the minds of the participating artists. She is such an inspiring person. And I get to bring her to my home town.
Please, if you have ANY questions, ask away! I am trying to fill this class up and make it a success! And please please please, if you know of anyone who may be interested in this opportunity to meet Donna, learn some new tips and techniques, and have a super lot of fun, please share this with them so that they can ask questions and look into signing up for this amazing opportunity!
For more details and to save your space in the workshop, please click HERE.
Thank you! “Live Inspired” – Donna Downey