Last month I had the amazing opportunity to attend some classes with Donna Downey here in Australia, up in Queenslands Sunshine Coast. Despite the poor setup and organization of the small classroom she (and we) had to work with, it was still a dream!
She was very friendly and wickedly funny, and shared lots of information with us. I found her to be very down to earth and helpful, and just a very inspiring woman with a bubbly happy spirit. Someone I definitely aspire to being like, personally and creatively.
When I, or anyone, went up to her between breaks to speak with her, or to ask questions she would give you her full attention, it was never an effort to chat, and she wasn't a diva either! Even when she was addressing the whole room, she made you feel like each individual was important and appreciated, and gave encouragement to ensure we all knew we could all do it, and were doing a great job.
The first class we created a canvas, and learned a bit about Color Theory, and products... This class was called "Techniques in Color"
We used Faber-Castell Gelato's and Big Brush Markers, as well as Faber-Castell pencils. This is where I felt it wasn't well organized/set-up, in my opinion... One tray of Gelato sticks for a table of 12... Donna asked us to choose 3 or more colours from the same colour family for our canvas... So all shades of greens, blues, reds, yellows/oranges, etc.... So when I got the tray there were literally like 3 colours left, a metallic purple, a skin tone pink, and a light yellow.... Now obviously picking the same colour family wasn't going to happen, but luckily I wasn't fussy and actually love yellow and purple, and pink too! The pink sadly didn't really come up though..
Here's my finished canvas:
I felt we ended up with a lot of waiting, and passing around, or just "making do"... Which isn't minded of course, but when you have paid good money for a class and you feel you are being rushed, or only making do, while waiting on others to catch up, makes you feel like the time and value is slipping away to nowhere...
But back to the canvas;
We also used India Ink in a dropper bottle, to give this cool grungy effect with splatters. We used Donna Downey's stencils on the tags and canvas background. As well as some of her sentiment stamps..
Here's a closeup of my finished canvas, with tags, washi tape, bit of stamping, some bingo card numbers, and an A for Annmaree ;-)
The next class was called "Inspiration Journal" which was about the basics of Art Journaling, painting, and Mixed Media... We were able to choose our very own Donna Downey Journal from the box! Lots of colours and patterns were in there, but when I spotted this colourful baby, I knew it was mine!
While this class was the longest, at 5 hours length, it didn't feel (or show) that we got a lot done.... The main reason for that was the drying off between layers or pages. Unlike most classes I had seen online, where the cords and heat guns were on the tables - at this one they actually had the heat guns set up at the end of the room, so each time anyone (everyone) had to dry something (which was a lot!) we had to get up, go there, get in line, wait, dry, wait, come back, wait and get the next instructions. This took up the bulk of our time, and seemed rather wasteful and silly, especially when we were asked to bring heat guns - that didn't get used.
Actually a LOT of the items they told us to bring, weren't even needed, I found... Especially frustrating for me, coming from Five and a Half hours away! Having to pack and travel with those unnecessary items on a train, and then a bus!
But back to the Journal... Here is one background page we got done, first we stuck down tags, and painted over them, then puddled paint on, and drops of other coloured paints, and spritz with water, and let it drip and fall and move around the page, to make this groovy marbled effect:
This is some India Ink drawing she asked us to try on one of our painted pages... I'm not a drawer, so not 100% happy with these flowers:
This page was all about texture. We stuck down lots of different items, like paper towel, netting, mesh fabric, ric-rac, lace, doily, sequin punchouts, and went over the whole thing with Gesso...
Its not a finished page yet, but I loved the idea of textures, and she really seems to love texture, too.
This is an image transfer technique we tried, Most didn't come out well....
This was my favourite page we did, which I also got Donna Downey herself to sign for me!
Its a canvas heart, with painted background and painted heart. But when the paint was dry, we went in with Oil Pastels and shaded the heart inside and out, to give the neat shadows and highlights you see:
(Live Inspired - Donna's tagline)
Such a simple technique really brought something so simple to life!
Here is a page I finished at home, employing a lot of the techniques I learned in this class and her signature item - Poppies!
Here's some Photos of me and Donna Downey:
I kept giggling because I was so nervous to actually be in front of her and SPEAK to her!
She even said in her wonderfully twangy American accent "Oh you're a giggler! I like that!"
which of course made me giggle even more!!!
Here's another pic a friend got of me,
as Donna was Signing my Journal:
I am totally swooning here, aren't I? lol!
So all in all, Donna was amazing! I would absolutely go back to her classes and see her again if I had the chance, Only next time I would choose another location. Because of the things I mentioned with the poor organization and setup. The plastic garden chairs they had us sitting on wasn't great for the back, bum or posture, and it did get a little claustrophobic in the small crowded room when you were butt up to another person behind, and three more each side all trying to get up and down and around toward the front or back to dry pages etc...
But the good definitely did over-rule the bad, and Donna was fabulous!
I hope you enjoyed my photos, and I'll leave you with a few more of Donna from the classes I attended; Thanks for stopping by!