A Creative Girl Weekend

A Creative Girl Weekend

Donna Downey Studio – Happy Paintbrush Wall

There’s not much in the wide world that I love better than a good adventure.  I adore going to new cities, exploring new spaces, getting acquainted with new faces, and learning new things.

I have to admit that I had not run across Danielle Donaldson until fairly recently, but when I saw her work, I was completely smitten.  Her little paintings are precious in every way!  And I’ve been wanting to play a little more with watercolor, so this workshop was tailor made.

Danielle Demo Painting
Danielle Demo Painting

We arrived in Huntersville, North Carolina on Thursday night.  This city is home to Donna Downey Studios, where the workshop was hosted.  Let me tell you, Donna and her hubby, Bill, are generous and oh-so-considerate hosts – chauffeuring you around, feeding you, making sure your every need is met (if not surpassed!).  The studio itself is just lovely – well-lit, nice and big, and well-stocked with goodies to purchase and take home with you (and, yes, I did my part to help keep the store afloat :D).

Ready, set, GO!!
Ready, set, GO!!

The first day was all about learning to lay down washes.  Danielle’s way of doing that was a revelation!  So much depth and interest and FUN!


On day 2, we got started with painting a girl Danielle had drawn for us – translated: she drew something like 20 girls in the hotel room Friday night (wow)!  I am completely in love with mine (shown below)!!


On day 3, we cut up our used paper-towels to make fancy hats for our girls.  The idea was a swim cap, but many of us took that and ran with it… Britta made a tutu, Tricia made curly hair, someone else made wings, and I made a sun-hat with a flowery band.


One of the things I love best about a good workshop is the other students.  So much excitement, like-minded hearts and AMAZING artwork (look for #creativegirlclass on Instagram for a peek).


And then there were the friendships – always such a treat to visit old friends and embrace new ones; beautiful souls, inside and out, who care deeply for creating and sharing and inspiring others to make and share.


Special thanks to Danielle for sharing your talent, enthusiasm and humor and to Laura for inviting me to this awesome event and for being a perfectly wonderful roomie!  And thanks to each and every one of the sassy girls in the photo above – I learned so much from each of you in such a few short days! My heart grew ten-fold and I truly hope our paths cross again soon!!


  1. I love watercolor and wish I knew more about it. Just love how the color has a mind of its own!!!! Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Love your girls.

    1. Author

      Thank you, sweet Snap! You are right about watercolor having a mind of its own! Requires a whole lot of letting go for this control girl, but my soul appears to crave that – hmmmmm! 😉

  2. Watercolor is my medium of choice, and little girls are my favorite thing to paint, so this class, and her work in general, just have my name written all over them! Did Danielle happen to tell you what kind of watercolors were her favorite to use? I’ve got neocolor crayons, a koi travel set, and your basic Prang box, but I’m wondering if I should upgrade to tube paints at some point, since watercolor is what I do most. Oh, I just can’t wait for her book to come out!

    1. Author

      Yes – she recommended Daniel Smith tubes, tho in her online class she has some more economical pan alternatives. I would DEFINITELY recomend her online classes – look for the link on her web page (linked above).

  3. Oh yeah, and I really need to take a class at DD studio some day. I’d always heard that she spoils you rotten. Was that your entire class in the photo? If so, you were so lucky! I happened to stop in at a shop recently while a Dina Wakely class was going on, and OMG, there must have been at least 40 women in the class. It was a zoo!

    1. Author

      Oh no – that was just my table (plus Danielle). I think there were around 25 in the class overall, but in that space and with Danielle’s AMAZING organizational skills, it was very manageable. And “spoiled rotten” is the best description ever – we totally were. Can’t wait to go back (cause I definitely will)!!

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