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Yes, You Can

 In The Artist Date, Weekly Forum Discussion

Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzie Lou Mixed Media

Yes. I have said yes, and I am still saying yes. Even though the clock is ticking, and with each passing day I come closer to the point-of-no-return date. Yes, I will be hosting Donna Downey in Hamilton, Ontario in August 2019. Yes, it will sell out. Yes, everyone will have an amazing time. Yes, it will be an experience of a lifetime for me, helping me to discover what it is I want from life and business. Yes, yes, yes. I see how this can benefit and help me grow my business, even though I don’t intend to make any profit myself from this event. And even though many people close to me think I am crazy, I say yes.

Three years ago, I travelled by myself for the first time, to North Carolina to Donna Downey’s studio. At the time, my draw and focus were on meeting Jane Davenport. I fell in love with Donna’s energy as soon as I met her. Her way of looking at life is inspiring, as she takes every turn in life from the eyes of curiosity, open to learning and expanding, and sharing her lessons with others to help lift and enlighten them. The way she teaches and her reactions to the paint are thought-provoking, pushing her students to step outside of their comfort zone and embrace the glorious imperfections in smudges and blends. She encourages her students to paint quickly, in order to trust their intuition and follow their hearts rather than their minds. This also allows for blending by painting wet on wet. It is such an enjoyable adventure when you paint with Donna. Painting seems new and fresh and alive. She mentors her students to pour their emotions out onto the canvas, in a very pure way.

When working with Donna, you learn to see in a new light. She builds your skill and your confidence while you have fun experiencing art. It is not like a lesson. It is truly an experience. A step on your journey. Like having the blindfold pulled away from your eyes. Her secret…she paints light and shadow. You have to learn to see the light and the shadow to paint them; to practice and trust yourself. What do you see? This is true for any subject matter. It’s astounding. Mind-blowing.

I wish everyone could experience an in-person class with Donna. It is hard to put into words the feelings and lessons that come out of such a workshop. It’s about so much more than just a painting lesson. It’s a dance on your canvas, where one move leads to the next and then the next. Not a cookie cutter step by step, but a conversation with your art. A call and response.

I have not found anything like it in the area as of yet, and my dream is to create a place to nurture artistic adventure and welcome artists both locally and internationally to create an experience rather than a class. A place for artists of all levels to hang out, and share and grow. To connect, and inspire, and break free of the confines of their own limiting beliefs.

This is why when Donna put out a call on social media for locations to host her travelling workshop, I did everything I could to find a way to have her come to Hamilton. I made a proposal for her, and she said yes. Now, I need to find a way to help others say yes to this experience and allowing themselves to shine.

(If you are interested in more information, please look under workshops at www.lizzieloumixedmedia.com)

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