‘Extracting an idea out of chaos’

NC artist to bring popular art workshop to Temple studio


Renowned North Carolina artist Donna Downey will be in Temple this spring to lead a three-day workshop at Rockin’ R Retreat Center.

“Donna is an accomplished painter, bestselling author, instructor and entrepreneur with a passion for nurturing the creative development of other artists,” said Rena Cotti, owner of the crafting retreat on Bottoms Road. “We are thrilled to have her.”

The workshop, Don’t Hold Back, teaches painters and aspiring artists techniques in developing abstract art by “extracting an idea out of chaos.”

The workshop will be April 27-30 and reservations are now under way at RockinRRetreats.com.

“When I first started, a blank canvas was daunting, and it can be for all artists,” Downey said. “We will be painting on a very large canvas and just throw the kitchen sink at it. Like kindergartners, we will use our fingers, brushes, whatever, and we’ll create some chaos.”

“Art is about the ability to see colors and details, even in chaos,” she said, “then we will extract from the chaos to create art.”

Downey said she started Don’t Hold Back about 10 years ago, and it is her oldest and most requested workshop.

Downey has been a professional artist since 2000 and she works with a variety of media.

“Oil painting is probably my favorite, but I do a lot of mixed media as well, blending oil with acrylics, pen and ink, and collages,” she said. 

Cotti has been hosting art retreats for about 25 years, and she has had her own center since 2008.

“I had been renting out other venues to host my events, but more and more people were coming,” she said. “One day I was talking to my parents about retreats and the conversation turned toward us opening our own center to host my events and rent to other hostesses who were searching for the ultimate crafting space.”

“My husband, Don, found this building and we started working on Rockin’ R Retreat Center,” Cotti said. “Six weeks after closing on the property we were having an Open House.”

“Since opening, Rockin’ R has hosted scrapbookers, quilters, knitters, painters, beaders, floral designers, card makers and gals who just want to visit with friends, read good books and play cards,” she said.

For more information about the workshop or Rockin’ R, call Cotti at (254) 760-4218.

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