Donna’s Art of Giving—2019 Edition

This year, I am starting a yearly tradition of sharing some of the things that have brought me more joy, simplicity, organization, inspiration and connection to other artists during the year. My hope is that this list will inspire you to give something meaningful to the artist(s) in your life. Happy holidays!

Connecting with Artists

Thanks to sites like Patreon, artists can stay connected, share in our struggles and victories and support each other throughout our artistic journey. I’m thrilled to be creating a community of artists excited about evolving their art.

Here, I am sharing Inspiration ANY DAY art journal videos (formerly Inspiration Wedneday), exclusive behind-the-scenes videos from the studio, interviews, monthly art challenges and insider basics helping artists looking to transition from hobbyist to professional artist.

Donna Downey—Patreon Community - Monthly memberships from $5


Game Changing Painting Supplies 

Fun Fact : I painted my entire “O Series” using this Catalyst Wedge. I love it so much more than using a palette knife.

Princeton wedge

Princeton Catalyst Silicone Wedge No. 6, for Artist Paint, Plaster, Clay and Frosting ($8.58)



I so excited about the way it moved the paint over the canvas that i couldn't wait to share as a headliner retreat in my 2020 schedule. 

Expressive Figurative and Portrait — workshop to be held February 6-9, 2020 and August 6-9, 2020 ($925)


New Favorite Acrylic Paint Colors

OMG, they are so rich and creamy it's like painting with butter!!

Charvin Extra-Fine Artists' Acrylic Paints - Luxurious Professional Artist Paint Created to Mimic The Colors of Nature - 60 ml Paint Tube - [Tropical Green] ($16.95)

Charvin Extra-Fine Artists' Acrylic Paints - Luxurious Professional Artist Paint Created to Mimic The Colors of Nature - 60 ml Paint Tube - [Tanned] ($16.95)












Charvin Extra-Fine Artists' Acrylic Paints - Luxurious Professional Artist Paint Created to Mimic The Colors of Nature - 60 ml Paint Tube - [Caribbean Pink] ($16.95)

Drinks for Morning and Evening


I keep a secret coffee pot down in my apartment to make my favorite coffee!

SENSEO Original XL Coffee Pod Machine, Coffee Maker, Coffee Machine, Espresso Machine for Senseo Coffee Pods, 2018 Edition HD7810/65, Black ($149.99)

Melitta Single Cup Coffee Pods for Senseo & Hamilton Beach Brewers, Dark Roast Coffee, 18 Count (Pack of 6) ($35.82)

My favorite mixed drink

I call it the "Happy Grapefruit"

Heres the simple recipe:
  • Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka
  • Elderflower cordial
  • Q Grapefruit tonic




My entire home is connected to Alexa and I love it—from jamming out to my favorite music while painting or having the luxury of turning the lights on with a simple command. All you need are some smart plugs to hook everything up!

All-new Echo (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Sandstone ($99.99)  
Meross WiFi Smart Plug Mini—4 Pack ($27.99)



In my teaching studio, I wanted to organize things so students, teachers and I could see all the colors and products available in the studio space. On a whim, I bought these shelves and I am thrilled with how they look. And they were so simple to hang!

Dasher Products Clear Acrylic Floating Wall Shelves - 17 Inch Wall Bookshelf ($24.99)

Joyjorya 3rd Generation Clear Acrylic Remote Control Holder Wall Mount Media Organizer Storage Box (3 Compartment XL)


 Clutter-Free Video Recording

Many artists shoot videos now, and there’s a lot of stuff that can get in the way. This “arm” gets rid of unsightly cords—and tripods!

Neewer Triangle Wall Mounting Boom Arm, Max Length 86.2 inches/219 centimeters ($69.99)


Without a doubt one of the best books I added to my library this year!

From the Amazon description:
“It is the first book to survey the works of contemporary painters who are challenging and reshaping the tradition of Realism. Helping art lovers, collectors, and artists approach and understand this compelling new phenomenon, it includes the works of 38 artists whose paintings respond to the subjectivity and disruptions of modern experience.”

Disrupted Realism: Paintings for a Distracted World, by John Seed ($44.93)

Working Comfortably

I love this shirt, and it was only $19.

Halife Women's Long Sleeve/Short Sleeve Boat Neck Off Shoulder Blouse Tops

 I call this my “Wubbie”—and I wear it every day. I bought it in grey size large, and it’s perfectly oversized.

Traleubie Women's Open Front Long Sleeve Boho Boyfriend Knit Chunky Cardigan Sweater


Mixing Colors Secret Weapon

Magic Palette Color Mixing Guide is another must-have for me! This takes the guesswork out of mixing color. In a single sheet, it shows 324 colors created from 18 paint colors that are essential to most artists.