From Coast to Coast

From Coast to Coast and Places Inbetween

I am feeling thankful. My husband and I did a whirlwind of travel mid August – early September. It was a lot of long days of driving so that we could spend a couple days with people here and there. I sketched along the way and took thousands of photos.

Englishman river falls BC Prov. Parkmygrandchildren 2022

We traveled with our middle daughter, Natalia, to Vancouver Island to go camping with our son, Thaddeus, and his family at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park Campground. Our grandchildren are delightful. Griffin is fearless on his bike. Jade loves playing on the playground with other children.

We came home for a day and headed out with our youngest daughter, Reena, to drive her, her bike and belongings to Kingston, ON where she will be taking the rest of her schooling at Queens University in person. We had really long days on the road, listening to audible books and music. I took out my sketchbook to capture a few things as we drove along. It was good practice in quick observation and memory as we passed by and I was still drawing the scene.

Haybales along the highwaypond along the highway

We went by way of Marblehead, MA to see Sam’s Mom, Jeanne and Mike where they relocated this year. They took us on a ferry to Boston to see historical sites there as well as around Marblehead. One of the ocean coastlines was inspiring to me! I can’t wait to work on completing a painting that has been sitting unfinished since 2018.(see the Marblehead, MA  photo above with my husband, Sam, climbing on the rocky shore)  I wasn’t able to spend the day painting, but I took photos and I hope to be working on it this fall. The picturesque town of Marblehead with the brightly colored houses reminded me of places in Europe, particularly in Norway. 

Ferry view Boston to Marblehead Ferry to Bostonjeanne mikecolorful home marblehead

I got up early to watch the sunrise just down the street from where we were staying in Salom, MA. A heron and egret joined me. I love seeing the larger birds. 

salom beach lowtide dawnegretandheron


One of our overnights on the way was with my aunt and uncle in Syracuse, NY whom I had not seen since 2000 a week after Reena was born. I was happy to introduce Reena to them and we enjoyed our brief visit, especially all the weaving creations my aunt wove. Beautiful! Seeing it brought back good memories of weaving from the time I went to school in Norway. I had enjoyed the rhythm of weaving the shuttle.

hummingbird1 turning red maples

From Marblehead we traveled northwest past Ottawa to stay a couple of very restful days getting to know another uncle and aunt of mine in Pembroke, ON. Delightful! They live in a beautiful home they had built on an acreage surrounded by tall white and red pine. Hummingbirds and a variety of other birds came to their feeders. We were too early for the fall colors, but one or two had started to turn.

Reena QueensU

After we dropped off Reena and got her set up (we went shopping for furniture – a desk, chair and bed),
we stopped to see Niagara Falls briefly on our way back toward Chicago. It was only an extra 2 hour side trip to the day.

half of Niagra Fallsniagra falls

We had lived in Chicago before, so we went to stay with our friends for the long weekend before heading back to Edmonton. Sam went kayaking on the Chicago River, we went biking down the lake shore pathway, we went to the Art Institute and saw my favorite impressionists’ paintings and the Botanical Gardens.

Seurat sundayonlaGrandeJatte1884

I will devote another post to the art institute and my favorite painters. Here I am in front of one of them - George Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - 1884. It is all done with dots of paint.

along the highway construction worker waiting

We had a couple days home before we went camping with my son, Nathaniel and his wife for the weekend. We hiked to see another waterfalls. It was a good way to end the summer trips. I am so thankful we had one more trip with our dog, Lizzy.

yellowhead lake lucerne campgroundOverlander Falls BC overlanderfalls samandjulie lizzy

Whew! What an end to summer and beginning of fall, but I am thankful we saw everyone we did, we managed to spend time with all of our children and grandchildren. We traveled safely from coast to coast and home again. We saw beauty everywhere we went, and I am feeling inspired to paint.


sketching waterfallatgrassilakes canmore

My daughter, Reena, was home from university for a few days and we took off a day to hike in Canmore. She hiked on and left me to watercolor sketch at the beautiful waterfall on the grassi lakes trail.

WaterfallatGrassiLakes Canmore

I did a quick ink sketch too.

WaterfallatGrassiLakes Canmore inksketch

This fall I will be teaching some sketching classes here in Edmonton. We will get out and enjoy the fall colors as we capture what is around us. 

Autumn Landscapes in the River Valley; Drawing and Painting - Yorath House in Buena Vista park 4 Tuesdays starting Sept 19.

Sketching at the Valley Zoo, October 1

Exploring Fall Colours in Watercolour: Drawing and Painting Exploration 6 Fridays starting Sept 22.

(If the links don't work, the details of registration and classes are also on the Fun Art Classes Page with more classes and information.)




Fields of Happy Thoughts

As I am looking toward the Art Walk on June 10-12, 2015, I decided to work on some small pieces based on my sketchbook work from my travels. This is one of those although my travel was only an hour and some Plein Air Painting...

I love the golden, yellow canola fields. It is such a happy, bright yellow, I feel a warm glow inside just looking at it with the bright greens on the edge. I was with a friend who lives out in Vegreville. We went driving until we spotted something interesting. And then, we would stop and get our our painting supplies and do a quick painting or sketch.  These three storage buildings in the middle of a field were not too far off the road with the field of canola stretching as far as I could see. Butterflies and bumblebees were flitting around the flowers. Glorious! 5 x 15 inches.

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2



Sketching in Korea

South Korea is a beautiful, mountainous country. sam julie reena in koreaWhat a fun adventure to travel and meet up with our daughter, Reena, who had been living with host families and attending grade 11 in South Korea for 11 months. We experienced her fluency as she conversed with the people around us as we traveled, shopped and ordered food. We even spent an energy filled sports day with her school, which was a peek into the Korean culture.

We learned to say the greeting phrase and the phrase for “thank you.” We stayed in people’s homes with airbnb. We ate with chopsticks. We took the public transportation in the cities and we rented a car for the last week to go into the countryside with a Korean language GPS system that Reena got to type in the destinations in Korean.

I took 15-30 minutes here and there to sketch and do mini watercolors in my watercolor sketchbook. From these and the phots I will be able to create new artwork in my studio this year. Here are some of them...

beachinNamhae sangjeonbeach busanigidae stairs sketchbotanicalgarden busanmonument 4 soldiers

July 23, 2016  What a fun Plein Air Painting Day we had!

If you would be interested in taking part in a workshop next spring and summer contact Julie (at the bottom of the biography page).

Here are some photos from the day:

north saskatchewan2north saskatchewan canoers on the NSR NSRclassplein air1next to the teacherstudentwork1studentwork2studentwork3

One of the things I like to do in the summertime is to go out sketching and painting “en plein air.”

En plein air (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ plɛn ɛːʁ]), or plein air painting, is a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning "open (in full) air". It is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, also called French: peinture sur le motif ("painting of the object(s) or what the eye actually sees"), where a painter reproduces the actual visual conditions seen at the time of the painting. This method contrasts with studio painting or academic rules; those might create a predetermined look. (Wikipedia)

with Julie Drew on oregon coastIt is different to paint from life than just using photos. Photos tend to flatten the image. When I hike, I take a camera and at least a small sketchbook, much to my family’s chagrin. (I had to learn to sketch quickly and take photos on the go, but I seem to be perpetually lagging behind. After all I had an agenda – capture as many ideas/ photo references as possible.)

Even so, it is nice to be with people who don’t mind sitting still for a bit. I have a friend who invited me to Kananaskis Country several times. 3- 5 days of hiking andJulie Drew traveling artist painting and relaxing with no one waiting for me to get done. On these occasions, I would pack up a backpack full of supplies and carry them the distance and come home with a mostly finished painting.

When hiking, I want to get a great picture or idea – and capture it. I would come home with hundreds of photos (with digital photography it is thousands of photo references!) and a few sketches for the depth perception. From these, I start planning paintings. I sometimes go on a hike with a specific idea for which I am seeking sketches and photo references.

I enjoy taking the time to sketch, but it isn’t just the need to paint what I see that draws me to the outdoors. I have learned that sometimes it is nice to even just sit and absorb the beauty without trying to draw it. It feel’s a bit like I’m “drinking” in God’s creation. There are so many metaphors in creation that lead back to God. In the stillness of just being present, as I sit and listen and wait in quiet, I can hear and see the metaphors and things that God is whispering to me.artist Julie Drew contemplating watercolor

For God alone my soul waits in silence… Psalm 62

It has been a long journey, this learning to wait, to enjoy moments, not to be rushing on to the next thing to do or paint. For me, it is a process of letting go of agendas, of accomplishment, and of worrying about making the people around me happy with me. At times, I fall back into the old patterns, but I am learning to recognize this in myself. On a hike I don’t take quite so many photos, and I sit and absorb as much as I sit and draw/paint.

A couple of years ago, my husband, Sam, and I took a trip to Europe. Since we were flying, I had to find compact art supplies that I could take on the plane. Traveling light. Now it is my art/camera travel bag for wherever I am going – hiking, road trip etc. I can even pair that down to a smaller size and take just the essentials.

This Saturday morning (July 23), I will be teaching en plein air on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River in Devon. I will be teaching sketching as well as painting: how to capture what is before us; what to paint, what to leave out; and eye training. There is still room in the workshop, if you would like to come.


Are you curious about what is in my art-camera bag? 

camera artbaginside Art camera bagsketching supplies of artist Julie Drewwatercolor supplies

When the fall colors start, I can’t wait to grab my supplies and a camera and go paint and enjoy it. It is such a short season here in Edmonton, so every bit counts.

My husband, Sam and I kayaked a couple hours down the North Saskatchewan River last Sunday through all the colors. It was glorious. I took some painting reference photos for my upcoming fall classes to start us off.

kayaking on North Saskatchewan River with fall colors

kayak 9 26 21 k450

Yesterday morning, I went out with my plein air session painter to paint on location at the Wolf Willow stairs. We went last week, too, to the Wolf Willow Beach.

I tried out a new feature I found out about on my new phone a "directors view" which uses both the front and back cameras at the same time. It will take a bit to get used to where to put my hands so they are not in the way. But, it gives a taste of what I do when out plein air painting and teaching. I was going to try it out more, but we picked a very busy location with people doing their cardio going up and down the stairs.

We spent an hour and a half or so on painting, sketching in the scene, masking the whites/ light areas, laying in the initial colors. Between the start we did on site and the photos and memory, we can complete the painting at home.


Plein Air Sessions ($20 each session) Friday afternoon.

I will continue to go paint outdoors as the weather and colors hold. I will be switching to Friday afternoons. If you would like to join me for a plein air session ($20 and your own supplies), you can contact me for more information.

Next week, Oct 8, 1 pm we will gather at the Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary. 

Fun Art Classes 2024

Registration for all the classes below are on the movelearnplay.Edmonton.ca website then click>registered programs>arts programs>adult programs> ***painting classes are now under Painting Classes and drawing classes are separate under Drawing and Mixed media art programs. The classes are listed alphabetically. I put the class code with each class that may work in the search. ALTERNATIVELY,  you can call 311 to register. There are similar class titles by other instructors. Check the time and instructor information as well. 



Classes in April

painting flowers acrylic

Painting Botanicals at the Muttart: Acrylic Workshop - Class Code #736363 -class full, waiting list

2 Thurs. April 11 & 18, 2024, 6-9 pm

$80 all supplies included

Muttart Conservatory

Capture the beauty and translucence of flowers and variegated plants in acrylic during this two evening workshop at the Muttart Conservatory. Through hands-on demonstrations from artist Julie Drew, learn to paint petals, leaves, and backgrounds using a variety of painting techniques. ALL MATERIALS ARE INCLUDED, just bring yourself & your creativity




Acrylic 1 & 2 - Class Code #736360

8 Wed. April 24 - June 12, 2024

6:30-9:30 pm

Cost: $200

Location: City Arts Centre

Quick drying time and multiple textures make acrylics a great choice for beginners and intermediates. In this weekly course learn painting basics such as composition, colour, and numerous painting techniques. Talented artists and painters will guide you through various subject matter such as still life, portraits & figures, landscapes, and much more in this inspiring and engaging weekly course. Have the opportunity to learn a wealth of knowledge and express your personal creativity.



watercolor pouring

Exploring Watercolors:  Painting Techniques - Class Code: #736367

8 Thurs. April 25- June 13, 2024

1-4 pm

Location: City Arts Centre: 10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton


Take your watercolor to new levels with pouring watercolours and working with layers. Explore the techniques of watercolor in new ways using the natural world as inspiration. During this 8 week program with artist Julie Drew you will learn a vast range of watercolour skills such as: masking, pouring, working with layers and salt, painting in details, composition, and working with the results – listening to the painting. This course is perfect for those who are starting out with watercolours or are looking for an expressive technique or for those with previous painting experience looking for a new style and inspiration.

gerber daisy wb

Painting Botanicals at the Muttart: Watercolour Workshop  class code #736365-class full, waiting list

2 Thurs. April 25 & May 2, 2024  6-9 pm

Cost: $80 all supplies included

Capture the beauty and translucence of flowers and variegated plants in watercolours during this two evening workshop at the Muttart Conservatory. Through hands-on demonstrations from artist Julie Drew, learn to paint petals, leaves, and backgrounds using a variety of painting techniques. ALL MATERIALS ARE INCLUDED, just bring yourself & your creativity.


Exploring Spring Flowers in Watercolors: Drawing & Painting Explorations - Class Code: #736362  

8 Fridays April 26-June 14, 2022
1-4 pm

Location: City Arts Cenre,  10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton


Love watercolours but you have never taken a drawing or painting class? No problem, this class is for all skill levels, taking you to the next step in the process. Use watercolor pencils and ink to draw and sketch landscapes, animals, and people. Artist Julie Drew will show you numerous techniques to combine mediums and even have you explore working outdoors with plein air sessions (weather permitting). ALL SUPPLIES ARE INCLUDED, just bring yourself & your creativity.


acrylic landscapes JulieDrew

Acrylic 1&2 - Class Code #736361

8 Fri. April 26- June 14, 2024  6:30-9:30 pm

Cost: $200

Location: Dr. Anne Anderson Community Centre: 11810 35 Ave 

Quick drying time and multiple textures make acrylics a great choice for beginners and intermediates. In this weekly course learn painting basics such as composition, colour, and numerous painting techniques. Talented artists and painters will guide you through various subject matter such as still life, portraits & figures, landscapes, and much more in this inspiring and engaging weekly course. Have the opportunity to learn a wealth of knowledge and express your personal creativity.


Classes in May


Hand painted Mother's Day & Floral Cards: watercolour and Ink workshop - Class Code #736366  

Sun.  May 5, 9:30 am-12:30 pm

$55  all supplies included

Muttart Conservatory

Create your very own Holiday cards while enjoying the gorgeous scenery at the Muttart during this one morning workshop. You will have the opportunity to paint the foliage and flowers for your valentine! Be guided through several techniques, colour suggestions, and basic composition strategies as you come away with the know-how to continue painting. ALL MATERIALS ARE INCLUDED, just bring yourself & your creativity.