Art Vocabulary of the Soul Retreat

Connecting with God Through the Arts

Oct 28-30, 2016


Time : Friday, 6:00 pm to  Sunday, 3 pm



Theme: Saturation - Ephesians 3:16-20

Time : Friday, 6:00 pm to  Sunday, 3 pmcount me in

Recently, I had the privilege of joining a dozen fine folks at King's Fold Retreat Centre, just outside of Cochrane, Alberta, for a weekend of faith and art. Julie and Sam Drew have been leading Art: Vocabulary for the Soul workshops for a number of years and I cannot imagine a better place to put creatives in touch with their Creator. (Read the full blog post: Photos from Art: Vocabulary for The Soul)
              Posted by Bleeding Heart Art Space on Monday, July 18, 2016

Do you have a creative inclination? Are you thirsty for God? Do you think: "How can I use my creativity to connect with God?" How do you listen to God, hear his voice? Are you looking for new ways to connect and listen to God?

This Spiritual Retreat is for those who want to connect with God. Whether you are an artist or writer or just curious to try something new, we are all able to connect with God creatively. Students will be encouraged to create in the art of their choice -- painting, writing, photography, dance, etc. Instruction for watercolor and drawing will be provided for those who desire it. Supplies are available for a nominal fee. Coaching for the other painting mediums and writing will also be available. There will be solitude and group time in the schedule. King's Fold is a beautiful location in the foothills along Ghost River.



Retreat Presenters:

Artist Julie Drew and Sam Drew, Spiritual Director

sam julie


$360 by Sept 9, 2016
$410 after Sept 9, 2016

$65 extra for a single room

Payment Plans Available

Refund Policy: Refunds of all payments except a $50 deposit available until Oct. 1, 2016.
No refunds after Oct. 1, 2016.

Cost covers accomodation in a beautiful location, 3 meals on Saturday & 2 on Sunday, and the program.

 pdfArt Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat-poster

pdfArt Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat-Brochure



Sam Drew

samSam is a spiritual director and Christian teacher. He has taught and led numerous one day retreats and week-long courses on topics of spiritual formation, including "Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography", "The Theology of Spiritual Formation," and the "Institute of Spiritual Formation" through the Urban Sanctuary in Edmonton. He also preaches regularly as part of the Teaching Team at Calvary Baptist Church in Edmonton. Sam has a Master of Divinity and Certificate of Spiritual Direction from North Park Seminary in Chicago, as well as a Certificate of Spiritual Formation from the Urban Sanctuary.





At Kaleido Arts Festival in September, I taught the papermaking workshop again. This was my eighth year! It is a privelege to be asked to come back every year and a fun festival to be a part of. I actually remembered to take some pictures this year. 



It is all set up so people can come make one piece of paper to take home with them. 


We were set up in the  fellowship hall of St Faith Anglican Church.




Here is part of the set up and next is the other part where the group is beginning to tear paper, cut fabric and add natural fluffs (cattail, thistle, fireweed, down feathers, poplar fluff were some of the choices).


In the yogurt container on the left, you can see the small torn bits. of paper and fabric.







preblending2The next step is to take it to the blender station, where the bits are loudly chopped up and the paper pulp is made.














Once the pulp is made, it is taken to the next station where it is poured onto screens.




Last is the process of getting it off the screen so it can be taken home.

Pressing, flicking and rolling.




Look for my next workshop in the late spring or summer.

I teach another workshop on papermaking, an all day workshop. The students in the workshop will make 10-15 unique pieces of paper to take home with them.

I provide all the supplies, as mentioned above as well as pressed leaves and flowers that can be added.

Come and have a fun workshop with me!  

(Next workshop Nov 12 at the Paint Spot)

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

Student Gallery

The Joy of Teaching

This fall, I was privileged to teach a few different classes. It was fun to work with each of my students and watch their progress! My students usually pick their own subject matter and I teach them what they need for each painting or drawing. Some of the students are beginners, others have been taking lessons for several years.

In the watercolor classes we did some pouring watercolor in the northern light paintings; and then each student brought in photos to work from in a variety of subject matter.

I didn't remember to take pictures of everyone's work, but I would like to present this student gallery of a portion of the paintings both finished and ones "in progress" from the watercolor classes. Isn't it lovely! They did beautiful work!

The registration is open for the winter-spring watercolor sessions, and the Enneagram class.

works nprogress

lee fall2016

Nicola fall2016kaela fall2016 2

kaela fall2016joan fall2016 2sharie fall2016 3joan fall2016

sharie fall2016 2 

Drawing Class

4 Drawing Classes

Sept 11-Oct 2, 2017


7 - 9 pm

$90.00 +GST

Location: 6724 - 86 St, Edmonton


Do you need to brush up on your drawing skills? We will work on perspective, proportion, composition and lighting. This class will mainly focus on the drawing needed as preparation for paintings. The other aspects of drawing will also come up. There will be homework for inbetween classes.

  • week one: buildings, perspective
  • week two: landscape perspective
  • week three: animal - perspective and proportion
  • week four: compostion and lighting


Supply list:

9x12 sketchbook

2H + 6B pencil


clear ruler


photos: picture for each week's subject  that you want to paint

  • week one  a building (s) (i.e. lighthouse, cottage, castle, barn etc.) 
  • weeks two - landscape;
  • week three:animals;
  • week four - your choice


count me in



Summer Art Classes

I miss teaching, seeing my students and interacting with them. I miss coming up with solutions to whatever they are working on. I have been creating videos and painting. Anticipating what I will need for teaching is hard. I see how I often teach with flexibility and subjects that are student led to some extent. I have found that students learn better by painting what intrigues them or pulls on their heart. That is harder to anticipate in a classroom session online when I do videos ahead of time. I have some videos to start with. And ideas with how to proceed. So now I need to connect again with students.

Have you wanted to take a class with me, but you lived too far away? Now is your chance. I am offering three opportunities (types of) online classes. It will not be the same as class time in person, but we can make it work. What you will need besides the usual paint supplies, is a computer, phone or tablet. 

If you are interested in any online classes or groups, please indicate your interest in art classes or groups in the registration page.

One on one mentoring/ tutoring: This is for students who have been working on their own and would like feedback on their paintings. This can include what to work on, improve or change in a painting, solutions to frustrating parts and even how to tackle a new painting with suggestion of procedure. The sessions can last about an hour. $52.50/ session. (pay for 4 sessions at a time, includes GST $210 CAD) (options: once a week. once a month or twice/month) 

Small group mentoring (3-6 people): This is for students who have been working on their own and would like feedback on their paintings. This can include what to work on, improve or change in a painting, solutions to frustrating parts and even how to tackle a new painting with suggestion of procedure. The students will learn from each other as well, as they listen to the feedback for every painting. This could also include group projects or themes. Each student has about 20-30 minutes focus time during the session. $26/ session. (pay for 4 sessions at a time, includes GST $104 CAD) (options: once a week. once a month or twice/month) If this interests you, please, take the survey of the days and times that would work for you. Tuesday/Wed/Thurs. 10amMT or 2pm MT or 7pm MT 

Online classes: These will include videos, pdfs and some group feedback sessions on the paintings in process. Live classes will be recorded for you to work on your own time if you cannot make the live session. I am still working out the details. 

Florals - 4 weeks - Tuesdays, starting July 28. The live component will also be recorded for viewing later if you cannot attend. 

Waterfalls - (in person version: Sept 12 at the Paint Spot one day workshop)

Mixed Media - 


Basic Watercolor - 4 weeks - Thursdays, starting July 30 The live component will also be recorded for viewing later if you cannot attend 

The classroom settings will not open until the fall. However, I will be doing two things this summer in person this summer. Let  me know if you are interested through the registration page.

Handmade Papermaking in my backyard  - with social distancing and up to 4 people. (Date to be arranged based on weather. August  - sign up to be part of the workshop.) 

Plein air painting sessions. This one is harder to schedule in advance, as it is dependent on the weather conditions. $20 for a session, suggested locations to meet:
Chickakoo Lake -  July 17, 10 am
Overlooking the river valley
Terwillegar Foot Bridge
Muttart grounds - July 10

Other locations or suggestions?



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