Plitvice Lakes

My husband , Sam, and I celebrated our 25th anniversary year with a three week trip to Europe in May. As we looked for places to visit there, I got a big “dreaming” book of pictures of places around the world. In it were many beautiful possibilities in Europe, but one stood out to me from all the rest, Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. It described it as 16 lakes with waterfalls cascading from one to the next and boardwalks through the park. I wanted to go and see this park, and paint it.  As many of you know I have done a couple of series on water, Living Water and Beauty of the Coast. I love painting water. But with the longing and intrigued sense I was feeling I wondered what else God was going to show me there. I waited in anticipation.

We arrived at the park about 10am, as did a lot of other people and tour groups. It  is a huge park – and there were several route options, with boats and buses, and trails/board walks. We chose one and began walking. Already it was beautiful. I did a quick sketch and already saw that it would be challenging with all the people on the path to paint or sketch for any length of time.

boardwalk at Plitvice LakesThe view that we saw as we headed down into the valley was spectacular. The turquoise green of the lakes was stunning and the first waterfalls were varied and  amazing. We hiked all the way down to the lakes and the board walks. .....The boardwalk went right over the top of the lakes and waterfalls. My soul was filled with delight as we walked among the waterfalls. They were surrounding us, under us, loud, rushing water and I began to sing quietly (not that anyone could have heard me over the roar of all that rushing water.):
“Living Water fill my Thirsty Soul, Holy Spirit, Come, Bread of life fill my aching need,  holy Spirit Come, for I am nothing without your love, bring new life in me, then will  me life bring  glory unto thee, Holy Spirit come.”

sketching, perched on a wallWe took the stairs up the cliff on the other side of the ravine, where there was a lookout over the tallest waterfall in the park. The lookout had a stone wall which I perched on to be out of the way while I painted a watercolor sketch of the falls.sketch of Veliki Slap(big waterfall)

Plitvice Lakes, CroatiaLater we took a boat ride across a lake to the next set of trails. After a picnic lunch, we took a bus to the end of the trails so that we could walk back. It was as I walked and sketched along this stretch where the water was everywhere – running through the groves of trees, under the boardwalk, falling beside us that I was overwhelmed with the sense of saturation. saturationAnd that is what God desires – to saturate me with his Spirit, his presence in my life. Not the trickling I allow him in but a complete washing, filling, spilling over and out of me to those around me. This is what I came all the way to Croatia to hear and understand through the metaphor of Plitvice Lakes. It was what God has been showing me over the years, but now I understand it at a new level.

Veliki Slap (Big Waterfall)
By this time there were less people in the park and we could sit and contemplate, write and paint without so many people around. We were enjoying it so much that we missed the last boat back and had to walk quickly around a big lake to get back to our car before dark. I haven’t walked that fast for an hour or so in a long time. It is nice to know I can.
It had been a great day.
Krka Lakes National Park
We spent our last day in Croatia at Krka National Park which is another park of lakes and waterfalls further south in Croatia. It was just as beautiful and it was even more “saturated” with water, re-emphasizing to me my need for the saturation of the Holy Spirit, the Living Water.



water demoOne of the things I do when I teach is to demonstrate painting techniques. Sometimes I already have a painting in mind and sketch it out before class, knowing it can work for a demo.

However, most of the time it is a technique or project that I start with the class or a demonstration of a technique for one of my student's projects. Then, I have a partial painting or just some random colors and texture that I can turn into something else.

athabasca pine tree, 11 x 7 in, mixed media, Julie Drew

Over the last couple of years of teaching, I have accumulated more unfinished pieces than I have managed to complete. I just counted 59 I had photgraphed last fall to record the process of painting. Rather daunting. I had no idea there were so many.  Not all of them will be completed. For those that will be completed, something about them inspires me to press on with them.

trollfalls mixed media, 12 x 9 in, Julie Drew


Water flowing, filling, washing, spilling, around, over, under: this is saturation.

I invite you to imagine yourself on a board walk with water flowing under you from a lake spilling over to dozens of waterfalls. On nearby cliffs more water is spilling down, surrounding you with the rushing of water so loud you cannot hear the person next to you.  

The Waterfalls of this show are from different parts of the world.  The inspiriation came from Plitvice lakes National Park in Croatia.


Dates: Dec 30, 2016 - February 15, 2017 

Location: Blue Curve Gallery, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, 10230 111 Ave NW, Edmonton

Painting on location dates and time:

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017  10 am - 2 pm

Wednesday, Feb 1, 2017 10 am - 2 pm

Closing Reception: Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017 4 - 8 pm

saturation glenrose2017


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?



Latest Articles