Julie Drew

Julie Drew

Isn't It?

    we take it for granted,
    we turn on the tap,
    we let the water run,
    we can do what we want,
        it's ours
             isn't it?
What if...
    the snow didn't come?
    the spring rains failed to come?
    the river ran dry?
    we used up the aquifer?
What if...
    it didn't rain because we cut down the trees?
    the prairie became a dessert for lack of rainfall?
    fires burned up the forests because everything was so dry?
What if...
    we used up our water to irrigate water needy plants in hot, dry locations, where water quickly evaporates?
    we used it up to make endless amounts of things in factories from computers to make-up?
    we used it to push up the oil out of the oil sands, creating sledge that can kill birds?
It doesn't matter...
    it's ours
        isn't it?
Or is it?

Painting: Scarred Lands, Scarred hearts

I am Loved

I am loved
   even in my sin...I am loved.
Pour Your Spirit on me
   cleanse me, wash me
   wash away my sin,
       my selfishness,
       my pain,
       my self-righteousness,
       my pride,
            wash me clean,
            white as snow,
            make me whole,
                  to live,
                  to serve You,
                  to serve others.
I cannot contain this love.
Let it flow from me and touch others:
As You have forgiven me
    may I forgive others.
Let it flow like a river
    this love
    this pouring of Your Spirit into my spirit.
Let it flow like a river
   giving life where it goes
       to keep it for myself
       it would stagnate
            but to share it gives life.
I am loved.

Painting: Living Water

echoI give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1Cor. 1:4-9)

This passage describes people living fully as they wait for Jesus to come again and “to be revealed.” How much do I really even think about Jesus’ coming again? Do you? Jesus hasn’t come back for 2000 years. Would he really come back in our lifetime? But it isn’t so much about when, as it is about the anticipation, isn’t it? In the Old Testament, they were waiting for the messiah to come, “waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.” In Hebrews 11, it talks about how people like Able, Moses, Abraham, Rahab, the judges and prophets and countless others lived by faith in the promise. (verse 39-40) “Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.”
What does that mean to be waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God?

If Jesus were born today, would we be among those waiting with eager longing, like those who did not miss his birth (Mary and Joseph, the shepherds who listened to the good news of the angels, the wise men who followed a star, Ana and Simeon waiting in the temple). They didn’t miss out when God did the unexpected: coming as a vulnerable baby, born in the poverty of a stable, not in safety (Shortly after his birth, Mary and Joseph were forced to flee for their lives with their new baby).

Is waiting for the promise, then, an anticipation in God to do the unexpected? Is it a willingness to go wherever he is leading us, even if it seems unsafe, uncomfortable or unfair?
Am I willing to be like Mary and the others, willing to go with whatever God puts before me? He will never leave me nor forsake me. Can I walk forward into that promise? Where is He going to take us this year?

On Dec 3, I went to a follow up appointment for the surgery I had had in September on a cyst on my back. I was concerned about a second cyst on my arm. This second cyst had started bothering me two days earlier, and felt similar to the first before it was removed. I showed my doctor and it needed to be dealt with. He got me into an MRI that day and scheduled surgery for the weekend. By Sunday, the day of surgery, the cyst was looking awful--angry, red and ready to burst..

I am thankful for God’s hand in the timing of this, even if it set back our work and other things I wanted to get accomplished before Christmas. Again, I had to let go and practice what I shared with you in the last two newsletters. This has been an opportunity to be still, to rest and reflect, and spend time with our family and to be thankful for God’s unexpected provision.

I pray for you as we finish this Christmas season and in the New Year. May Jesus come in unexpected ways to show you His love and grace.

Happy New Year.

Painting: Waiting for the Promise

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.



Eagles in Tree

I love watching birds in flight. The beautiful, majestic bald eagle soars high riding the wind, then dives down toward the water to catch a fish. This is the time of year that people start watching for eagles at Wolf Lodge Bay on Lake Coeur d'Alene, mid November to end of January, with the peak between Christmas and New Years. Last year peaked 217 eagles were counted on December 30 at Wolf Lodge Bay. The eagles come to feed on the kokanee salmon. Several birds can be spotted on the same trees. How many do you see in the photo here? I count 5.

Isaiah wrote: "but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not be faint."

The closest I come to flying is in an airplane. I recently took a trip to Colorado and on one of the flights we experienced a lot of turbulence (more than I remember ever experiencing before). I will admit that a plane dropping what feels like 2-3 feet suddenly and shifting and swaying makes me extremely nervous, terrified. I have an active imagination that can picture way too many scenarios. I realized that I could panic or I could trust the pilot, who had probably flown through plenty of turbulence, and pray. So I closed my eyes and relaxed. I allowed myself to ride the waves of air. It was like a rollercoaster up, down, toss to the right, now the left, drop and up again...It was not nearly so bad as I thought it would be.

And as I sat through it and relaxed into it, I began to think about my fears. How many of my fears are based on being out of control? How much do I not enjoy the things that put me in that position, like down hill skiing, roller coasters, huge water slides. Yet as an artist, very little of an art business is really under my control. I cannot predict what will sell or touch someone's heart. I cannot know which classes people will want to take. Oh I try and I stress myself out over it all.

Can I learn to ride the wind with my Lord?

Soaring with the wind like a bird on the wing
Can I learn to let go, close my eyes and trust
Ride the waves of air
Up and down, sideways, up
Trusting He will not let me fall
Let go and just ride
When relaxed it is not nearly so bad
As I thought it would be
Could I learn to enjoy it?
Would that be going too far?
Let it go.
Relax in His arms on the waves of the air
Trust and relax
Let it go, that control
Let it go

Painting: On Eagle's Wings

On Eagles' Wings, Watercolor

(Above) 7 in x 11 in


Empty Nest, Winter of my Soul

New things come, old things pass.  
It is hard to let go. 
It is hard to say good-bye to what was,
Treasured moments; the good, the bad
letting  go is part of living.
It is part of loving.
There will be new beginnings;
New memories;
New changes.
Such is the circle or spiral we live in.
We cannot hold on to the present.
It must fly
And the empty nest
is the memory we have left.


Painting: Empty Nest

All Who are Thirsty, Come Drink from the Living Water...

Jesus' invitation to come and drink from his living water has been coupled with the world water crisis.

I lead us to reflect on how each theme teaches us about the other and how God’s call and our response to his living water intersects His call and our response to the world water crises.

It is a full worship service experience, with songs, sermonette and painting display.


a free-will donation and travel expenses outside of Edmonton. Some Originals, Prints and cards will be available for purchase afterwards.

Paintings in this series that would be displayed.

Comments about the “Living Water” meditation and worship series:

Julie and Sam, thank you so much for all your deep thoughts and heart and beauty you brought to worship. You connected the scriptures of Living Water in many ways I had previously not thought of. Your artwork is of course so beautiful and inspiring to me. Thanks for coming to Breton.

Thanks Julie for displaying your art at this conference. I really like your new pieces especially "River of Delight" and "Alpine Meadow" - Love the water theme. - Rick Heavenor

Loved the artwork and Poetry. Added greatly to the focus. - J. Hareuther

Painting: My Fortress

God is Our Refuge Meditation and Worship Service

Based on six Hebrew words for “refuge,” the 10 paintings, scripture and meditations reflect on our relationship with God as our refuge.
There is a power point, music, scripture readings, and meditations for the 50 min worship service. The paintings and prints are displayed with meditations.

I was fascinated as I began to dig into the word “refuge”. I discovered seven Hebrew words which can translate into refuge. Six of them refer to our relationship with God

66stndg gap300h

One or two paintings depict each of the six Hebrew words. Each painting has a meditation, a story and scripture which make up the meditation display.

Also available is a corporate worship experience using 7 of the paintings in a power point with meditations and scripture and songs of worship. The service is about 50 minutes long.


a free-will donation and travel expenses outside of Edmonton. Some Originals, Prints and cards will be available for purchase afterwards.

Paintings in this series that would be displayed.

Comments about the “God is my
Refuge” meditation and worship series:

This is Great! Appreciate the way you make your art display a worship experience by sharing your spiritual journey! - I.S.

Beautiful power point presentation. Your artwork is truly inspiring.

Long have we needed the bold strokes that could connect a spledidly made world with the truth of Logos held up against the light of our own anguish (and delight) of soul. Bless you in your calling to daw those lines. - Neil White

Julie had an amazing impact on our congregation with her unique style of worship and art. Many individuals are visual, so to be part of a service that offered so much visual art connected to scripture was inspiring. - M. Bevan

Thanks for inviting me today. God truly does meet us where we are. I believe He was speaking to me today through this series. Praise be to Him for your talent and the way He works through you. - Deb Cautley

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.




Finding a Way to Rejoice Always...

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In June 2013, Alberta experienced one of its worst floods in decades. Towards the end of the June, we had an Art Vocabulary of the Soul retreat at King’s Fold Retreat Centre in the area near the flooding. Ghost River, a smaller river than the two that caused so much damage in Calgary, reached its peak the day before we were to come. King’s Fold’s bridge over the river remained intact and the water level started receding before our arrival, but it was still much higher than normal. I was sharing that weekend on the saturation of God, the Holy Spirit. He, as the Living Water, is not content to just trickle through us only in the places we allow him, he desires to saturate, to fill, and to renew us. The flood was a perfect metaphor of God’s untamed, saturating power. I took our group down as far as we could go to look out over the flooded valley. We stood on at the edge of a cliff, overlooking the water, and we contemplated God’s saturation upon us… this painting is what we saw.Floodwaters- Ghost River

The next morning I went down to the river edge again. The waters had receded nearly to their usual boundaries. The devastation of the valley stretched before me – uprooted trees, mud churned up, piles of broken branches and trees pushed up against the few remaining trees. And this thought occurred to me: when God saturates me with himself, I will be changed. He will uproot that in me which needs uprooting. How willing am I really to go through the cleansing?

I finally finished this painting this last month. I struggled with it, and I struggled within me. I didn’t like the painting, but most of all I think I really don’t like facing the ugliness inside of me that God is uprooting, and redeeming. I felt this aching inside - the need to let go, to trust God with all of me.

As I have been letting my arm heal, (the surgery in December was on my upper right arm) I have not painted as much. Instead, God gave me a melody, and then later the words. It is a song I can cry with. It allows me to grieve over what I cannot control, but feel deeply: whether it is my own sin, my illness, or a friend’s suffering, or even the calamity of flooding and homes destroyed as in the flood of 2013. The song is a lament.

In the song I say: I will choose to rejoice, regardless of the circumstances, I’ll trust in you. This “rejoice” is not so much about being happy, it is about choosing to not complain and think of all that I lack. Instead I will choose to be thankful, grateful for my God who walks beside me and carries me through the difficult times of life. Joy is trusting God with my life – and finding my peace and rest in him. This is the choice I want to make, I don’t always make it, but he is always faithful, with me in the struggle, even the struggles within myself. And his arms are always open ready to embrace me as I turn back to him with trust and love.

The words of the song are below:

I will sing to the Lord, sing though my heart is aching, sing alleluia to my Lord.
With my heart I will sing, sing though my heart is grieving; have mercy on me, O Lord.

I will trust in the Lord, with all my heart, my soul, my mind, I will trust in you.
I will choose to rejoice, regardless of the circumstances I’ll trust in you.

Singing alleluia! Praise the name of Jesus, alleluia, amen.
Singing alleluia! Praise the name of Jesus, alleluia, amen.


Painting: King's Fold/Flood waters Ghost River


Latest Articles