Recovering Your Creativity, Montreal

Join us for a 5-day course of drawing, writing, reflecting and community-building in the amazing city of Montreal!


Sunday, Sept 22nd - Saturday, Sept 28th, 2019

“What you want to be doing is what you should be doing.”

-Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Why is this so hard to believe? That what we want to be doing is what we should be doing?

Sometimes it feels impossible to give ourselves permission to do/make/see/build the things we want. We spend much of our time trapped under a feeling of obligation - that our time is better spent doing work we hate because it pays the bills, or putting others needs before our own because that’s what’s expected. It’s easy to lose touch with our creative selves, the part of us that sees potential and opportunity in the things we make - our own ideas.

As a teacher, I believe that what you want to be doing is what you should be doing. This is what we call creative intuition. You want to hot-glue two pieces of paper together? Great. You want to learn how to yodel? Excellent. The drive to do these things might seem strange but they are the bricks that lay the foundation for your unique artistic voice. They will make your work and your ideas, yours.

In this weeklong class, you will learn how to re-claim that creative part of yourself and to give yourself permission to build the creative life you want.

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Course Overview

In this course, everything starts with drawing.

I teach drawing as a way to locate ourselves - within a new city, within our creative practices, and within our lives. Drawing gives us a way to slow down, plant our feet on the ground, and create an honest record of what we're paying attention to. The sketchbook becomes a place where we can connect with ourselves, make note of what feels important, and strengthen our voices as artists.

In this course we will practice these things together, using drawing-from-observation, group discussion, readings, and written reflection as our primary tools. We will start each day with a three-hour drawing-from-observation course in the city, and end the day with either independent work or facilitated group discussion around challenges we are facing in our creative lives.

Students will leave this week with an intimate relationship to a new city, connections to like-minded souls, and meaningful tools for jump-starting (and sustaining) their creative practices.

This course is for you if:

  • You are feeling stuck in your creative life and want to reflect and recharge in a supportive environment.

  • You enjoy drawing and want to learn new methods (beginners included!)

  • You want to strengthen your practice of keeping a sketchbook.

  • You like to travel, explore new cities, and meet new people.

  • You feel comfortable sharing your creative work and challenges with new people and want to support others in doing the same.

  • You are ready to do something awesome!


The Drawing Course

Students will begin each day with a three-hour guided drawing course, working directly from the urban landscape of Montreal. Drawing on-site and in our sketchbooks, students will consider their relationship to place, exploring drawing as a record of experience. Through observation and sensation-based exercises, students will be encouraged to draw with consideration of proportion as well as impression, movement, and mark. As a group, we will discuss these languages and how drawing acts as a place of attention and personal discovery.

Beginning drawers are very welcome, and the course will provide a supportive environment that accommodates all skill levels.

We will be working outside, so be prepared for the elements!

Group Workshops

As a group we will reconvene for three, 1.5 hour workshops in the early evenings. The workshops will include facilitated discussion and self-reflection around the topics of creative self-worth, duty, and abundance. Why do I have trouble believing I deserve to make things (worth)? That my time is better spent doing something else (duty)? That there aren’t opportunities available to me (abundance)?

Each session will be supported by readings from authors like Alain de Botton, Julia Cameron, Joan Didion and others. Students will leave each workshop with homework for the next class, prompting them to reflect critically on topics that emerged during group discussions. These reflections will encourage students to identify their creative priorities and use these discoveries to shape their time in Montreal.

The City + Drawing Sites

Montreal is an awesome, creative city with so much to explore. Our drawing sessions will take us to different sites including the Jean Talon Market, Mont Royal, Mile-end, and Musee des Beaux Arts. Afternoons and two evenings will be left open so students can explore based on their own interests.

We will also be joined by local artists who can offer suggestions on everything from galleries to local markets and great coffee shops. We got you covered!


Students will need to find their own accommodation for the duration of the class. Our group will meet most mornings for breakfast and coffee in the Plateau/Mile-end district, which we suggest as a central location for housing. If students would like to share an accommodation with other participants, our team will happily facilitate.


Meals and Artist Supper

Breakfast and three dinners are included in the program price. Dinners will include two meals out at local restaurants and an “Artist Supper” where an invited local artist will prepare a home-cooked meal for our group. Students are free for lunch and will be given recommendations on where to go for the best pastries, bagels, dimsum or poutine!

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Testimonials from past students

"Christine is a smart and caring teacher who is deeply invested in giving each student a rewarding experience that is custom-tailored to his/her skill level. Beginners find her teaching style clear and welcoming, and more experienced students appreciate her sharp eye and wide-ranging skill set. She creates a space in which students feel able to step beyond their comfort zones and challenge themselves. Students who attend Christine's classes are often return customers; once they take one class, they are eager to come back for more."

- Jen Messier, Director - The Brooklyn Brainery

“ If you are in any way considering the Tuscan Drawing Excursion, just do it.  Right now.  From beginner artists to those with more experience, the time spent immersed in the page of a drawing offers lessons for everyone.  Your days will be well spent and will fly by before you know it.  

Christine offers insightful feedback, helpful hints, and a new way of seeing the world around you as an artist, budding artist, or non-artist.  Everyone can learn something from taking the course, both on and off the sketchbook pages.  Christine has set up amazing authentic Tuscan experiences that will expose you to another side of Italy you may not have seen before.  (And be sure to take her up on all her food recommendations!)  Have you booked yet? What are you waiting for?!"

       -Lauren Briel, Student 2017

“Christine’s trip is a slice of Italian culture that truly links you to Florence through it’s local food, fantastic site visits, camaraderie, and most of all, chances to observe and draw it all under the eye of a fantastic teacher!  I want to go again! 

- Claire Gilgannon, Student 2018

"What better way to discover the beauty and culture of Tuscany than through the daily discipline of sketching the breathtaking landscapes, famous gardens and historic architectural sites of Florence!

Under the expert guidance of artist-teacher, Christine Garvey, students were encouraged to engage with this beautiful setting through developing observation skills and exploring with dynamic drawing techniques. Christine is a skilled and intuitive instructor who is able to translate her unique approach to on-site sketching into a language of drawing that each student, whatever skill level, can comprehend and apply to their own practice... thereby further enriching the experience of travel through drawing.

Christine's affinity for Italian culture enhanced our connection to the people and the place. Charming accommodations situated in the midst of the hip Oltrarno neighbourhood afforded a glimpse into everyday life with historic destinations and sketching sites only minutes away. From the guided museum visits which highlighted famous artworks directly related to the course material, to the discovery each day of local gastronomy, including a wine tour at a stunning Tuscan villa, each element of this drawing excursion was carefully planned to provide an authentic taste of all that this unique region has to offer. This course was the ultimate travel / learning adventure exceeding my expectations on every level!!!"

- Patricia Kehler, Student 2016

"I've been taking classes with Christine for the past few years at the Brooklyn Brainery, and quickly became a big aficionados of her teaching techniques. Her courses, from collage to mixed media to drawing from observation, gave me great tools to work on my own artistic projects and most importantly to learn how to look around me with different eyes! In just a few classes, I learned techniques that I will use over a lifetime to improve my drawing skills. And Christine teaches this with humor and insight. When she offered me to join a small group of students to spend a week in Florence, Italy and get a chance to explore Tuscany through drawing, I jumped right in and couldn't hardly wait to be there! This trip is great for anyone. It was a unique experience and I highly recommend it."

          - Sandrine Delattre, Student 2016




The 2019 Program Includes:

  • 5 days of guided drawing coursework with individual attention and critique

  • 3 workshops with group discussion and reflection on your creative practice

  • Readings and self-reflection homework

  • Daily breakfast

  • 3 dinners including a home-cooked meal by a local Montreal artist

  • Studio visit with a local artist

  • Guided visits to the Musee des Beaux Art, Jean Talon Market, and a hike of Mount Royal

  • Local tips on where to eat, see great art, and explore hidden city gems

  • Some surprises along the way

Price: $1650
Note: Accommodation and travel not included.

Sunday Sept 22nd - Saturday, Sept 28th, 2019

For more information, full week schedule or please contact:
* Course is subject to enrollment minimums in order to run.


About Christine

Since 2009, Christine Garvey has been teaching drawing and print-based workshops internationally, working with institutions like Concordia University, Florence University of the Arts, Betahaus Berlin, The Brooklyn Brainery, Pioneer Works Center for Art and  Innovation, and The NY Center for Book Arts. A long-time lover of Italy, Christine first visited as a student in 2006 and has been addicted ever since. In 2013, Christine returned as a teaching artist with Concordia University’s study abroad program in Bagnoregio, assisting in the direction of a month-long drawing course. She returned to Florence in 2015 as a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Florence University of the Arts, and began her own program, Tuscan Drawing Excursions. Since then, she's been bringing students from across North America to Italy to learn the practice of drawing in the inspiring place that is Tuscany. When she's not in Florence, Christine works as a full-time faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, teaching in their Art Foundations program.