How Great Thou ART?!?

3-day, 2-night art retreat at Martyrs’ Shrine


Venue:                               Martyrs’ Shine, 16163 Highway #12 West, Midland, ON L4R 4K6

Retreat Dates:                  Friday September 20th, Saturday the 21st, and Sunday the 22nd,

Itinerary as of:                15 September 2019

Art Instructor:                  Ingrid V. Brooks – Resident Artist for The Martyrs’ Shrine

Group size: Min 4, Max 7 – Cost: $593.00 per person, single occupancy rooms only.

Click Here to Register



  • Single accommodation for two nights in standard room at The Magis guesthouse
  • Meals
    • 2 continental self-serve breakfasts
    • 3 lunches
    • 2 dinners
  • Access to Martyrs’ Shrine grounds, Trans-Canada Trail system, and Sainte-Marie among the Hurons for the duration of the workshop.
  • Lead by a qualified plein-air art instructor
  • Accompanied by a Jesuit priest
  • Hosted at Martyrs’ Shrine in Tay township, the sacred land where the Canadian Martyrs once walked.
  • Rain or shine. Rainout will utilise indoor facilities.


Not Included:

  • Art supplies (available for purchase with booking)
  • Snacks



Spend three divine days at Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario, connecting with your inner Holy Spirit and the great outdoors by painting “en plein air”. Enjoy learning about the history of the Canadian Martyrs from the Jesuits who reside on premises.  Tour peaceful parklike grounds accompanied by a Jesuit Priest and sketch the various monuments honouring important saints. See how Jesuits lived in 1640 at Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons.  Attend daily Mass in the beautiful national shrine with the opportunity for self-reflection on the grounds or in St. Ignatius Chapel.  Receive personal one-on- one art instruction from the Resident Artist, Ingrid Vija Brooks, suited to your individual skill level, as well as exercises for connecting with your inner spirit to create great art ‘en plein air’. Spend two days painting outdoors at various on-site locations alongside the resident artist. Experience a sunset/nocturnal plein air.  Attend an evening lecture on the history of the Canadian Martyrs and the significance of religious art iconography throughout the ages. Relax around a bonfire in informal contemplative discussion with a Jesuit priest. Receive constructive group commentary on all artwork created by retreat participants. This three-day retreat is suitable for all artists regardless of skill level in any medium (acrylic, oil & watercolour) whether experienced in painting outdoors or not.  For drying expediency, all painting demonstrations by the resident artist will be in watercolour. Art Supply Kits in watercolour medium only, will be available for advance purchase if requested at time of registration. Experienced plein-air participants in other mediums are to bring their own painting supplies.


Proposed Itinerary (subject to change):

8:00 – 9:00 am Arrive – Check In (Front Office)
9:00 -10:00 am St. Ignatius Chapel Welcoming Introduction to Martyrs Shrine, housekeeping information, and overview of the programme. (Filion Conference Room)
10:00-12:00 pm Meet & Greet: Introduction of fellow retreat participants, a Jesuit and Onsite Artist. Some concepts to consider when Plein Air painting, artistic tips and drawing exercises for preparatory Thumbnail Sketching observations during afternoon walking tour.
NOON MASS in the Church of St. Joseph (with Fr. Michel Lessard, SJ)
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch in the Jesuit Residence with Fr. Michael
1:30- 4:00 pm        ART ‘N FACTS Walkabout at Shrine & SMATH:

Historical tour of the grounds and monuments of both Shrine (1 Hr) & Sainte-Marie-Among-The Hurons (1 Hr) with an opportunity to record facts about Jesuit life, and sketch thumbnails in your Journal of potential painting subjects with on-site creative guidance from the Art Instructor.

4:00 – 5:30 pm Time for personal Relaxation, Restoration and Reflection. Recommendation: outdoor Stations of the Cross, or time with the Blessed Sacrament in the St. Ignatius Chapel
5:30 – 6:00 pm Social Gathering at The Magis Guesthouse
5:55 -7:00 pm Dinner at The Jesuit Residence
7:15-8:30 pm Evening Lecture by Fr. Michael in the St. Ignatius Chapel


8:00-9:00 am Continental Breakfast at The Magis Guesthouse
9:00-11:45 am Painting Location #1Front Façade of the Shrine at the foot of the steps (chosen for iconic view). Art Instructor Demo: Plein Air Set-Up, One Point, Two Point & Three Point Perspective in architecture, scaling Sight-to-Size perspective, correcting distortion, scaling and placement of human & building elements with respect to the horizon line. Linear angular shapes to be emphasized working with pencils, rulers, and protractors in creating a painting substructure in grid format. Then paint on-site with personalized instruction from the art instructor suited to your individual skill level.
NOON MASS in the Church of St. Joseph (with Fr. Patrick Coldricks, SJ)
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch in the Jesuit Residence with Fr. Michael
1:30-4:00 pm Painting Location #2:  Brebeuf Prayer Garden.  (Chosen for late afternoon filtered light.)  Art Instructor Demo:  Colour choice, tonal values, brush strokes and demonstration of loose style techniques for rendering foliage and tree trunks in watercolour medium. The light and colour of impressionism to be the emphasis in one’s spiritual connection to nature.  Paint on-site with personalized instruction from art instructor suited to your individual skill level.
4:00-5:30 pm Time for personal Relaxation, Restoration and Reflection. Recommendation: at the Stations of the Cross or Self- Contemplation in St. Ignatius Chapel.
5:30-6:00 pm Social Gathering at The Magis Guesthouse
5:55 -7:00 pm Dinner at The Jesuit Residence
7:15-8:30 pm Painting Location # 3:  Sunset Plein Air at the SMATH Gate by the Wye River. (Chosen for Evening Light and Water Reflections.) Art Instructor Demo:  Negative shapes, Cast Shadows & limited colour palette.  Emphasis on speed with quick strokes and connecting with spontaneous internal rendering decisions to capture receding light and water reflections. Group to paint on-site alongside with art instructor keeping above principles in mind.
8:30- 10:00pm Evening Bonfire:  Relax around the campfire and socialize together under the moon and stars.


8:00-9:00 am Continental Breakfast at The Magis Guesthouse
9:00-11:45 am Painting Location # 4: St. Joseph Fountain.  (Chosen for Early Morning Light &Water Effects)

Art Instructor Demonstration:  Silhouette Shapes and creating realistic running water effects.  Understanding light refraction, the colour palette for rendering water. Differences between form and cast shadows, shading clothing folds on the human form. Group to paint on-site with personalized instruction from art instructor suited to their individual skill level

OR After Prayer, FOLLOW YOUR INNER SPIRIT and seek out an inspiring location of your own choice on the grounds to paint.

NOON MASS in the Church of St. Joseph (with Fr. Patrick Coldricks, SJ)
12:30 -1:30 pm Lunch in the Jesuit Residence with Fr. Michael
1:30- 2:30 pm Show & Tell: Bring all created artwork to St. Ignatius Chapel for a Constructive Group Commentary lead by Art Instructor. Have artwork blessed by a Jesuit Father.  Closing remarks by Director of Shrine.
2:30-4:00 pm Shrine Gift Shop and Shrine Art Gallery: Free time to visit both or to explore the grounds.
4:00 pm —END—

Recommended Personal Items:  

  • Flat Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Mosquito Repellant
  • Sun Screen, Hat/Visor, Sun Glasses
  • Rain Coat/Umbrella, Windbreaker Jacket
  • Protective Painting Garment (Old Shirt or Apron)
  • Coffee Thermos, Drinking Water Bottle
  • Camera (or photo taking device such as IPhone or IPad)
  • Flashlight/Batteries
  • Light Folding Chair or Camping Stool
  • Highly Recommended to Bring: A rolling piece of small size carryon luggage/or collapsible cart to contain all personal items/art supplies with a long handle that you can pull along with you and a couple of bungee cords to strap your chair to cart/long luggage handle.




  • Sketching:
  • One Small Sketchbook or Watercolour Journal
  • One Black Ink Pen
  • One Mechanical Pencil
  • One White Eraser
  • One Grey Kneading Eraser
  • One Clear Plastic Ruler
  • One Protractor
  • One Compass Divider (if you have this – but not mandatory)
Paints: Your usual Paint Supplies (watercolor, oil or acrylic) but must include:

  • Three Primary Colours: red, yellow, blue, and white, black (for Value Studies)
  • Bring Also Optional Colours: light green,(Sap), a dark green (Hooker’s), Payne’s Gray, a sky blue (Cerulean,) a dark blue (Ultramarine, Prussian Blue and Indigo), a crimson red (Alizeran), a medium yellow (Hansa), Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Sepia & Violet.
  • Plastic Container for your paints/coverable palette preferred for transport.
  • Bring any other mixing mediums you require if painting in acrylic or oil.
  • For watercolour: Dry Pan paints are OK or tube paints in colours noted above.


  • Two Rounds (a medium #7 or #8 and a small #2 for detail work)
  • Two Flats (a large and a medium size).
  • One Angular.
  • Any specialty brushes: One Fan, One Rigger, One Filbert.
  • One Small Sponge Brush on a Stick (Dollarstore).

These brushes are for watercolor work.  Experienced painters in other mediums may bring their preferred supplies.

Palette Knife: One springy metal (#8) or plastic palette knife, or one old gift/credit card, or bread bag tag.
Paper/Canvas: Six painting surfaces Minimum.

  • Watercolour Paper Pad 140 lbs. minimum Cold Press (Canson, Strathmore or Arches) or sheets taped to a drawing board.  Maximum size 11×14, 9×12 or less for easy transport/handling.
  • Some small paper scraps for colour Testing.  Oil & Acrylic painters keep your canvases small (stiff panels) for easily handling and transport.
  • Roll of green/blue Painters Tape (to tape Watercolour Paper to boards).
  • Plastic paint mixing palette for your paints, or white plastic plate
  • Collapsible easel for canvas support (Oil and Acrylic painters).
  • Small drawing board/palette for paper support. (Art Instructor will lend out if you don’t have)
  • Small liquid container (for water or thinners)
  • Paper towels
  • Small plastic bags for your personal garbage.




  • One Small Sketchbook, One Mechanical Pencil, One Kneading Eraser
  • One Plastic Ruler, One Protractor, One Compas Divider
  • One Plastic Palette with Dry Pan Watercolour paints containing required colours
  • One Small Plastic Mixing Palette
  • Set of Three Plastic Palette Knives, One Plastic Bread Bag Tag
  • Ten Nylon Brushes: One Round #10/0, One Round #6, One Round #10, One Flat Shader#2, One Flat Shader #6, One Flat Shader #8,     One Flat Shader #12, One Flat Wash 3/4″, One Filbert #2, One Fan #4. And One Sponge Brush.
  • One Roll Green Painters Tape
  • Canson 140 lbs Cold Press watercolour paper: six  6×8 sheets and two 9×12 sheets.
  • One Small Water Container, Some Paper Towels, Some Plastic Bags

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