Watch the video for ideas!

A year-long, community-wide colouring and writing experiment

  • In honour of the Gatineau River throughout the seasons

  • Launches November 10, 2021

Partnering with multiple local partners, River invites people to honour, reflect on and celebrate the Gatineau River throughout the seasons in a simple creative act.

Beginning on November 10th and continuing for one year, five different commissioned artists offer a drawing of the Gatineau River in the Late Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Harvest seasons, which we ask you to colour in any way you choose.

On the back page, there’s a simple question about the season to reflect on and answer.

Drawings arrive as inserts in the Low Down at each season and are available for pick up at the Biblio Wakefield Library and Bibliothèque Chelsea Library. (They also will have a few colouring pens and crayons there for you to use).

Scroll down the page for downloadable links to get started on yours!

Once you have coloured the drawing and/or answered the question, please drop them off at the following locations during their respective opening hours (don’t worry, you’ll get them back):

Biblio Wakefield Library
Bibliothèque Chelsea Library
The Low Down to Hull and Back (815 chemin Riverside, Wakefield)

Or you can send us a good quality photo or scan of your coloured-in drawing and the back page with your info on it and send it to:

What happens next?

The project culminates in both live and video presentations of the community’s work at Place des Artistes de Farrellton in the Fall of 2022. During the Great Big River Exhibit, you’ll be able to see your work with everyone else’s before you can take it home to keep. More on the Great Big River Exhibit coming next year. Some of the work may become part of STO Union’s next international touring show, premiering in the Fall of 2022 in a soon-to-be-announced big city! Sign up here for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss updates and news on River and more.

“From children at school to seniors, adults and families: all of us who do this are choosing to give ourselves the time to be creative, together. When many of us do something artistic and creative together, it builds good relations and belonging. When we put our attention on what we are learning from the season we are in, we all become part of the same moment and can be grateful for it, together” Artistic Director Nadia Ross

Every few months, we will release a new drawing and question. Each drawing and question correspond to one of five seasons: (late) fall, winter, spring, summer and harvest.



This file does not automatically download to your computer, rather, it appears in a new window in your browser. Find the three vertical dots in the upper right of your screen (Chrome – Mac or Windows) and select PRINT. Make sure the LAYOUT is set to PORTRAIT. In Safari (Mac computer) go to FILE-PRINT. Firefox (Mac), go to FILE-PRINT and Firefox Windows, look for the three little lines in the upper right corner of your monitor. Click, and press print.

“Fall” artist: Sofia Jain-Schlaepfer

Young woman in the forest

Sofia completed several visual arts programs in fine art and scientific illustration. She then took a break from visual arts for a time to pursue biology and environmental science (BSc, MSc), driven by her love of nature and the desire to create positive change in the world. After several years as a successful research scientist, she left the profession realizing that change starts in the heart, not the mind. Sofia has spent the last few years delving into art as a medium to reach people’s hearts, while immersing herself in nature connection practices. She now runs nature connection programs for children through Cahoots Outdoor Programs, as well as nature and art programs through Wisdom of the Earth.

Artist Statement:

My paintings bring attention beyond just the beauty inherent in the visual forms of nature, to the beauty of the relationships held within nature. My background in environmental science, nature connection mentoring and art allows me to examine the relationships within nature through a scope that ranges from factual to poetic. I believe the rich web of interconnectedness seen in nature around us, has much to teach us about the nature inside of us; in the ecologies of our community, body and psyche. I often focus on the relationship between humans and the rest of nature, highlighting the ways in which we are inseparable from the earth. I frequently depict human forms that invite the viewer into a relationship with nature. My hope is that the viewer might leave with an added feeling of connection and that this might contribute to moving towards a bright future for people and the land.

Coloured drawing along the Gatineau River“Down” written by Sophia

Rise, rise higher they say,
Ascend, attain, enlighten.

But again and again I am pulled down.
Pulled down by creatures of pain and rocked by tears of loss.
When I give in to the pull I remember that these are just love in masks:
I let Gravity pull me close to the earth, until she swallows me
And I can rest there amongst the roots and fungi and earthworms
In the richness from which all life rises.
I let it work on me.
I let the small dark murmuring creatures of soil take me apart until I am indistinguishable from the land.
Until I loose the boundaries of my pain, of my grief
Of my body, of my identity.
My tears become the rain, trickling through the soil and bringing prayers to the seeds in my heart.

Rise, rise higher they say,
Ascend, attain, enlighten.

Some people are mountains I tell them
But I am a cave, deep and dark
I may not draw “ous” and “ahs” from miles away
But I may just hold a diamond.

Who can participate in RIVER, the community art collaboration?

Submissions are open to all and are volunteer-based. We hope to have as many participants as possible!

Will the artworks be returned?

Yes, submissions will be returned at the RIVER exhibit next Fall (2022) at Place des Artistes de Farrellton (PAF).

Will the artworks be used in an exhibit?

Yes, the project culminates in both live and video presentations of the community’s work at Place des Artistes de Farrellton (PAF). Additionally, selected submissions may become part of STO Union’s next international touring show, premiering in the Fall of 2022 in a soon to be announced major cultural centre.

When will the exhibition open?

Dates are yet to be confirmed, but sign up to our newsletter for updates!

What if the drop off locations are not open? How do I submit my work?

You can submit your work electronically too! Scroll down on this page for instructions and the form to upload your work with a good photo or scan.

What if I’m not great at colouring in the lines?

No problem, we want everyone to express themselves how they feel comfortable — whether that’s with paint, markers, inside the lines or way outside of them!

Can I submit more than one entry?

Absolutely! We are not limiting submissions per person. To download additional copies, scroll up on this page, and download away.

Do I need to live near the Gatineau River to participate?

We invite all who feel called to participate to do so. Nature is shared by all and so is this project!

Who owns my artwork?

Your artwork belongs to you, but by submitting to the RIVER project, you agree to let us use them in art projects such as in the exhibit, video, online and in live productions.

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    River project partners are:

    F.O.G. (Friends of the Gatineau River)
    Biblio Wakefield Library
    Bibliothèque Chelsea Library
    The Low Down to Hull and Back
    Chelsea Elementary School

    STO Union gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts for its ongoing support.

    Canada Council for the Arts Logo

    We recognize this season of letting go along with our pandemic reality can result in feelings of grief. If you or someone you know is struggling or in distress, please know you are not alone. It’s important to reach out to get help. Some resources include Kids Help Phone, Canada Suicide Prevention Service and Quebec Crisis Intevention. The Canadian Mental Health Association also offers resources to support mental health during the pandemic.