Finding Stillness

Seems an odd title for a blog post, but stay with me.

I was recently presented with a gift. An opportunity arose for me to be a part of something that would empower me, motivate and validate me, ME.

When presented with such a gift, one should accept, and so a few months ago when  an email popped into my inbox inviting me to a photography retreat, I signed up so quickly that immediately afterward, I panicked and thought;

“What am I do-ing???” Do I really want to be a part of this? I didn’t know anyone personally  in this Instagram community, though I had certainly admired their work so I had a few misgivings.

Every once in awhile I feel the need to take a leap into uncharted territory and needing a shot in the arm I quickly signed up and paid my registration fee.

Within a few days, I began to feel less nervous about this upcoming retreat and I was able to connect in a Facebook group with the small number of women who were about to embark on this journey with me.We were all excited and with still-life photography in common,we forged a community prior to our arrival.


We met for the first time over dinner a few months later. We were 5 American and 6 Canadian strong and bonded immediately over our common goals; to nurture and support our innate creativity, to learn photography as an expression of self, to grow a community of women creatives, to support each other’s efforts and to stay connected in the big wide web.

And it was all that and more.

I had no idea that I would need the retreat as much as I did. I think all of us were blown away by the amazing Kim Klassen. She is a still-life pioneer and techie super-woman and simply the most lovely person I think I have ever met. She has the unique ability to make each person feel important and genuinely welcome. Not only were we allowed to use her entire prop collection, we were unrestricted in her space. That is generous.

The studio was an amazing experience in itself-a large room awash in white. White floorboards, white walls, white window casements, white sheer curtains, white ceiling all of which served as the canvas for our creations. Vintage pieces, antique tea cups, linens in abundance and a staggering collection of leaves, berry branches and flowers rounded out the loveliness.


kpardell-toucha-baskets-1379kpardell-studio-1241kpardell-studio-1269We spent 3 glorious days and evenings with her and gentle -spirited Aeleen.

A quick overview of our days;

  • Group meetings
  • Play/Create!
  • wreath-making
  • flower arranging
  • Play/Create!
  • Sharing
  • Delicious meals
  • Top-down photography
  • Quiet time to Be Still, where we could still Play/Create!
  • Special Guests
  • Special gadgets for photography
  • Play/Create!
  • Lightroom tutorials
  • Question/Answer Opportunities
  • Genuine conversation
  • Heartfelt connections
  • A harp recital-Oh my gosh-intoxicating!
  • Etc. etc. etc.


kpardell-studio-1214kpardell-studio-1586kpardell-olight3-wreath-1245There are no words to describe how welcoming and purely happy you feel when you work and PLAY among women who support you, guide you, accept you, energize you, inspire you.

Three days later, it was time to go. Time to pack up the cameras and pick up the tissues. Time for sentiments, last words of encouragement. A a love-fest of sorts.

Though my personal goal was to find time to Be Still, I didn’t realize that that wasn’t the thing I needed most. Finding time for reflection is so very important but deep within me I craved acceptance among women who get-me. They get what I do, what I’m now passionate about. They get why on some days, I might not get anything else done. Why I scour vintage shops looking for just the right props for a photo. They get lenses and my interest in gadgets for photography. They get what a hobby can do for the soul and mostly they get my desire to create magic.


kpardell-studio-1291kpardell-studio-1620Finding Stillness, means that in that quiet, we acknowledge and honour our authentic selves and allow our true spirits to manifest.

Thank you Kim & Aeleen for teaching me that in order to create, we need first to Find Stillness.

kpardell-studio-1631You can find Kim’s classes and her amazing blog at


8 thoughts on “Finding Stillness

  1. A lovely tribute to the magic of Finding Stillness; a magic so powerful that it was even felt by those of us who only experienced snippets from afar through Instagram and Facebook updates. Oh, and simply gorgeous photos!


  2. Kathy, this is just truly a very lovely post….I feel the warmth and love through your words that you felt those three days, being with Kim and the others. This really warms my heart to read about the experience and the meaning it has for you. I hope it has enriched your photography in many ways.


  3. tears flowing. Oh my word. Kathy. You are such a beautiful writer.
    I’m so happy to read your words this morning.

    Meeting you has been truly beautiful.
    I found a new friend. A she gets me kinda friend and that makes me so happy.

    The photos here and the ones on Ig. I just love them all. Sooo much. You are so incredibly talented.

    My heart is overflowing.

    So much love. xxx


  4. Oh my gosh, Kathy … your words and photos truly captured the spirit of “Finding Stillness” with Kim. She’s a treasure like no other, and the community that has grown up around her is nothing short of amazing … a direct result of her quiet but unending commitment to help others achieve their best … in art, and in life. It was an honour to meet you Kathy, and it all goes as planned, we should be meeting up in the near future. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!


  5. Oh my goodness Kathy that post was fabulous! Never think your words are ‘less than.’ They are pure and perfect and incredible. Not to mention the beautiful images!! Let the love fest continue!!!
    And thanks for that fabulous image at the top. Captures it all!


  6. I picked up the most recent issue of Somerset Life…..Oct/Nov/Dec 2017. Was so inspired by your work. The simple beauty and the softest color. Love the crab apples. Found your website. Thanks so much for the inspiration. I will have to follow you now.


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