the studio & Vanessa DeGroot

Kind-heARTed Studio is located in Stratford, Ontario.  Discover the inner artist in you!  You’ll receive all the necessary tools and guidance needed to create your own work of art (painting on canvas, watercolour, collage, drawing, etc).  Explore on your own, join a class, participate in a workshop, or book your own private party!

I believe that art is universal.  A language without words, it is capable of connecting people no matter where we live or what language we speak.  I came to this realization on two separate occasions, in two different countries.  In grade 10, as part of a cultural awareness trip, I visited the Dominican Republic.  During a visit to a local elementary school, we were encouraged to play with the students.  I did what I knew best, I picked up a crayon and I began to draw.  Standing beside me was a little girl who was intensely observing every mark I made.  I decided to draw the two of us holding each of our flags, standing next to one another.  Upon completion, I handed it to her.  Bright eyed and smiling, she took my hand and led me to her home where I was introduced to her family.  It was an unimaginable experience, to witness her way of life and all without saying one word.

The second instance was in 2009, while living and working in the Netherlands. An enduring couple in their mid-seventies couple, Jan and Kunnie, had hired me as their cleaning lady. They quickly adopted me as their own. Once I finished work, Kunnie and I would head up to her attic studio to paint. The appreciation of art, the relaxation and friendship that we developed while creating art catapulted me into a completely different career path. After living in Europe for a year and a half, I returned home and began teaching art programs in retirement homes. These experiences showed what a valuable tool art could be, how much could be said with out having to say a word. These moments influenced my decision to become an art therapist.

As an art therapist and teacher I enjoy seeing how free-spirited children are as creators in their young lives, and helping youth and adults unleash the freedom once simply found in their childhood. As a visual artist, I am constantly seeing new and creative ways to incorporate art into my life.

While the canvas of your life is painted with daily experiences, behaviours, reactions and emotions – you are the one controlling the brush.  We are the artist of our own lives.
– Author Unknown

what is

art therapy?

Vanessa De Groot artist, art therapist, art therapy, kind-hearted studioArt therapy is similar to talk therapies but introduces art making as a way to enhance the communication process. Some people may find talking to a professional intimidating, while others may struggle to find the right words to communicate verbally. Art Therapy engages individuals in a creative process that leads to self-reflection, discovery, and growth. Using shapes, imagery, symbols, colours and metaphors participants are encouraged to make meaning of their life through this creative process.

Vanessa’s focus is on children, families and individuals dealing with a variety of issues: anger, depression, anxiety, trauma, separation, emotional and behavioural issues, personal growth. She is a Registered Psychotherapist and member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, and is a Professional Member of the Ontario Art Therapy Association.


Who is art therapy for?

Art Therapy can effectively treat people of all ages.  Common uses of Art Therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • People under lots of stress or pressure
  • Managers and/or staff
  • Individuals who may struggle with mental health problems
  • Individuals with learning disabilities or difficulties
  • Children or young adults having problems in school
  • Kids, teenagers, or adults with personal problems
  • Individuals with more serious issues (i.e. brain injuries, eating disorders, cancer, depression, etc.)
  • Someone who believes they are problem free and simply would like to explore themselves more deeply


Do benefits cover art therapy?

Vanessa is a Registered Psychotherapist, some benefits packages may provide coverage. Vanessa can provide you with the information you need to check with your insurance provider to see if sessions would be covered



We offer programs for all ages. Kids’ classes are offered in two age groups: 5-8yrs and 9-12 yrs. Teens are welcome to join adult classes. Advance registration is required. To register, please send an email to kindheartedstudio@gmail.com.

If you’d like to be notified as new classes are scheduled, join our mailing list.


We are currently offering the following classes:

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With the Corona virus affecting how we are interacting – we wanted to spread creativity instead! Who wants to draw?! We’ll be offering an online series daily based on suggestions. Want to learn how to draw something? Send us an email and we’ll show you how! If you participate please  send us your image and we’ll post them online in an album on our facebook page. Check out facebook or click register now to sign up for our newsletter to receive them directly.



Arlene and Vanessa have worked together establishing the Same, Same but Different Reflect and Recharge Women’s Retreat in Suchitoto El Salvador over the last 2 years. With the Corona virus currently affecting how we interact and travel, here at Same same but different we see the silver lining. We’ve been reunited and are once again in the same geographical space which enables us to collaborate and offer the best of both of our work. With travelling now being limited, we are looking for new ways to  share some of our practices, insights, tools, and perspectives that will help you stay ahead of the curve of fear and anxiety.

If you’re someone who wants to shut down the chatter in your brained connect with that inner voice, intuition or inner wisdom – whatever you want to call it. If you’re someone who wants more out of life, what we believe that more is, is really just a deeper understanding and connection with and of yourself.

Click on the link below and receive your free art video and meditation.


Parent & Child Painting Afternoon

We’re switching it up! Working together to create one painting – you’ll decide:

  • size
  • colours
  • subject matter: (abstract, landscape, texture, portrait)

We’ll set you up and guide you along the way to create a painting you’re both happy with!

Saturday March 21 at 2pm – $40 plus tax and the cost of canvas




Sketching and Shading Youth

Drawing is the foundation of art, this class will teach students about shading, value, size, proportion, and other tips for drawing.

9 years and older
Wednesday March 25-April 29 (no session April 8th)
$125 *includes drawing set to keep

Art Class for kids with Vanessa De Groot at Kind-heARTed Studio



Paint Nights
Paint Night with Vanessa De Groot from Kind-heARTed Studio at the Humane Society

Thursday March 26

Beer and Paint Paint Night at Kind-heARTed Studio with Vanessa De Groot

Thursday April 23

Join us for a night of creativity and fun. You’ll be guided – but given enough freedom to make it your very own masterpiece. $35 plus tax

Scheduled Paint Nights

  • Thursday March 26 – Paint Night at Humane Society (butterfly) – Please contact the Humane Society to register. 519 273 6600


  • Thursday April 23 – Paint Night at Jobsite (dream catcher).

Click here to register online

Book your own Private Party 
Girls night out, birthdays, bachelorettes, family get together, baby shower, work party – you name the event and we can celebrate! You chose the date, time, and what you’d like to paint. For more info please email kindheartedstudio@gmail.com

Explore & Experiment Youth

This playful class engages kids in exploring with a variety of tools to create while experimenting with different mediums (print making, painting, oil pastels, collage, sculpture etc).

  • 5-8 years – Wednesday April 15 – May 20 from 5-6pm $132
  • 9 years and older – TBA


Expressions of Nature

Expressions of Nature Art class at Cozyn's by Vanessa De Groot from Kind-heARTed Studio

Join us for a relaxing afternoon session of painting in the tranquil surroundings of Cozyn’s new greenhouse. Inspired by the landscape around us, participants will work on their own creations for the three week session. Most supplies provided. Please contact Vanessa to register. Thursday April 16, 23, 30 from 2-3:30pm. Cost $88 plus tax

Pizza & Paint Youth

Kids choose what kind of image they’d like to paint, they’ll receive step by step instruction to draw and transfer their image onto the canvas to create their own masterpiece. Pizza and a drink included.

5 years and older

  • Tuesday March 17 from 11:30am – 1:00pm
  • Saturday March 28 from 11:30am – 1pm
  • Saturday April 19 from 11:30am – 1pm

$30 plus hst



Individual Art Therapy Sessions

Schedule by appointment 

Schedule an individual session of art therapy at a time convenient for you. Art Therapy is similar to regular talk therapy but in addition to just talking, we get involved in the creative process. Art provides another avenue of self-expression – allowing us to make meaning of our life, situation or issue that we’re currently dealing with. Sometimes we don’t have the words to describe it while other times we don’t want to talk about it. But so much can be said using images, colours, shapes, and metaphors, we can process and talk about events in a different way. You don’t have to be good at art, it’s not the final product that matters but what matters is the process of creating and self reflection through journaling done afterwards. Art Therapy can be for all ages – 6 years up to 96 years old. Schedule your appointment today. Benefits may provide coverage.

Art à la Carte

An open studio approach, like a restaurant, you go in and order what you want, we set you up and off you go. Â You choose size, colours, style, subject matter (landscape, abstract, still life, portrait, nature), techniques (texture, splatter, blending).We’ll provide the space, time, freedom, and necessary tools to create your own masterpiece. This open-studio session is self-guided, with additional support provided upon request. Open to everyone 8 yrs old and up.

Material fee: $40 (some materials subject to additional fee)

This program is offered afternoons, evenings, and weekends. Simply book a time by contacting the studio

Expressive HeARTs - Emotions & Art

This art therapy program is designed to help youth increase self-esteem and insight and build on emotional resilience.  Using art and journaling as tools to help express thoughts and feelings, students will be given tools to help manage big and difficult emotions (anxiety, worry, anger).  

Monday April 20 – May 25 from 5-6pm
$175  *Benefits coverage may be applicable.

9 years of age and older


Summer Camps

In these half-day sessions, campers will have access to a wide range of art materials and let their own curiosity be their inspiration. Some guided arts and crafts projects will be provided, but participants will also have free time to explore on their own. Weather permitting, we will take kids to a nearby family-friendly park for outdoor games and play for at least an hour a day.

Upcoming Summer Camps

August 4-7th

Click here to register online

August 17-21

Register now for Summer Camps at Kind-heARTed Studio

Adult Painting Class

This six week class will provide you with the guidance and instruction that you need based on the individual. Bring your own inspiration with you and we’ll use that to help create a piece that is meaningful and unique to you. Learn techniques and enhance your skills with acrylic painting, watercolour, or sketching and shading. 

Tuesday April 7 – May 12 from 7-9pm
$150 plus HST

Below are additional classes that are not currently on the Kind-heARTed Studio calendar, but that we’ll be offering in the future. If you’d like to learn more about any class on this list, please contact me.

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Re-Defining You

You’ve been a spouse, a parent, a caregiver, an employee….what’s next? As women we focus so much time and energy into others that we often forget about ourselves. When we find the time to get back to us, we often feel lost and stuck. This six week series offers you a chance to reconnect or rediscover a new you, through the use of art directives and journaling you’ll be given time to create and reflect allowing you to draw upon your own inner wisdom and knowledge. The final artwork is not important, only the process. No previous art experience is required. 

Same Same But Different Online Series

Often we find ourselves living someone else’s life. . We’ve accomplished what we thought we should do, or perhaps followed other people’s thoughts and ideas of what kind of life we should be living. This series is based on Vanessa and Arlene’s meditation and art therapy programming during the Reflect and Recharge Retreats. They realize that not everyone can travel but want to make it accessible to all. The Same Same but Different series is all about letting go of societal expectations and rediscovering your own intuition and knowledge – what do you want more out of life? What’s missing? Each week you’ll receive:

  • video via email explaining the topic
  • a creative exercise
  • a meditation
  • journal questions
  • reflection guidelines

Topics will include:

The Mother of All F&*k-Ups

It’s Ok to Sit in Sh*t
Dealing with “negative emotions”

I wish I was full of Tacos instead of Emotions

That Damn F Word

You Sunk My Battleship

The Beauty of Being Lost
Re-write your story

You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
Letting go of Control

The Merry-Go-Round Will Make You Sick
Stop repeating patterns

Don’t take it Personally

It’s all about Perspective

The Itty Bitty Sh*tty Committee

NOW creates your future

Intention Setting

F&$king Own It – You are Enough

I have therefore I Am
What really makes you Happy

School Workshops

School Workshops

  • Painting Workshop (Grade two+)
    Step by step instruction for students to learn techniques to create their own painting. In addition to learning about composition, colour mixing and painting techniques – emphasis will be on how art resembles life, students learn:– There’s many ups and downs so we must be kind to ourselves – we aren’t Picassos– They’ll all be the same but different, and that’s great! Embrace you – your painting is yours you can add whatever you wish– No such thing as mistakes. They can always be fixed but often those mistakes become the best part 


  • Doodle Workshop (Grade 4+)
    Doodling is a form of art that is non-representational and unplanned, the intention is to focus on each stroke as you make it. Letting go of expectation and self-criticism, and fear of failure. There is no right way or wrong way to do zentangle, its done in pen to embrace “mistakes” as in art mistakes are often the best part. In life, we’re given no erasers, we just make do. This meditative state of drawing engages students in the present moment, fully engaged in what they are doing. This is a great tool to utilize when feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or angry. Students will learn simple patterns that can be repeated in many designs, and will be given time to create their own drawings. 


  • Self Talk: Inner Critic vs. Inner Cheerleader (Grade 7 – 12)
    This workshop helps teens identify the impact of our thoughts and how it can impact our feelings and behaviours. It does so by helping teens develop an awareness of when thoughts and self-talk may be having a negative or irrational influence on the way they act. Students will be invited to participate in a discussion about self-talk – what is self talk, how does it sound, and what are some ways which we may talk to ourselves. Students will create their own character that represents their inner critic, discussion will focus on emphasizing that we all have an internal dialogue, despite not always being able to recognize it as such. Goals: develop an awareness of how thoughts affect our feelings and behaviours. Emphasis will also focus on self-compassion, how to treat ourselves and talk to ourselves when faced with a difficult situation.

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“We travel because distance & difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something inside our minds has changed, and that changes everything. Appreciate it.”  – Jonah Lehrer




Why Suchitoto?

Suchitoto is a town set in the mountains, overlooking Lake Suchitlan. Its breathtaking views, colonial architecture, and charming people make this picturesque town one worth discovering. We will guide you through the town pointing out the main land marks, but what really makes this town magical is the ability to discover it on your own.

It is our desire that you immerse yourself in the community, shop locally and dine at local restaurants. Suchitoto is a magical place, with a sacred charm that we strive to respect, nurture and share through these retreats. A portion of every retreat will be donated to a cause that goes towards supporting the betterment of the local people. We also support only locally owned and operated business during our stays.


Our Programming

Suchitoto is the perfect backdrop for our programming, allowing us to step outside of our comfort zones both in our environment and ourselves. We believe that women are seeking more, and “more” really just means more of themselves.  

We take you on an adventure of the soul, where you’ll reconnect with the inner wisdom and knowledge that lies behind the walls of your body. Through meditation, art and immersing yourself into the local culture which allows you to truly see who you are, and what you can do. Just as it did for both of us.  We hope you’ll be one of the 8 that join us this time!



El Tejado Hotel is a wonderful family run business. With just 12 rooms you will appreciate the attention and personalized service we receive from their friendly staff. You will enjoy the spotless, spacious rooms with two double beds and private bath (all accommodations shared 2 per room).

Each room has its own fantastic outdoor terrace with incredible views overlooking the lake. El Tejado has some of the most beautiful gardens and definitely has the best pool in Suchitoto. Most of our daily activities occur right on site.


For more information please contact us.

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