Showcasing the creations that were made during CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS Pen Pals Project Session #6 ~ From June. 13th to June. 26th 2021.

With only 24 to 48 hours as the turnaround goal for each piece, Creatives challenged themselves to create in a quick timeframe using their Match’s piece for inspiration.

Creatives participants were matched in a back-andforth creative expression for two weeks. The prompt for this Round was ‘Over The Moon,’ and all interpretations of this & anything in-between.

The Creative Pen Pal journey reveals much more than artistic pieces alone ~ This experience can be a tool for self-reflection. Shared experiences and friendships blossom along the way. Like connecting with a great piece of art, connecting with a new person can be daring, frustrating, surprising, comforting, and awakening.

For professional or emerging artists, this project serves as an exciting chance to develop and expand in their artistic discipline or to try a new medium.

For others, having a Creative Pen Pal is a much-needed break from the social isolation that the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions have been imposing.

Either way, taking part in an online social activity group has many benefits, including increased well-being and social connections.

For many, it’s an exercise in personal growth ~ trusting strangers to contribute to a shared goal. Something beautiful begins to grow as the creative conversation takes on a life of its own and a new unspoken understanding and connection emerges.

All this culminates in a linear exhibit showcasing each unique conversation followed by an artist group chat over zoom. Creatives are encouraged to discuss their emotions and inspirations for each piece and their creative process. We share tips and advice about all things creative.

Please send us a message to learn how to get involved.

Enjoy the exhibit.


Rhiannon Barry, Project Coordinator

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A Be Whimsi Art Loft Creation

Christine O’Dea & Mirta Ormazabal (Oakville, ON) 

1-C.O’DEA-Over the moon

 I live on a farm near Hastings, Ontario about 3km from the north shore of Rice Lake.

I find 12 hours kind of a tight time-frame to come up with a painting, especially at this time of year when there is so much work to do outside. We have horses and there is no lack of chores–yesterday we spent hours fixing a fence.

 I did find some inspiration for a poem.

Over The Moon

I am so over

the moon. I have watched it climb

the line of trees and take a stand

just out of reach; wished

on it, wailed at it, wondered

why it watches me. Clouds gallop

tonight, like ghostly wind-whipped beasts,

manes and tails dissolving

as they lash moon’s gloating face. Dark

grows pale; a silver veil drapes

around me, snares me with illusions.

It never lasts. This moon too will fade; become

a tilted apologetic grin fading west of here.

Why do I long for it to reappear?

I’m over the moon,

when the moon’s not over me.

 I worked yesterday on this and found an interesting paper about the myths of Romans and Baltic tribes regarding the moon and horses.
 The Roman cavalry (late iron age) and Baltic tribes used to adorn their horses with half crescent moon pendants and the Lithuanians have a myth about the moon personified as a horse.
 So here it is Selene or Luna and the moon horse, combining all these old myths about the moon.
I had an old linocut of horses and applied it with iridescent white paint to the lavender colored paper, then I added the goddess and the moon.
3-C.O’DEA-Moon Mares
I like that given the history behind your idea; your figure does have a Roman look about it. I like the way you added to your original print and the ephemeral effect you achieved.

My second piece is a digitally altered photo of a painting I did of horses in moonlight. The original painting was done a few years ago and has been hanging in a dark corner in my kitchen. I cropped the image so it only shows a portion of the original painting and spent time manipulating different aspects until I was happy with the result.   

I found online this picture book by Mary Pope Osborne:
 Title: Moonhorse 
“Out of the night, the shimmering Moonhorse appears, and a young girl leaves her father napping on the front porch to join the silver-winged horse on a wondrous adventure among the constellations. They gallop past stars and comets, past the Dipper and the Ram, then lasso the crescent moon and pull it across the clear night sky. At last, the sleepy rider returns home safely, and the Moonhorse disappears into the dark.”
Based on this picture book, I made the illustration below. I used brush markers and pencil crayons on blue-toned paper.
My studio is in disarray as we are replacing the flooring upstairs. I could not find any inspiration to pull my paints out. I found myself doodling on a blank piece of paper with my pen as I was sitting at my computer and thought I would develop it further. I added some coloured pencils and then after arranging a few beads on the page (you can see one has slipped below the kitty’s left eye but I didn’t notice until after) I photographed the page and once again manipulated it digitally. Our images of the moon are so saturated with cliches, yet the pure light still overwhelms everything it touches. Untitled.
6-M.ORMAZABAL- Nocturnal
I saw you draw a lot of animals and had fun with the beads. I decided to follow the idea of the animals but changed to a warmer earthly colour palette (too much blue!). I included some of my favourite nocturnal animals and a bit of gold in the eyes of the wolf.

mysteries lie

The poem that your picture conjured:

The bat and the owl fluttered over the wolf

who was staring off into the dark. They battered

the air with screeches and clicks, but the bark

of wolf anger soon shattered their fun.

Owl perched on a limb, pretended to preen

while young bat hung below wrapped in featherless wings.

They watched as the wolf paced a circle or two,

sniffed the air, scratched his ear, shook his head, then sat down.

Just as the first silver beams of full moon

 broke over the treetops, he stretched his head high.

From deep in his chest he summoned a howl

that frightened the bat, and startled the owl.

And then in the silvery silence that fell, in the distance,

an answering howl.  The wolf perked his ears, smiled his smile

and stode off; the bat flew away. But the owl just focussed

his moon-shaped eyes, and stared at the shadows

where mysteries lie. He didn’t give a hoot

about anything else.

CBO’Dea 2021

 I liked the idea of a mystery, so I transformed the wolf to a werewolf and the owl to an owl lady so that the story can continue with these two.

9-C.O’DEA-Bats and Bagels
Such interesting characters you have come up with! Since you left out the bat I thought I’d better go find him. I found him at a restaurant called Bruce’s Bakery Barn. I’m afraid I got quite silly with this one. 

10-M.ORMAZABAL-Bruce’s bakery barn
I found your story very funny, and I draw the bearded bat having fun and Eating bagels at Bruce’s Bakery Barn.

Liz Tessier, & Jessica Compton

1 E.TESSIER- Over it. Reflection: I played with the moon theme while watching patios open on my street.

Over it.

The patios are open again

and the drunken parties

stumble my street, loud talking,

brazen with laughter,

as I linger the porch swing, silent.

There is a fit couples dressed 

in tight white clothes,

With loud labels

sashaying hand in hand 

unsanitized, unmasked

as if it were over.

And most of us have had

one shot of death evading

elixir and I understand

how they feel the night

pull like a tidal force

tugging them toward each other.

All winter they have 

scampered by in sweats

Carrying flat boxes

of pizza or donuts held 

high like ceremonial paraphernalia

on taut arms down Locke,

with serious steps, intent.

But now they look to see

if you are watching as

they saunter or sit at small

tables tasting freedom.

The joy of it. The over 

the moon woozy joy of it.

Reticent spectator

I admire their ability

To walk without gravity.

2- J. COMPTON- Over the Moon

The moon vibrates,

like unlimited data. 

Not enough aware,

waiting, waiting & waiting,

for humans to awake.  

3-E. TESSIER- Nocturne
Reflection: I loved the bold white line and texture of the work. I was also inspired by Jessica’s website.


The moon was a chalk outline

on a crime scene sky.

The night rose in ridges, turbulent,

storm waves on an angry sea.

Afraid of the dark, the imposed,

the truce of daylight interrupted

with unspeakable impact

Riven by triggers I slept with lights.

I begin to reclaim the dark.

To allow the body rest,

the vigilant mind to lay down

its defense and allow

the circadian rhythms of trust,

to eschew dead reckoning for

astrolabe, while navigating the

lunar lambent vagaries of relating.

4- J. COMPTON- There is Light in the Dark

The reflection from your writing piece, I always like to say

“There is light in the dark.”

Reflection: I was reminded by the flame of something my son said and I decided to incorporate it as a metaphor for the responsibility of parenting.

Candles have memory,

my son said, If you burn them

 for too short a time.

They will only burn as far as that

first crater leaving a wick in

a narrow hole.

I never had understood

The instructions for a first burn.

I have thrown out candles almost

impossible to light as the wick was

sunk in a narrow chamber.

We burn within the limits

we are given. A child learns

not to ask for help, not

to allow the searing heat

of feeling. 

If you do not burn fully

as your true self

you will find yourself 

losing your light,


by the confines

of the past.

6 -J. COMPTON-The Unperfect Flame

I haven’t played the guitar much during the pandemic. 

But this responses to your piece

7-E.TESSIER- Comforts
Reflection: I think we are both trying to say our upbringing affects but does not determine us and that art can be part of the healing process. 


A flame sputters 

but does not go out.

It hold its fist of wick

with alacrity. 

Fingers of the same

hand can string

each singular note subtly

together in narrative strands

like soul vertebrae.

I eat my sister’s pie

for breakfast.

It tastes of love and

my mother. Blend

of soft strawberry,

tart raspberry and

tang of rhubarb.

Tinamarie Jones & Rhiannon Barry (Niagara Falls, Ontario)

1- T. JonesChandra 57-8.5 x 11. Paper and gouache on cardstock.
For our theme, I gave thought to what experiences I’ve had that have given me that over the moon feeling and my trip years ago to research in India was one of those moments. Unlike my peers, I struggled to scrape the funds together to travel to India, but when I finally made the trip, I was literally over the moon with joy.
As I had never travelled before, I was eager for advice. A friend said to take something small and familiar with me to ground me while I was there. I ended up not taking anything because I decided that my focal point would be the moon. So throughout my nine-week stay in India, most nights, I’d gaze up at the sky and feel calm. No matter how challenging a day was (and travelling around India as a woman alone had many challenges!), the moon always grounded me. It was familiar from home and something that, even though it was constantly changing, stayed constant.
This piece speaks to that feeling. Of a joyfulness and tumult, being surrounded by another culture, and the tranquillity and peacefulness of the moon, ever constant.
In the title, ‘Chandra is the Sanskrit and Hindi term for the moon. The 57 refers to the roughly 57 nights during my 9-week stay that I would have seen a moon, whether full or partial.  So there’s a circle/moon for each night.

It’s a spoken poem and is set to classical music and illustrated with a soft but bright moving image of the moon. I wanted to capture your story about the moon being constant and comforting for you on your trip away from home. I wanted to speak the poem because I wanted to be understood. I wasn’t sure what to do with the recording and was a bit lost with it. Then suddenly, the creative muse just took over and told me to add music and lights and softness!

3-T. Jones-Iris-5×7 Acrylic.
I liked the dreamy quality of the twinkles in your video, so that carries over here. My garden makes me feel euphoric and over the moon because it is something new to me. Before my mom’s passing, I never gardened. Now it has become a favourite hobby and brings me considerable joy. 

The flower theme and the purple inspired me. I grabbed the wildflowers I have picked a few days prior from my vase and a pair of scissors and formed a Dixie Moon-type image.

To Each Moon, Her Orbit
9.5 x12. Coloured pen, gouache, pencil and paper on cardboard.
Inspiration: your piece made me think of the man in the moon and the idea that moons in general orbit around other things. I wanted to center the moon’s journey. We as people orbit others or are orbited and this speaks to that as well.
6-R.Barry-Ancient Coded Moons
I took a lot of inspiration from the geometry in your piece. I designed a short video. I used a geometric image inside circles as you did and then place them in the dark sky as the phases of the moon. And I added an overlay that looked like coding to represent the universal coding of sacred geometry.

5-T.Jones-Moontide 16×20 Acrylic on canvas.
More representational art is not my comfort zone, so this was a bit of an experiment. Not thrilled with the result, but good to stretch and I tried something new!

The wave painting inspired me to create a meditation piece using the photo of some marble memorial—stones my son found in the shallows at the beach. 

They were etched in mandarin and Buddhist. This god is Ksitigarbha. I had a previous coworker translated them before wandering in about 40 feet and throwing them back in. Altogether, we found 8.  

Jane Burns, AB & April Garrison, St.Catharines, ON

The context of my first piece about making it over the moon but not over the rainbow was about the joy of meeting the love of my life and marrying for the first time later in life.  However, until we married 20 years later, she wanted to live a closeted life because of our careers, position in the community and living in rural Alberta.  I always wanted to go to a rainbow parade but have never made it due to some fear and trepidation around it.  Hopefully one day I will make it over the rainbow and attend a parade.

2-A.Garrison-All Things Bright and Beautiful
In reflecting on Jane’s piece, I was led to respond through photography. I was surprised as I have never chosen this medium in any of the previous rounds. However, the way she depicted God’s wondrous glory through creation, I realized that there was no beauty that I could create that even comes close to the beautiful gift of creation. I feel that my photo combines the spring flowers, the flowing river and God’s majesty that she described. The way the sun and its radiant beams are captured responds to the repetition of being “over the moon” or “over the rainbow,” but instead shifts focus to show that God shines “overall” of creation.  

#3-J.Burns April sent me a stunning photo of a nature scene filled with beautiful beams of light.  As creatives with rich, inner lives, the natural world is a calming counterpoint to the complexities of our inner worlds. 
This photo inspired my second piece which was about an empathy walk I took in the mountain parks.  Due to prolonged childhood trauma, I have had to learn how to ground myself and nature can provide that opportunity.  The forked tree is a symbolic representation of myself and the mental splitting that occurred to escape abuse.

I want to make it over the moon but know I must first ground myself to the earth.  I must centre myself in order to prepare for a journey that will lead me to the moon and beyond.  I must know and trust in myself.  I breathe in the stillness of the presence of God.  I listen for he music of the spheres and thesublime messages bestowed by the Universe.

 When I enter the green woodland, I go slow, am silent and use my own senses to connect with nature.   I root myself to the earth’s fertile floor.  I sense my feet in my shoes. I press my weight to the ground and roll back and forth from my toes to my heelsthen settle on a fixed but flexible position.  I connect with myself.  I am present in the moment and sense my inner being.

I bring my journal and my camera to take pictures and to capture my observations of deeply felt connections to the natural world.   I see the struggles and challenges of elder trees and creatures, whose teachings instill crucial survival skills in the young of their species.  I feel gratitude for the rain and sunlight that brings life, support and encouragement to all living things in the forest. The forest fungi nourish and interconnect the root systems, helping trees share and communicate with one another.   The diversity of life brings strength and resilience to the balanced ecosystem as a whole.  I relate this to myself and see that I am not an island or a rugged individual, rather sustained by the caring and cooperation of my social groups and community.  The support and kindness I see in nature, such as birds flying in V-shaped formation to strengthen the weaker members, builds empathy for myself and others.  I am able to heal myself through expression of love, compassion and forgiveness.

Then I stop in my tracks and stare at the forked tree directly in my path.  In the wind, its two trunks move in different directions.  Its gaping wound makes it vulnerable to breakage and collapse.  Its life span in its current state is shortened. Eventually, only the stable half will remain standing.  I can’t wait till that day comes, not only for the tree but for me.

By being present, grounding myself and using all my senses, the essence of my being becomes clear and strong.  When I stand in my personhood, I am able to take in nature’s gentle teachings. I can love myself, love living, and love connection with others.Silent, slow and sensing, my empathy walk leads me to a clearing in the forest, a place of convergence of spiritual energy.  And as the sky darkens, the moon becomes visible overhead.  It is the summer solstice, the most daylight hours of the year and the highest point of the sun.  As the moon sneaks into view above the glade, I stand in my truth.  My thoughts do not fly everywhere on a multitude of tracks.  I engage in a healthy dream of travelling to the moon, a dream grounded in my realityand respectful of my divine essence.  Not only can I reach it to the moon, but I can get over the moon too.



4-A.Garrison-Woodland Nighttime Clime

I struggled a lot to respond to this piece. I was very challenged in trying to incorporate the theme of this round. Finally, I chose to go with my inspiration for woodland creatures.  Rather than following the “over the moon” theme, I responded oppositely by creating an image of under the moonlight. My inspiration was that even at night, the forest is brimming with life and full of activity. This didn’t fully express as I shifted focus midway through, but I put a couple of creatures in the picture. Also, the moonlight in the water is meant to show contrast. The busy activity and ungoverned chaos of the wild in the forest paired with the simple beauty and tranquillity of the water and moonlight demonstrates the balance in life that I seek. My commitments and time demands, and busy mind are represented in the busyness and wilderness of the night forest, though not necessarily entirely apparent at first glance, and the peace and tranquillity of the moonlight and water show the calm that I strive to achieve. 

April responded back with another beautiful nature scene which coincidentally echoed a nature walk I did at dusk in Banff when trying to get relief from an incredible week of 36-38 degree temperatures never see before.    It was as if April captured the exact scene I was looking at.  Thank you, April, for giving me a visual representation of that.
The moon in her painting inspired my third piece, some childhood memories and the recognition of unconditional love in the “moon eyes” of my new Shichon puppy.

Rhiannon Barry (Niagara Falls, ON) & Tracy Barry (Schreiber, ON)

1 R.Barry-Balance of Tides
The tides receded and left the rocks the waves had brought in. One kid yelled, “Look, mom; I found a moon rock!”…the rest was an exercise in balancing these ‘moon rocks.’
2-T. Barry
I feel like you balanced stones to the inner Chakras and aligned them with source energy. I drew out the photo with a quick one-line scribble and then used markers to create the colours of the chakras. 3 R.Barry-Energy of the Universe
It’s the energy from the cosmos depicted in an impression of plants in our solar system. I use lightning to indicate the big bang; the jolts that got it all are started.

4. T.Barry
5-R.Barry-Rose Girl
Roses from my grandfather’s garden in martini glasses and enhanced with an artsy app. My response is inspired by the red in the painting.  These are roses plucked from my grandfather’s garden. As a young girl in my rose dress and many pictures were taken in front of the roses each year. It’s a happy memory.
I was inspired by your title Rose Girl and thought that I would do some type of wild rose bush. I guess I was picturing you enjoying the roses so much that they must bring back joy so I painted a joyful painting. And the outline kinda brings back my idea of energy

Spoken Poem:

7-R.Barry-Canadian in Discovery This is a statement in response to Tracy’s beautiful landscape of Canadiana. I thought about the headlines lately and why I’m feeling frustrated and sad and happy…a swirl of emotions ended up in the Spoken Poem.

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