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Showcasing the creations that were made during CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS Pen Pals Project Session #4 ~ From Feb. 28th to Mar. 14th 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 Matches piece for inspiration.

Creatives participants were matched in a back-andforth creative expression for two weeks. The prompt for this Round was ‘Ever After,’ and all interpretations of this from ‘Forever After’ to ‘Nevermore’ and anything in-between.

The Creative Pen Pal journey reveals much more than artistic pieces alone ~ shared experiences and friendships blossom along the way too. Like connecting with a great piece of art or maybe a song, connecting with someone new can be exciting, daring, challenging, frustrating, surprising, comforting, provocative, and awakening.

On this journey together, participants grow as creatives ~ experiencing a variety of emotions and insights about their creative process  Participants are provided with a mood tracker as a tool for self-reflection.

For professional or emerging artists this project serves as an interesting 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 impose. Taking part in an online social activity can not only help give one a sense of belonging but can also combat the adverse psychological and physiological effects of stress caused by the pandemic imposed isolation and restrictions.

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 emerge.

All this culminates in a linear exhibit showcasing each unique conversation followed by an intimate private artist group chat over zoom. Creatives are encouraged to speak about 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

A Be Whimsi Art Loft creation

Bobby Kumar (Brampton, Ontario) & Jennifer Daniels (St.Catharines, Ontario)

1 Bobby Kumar
Here’s My First piece titled “Forest of Dreams”. When I think of Ever After, I think of things that last forever like nature and magic As for why the deer is blue, chalk that up to my obsession with Pokémon.
Available for purchase at
2 Jennifer Daniels
I adapted your forest/light and created mine from that. Sadly, my mother just passed on February 19th. We were very close. 
I shed several tears while completing this piece, I’m calling it “The End of A Journey”.
3 Bobby Kumar
Sorry to hear about your mother, it’s always hard losing someone. I called my piece “New Beginnings”. I do not think death is the end. Our energy never truly dissipates, we join the universe, and I think that’s beautiful in a way.
Available for purchase at
4 Jennifer Daniels
Love the idea of new beginnings. You have inspired me to try something sky-ish…. love the colours you used.

I tried an angel, even though it was quite intimidating. It is called, “Dancing Home”. As you can probably guess, my mom was a (dyed) red-head.
5 Bobby Kumar
My piece is called “Dancing Among the Flowers”, continuing on the nature theme, and taking the dancing part from your title.
Available for purchase at
6 Jennifer Daniels
I love it (and my mom would have, too). I have created “Poppies in a Field of Flowers”. The three poppies are my mother, sister, and me. Fields of flowers are soothing at the moment.
7 Bobby Kumar
This is my piece, “In Flanders Fields”. I started this after I saw your WIP and wanted to stay in the theme of Ever After. Available for purchase at
8 Jennifer Daniels
In keeping with your Flanders Field theme, I wrote a poem about my mom as though she were a poppy…. a strong, tall, and resilient redhead… gone to ‘sleep’ forever.
9 Bobby Kumar
My piece is called ‘Deer Girl’ because deer girl. The only thing I took from your poem was the red dress.
Available for purchase at
10 Jennifer Daniels
Just got back from another 36 hours working through my mom’s estate… 5 of them with my sister. 
I’m going to take your ‘Deer Girl’ and adapt it to “Dear Girls” and create a mixed media piece, with messages my mom might have wanted us to hear today. Very different in style than yours, but did enjoy the DeEr Girl/DeAr GirlS. I did also include ‘evermore’. I plan to print three, and put them in frames for my sister and her wife, our cousin, and me.

Elizabeth Tessier (Hamilton, Ontario) & April Garrison  (St.Catharines, Ontario)

1.’Will we freely breathe’

Will we freely breathe
the breath of others,
sit by strangers,
stand in stadiums?

Will we fall asleep on subways
share nachos, sip
another’s drink?

Will fear linger in plexiglass
substations, fever tests, facemasks?
Will we still see lines of connections
beyond people, like connect-the-dots
of childhood or
late life a 1-A, 2-B, 3-C tests for dementia?
Will we consider flume
in public restrooms?

Touch elevator buttons, door handles
without pause?
Will it be like life on tv where people congregate heedlessly
or a new conflation of
elation, caution and fear of contagion?

2 Misty Paddle

3.The Approach

Your kayak, an outer carapace

You are a mollusk taking refuge, fused, a hybrid creature

Early morning mist floats inscrutable just beyond the front of your craft is obfusk.

set out, stroke slowly trusting the water under you.

You get a rhythm with your new long arm ending in flat palms.

Your skag tail sets you on a straight course but feathering closer you stir the current in a sculling draw to move your hull parallel

You approach the god of falling water close enough to feel the damp breath on your hair, stare into its looming numinous power.

retreat downstream navigate towards the tongue of dark water to maneuver through the rapids below.

4 ‘The Wreckage Beneath’

5. ‘Subconscious’

Ship Ribs and gibsheets fathoms shroud,

hold held in bottom sand ruddersnap mast bonesstand in stasis

Former storm maneuvers current 

A tell, a warning a red sky in morning.

Shoreless, unharboured mnemonic device riddles with tics triggering riggings snag

No float, no further unfurling waterlogged the log writ passage of days

Fin flagged the forecastle

6 ‘Midnight Pallete’

7. ‘Adolescence’

The spruce extends its unclenched
hand towards the sky
in silhouette against
the summer scarlet.

Trees cast shadows,
like hovering ancestors.
The canoe lies capsized
a sleeping beast.

I almost expect its tired ribs to
heave in a sigh.
Tomorrow we will paddle again
tiny toys on unsteady waters,

Our childhood sorrows, the waves,
propelling us and breaking into
whitecapped fury in the shallows
of barely submerged hurts.

We are not yet men
but the woods require of us
to be something we don’t recognize
that was there all along,

more constant than our parents,
who grow smaller in the distance
into awkward children
needy and afraid.

We are the only ones
who know the way,
We each portage and paddle
our singular path.

8 ‘Image of Solitude’

9. ‘Pathfinding’

The path reveals where those have gone before but once you see it twisting through the trees you can its given protocols ignore

Your chosen way will take you where you please.

We would clear out the way and make it safe but there are dangers in too smooth a path and our insistence may well make you chafe.

You see the anxious mistrust in our wrath, and in our fear a lack of confidence.

we stand back now and watch you on your way.

No need for you to share our hesitance, but find your voice, speak what you need to say.

You go beyond us, this we always knew.

Only you can find the path that’s true.

10 ‘Purpose Flight’

11. Migration

Tiny offspring of the dinosaurs

fly in form as if a single bird;

each small arrow flying in the gore

takes its rightful place as if a word

writ into a strictly formal poem.

How do these feathered creatures organize,

assemble themselves in their journey home?

and gather as my thoughts that recognize

a flock of words  to paint them on their way.

Fine wing bones of syllables take flight

calligraphy of God as if to say:

stop and read the sunrise with delight.

Here read the beauty of the sky you’re under

Look to the birds, let thought take flight with wonder.

Jane (Sylvan Lake, Alberta) & Rhiannon Barry (Niagara Falls, Ontario)

1 Jane untitled (1 min read)

It was your 91st birthday.  Cards, flowers and well wishes were pouring in from near and abroad.  It was the kind of day you loved, sun shining and large, fluffy snowflakes falling,  You pushed away your lunch tray and said you weren’t hungry.  You said you were tired as you had been up late till the small hours of the morning visiting with staff and sharing stories of your youth, cycling trips with girlfriends going all over Scotland and the Western Isles.  You loved sharing your adventures and misadventures, anything for a laugh.  We tucked you into bed for an afternoon nap.  You were wearing your favourite nightdress and your hair was freshly done.  You were tired indeed.  You went to sleep and never woke up, dying while holding my hand.  Your final breath was a bullet through my heart.  But there was no piercing sound of a gunshot, only an impenetrable, still silence, the deepest silence I have ever felt.  You quietly and gently slipped your mortal coil and were gone forevermore.  I am left to grieve.  I am left in awe.

2 Rhiannon Barry-
My grandmother was from Glasgow. By the time I came along she had pretty much lost her accent but it always came out when she was having a good old time with my Aunt Sadie. I loved the accents.
I call this ‘Forever Gone, Never Forgotten’. Original is Marked as sold but prints will be available. Pls inquire.

2 Jane Thistles, Thistles Everywhere (3 min read)

As a child growing up in Scotland, I would sit each morning at the grand, formal dining room table staring into the beautiful design of a thistle on a china egg cup.  I loved its beautiful, purple flower which resembled a crown.  The crisp, white tablecloth was embossed with thistle emblems and it felt as though I was sitting in a great white field about to partake in a lovely breakfast picnic.  The boiled egg would be placed carefully in the cup and the top cut off.  Hot buttered toast cut into “soldiers” would be placed on the plate and hot tea poured.  Family members, immediate and extended, across the  generations, joined the formal table setting and interesting conversations would begin.  When the topic drifted to politics, my eyes would wander out the big picture window looking onto a green glen divided by a babbling brook and I would see the purple thistles dotting the rich, green hill.  To my father and forefathers, the thistle represented courage, perseverance and endurance from the hardships of war and invasions by English oppressors over the centuries.  But to me it was the beauty of the colour purple in my world, in my own highland cathedral.

Afternoons were spent in the large salon, reading and studying while my aunts knitted, sewed and embroidered.   Their thimbles sported a thistle emblem and I would watch their fingers for hours carefully mending or creating something beautiful.  My grandmother, wearing a thistle apron, and whose hands were always smooth and red from working with flour, would make scones and shortbread using a wooden thistle mold.  It was served alongside tea in a thistle-themed tea set.  Thistles, thistles, everywhere!

Thistles represented my past and present life, but they would not represent my future.  One day, the grand old stone house was sold.  The furnishings, household effects and décor were also sold with the proceeds going to the local primary school.  We were moving to Canada to start a new life and embark on a great adventure.  My dad accepted a position at a hospital in Ontario and that was it.  My idyllic childhood playing in fields of wildflowers, watching baby lambs and feeding bunnies and guinea pigs, was over.

As the jumbo jet took off from Prestwick Airport, I pressed my nose against the window to look out over the bright emerald and purple landscape dotted with white sheep below.  It was visible only for minutes until we were high above the deep blue waters of the vast Atlantic Ocean, then Greenland’s white, snowy glaciers and craggy mountains.  The plane became enveloped in thick, high clouds and I felt lost in the vast oneness of the heavens.  It was like I had entered a massive vacuum suspended in time and space.  The light in the cabin began to fade and I fell into a deep sleep.  I was wearing a kilt and poncho with a grouse’ claw pinned to my kilt.  The pin had a purple-gemmed thistle head and it sparkled as a reminder of the life and kinfolk I had left behind.

After the long flight, we descended into the massive hustle and bustle of the busy airport, with people from all countries and all walks of life.  As we entered the area for landed immigrants to be processed, a rather large and imposing immigration officer bent over, patted me on the head, and handed me a shiny, red maple leaf.  That was to be my new emblem, nevermore the thistle.

When we left the airport terminal, I saw only endless shades of grey and brown, a monotonous asphalt and concrete jungle.  No green.  No purple.  Nothing living.  No rushing water.  The only splash of colour was the bright yellow taxi whose window I was peering out of.  I wanted to go home, back to my grandmother, my aunts and the thistle-dotted green glens of Scotland.  But I was now in the land of the “Maple Leaf Forever”.  My destiny had arrived.

4 Rhiannon Barry-This was an emotional Pen Pal exchange and brought up a lot of memories of my grandmother who, if you know me well you know, was likely my greatest positive influence. To support Jane in her loss  while also keeping it creative I pieced together this tribute to her mother. ‘Wish I Could Do More’

Stephen Rea (Oakville, Ontario) & Rhiannon Barry (Niagara Falls, Ontario)

1 Stephen Rea-‘Flight To Ever After’
Portrait of Captain Sir Tom Moore
This piece was inspired by a recent story in the news. A positive and humble story which we far too often see or hear about.  After a life of 100 years, serving in the war, seeing the last pandemic of the Spanish flu we have a man who demonstrated humbleness and strength for his fellow man.  The art was to capture what it must feel like for this man as he passed and his final flight into the afterlife took place.
2 Rhiannon Barry-‘Spitfire’
Acrylic on Canavas Paper 
I jumped in to catch-up to Stephen’s pieces after his partner could no longer join in as a pen pal. I loved his piece. My grandfather has had a print of a spitfire on his wall for as long as I can remember. He was a mechanic in the Canadian Air Force. I instantly recognized it in Stephan’s piece and wanted to paint it for my response. I’ve been practicing the Bokeh effect so I felt this was a good opportunity to keep practicing. The original SOLD, prints available. Pls inquire.
1 Rhiannon Barry-‘Portal To The Playground’
8 x 10″, Acrylic on Canavas Paper, Framed, available for purchase $65. Originally, I had created this piece as a response to an artistic photograph of a piece found on a playground. To me a playground
represents good times ahead. I thought I would reuse it to restart our conversation after I was rematched with Stephen.
2 Stephen Rea-‘King, Son, Intercession’
My Pen Pal’s piece reminded me of an archway or gate into heaven.  A recent conversation with my 91 year old dad who is aling in his health reminded me of the importance of his faith.  With things not great for himself he continued to have faith in God and his son and put others like his family before himself. Thinking of us first before himself.  This is portrayed by the image of Abrahm who was known as an interceder in the bible and in my modern world my dad represents the characteristics of Abraham.
See Video Below
3-Rhiannon Barry-Meditative Motion Art, ‘Pieces of Heaven’ Acrylic on Canvas paper/ digitally animated.
I’m not a religious person. In fact, I’m often repelled by religiosity and connotations. Perhaps it’s from all the unanswered questions or maybe it’s from being taught how to swallow but not digest Catholic guilt…So this one started out very challenging. I decided that the idea of heaven needed to be in my response regardless of my religious beliefs. To me, heaven is a peaceful perspective people have of a sky world.
4 Stephen Rea-‘Highway To Heaven’
Portrait of Michael Landon. Inspired by the piece showing my Pen Pal’s interpretation of pieces of heaven I created this piece.  It reminded me that Michael Landon and his role in shows like Little House On The Prairie and Highway To Heaven were stepping stones for humans to see some of the kind souls in heaven!! 

Susan Robinson (Hamilton, Ontario) &  Torena Gardner-Durdle (Niagara Falls, Ontario)

1 Susan Robinson-“Toad-al Adoration” I started the conversation off with a conte drawing representing a vintage sepia tone photograph with a vignette. I interpreted the theme of “Ever After” as a fairytale romance set in a forest.
2 Torena Gardner-Durdle
“The Spell Caster” In response to Toad-al Adoration, I created the Spell Caster that brought the frogs to life in a human concept. Done in pen and ink, pencil crayon.
3 Susan Robinson-“Flight at Midnight” I was inspired by the Spell Caster’s wings. Using watercolour and ink, I created a dreamy vision of a flight to the moon.
4 Torena Gardner-Durdle- “Beauty in Death” Dragonflies are a symbol of rebirth which made me think of the circle of birth death and rebirth. Snowdrops are a symbol of hope and show the path thru the winter to spring, echoing the death and rebirth cycle. I call this piece “Beauty in Death”  -watercolour, pen and pencil crayon
* For Sale -$35   Artwork 8 x 10, matted and framed
5 Susan Robinson-“Slow and Steady” Inspired by the snowdrops and their symbolism of hope, I used pastels and pencil to show patience paying off in a first kiss, echoing the theme of a fairytale romance.
6 Torena Gardner-Durdle
“Time Marches On”  I have sculpted this snail as a reflection on how time passes…whether it goes by fast or slow, it goes on regardless….endlessly.
Polymer Clay, acrylic and felt and metal findings–photographed.
7 Susan Robinson-“Space Snails” This photograph of glow in the dark polymer snails is a futuristic reply to the snail featured in “Time Marches On.”
8 Torena Gardner-Durdle
“Ever More, Never More” This was my response to the space snails….all I could think was of ravens that eat snails and how that’s like a “ever more” thing  so I’ve called this one “Ever More, Never More”   Pencil and ink.

Christine O’Dea (Hamilton, Ontario) &  Tinamarie Jones

1 C O’Dea  “Everything”
This work is the melding of scraps of painted paper, painted shapes and marks. Reusing the old and adding new.
2 T. Jones  “Lacunae”
I took inspiration from the theme and the blue colour, reflecting specifically upon what comes before the ever after? Ever after WHAT? This led me to ponder that to get to ever after, we have to go through something and often to leave something behind, whether positive or negative (wanting to let go or wanting to hold on). My response piece speaks to that gap, that loss or lack that may propel us towards ‘ever after’.
3 C. O’Dea   “Howl
I loved the ‘otherwordly’ sense I got from my Pen Pal’s piece. I had a strong feeling of “the fabric of life” tendrils of possibility (or certainty?!) represented by the bright blue reaching towards ‘being’ represented by the green shape, and this could be inside a cell or somewhere deep in the sea, or elsewhere the universe. I thought about when one has used up their living ever after, there is another state which really is ever after (although no one can know). What these thoughts led me to was a poem. The painting itself is a rushed afterthought, watercolour on 13” x 10″ paper which was then digitally modified.
4 T. Jones “Conmigo”
        I adored my partner’s poem immensely and particularly liked the visceral feel of biting winds and the ‘howl’ towards the end. The subject matter resonated with me, as this project occurs during the two year anniversary of my mother’s passing. It was timely, and gave shape to many of the emotions flowing through me this week. While creating, I was thinking of ‘howl’ as an expression of grief but also communication over long distances (like wolves do), and feeling lost without maternal comfort and presence. Whereas my mother had been such a presence in my life, now her presence is denoted by her absence. All of this played a role in the development of this piece.
5 C O’Dea “All Ways Connected” The orange and white shape made me first think of a dragon protecting her young, then the nature of connections between mothers and daughters. The movement in your work and what it suggested to me was what I wanted to repeat in mine.
7. C O’Dea  “Accumulation”
I like the push-pull feeling I get from the yellow squares and their entangling threads. They are meshed, yet separate, and at the same time holding on to each other, yet still keeping their distance. It looks like one is holding the other down, or it could be helping it up. A good representation of a facet of the mother/daughter relationship.
The piece with the jewel hoard is beautiful—I love the colours and I am always drawn to shiny things. I get the feeling of watchful eyes….
Your comments about hoarding really struck a chord with me.  I had no specific inspiration when I started my painting—I just started and waited to see what came out.
8.  T. Jones “Surfacing”
I loved the energy, flow and palette of your piece. Reflecting on the theme of hoarding/holding on and accumulation, I decided that a nice final reflection on this would be letting go – getting to the ‘after’ of the ‘ever after’. Hopeful bright colours and a sense of movement dominate the piece, with the disks as bubbles of thoughts or memories – some being left behind, some being carried forward – not impeding progress but shining brightly as we move forward fully into the ‘ever after’.
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