We are showcasing the creations made during CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS Pen Pals Project Session #8 ~ From Dec. 22nd, 2021, to Jan. 10th, 2022.
Creatives participants were matched in a back-and–forth creative expression over the Holiday season. The prompt for this Round was ‘Yuletide-Comfort & Joy,’ and all interpretations of this & anything in-between.
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 part for inspiration.
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 selection of art, connecting with a new person can be daring, frustrating, surprising, comforting, and awakening.
For all Creatives and Artists at any stage in their careers or practices, this project serves as an exciting chance to develop and expand in their artistic discipline or to try a new medium.
An online social activity group has many benefits, including discovering and developing skills, increased well-being and creating 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 emerge.
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.
If you enjoy the experience, please consider donating to help fund the continued delivery of social art-based therapeutic rec programs and services.
Enjoy the exhibit.
Rhiannon Barry, Project Coordinator
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Paloma G. St.Catharines, ON & Rhiannon Barry (St.Catharines, ON)
I enjoyed the lights, and they helped get me into a Christmas mood. Sometimes the beautiful lights show me how important this holiday is for the people there. I took this photo in front of the city hall and increased the contrast. The spirit must be high for those working there and the hydro bill too.
My response to my matches lights in City Hall is the starlight strung in a downtown alleyway. The city went more extensive this year with their decorations, for sure.
There are so many decorations in my city that I go for walks and find new ones. This shadow was interesting of the Grinch and I wanted to share it with you. I left out the real decoration because the shadow was more interesting to me.
One Christmas, when I was very young, Santa visited me in the warehouse my father and stepmother owned.
We put Rudolph and Yogi on the Beta max, put out some milk for the fat man and carrots for his reindeer, rolled out sleeping bags, and the oldest kids even made pretend Santa footprints around the back to create more excitement for us in the morning.
I don’t know why this happened exactly, maybe a snowstorm got us stuck there. Maybe our hydro went out in the main house.
Whatever the reason…when I think of it, the stale smell of bags of beer cans and campy sleeping bags comes back.
I think Christmas started meaning much less for me that year. The comfort was gone, and intuition drugged up a lot of questions that I never asked and suspicions about Santa.
Lego makes a great gift and a good subject matter. My friend’s son received this in his stocking. I felt his joy! Keep the Christmas joy for your kids as long as you can!
I did a quick painting with acrylic and ink to illustrate the act of giving and receiving gifts. Some people give more than others, and others receive more than others.
Sometimes it’s the most inexpensive, and the smallest gifts have the most meaning; or is that something we tell ourselves?
People driving out of town on New Year’s Eve are symbols for letting the old year out. Goodbye to the season and a promise of good things to come. It’s a time to let go of the past and look forward to future gifts.
Stacy Somerville & Matteo Monteleone (St.Catharines, On)
I was inspired by my partner’s artwork and used similar colours and imagery. I was also inspired by how my area felt like spring during its creation, so I made it like the sun was shining bright.
When I saw my partner’s piece, I really loved the bright yellow of the moon/sun. At that point, we were finding out that the holidays weren’t going to be what we had hoped for, and the weather was dismal. So, the grey was really speaking to me as well. I wanted to play with multiple mediums the day I made this, so it was time for collage!
I was inspired by my partner’s works imagery and used the prompt comfort and made all the places I felt comfortable. I tried to make it a window, but it didn’t go as planned.
My partner’s piece made me think of places that bring comfort and joy. At this point, I was starting to feel more closed in with the pandemic and found myself wanting to be in each of the places shown in my partner’s piece. I thought of what place brings me peace and joy, as this is what I needed at this point. My family and I had gone for a walk, and I used a photo I took at night to reference this painting.
I made this when my neighbours were shooting fireworks. I enjoy watching fireworks and thought I should do a piece on it. I wanted to do it entirely with watercolour, but it changed somehow.
I was inspired by my partner’s works imagery and how I feel comfortable sitting in a flower field, so I thought about drawing a large area, but I had to change it to just a few.
April Garrison, (St.Catharines, ON) & Liz Tessier (Hamilton, ON)
Having suddenly lost my dog just days before Christmas, the Yuletide Comfort theme appealed to me greatly. I was longing to feel comfort after the recent loss. This scene is inspired by memories of gathering around the fireplace in my cottage growing up as a kid. I painted Kayla into it because she was the best comforter.
Her tail assailed me at the door
reminded me what life
She sighed beside me
knew my smell
could tell when I was calm
her body was a balm
What did she know
of covid fear?
except to find me
beside her soft and
I sing her now with
fur and fire
light and heat
hearth and dark.
In this cold season
death has taken
her from me.
Ten years she lived
beside me here.
I knew this time would come
to pass. Her years were short
and mine the task
to live to comfort her in death
She was a sweet
soul in life so though
I suffer now the grief
I’m glad I was there for her end.
My constant comfort
and my friend.
In response to Liz’s tribute to my darling Kayla, I was compelled to incorporate images that revealed her utter sweetness. I layered these as transparencies in a collage format over a photo of our Christmas tree this year. The image represents how her loss overshadowed our family’s Christmas this year and how we experienced comfort over the season of Yuletide by memories of her.
Lit ribbon flirts string lights
beads tier branches
Here memories glow
like blown glass ornaments.
Traditions give a resonance
of all that came before.
Like notes of an old song
They carry the face of a beloved,
a belly laugh, a tail swag,
our Mother’s breath, a death.
We measure our given years
In boxes opened and closed
Reflection is in the
string of moments a glow
This we can keep of
connection this moment
to sing what is, was and
will be ours to hold.
Packed together in the family vehicle
Holiday melodies air to set the scene
drowned out by excited chatter
Blissfully unaware of parents’ rising stresses
From habitual directional impairment
Bundled with puffy and knitted insulation
Protection from the biting, crisp air
Loud crunching underfoot
We run free
Who will be the one?
Who will make the find?
Top within reach
Fierce sibling rivalry
Past the clearing
Here she lies
Full of life
Full of Promise
Her chips fly
All eyes on her
as her life source ends
Bustle her all up
for the journey to at last fill her destiny
In death she will be dressed lavishly
with remembrance of those before
Here as the centre
She shines. She dazzles.
She has been found.
She is adored.
Continuing with the themes of tradition and the tree itself, this is loosely based on childhood memories of going to a nearby Christmas tree farm to select and harvest our tree. My Kayla was a rescue, and I liked the similarity of both the tree and her being adored and loved once brought home. Also that there can be beauty, even in death. She will remain beautiful in our memories.
lights on tree
the kids all home,
you and me relaxed
as we can be
in this omicron
rapid test of
and double lines
We eat unmasked
and make our stilted
with talk of dog and chocolate.
Another covid Christmas will pass.
Tonight the ghosts will visit
three and you will still
be here with me for
this I know I am lucky.
The virus hosts
or holds hostage
We will not eat with
Aunts and cousins.
Is it alright to revel in
the luxury of your
hand in my hair though
it comes for us I swear
I will appreciate the great
love that we have.
Tonight the electric
blanket sings a silent song of
comfort if not joy.
Our dog enters the house
with glee. Rescued, now
she rescues me. This beast
found matted and with fleas
now gives a sense of family
She knows who’s welcome
in the pack and curls her
body in the back
behind our knees as we lay
down. She is a joy to
have around. How often
do we zoom around?
Unleash the joy of
being found? Run around
our chosen home
to celebrate our safe
return. How much we
have to learn from her
this little bit of bark
Kai Kristoff (St.Catharines, ON & Tina Marie Jones
Did you enjoy the experience? Please donate to the project.
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