Below is a showcase of the creations made during
CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS Pen Pals Project Session #9 ~ From Feb. 22nd, 2022, to March. 10th , 2022.
This is an opportunity for Artists, Creatives and those interested in connecting with others in a creative wellness activity that allows for self reflection, artistic expression, and chats with likeminded individuals!
Participants have matched in a jazz-like
back-and-forth creative expression. The prompt for this Round is ‘ Hello, It’s Me, Your Inner Child‘ 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 creations 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. Matches connect through email and socials as they progress through the two-weeks and we all meet in a chat at the end!
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.
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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Please consider donating if you enjoyed participating or viewing the exhibit. Your donations support the continued provision of complementary and low-cost creative wellness programming.
Join us for Complimentary Live-Online Creative Activities
HERE Join us for one of our Creative Wellness Retreats:
Mothers Day May 8th St.Catharines, ON Mini Day Retreat
Reserve your spot in the zoom room!
Overnight: ‘Elements of Art & Nature Retreat’ May 17-20th in a lovely resort in Killarney, ON The Creative Wellness Haven Art & Well ness Retreats Get away from the tethers that bind you to everyday life! Chef-inspired meals, lodging, shattered sail, creative activity and more.
Dianne Wright Kirwin (St.Catharines, ON) & Sarah Chasity Johnson ( Kingston, ON) firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Dianne Wright Kirwin Should I stay Or should I go now Should I live Or should I die now No one to believe Love was meant to find me Unwanted, the secret in the basement, the lie. Love was meant to rescue me. Did you find pleasure in delivering pain? Denial. Did you find pleasure in my tears? Denial. You feasted on my insecurities and nourished me with self doubt. The 80’s screamed lost & unloveable. You smiled, You taunted. You were the adult, The dedicated parent, The dear friend, The church volunteer, The lady who lunched. I was the disappointment, The unwanted, The dirty secret, The lie, I embodied, drugs, sex and loss of control. All before I was born to this world, I should be grateful to you both. Indebted for life. Your laughter bounces off the basement walls. Your laughter rings in my ears to this day & forever. There was one time you encouraged me, Go ahead, do it, I dare you. Your laughter faded up the stairs along with an immaculate pile of laundry. From a dark basement growing in the womb to sweet 16 in another dark basement. A curly beige phone cord wrapped around and around and around… Panic in my heart, breathless & quiet Fixated on the rusty support beam, Cemented in the basement, waiting for footsteps Waiting for her return Waiting for love I couldn’t make her happy, not once. I am still here She left the earth with judgement on her dying lips. She was powerful, she was in control Her darkness turned to cancer. Her disease became mine. Two not one were my cancer. One gone forever, leaving deep scars, slow to heal. One in denial, fuelled by lies, shame and regret. Waking up with more than a hangover, Hiding in the basement for 9 long months. I will stay I will not die now I have time to heal and love to give
3-Dianne Wright Kirwin The background to this 11 x 17 wood/ collage/paint mix up is to reflect a time in my childhood when I felt free. No critical eye, no one to judge my every move, I lived for summer camp in my tweens & teens. 2 weeks of complete bliss and freedom with friends, playing music, making art, canoe trips, cabin life picking mosquito bites to first crushes. Camp was freedom.The collage pieces all relate to the 80’s at camp. Archie comics, music lyrics, nature, guitars etc. My response was influenced by your drawing, the vulnerability of the naked form with the eye looking back- looking back to escape from adulthood, to see what people say behind your back and to keep going, moving forward. At summer camp, I felt strong, funny. I was comfortable in my skin. I was happy.
4-Sarah-Chasity Johnson Seeing or reading rather, your email regarding childhood reminded me of seeing the three generational males in my family, in garage in a Nova Scotia at my grandfathers. In the garage, hung a moose dripping blood into a bucket. I was crying so much but they all just said to me this is what me must do to survive. I still lay and ponder as humans, if this is really how we are to survive or if we were out here to continuously relive damnation because we can’t learn how to live in harmony within.
April Garrison, (St.Catharines, ON) &
Adele Campbell ( London, ON)
2-A.CAMPBELL-Untitled I wanted to represent the feelings of innocence, joy, and limitlessness I remember having as a kid. So my idea was to use a lollipop to express love and fun, and the middle of my lollipop being white to symbolize innocence and purity. I took a picture of it in the night sky because, for me, it means the feeling of limitlessness, and I’ve always loved stargazing.
3-A.GARRISON-Star Bright Rattle Initially, my vision was to capture this image as the light shone through it onto a wall, but I couldn’t entirely orchestrate it properly, but I’m happy enough with this one. The last piece had me thinking of stars and constellations, and the lollipop has a very similar resemblance to a baby rattle. The creation of it felt kind of like a throwback to my Life Brite days. Simple, but fun!
4-A.CAMPBELL- Ukrainian Kaleidoscope In preparing my response, I thought again of being a child and being taught to look beyond the stars. It reminded me of the kaleidoscope I used to look through, peeking in, you are brought into this entirely different world that can have the ability to change with the movement of the tube, so I decided to make a digital representation! Of course, with Ukraine being at the top of mind for the world, the colours were attributed by that being on my heart and mind.
S. Sommerville Amhertburg, ON & A. Courtemanche, ON
S. Somerville 1 Awakening. For my first piece, I tried to tune into how I felt about the theme. The inner child was knocking at the door. It’s made with Stabilo All pencil, watercolour, and some collage on watercolour paper. I wanted to do a loose sketch and enjoy the process. I was trying to just follow where the pencil took me and not worry about the product. I thought back to how I felt about the creative process as a child. I first fell in love with art with a box of 80 crayons that someone gave me when I was about 7 or 8. But I never felt that I could really let go with visual art until I was about 48 years old. I had a mid-life wake-up and took my first art course! So the sepia in this sketch kind of works with that whole “awakening” to colour.
A.Courtemanche 2 – Dreaming of water Here is my first piece. I love playing with abstract compositions as a way of freeing myself from perfection. This piece is acrylic on unstretched canvas and I love the blues to greens on it, a hope of spring.
S. Somerville 3 – Dream Sail. For this piece, I worked with watercolour and some collage. I was trying to find my “inner child” in the process, so it looks like a child made it, hopefully. I remember being not overly pleased with how it turned out. Then I reminded myself that this is about the process. I don’t think a child would look at their art and not be happy with it. So, I just embraced it and kept moving forward.
A.Courtemanche 4A – Playing in mother’s garden# 1
A.Courtemanche 4B – Playing in mother’s garden #2 These are 2 small pieces that reminded me of mother’s garden.
S.Somerville 5 – Dream I called my next response a little garden dream. It’s Stabilo All pencil and watercolour paint and markers. This is one of the bigger canvases that I have been able to work on lately. I’m learning to layer my pieces more, and this is an example of starting to play and seeing where it takes me a bit. A portrait turned into a doodle that hopefully appears integrated. I was trying to capture how I remember feeling in my Mom’s garden, which was so beautiful that she took great pride in it.
A.Courtemanche 6A – Beautiful day
A.Courtemanche 6B – Sunshine all day #1
A.Courtemanche 6C – Sunshine all day #2 I LOVE your work. It is so beautiful and soulful. It reflects a lot about you. Oh, and the colour juxtaposition is awesome. I played more with the digital and created 3 in the same colour palette. I wanted to create something a bit more bright and cheerful!
S.Somerville 7 – Mermaid Dream I was tapping into magic for this piece as I dealt with some sad realities during this time, like our beloved cat being sick and dying. I had a mermaid on my mind and would like to explore these more in my art. I had tried to work with a warmer palette in response to my partner, but it ended up still being essentially a landscape with cool colours in watercolour.
Elizabeth Tessier (Hamilton, ON) & Tinamarie Jones (Hamilton, ON)
Lion Hunting By: Elizabeth Tessier Notes: An attempt to catch sight of the inner child. Lion Hunting In in-between green places entering other worlds two pine spires guarded the gates we followed the hill down to the little bridge then all summer I grew weed like by lake Erie Put on a show, set up the store, I was intent singing the beach for the underbridge echo. showtunes and books of insignificant heroines who became beautiful found their inside of shell self alone in a secret walled place. I do my best to coax you back. I leave you messages in sand. I play at the water’s edge. I wait patiently all day. Oh come again friend and we will make willow wreaths, clay pots and paint rocks before we swim.
In the Shadows By: Tinamarie Jones Notes: I loved your piece, especially the call to return, the yearning for the child to come back and enjoy a simpler time. I took as the starting point your use of the word ‘in-between’ and have threaded into my response here. In the Shadows Clinging to the side of the house the bright white stuccoed in-between space, neither dirt nor brick 8 legged weavers work Dark threads pulling apart then coming back together a living mesh of leggy lace-makers serving as both warp and woof attuned to an unpatterned pattern Disturbed by the unexpected weft of chubby fingers probing They gently tickle and tat their pattern across my arms Their decoration transforms me A laughing backdrop for a constellation of dark stars
Spiders By: Elizabeth Tessier Spiders Filigree legs over a sticky mandala. There in the small places you practiced an acute eye for otherness, awake to the life inside these creatures more like punctuation than a living being. But look at it drop spindle eight -legged knees bent to discover you, an accidental goddess of destruction in their thin silk world Your mutual recognition of shared energies A begin to sensitivity to the gamut of forms life takes.
Spinning By: Tinamarie Jones Spinning graceless spiders cling to a thick silver web clumsy hands clasp metal bars creating a parti-coloured metal mandala each struggling to remain centered a single still moment then movement feet pounding on dirt a samsaric spinning faster and faster shrieks suddenly bubble across the playground a shrill symphony so many silly sounds bursts of laughter grating metal, then whumps, plops and splats like a kaleidoscope the pattern quickly changes as one by one each colourful piece tumbles off weak kneed and dizzy eyes glinting in ecstasy tiny saints reminding us of the joy that comes from letting go
Teeter Totter By: Elizabeth Tessier A Parkinson’s poem My dreams bleed into waking scrawl thoughts with collage of lost limned memories: my childhood home, precarious cottages invaded by waves. My thoughts move at the pace my body makes every brain signal a broken white line, a Morse code symphony. I stand and standing think of ways to tell my feet to move When a signal behooves them they flatfoot splay juggernaut solved to counter lean, hard sit. Deluge of beluga losses float incontinent I stand in the storm in slow motion Begin again The date and time lose precise outline vague waves on a beach. I hold out for dopamine patch surf Tide out toddler tired in the afternoon. The playful side Is it right or left?
The Playful Side By: Tinamarie Jones The Playful Side A part of the Chevy generation My mom and I would vacation Every summer at the beach A week, sometimes two Just us This time, she said, we’re going in style We’re going to really live life for just a little while This summer at the beach Two weeks, yes two Just us No longer satisfied with HoJo My mom knew where she wanted to go The fancy hotel at the end of the beach In her Camaro, so blue Just us At the city limitsthe car’s muffler expired But we finally arrived, loud, hot, windblown and tired The noisiest car at the beach Attracting a lot of attention, it’s true Just us My mother, head held high Looked the parking valet right in the eye And placed the keys in his reach He smiled, laughed and said, ‘I’ve got a mechanic for you’ And welcomed us We checked in Had lunch And then, it stormed. We were not daunted, we had plans We grabbed our buckets and our hats made of beer cans We set out for the beach Our bespoke beer hats askew Just us After hours of beach combing shells of every colour and size The saturated yarn elongating our hat brims over our eyes It was time to head back from the beach Head to toe soaked completely, and laughing through and through Just us Ducking inside, wearing drooping beer hats, dripping with water Other patrons in suits and gowns, someone painting a portrait of a daughter Staring, everyone leaning out of reach At the fancy hotel, we made quite the debut Just us Time at the ocean, enjoying the tide Always brought out mom’s more playful side Waves of laughter then and happy memories always in reach Childhoodmoments of joy so true Just us
Dad By: Elizabeth Tessier Dad I woke to smell of bacon suspended in the sag of bed no clock or phone in this small home with no bones our rented cottage on the shores of lake Erie how dearly those offshore breeze clearwater mornings Come back to me now. Before he rode the mower my father fried up the bacon and perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs as only he could and handled them hot from the pot with his large leathered hands to lop the top for our spoons Then later as the wind shifted and rose we’d go out in the petrol a bath tub of a boat and sail or float Hearing his voice Readyabout Hard de lee as the boom swung clicking cleats and pull He knew every knot self taught from the manual. How lucky we were that he that he lowered the keel Held the tiller on the the rudder through the summer of our childhood.
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