Featured Artist: Elayne Linn

Written by Elayne

So, let me introduce myself.  I am Elayne Linn, the Hopeful Caterpillar.  While I hope to remain hopeful every day, life is sometimes darn depressing, anxiety-ridden and tumultuous.  There are ups and downs and challenges that can stomp on the caterpillar, on us as humans.  Part of my life journey has been working in crisis, sharing my lived experience with people with mental health issues, addictions, housing and many other human issues. Helping people find hope and discover their own path on their journey through wellness has been a passion and mutual gift for myself for many years. It’s my life’s purpose, my reason for being.  My desire is to continue supporting people with their wellness, inspiring hope through my Instagram page @hopeful_capterpillar and through my Facebook page and connecting with people in “real life”, providing wellness guidance.  It’s been a hard, long, tedious, stressful, rollercoaster of a year for so many of us (all of us) in different ways.  For the first time in my existence and in the history of our recent modern world, the whole of the planet, every human, can relate in some way to life in a pandemic and there is some beauty in that.  Connection, care, kindness…hope can be found if we take a moment to step back and see ourselves in the family of things, as poet Mary Oliver would say. 

Speaking of the family of things, I find connection in Nature, being in the woods and near the water in my little corner of the world in Northumberland County, Ontario.  One of my favourite places on earth is Monk’s Cove on Lake Ontario, and I enjoy spending time at a little spot that I call “Woods and Water” which I discovered in the winter of 2020, just before the pandemic hit.  Walking slowly through Nature brings me peace, solitude, grounding and mindfulness, taking photographs of fungi and lichens, and little things that we rarely take the time to see.  Icicles from a fallen log at the beach, driftwood, sunsets, the golden hour, Canada geese taking flight…capturing these sights bring me joy and put me into the moment.  Recently I decided to have a few of my images printed on greeting cards and they are available for sale through the Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop, as well as through me directly. You can also enjoy my images on my social media pages.    

Creativity also brings me joy, peace of mind and focus.  The making of something out of nothing is blissful and exhilarating, even if it doesn’t work (admittedly a bit stressful until we move out of our own way).  Even if it’s not pretty.  Even if it’s just mud and getting our hands dirty.  Learning to accept ourselves, where we are and the process…there is value in the process. In 2019, after wanting to try pottery for years, I finally quieted my inner critic and took a class at Kawartha Potters Guild in Peterborough.  And then another.  And, in the middle of that class, the pandemic hit half-way through the session.  I was able to complete the classes in the Fall of 2020, and something clicked in me.  I felt inspired and capable, as I started hand-building pottery at home.    My friend and artist Jenni Burke suggested I apply to the Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop to have a few of my pieces showcased along with other artists in March 2021.  I took a chance, and passionately spoke to the value of creating and being a beginner.  Excitement, anxiety and imposter syndrome set in as they welcomed me and showcased my work as a beginner and have encouraged me to continue.  And continue I’m trying…the pandemic is making it very challenging, as I work out of the Guild for glazing and firing, and they have been shut due to public health precautions since the end of December, all but one week.  I hope to get there soon and dip and fire more pieces…this is an exercise in patience!  Being a part of the Gallery show has been the highlight of a very difficult and trying year, and I am so glad I took a chance! If you are interested in viewing my pottery, pieces are listed on my Hopeful Caterpillar Facebook page.  Send me a message if you would like to bring a piece home with you!            

Featured Artist: Brandon W. Hahn

Brandon is a writer, and an advocate for mental health. These two worlds collide in his more current work, writing articles for our local newspaper (NorthumberlandNews.com). He has a wonderful way of bringing heart and humour into our every day lives, and addressing very serious topics with his very real life experience.

Schizophrenia, suicide, and recovery are topics he will discuss in this feature; as well as his large realm of creative endeavors!

These are a few of my favourite poems, written by him:

In His Words:

Being a burnt-out writer is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. It constantly lets me know that I haven’t done enough and that my life isn’t finished yet.

I’ve considered myself a poet for nineteen years (I will be celebrating next year)! I still consider myself a novice as any type of writer. I’ve had four chapbooks of poetry self published. The first two are out of print. I have a few copies of the last two left. They are, “The Love Marble” and “Bleeding Heart Fist Fight”.

In my writing life, I have done a few things I’m proud of but am still hoping to truly break in. I would like the big time but I still don’t know what that means. I’ve tried my hand at screenwriting and know it to be the most labour-intensive work I have ever endured. I have also written an 80-page novella called “A Poet’s Attempt” that I submitted to the 3 Day Novel contest a few years ago. I would love that piece to end up on some kind of screen someday.

I find the solution to anything that is blocking me, is to read more and perform free associative journaling. This leads to a breaker switch in my brain that accesses the stockpiles of poetic synergy. It’s kinda like flatulence.  Positive Brain Farts?

One note to keep you abreast is that I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1993, so it is a condition I am quite familiar with now.  “My Story” was featured twice in SZ Magazine in 2003, it’s a small circular that has now ceased publication. I have also had a poem featured at the International Artist’s with Disabilities Day at Variety Village called “One Way”. In my speech at the event, I did state that I have an invisible disability and I thanked everyone involved for making my writing something visible.

My first forays into getting noticed were being selected as an Opinion Shaper for a contest with the local paper as well as finding work with a circular called Northumberland Life Magazine as their official Humour Columnist.

In 2004, I created a mental health movement called Finding Your Marbles. I performed paid mental health talks, speeches and forums around Toronto, and western-eastern Ontario. I was working with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Schizophrenia Society of Ontario.

In early 2005, I had a meltdown that led to a suicide attempt and had to shut down Finding Your Marbles to regroup my life in its entirety. Years later, and many experiences later, I felt I was ready to tackle the mental health landscape again and just recently started Red Tape Lab. This company will be involved in advocating for the voiceless and aiding in navigating the system for people that either can’t or don’t have the time for things like paperwork and the day-to-day grind. Basically, consultant work.

Finding Your Marbles is still in existence but is now under the brand FYM2004. I have T-shirts, stickers and patches made up for those that want to support the mental health industry in a small way. I will also be branding RedTapeLab2020 when the company completely gets off the ground.

Back to writing. In 2014, I made the front page of the local paper for a “Breaking the Stigma” article. With my Mum by my side, we smiled our way into a small job writing a mental health column for the www.northumberlandnews.com as well as the hard copy. Since then, I have appeared every year on the local radio station 89.7FM for Let’s Talk Day and have also anchored myself on the board of directors for a local counselling centre. My column has since garnished me nearly 150 separate articles and can be found on the website if you search Brandon Hahn/articles.

In the not-so-distant future I will be doing a lot more speaking, advocacy and writing and have found that the condition of schizophrenia is both a hard lesson and a super power. It is also not all that I am and I have truly grown to separate myself from my diagnosis.

After finding the last love of my life and working quite hard to stay “normal” I will constantly continue to help, to aid, write and to learn more about the human experience because, “there is no finish line.”

Brandon is currently living in Cobourg, Ontario. If you are interested in his books, merch, or services please email him at brandonwehahn@gmail.com.

NEW! Artist Notes

At the beginning of March I opened up registration for a new business e-letter “Artist Notes.” Over the last few years, I have been mashing up my two business passions (yoga and art) into one monthly newsletter, and as both businesses change and grow, the monthly updates have started to get messy.

I have decided that I will continue to send out 12 newsletters a year; but now they will alternate between yoga one month, and art one month (so six of each). I sent out my first “Artist Note” in March, so if you would like to receive the next one in May please register here: Jennifer Anne Burke, Canadian Landscape Painter.

By signing up for my monthly artist newsletter, you will receive regular updates on my work, projects, new paintings, and upcoming events and shows. I do hope you will join me on this artistic journey, with a monthly art-note delivered right to your inbox!

If you want more regular updates on my artistic journey you can follow me on Facebook (Jennifer Anne Burke), or Instagram as @Burke_Untitled or @2021_The_Creative_Year. Unsure what to follow? Check out my previous blog “Why So Much Social Media?!”

Thank you, so very much, for your interest in my work.

Always in Gratitude,

Jennifer Anne Burke.

Featured Artist: Shannon Wood

Written by Shannon

My approach to painting comes from deep within. When painting I tap into memory, lived experiences and a vivid imagination to create beautiful impressionistic images. My work is inspired by  my love of horses and the beautiful, messy nature of life. The connection between my paint brush, textured acrylic’s and canvas is grounding and a sensory expression of experiences.  

I live in Port Hope by the river with my love bug lab named Zoey. I moved here in 2012 and quickly fell in love with it! Since calling Port Hope home, I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful individuals, each one welcoming me into the community and leaving a footprint of humanness, connection and authenticity. I see art and life as perfectly imperfect and seek to experience connection with others through the simplicity of being present and visually enraptured in an eternal moment in time. I cannot imagine life without art and community in Port Hope. 

“Lines In The Sand”

Presently, Lines in the Sand is being showcased at Ganaraska Art and Framing in Port Hope, and some select pieces are in my home studio.  When not painting for fun or an art show I paint commissioned pieces by request.

Previous Publications and Events:

  • Published, Canadian General Investments Limited, 2020 Annual Report 
  • Art Show, Shannon’s Studio, 2019 
  • Published, Canadian General Investments Limited, 2019 Annual Report
  • Northumberland Hills Studio Tour, 2019
  • Published, Canadian General Investments Limited 2018 Annual Report
  • Represented by Art Emporium by the River, Port Hope ON 2017 to 2018

Email: Swood46@gmail.com

FB Page: Shannon Wood Art

Instagram: shannon_wood_ art

Please follow my social media accounts for upcoming events and work!

Why So Much Social Media?!

At the end of January I did a 5-day social media challenge with artist Mary Gilkerson, and it blew my mind. The diligence, planning, and structure of every post was much more complex then I would have expected – and this is coming from a person who posts daily on Instagram already!

I’m a big believer in using social media to help grow and promote your business. What I dislike is spammy, repetitive, duplicated content I often see online. Before participating in this social media challenge I had pulled away from Facebook; I had deleted my personal account two years before, and was very hesitant to over-engage on my business pages. I had defaulted to Instagram where I felt “safer” and less overwhelmed in content.

On Instagram I had a personal account that integrated all avenues of my life: Motherhood, my love of nature, my art, and my yoga business. I had been using this account for years, and decided it was time to start an additional Instagram account that would focus ONLY on my art, and specifically finished pieces. Then in January, I started a third Instagram account to document “2021 The Creative Year” which is a new project I am working on; with the goal of doing one creative thing a day, with one new theme each month.

Then, at the end of January I did the 5-day social media challenge, and focused 100% on reviving my Facebook artist page “Jennifer Anne Burke.” Suddenly my friends were like “What is going on?! Why all the different social media accounts?” Personal accounts, yoga accounts, art accounts… it’s too much. I do need to tidy it up, but in the meantime here is a breakdown of my current social media, to help you to decide what you should follow (or unfollow) accordingly:


Jennifer Anne Burke – This is my artist profile. If you follow this page you will see my daily “creativity challenge” along with occassional posts about “works in progress” and website or blog updates. I also like to share other artists on my page, and random information on art events or webinars (like local galleries).

The Gentle Way of Hatha – This is my yoga business. If you follow this page you will get updates on upcoming yoga classes, workshops, or other information on yoga, meditation, mindfulness, self-care, mental-health, and general wellness.


Jenni Burke/Jennifer Anne Burke – This is my personal profile where you will see posts about everything happening in my life. Some art, some nature, some #momlife stuff, and sprinkled with some random yoga stuff. It is a mishmash of information, but fun.

Burke_Untitled – This is art only. You will find my finished paintings here, art for sale with sizes and pricing, and any posters for upcoming events. If you are an art collector, or only interested in my artwork this is the ideal profile to keep your eye on. This is also a profile that I intend to start using a lot more in the future!

2021 The Creative Year – This profile is simply a way to document my daily art challenge. It will only be active for one year. I also make posts about creativity in general, and the creative process I experience. In January I did a month of photo-poem challenges, with the theme of Lake Ontario. In February I am doing daily sketches. In March I will do daily mini-paintings. April embroidery. Etc., Etc.,… If you are a creative person looking for inspiration, ideas, and collaboration then this will be a good profile for you to follow. If you are also doing daily challenges feel free to use/follow the hashtag #2021thecreativeyear.

I hope this helps clarify “why so many social media accounts” and which one/s you want to follow!