Painter Kaayla Tomlyn’s work is on display at White Rock’s Organic Connections Café.

Painter Kaayla Tomlyn’s work is on display at White Rock’s Organic Connections Café.

Making connections through art

What better theme can there be, around Valentine’s Day, than love creating love?

That’s the name of spiritual painter Kaayla Tomlyn’s website ( and the theme of this month’s show of her work – and two special workshops – at White Rock’s Organic Connections Café (15622 Marine Dr.).

The busy month at the East Beach raw food café – which has also been fulfilling its mandate as a focal point for community building through the arts – is tantamount to a mini-festival. Getting involved with the workshops, Tomlyn says in her invitation, is a chance to “awaken your creative gifts more fully in this time of love.”

On Valentine’s Day, Monday, Feb. 14, Tomlyn will conduct a day-long (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) workshop for individual painters of all ages and skills, from novice to accomplished.

Guided by Tomlyn, they will be invited to play, have fun and use their own intuitive processes to create a painting they can take home with them.

Workshop cost ($125) includes a lunch of soup and salad and all materials used (participants should bring clothes they don’t mind getting splattered with paint).

The second workshop, on Feb. 19 (8:30 to 10:30 a.m.) is all about creating a cross-generational “love legacy’ with a child, grandchild, young relative or friend, by doing a painting together.

Cost of the workshop is $75 for both participants, including materials, and a 10 per cent discount on lunch.

The workshops are a perfect fit for Organic Connections, according to café business partners Beverly Ashworth and Jason Stelmachovich, who say their aim is not only providing raw food alternatives that are good for the body, but also building community through an environment that encourages a positive artistic, spiritual and synergistic connection.

“We want to hold that vision and show people it’s viable,” Ashworth said. “We do an ‘intention’ every day and practise a ‘clearing’. We want to help each other, recognize all the challenges, but provide love and support.”

“What’s evolved is an amazing loving energy here,” said Tomlyn. “You can feel the joy of the people in the kitchen.”

Picking up on energy is central to her work which – more than painting – involves using her intuitive gifts and sense of spiritual connection to teach, heal and help others.

But she is also fascinated by the healing power of art.

Numerous examples of her own art are currently displayed at Organic Connections – most with a story attached. Potent images of dancing figures, dolphins, eagles, horses and human faces seem to re-occur in her work, and while they may be inspired by a particular life situation, they have an uplifting, healing effect.

“It’s as if the paintings shift to bring forth different images and feelings to heal something in each viewer,” she explained.

In one of her paintings a woman who had recently died emerged as a dancing figure – something she could not be on the physical plane.

But the paintings she facilitates aren’t just about healing.

They’re also about the fun of creative play itself, something she has explored with her own grandson, Connor, 9.

That’s part of the inspiration of her ‘love legacy’ workshop.

Because the process is intuitive, it’s not simply a case of the older participant showing a child how to paint, Tomlyn said.

“Sometimes when we do the parent and child connection, it’s often the child that’s guiding the parent,” she said.

“I think what I find in this workshop is the delight it gives,” she said.

“The child becomes alive on another level. And instead of looking at a painting, they’re finding the passion in a painting.”