100 days of story (week 7)

This week I find myself in the heart of the story. The Silent Woman is reunited with her mother and together they enter the Land of the Dead.

They come to a circle of ancient women — the Silent Woman’s grandmothers and great grandmothers going back for many generations.

These ancient women have kept appearing in my art over the past year. I am so happy to see them here, at the heart of the story. And I am not surprised, having just returned from a beautiful weekend with my circle of soul sisters at EarthHeart UK.

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100 days of story (week 6)

This past week I was travelling for a family occasion plus I came down with a stomach bug so I’m thinking it’s pretty much a miracle that I’ve been able to keep up with my 100 day story! I’m not thrilled with all the drawings, but I guess this is the thing about a 100 day project or, in fact, any creative challenge: just keep going!

I’m enjoying the minimalism of the past couple of days this week. It’s a good reminder that less can be more when it comes to drawings. And that the empty space on the page can be a space in which a lot is happening.

You can catch up on the story so far here. If you’d like to follow along with the daily posts on Instagram you can do so here.

And now, without further ado, here are the pages from my 100 page story this past week. I hope you enjoy them!

100 days of story (week 5)

For most of this past week I was away at a yoga retreat in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside. We were up early in the morning for pranayama followed by a full day of yoga asana practice (plus walking, eating, chatting and napping!)

I was determined to continue my story each day but a little unsure if I could make this happen. I was also unsure I would be able to continue to post each day’s instalment on Instagram, as the internet situation was uncertain. I’m happy to say that both things were possible!

This week our heroine finds herself not only in the depths of the ocean but also in deeper and deeper trouble. If only the North Wind hadn’t taken her voice, she would be able to explain herself! But then she would never have set out on this journey at all and there would be no story to tell.

Without further ado, here is the last week’s story. Thanks so much for following along with me. Enjoy!

April daily art project

I had a lot of fun in my daily art journal this past month! I was very much influenced by the Season of Play over at Get Messy and found myself using my water soluble crayons on almost every page. Drawing and colouring with crayons is one of the quickest ways I know to get in touch with a childlike, playful quality. I also the love how vibrant the colours become when you add water to them. Magic!

Also interesting was that almost each page was completed as a double spread. This is partly because I was a little busier than usual this month and found it easier to work in my daily art journal every two days.

Here are my pages for April, filled with colour, adventure, expansion and, by the end, a little bit of burn-out too!

By the time I reached the end of the month, I realised that I had stretched my self a little too thin with so many different art projects going on. I decided to take a break from the daily art project. Here’s what I wrote about my decision on Instagram:

I’ve got a month of travel coming up and, while I think I can manage to keep up with my 100 day project while I’m on the go, I think its a bit of a tall order to try and keep up with my daily art project as well. I’m quite a slow worker so the idea of spending 5 minutes making a page has never worked so well with me. Plus I am very process oriented, so I like to take the time to get into whatever I am doing. And so, after much thought, I have decided to take a break from my daily art journal, at least for the month of May and perhaps for the duration of the 100 day project.

I could have disappeared from the project without announcing it, but I felt I wanted to say something about my choice to have a break. I often get caught up in the idea that everyone on Instagram is doing all the things all the time. So I wanted to give voice to the fact that sometimes it’s ok to do some of the things some of the time, especially if it means feeling less stressed and anxious about it all. I certainly feel lighter moving into the coming month, and my art is feeling less like a to do list and more like the joy I know it to be.

Thank you for following along with my daily art project so far! I hope to return to the pages of my Moleskine daily diary either at the end of this month of travel or at the end of my 100 day project. In the meantime, I plan to continue making art and sharing it with you.

Wishing you all a lovely May!

Divyam xxx

Rituals class – April

April in the Rituals Class with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd at Get Messy was all about fertility, using the metaphor of seeds, plants and flowers. We explored the medium of collage to express these themes. Vanessa is a magician of collage and it was such a wonderful experience to learn from her on this subject. I often shy away from collage because I don’t really understand how to use it to express what I want to say. So this was an incredible opportunity to learn more about it.

The solar spread (above) was all about the theme of fertility and creativity in our lives. I found myself thinking of the mysterious way things grow. So much of that process is invisible to start with. It can seem like nothing is happening. Or that it’s not happening fast enough. In those moments I often dismiss the whole notion that something good is growing. This spread is a reminder to myself that a lot is going on even when it doesn’t feel like it!

When I started playing around with the images for this spread, I thought the woman was going to be central to the whole thing. Instead, the huge avocado seed took centre stage. This ended up being perfect for the theme of trusting the process, trusting that the seed contains everything it needs with which to grow and it will do so in its own time.

The lunar spread (below) was all about the weeds that get in the way of our creativity flourishing and growing. My page was inspired by the most pernicious weeds of all: destructive thought patterns and negativity. During the month of April, I was very much aware how negative thoughts can sour a potentially beautiful day. There have been many wonderful new things happening and yet it’s so easy for stress and overwhelm to stop me enjoying what’s happening.

In the background are images of rotting flowers and trash. The doors represent all the different sidetracks the mind can take you down where it’s easy to get lost and forget what’s important!

When I made my original wheel for the year, my word for April was adventure. April certainly was quite an adventurous month with travels, gatherings and new experiences. Reflecting back on the month, I also feel there has been a strong element of re-evaluating my day-to-day life and the choices that do and don’t work for me, particularly in the area of nutrition and self-care. The image of tending a garden and helping the seeds to grow into flowers has been a very powerful one.

I’m so grateful to be able to move through this year as part of the Rituals class. I feel like the link is strengthened between my art and my life in all its seasons. Thank you Vanessa, for creating such a beautiful journey for us!

Wishing you all a lovely May,

Divyam xxx

100 days of story (week 4)

Is it my imagination or are the weeks going by much faster since I began this project? It seems only a day or two ago that I was posting the last week of story pages.

This week the Silent Woman makes her way to the bottom of the sea. After having moved quite quickly through the story so far, I suddenly felt I needed to take several days for this to occur. This made me realise that there’s an interesting conflict involved in having only 100 pages in which to tell a story from start to finish. There is a desire to keep moving, to make each page count. And yet, some shifts in the story need more than a page in which to happen.

You can catch up on the story so far here. If you would like to follow along with the daily posts on Instagram you can do so here.

And now without further ado, I present to you the latest week in our heroine’s journey. Enjoy!

Season of Play (part 1)

We’re already halfway through the Season of Play at Get Messy and, while I haven’t spent quite as much time in my art journal as I would have liked, the time I have spent making art in there really has felt like play.

This season we’re working in altered books and I’ve chosen to work in a wonderful full-colour book about the universe. The pages are already filled with incredible images of planets, galaxies and solar systems. This is my first experience of working in an altered book and it’s been great fun to incorporate the pre-existing images into my pages and to let them inspire me too. It’s no surprise then that most of my pages so far have had a cosmic feel!

Yellow Beast — I was talking with Misty Granade about our love for cave paintings and this brought them back into my mind. Then my bestie, Clare, and I drew our own cave paintings when she came to stay. The initial drawing was made with eyes closed. The colouring in was done with eyes open. It was fun using regular wax crayons together with water soluble ones.

Welcome to the universe! — This was the first page in my altered book. I had soooooo much fun with Alicia Schultz’s ‘Roll the dice’ tutorial over on the Get Messy member’s site. It was such a wonderful way to let go and enter the spirit of play and having fun. I was also inspired by Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd to get out my stickers and add them to the page too!

I was going to fill this lady’s hair in with all sorts of scribbles and doodles, but once I’d painted the white background I discovered I liked the big white cosmic cloud just the way it was! This page was inspired by an awesome prompt from Clare Davis Etherdige.

Come to the party! — this page was inspired by a prompt on the theme of “collage weird” and came together during a wonderful art date with the lovely Tammy Hanna at The British Library. My favourite part was creating the incredible eyelashes!

I made this spread quite quickly one afternoon when it felt like I didn’t have much time but absolutely HAD to make some art. It was so wonderful to let the galaxy at the centre of the page inspire all the colour and activity around it.

Thanks for joining me for this look back at the past few weeks. I can’t wait to see what cosmic play might happen in my universe journal during the second half of this season!

100 days of story (week 3)

Another week has gone by in the 100 day project and I have to say I AM LOVING IT! More often than not, I am creating the pages last thing at night and the whole atmosphere is one of a cosy bedtime story.

One of the things I’m loving most is the return to working with black markers and drawing pens, something I haven’t done so exclusively since before I discovered art journaling, when I was predominantly making comics and cartoons. I feel like this project is bringing together so many of the things I love: writing, making art, and telling a story.

It’s especially fun posting the latest page each day on Instagram and receiving live comments and feedback from friends who are following along with the story as it unfolds. “Don’t trust the fish!” “Watch out, there will be a catch!” This interactive element feels very much like telling a story to a live audience. You can catch up on the story so far here and here and you can follow #divyams100daysofstory over on Instagram if you would like to read a little bedtime story each night.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the last 7 days of the story. Enjoy!

100 days of story (week 2)

Although 100 days might seem like a long time, in the life of a story 100 lines is not that long at all. 14 days in, I find myself already deep into the heart of things. And even though I don’t know what will happen one day to the next, I can feel that the story has its own life. I just need to turn up each day and the next small piece appears on the page.

You can read the first week of the story here.

This week, our heroine finds herself becoming The Silent Woman in the eyes of the village. But help and guidance is at hand…

Enjoy!

Rituals class – March

The theme for March in the Rituals class with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd was balance. This included the areas of balance in our lives and also the places where we are out of balance. To support our exploration, we used the technique of intuitive painting.

The lunar spread was all about where we are out of balance. The page above is called ‘Reaching for the impossible flower I am split from myself’. I have been really aware lately of how this striving to be more or do more than I am totally throws me off balance. I become split into parts: the one who exists in some impossible future being super productive and involved and amazing and the one here and now who somehow falls short and can never quite catch up.

I have been both completely enthralled by this whole intuitive painting approach and at the same time it’s been quite a rollercoaster! I went through moments of loving it and then hating it. We worked in layers without any preconceived idea of where we were headed. Here is a short slide show which shows the progression of the layers.

 

The solar spread is about where we are in balance in our lives. It is called “In the arms of something bigger, I am in balance.” Below are some pictures I took as the page progressed. As I worked through the layers, I saw this strong bird woman emerging. I continued to add different elements but felt unsure about it all. Had I added too much?

I liked the page the best when there was just the bird woman on it. Once I had added more elements and figures to the page it began to feel chaotic and out of balance. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t go back! At one point I was ready to paint over everything except the bird woman.

Fortunately I had the good sense to take a break and step back from the page for a while. I showed it to the rest of the Rituals group and they all said, “It’s perfect as it is!” This helped me to settle with it and realise that I liked it just as it was. Sometimes we need to borrow the eyes of our friends when it’s hard to get enough distance from something we’ve been working with.

The woman on the left is reaching for something, perhaps the whole world. I can now see how this reaching is an important element to this theme of balance.

I loved this intuitive painting process so much. I have been reading Flora Bowley’s book Brave Intuitive Painting (recommended by Vanessa). I also bought a large canvas and have been experimenting further with the whole intuitive painting approach. More to come on that!

My word for this month is renewal. Perfect for recovering from the winter bug and stepping into Spring!

Wishing you all a good April. I hope the flowers are beginning to blossom wherever you may be in the world.

Divyam xxx

100 days of story

Its April! For the past four years this has meant it’s also NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month – time to write a poem a day for 30 days. This year I decided to try something different: the 100 day project. Plus, with so many artist friends at Get Messy doing their own amazing 100 day projects, I felt very encouraged to give it a go knowing I would be in very good company along the way.

The idea behind the 100 day project is that you do something creative every day for 100 days. I wanted to choose something that included writing as well as making visual art. If I could include my passion for storytelling, all the better. The project I chose is to tell a story over the 100 days, including a line of the story and a drawing each day.

I wanted an art journal that would be able to contain the entire project, with paper strong enough to take whatever I would throw at it. Fortunately I had Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd‘s awesome Basic Bookbinding class as a resource. I hand-bound a chunky coptic stitch journal with plenty of room for a 2-page spread a day plus title and end pages!

I still wasn’t sure which materials to use. I wanted to keep things relatively simple to ensure I wouldn’t get bogged down with too many choices each day. Then I saw this beautiful video from Connie Solera. Seeing her soulful and intuitive drawings, I felt inspired to use black ink as my medium. This felt like the perfect choice as I will be traveling quite a bit over these 100 days. I can easily throw a few black markers in my bag wherever I am going. My chunky journal is a little heavier than I thought it would be but, hey, I can throw that in my bag too.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the first seven days of my 100 day story:

I hope you have enjoyed the story so far. I will be posting on instagram every day using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory. And I will post the latest updates to the story every week or so here on the blog.

March daily art project

It has been another wonderful month in my daily art project: a place to record how I’m feeling and what is going on in my life; a place to practice using different mediums and techniques; and a wonderful way to keep up a regular art practice even if I don’t seem to have much time.

This month, the influence of the Season of Kindness is very much present. There are a few faces appearing from the new Sketching Faces class with Katie Smith. And winter is slowly (and a bit reluctantly) giving way to spring!

This last page is warming up for my 100 day project — to tell a story one line a day accompanied with black ink drawings. I’ve never taken part in the 100 day project before. The basic idea is that you create something every day for 100 days. You can find out more about it here.

I’ll be posting about my 100 day story here on the blog. You can also get daily updates by following the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory over on instagram.

Thanks for joining me for another month of daily art pages. Wishing you all a lovely April!

Season of Kindness (part 4)

The Season of Kindness at Get Messy Art Journal has just come to an end. What a wonderful couple of months it has been. Working in the pages of my art journal has felt very much like a meditation and a chance to reflect on what it means to be kind both to myself and others.

The page above is inspired by a beautiful quote from Kristin Neff’s book on self-compassion:

“May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”

I painted these words over and over across the page and then covered the words with watery layers of paint. Working in this way felt like a meditation or a prayer. Through the process I was allowing something to land inside of myself.

This page was inspired by Sarah Rondon’s prompt on self care. I was going to write ‘self care’ on the page but changed it to ‘care for the self’. I love how this makes it sound like an action and an instruction!

These are my dreams — day 1 of the #gmsketchingfaces challenge with Katie Smith in the run up to her wonderful new class, involved using the gorgeous printables from the free Sketching Faces lesson at Get Messy. I couldn’t resist throwing in a galaxy backdrop seeing as it’s Katie! This page had to go in my Season of Kindness journal because one of the greatest gifts is to believe in each other’s dreams.

The Sketching Faces class has been a really straightforward and inspiring way to learn how to draw faces. I have always been a little scared of features such as noses and ears and Katie has broken the whole process down into very easy and doable steps. I was so thrilled to be able to sketch this lovely face!

If you look closely you can see remnants of a colourful background. But it all got a bit chaotic and I decided I hated it. So I covered everything except the face with black gesso and started again. Ah… much better!


Open up your doors and windows — this page was inspired by Tanya Larson’s ‘s wonderful ‘Everyday kindness’ tutorial. I had so much fun making this little house. What’s inside the house? Watch this video and find out!

Namaste yoga people! — I’ve just been on a wonderful 2 day yoga workshop so naturally when I came to Elly Mack’s ‘s awesome tutorial on sketching cool watercolour people, they all became yoga people! I had so much fun with this.

And lastly, here is a flip-thru of my Season of Kindness journal! What a wonderful feeling to complete an entire journal in a single season. And wonderful too to have a little book of Kindness I can turn to when I need a reminder.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey through the Season of Kindness. You can find my other posts about the season here.

I have enjoyed this season so much. Although I am sad it has come to an end, I am also happy because this week the Season of Play begins!

Divyam’s art journal flip-thru March 2018

I have just completed an art journal that I began over a year ago and I have to say: it’s a great feeling! Here is a video flip-thru for you to enjoy.

Season of Kindness (part 3)

As the Season of Kindness has been progressing it feels as though it has become a meditation on being kind to myself. Many of the pages have been healing processes which have left me feeling both relaxed and grateful.

My first tutorial as a Mess Maker came out on the Get Messy member’s site. It’s called ‘Knitted with love’ and is all about using yarn to create pattern and texture in your art journal. When I thought about the theme of kindness I was reminded of the wonderful feeling when someone pours their love into making something, whether it’s baking a cake or knitting a sweater. I wanted to capture some of that feeling in my art journal.

I wanted to bring some of the techniques from my tutorial into this piece that I made for my sister. It is also my first ever finished piece on canvas. I went totally wild with the yarn spirals!

The influence of the Season of Kindness crept into many of the pages in my daily art project, too:

“Thank you for all these things, visible and invisible” — This page was inspired by a prompt about all the things which support me. When I started writing my list I was reminded just how much is supporting me in life!

This page was inspired by Moriah Costa’s ‘s beautiful ‘Love letter to yourself’ tutorial. I’m normally rubbish at origami, but watching Moriah, I was finally able to do it! I ended up using torn origami papers for the background.

I finished yesterday’s daily art project during a wonderful #getmessyhangout with some awesome artist friends. I’m remembering that life is not a race and it’s okay to go at my own pace with things even if it means I won’t “catch up”! Ah…. what a relief!

Season of Kindness (part 2)

Of all the seasons I have experienced so far at Get Messy, the Season of Kindness seems to be having the biggest impact on the state of my heart. So many of the prompts and tutorials have had a healing or meditative focus. As a result, the time spent in my art journal has felt even more nourishing than usual.

The page above was created in response to a prompt on the subject of forgiving ourselves as an act of kindness. There’s something so powerful about making art as a vehicle that can move you from one way of feeling about a situation to another. I had intended the two faces to be me looking at the people I feel I have wronged in the past and who I now wish well. By the time I finished the page, I also felt I was looking at myself, wishing myself well too.

I was inspired by fellow Mess Maker Clare Davis Etherdige to play around with sumi ink. This in turn reminded me of my favourite quote from the Tao te Ching:

The simplest pattern is the clearest.
Content with an ordinary life,
you can show all people
the way back to their own true nature.

Simplicity and ordinariness seem to me to be qualities related to kindness. I set out intending this page to be very simple but simple isn’t my strong suit! Plus, I’m sort of obsessed by all these marks I learned in the Spirits class with Roxanne Coble.

Clare’s mandala tutorial was balm for my soul. I combined this mandala with a prompt about receiving kind words. Sometimes it’s hard to really receive kind words and take them to heart. The meditative process of making the mandala gave me the space to let the words sink in.

I painted a background as part of Clare’s instagram challenge, where we were taking one step each day towards creating a page. The trouble was, I liked this background so much, I didn’t want to cover it with anything. So I’ve left it as it is (for now!)

The page below is the one I ended up with at the end of the challenge. It’s called “Life’s adventure”. It was so much fun diving into each day’s task without knowing where it was all going.

A message from The Grandmothers:

This past week, it was my turn to take over the Get Messy Instagram account. I posted some quick and easy tutorials such as the kindness equation page below. Remember math equations on the blackboard at school? A + B = C ? I was wondering: what if we could write our own kindness equations? For example, I know that when I add some yummy cake and some warm tea and share it amongst friends, the result is love and kindness.

I also googled for inspiration around the theme of kindness. You know how when you start to type a phrase or question into Google and it completes it with a variety of suggested endings? I googled Kindness is like and Kindness is the new and some wonderful suggestions emerged. Each one was a great starting point for a page. The phrase “kindness is the best medicine” became the perfect prompt for this page in my daily art project:

I also made a kindness poem from newspapers and magazines.

Out of the blue
Your kindness feels
Like the worlds most sweet aromatic magic.
It is rock and roll
For my soul.

If you head over to the Get Messy Instagram account, you can still find these quick and easy tutorials in the story highlights at the top of the page. Check them out for some kindness inspiration!

“Is it time to let go?” — It felt very healing, making this spread from Tiffany Julia’s ‘s beautiful tutorial. I realised there are things I am ready to let go of and there are some things I am not yet ready to forgive and accept. Thank you, Tiffany, for leading us through such a wonderful process!

I mentioned in my first post on the Season of Kindness that this is the first time I have ever created a journal especially for a particular season. I am loving the way this little book is turning into a beautiful meditation on the theme of kindness with its own gentle and heartful energy. I’m not sure this would happen in the same way if I was including all sorts of other themes within the same book.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure. To borrow the words of The Grandmothers: Be kind to yourself!

Until next time,

Divyam xxx

February daily art project

February can often be a gloomy month. It’s been winter for so long and then suddenly it gets even colder! This didn’t get me down in quite the same way as it often does, even with a 3 week winter cold! I think the fact that I made art every day really made a difference to bring warmth and colour into the wintry days. Art is the new Vitamin C!

I had originally thought my daily art would be a sideline to my main art journaling projects, something that would take no more than a few minutes a day. Instead, I have found it to be the backbone of my recent art practice, a place to touch base with myself each day. It has also taken on a wonderful diaristic feel, recording how I’m feeling and the things that are going on in my life.

The start of the month was also the start of the Season of Kindness at Get Messy Art Journal. I found myself on the receiving end of some lovely acts of kindness when my dear friend and fellow Messian, Rosie, sent me some beautiful flowers to wish me better. On the same day, artist and soul sister, Henrietta, sent me some luscious healing aromatherapy oils with incredible names like Breathe and Immune Bomb. I felt grateful to my dear friends for their love and care. There is no greater magic.

Is it possible to have too much chicken soup? (Answer: No)

I recently completed the Spirits class with Roxanne Coble and loved the way she draws faces. So I continued playing around with this style of drawing portraits:

I started playing with patterns in my daily art journal, inspired by the wonderful patterns Jessica McMillan has been making in her daily art. Go check them out!

“Hey big heart, I know you’re in there!” I have found that the Season of Kindness has been having an effect on my heart. I feel like old dusty corners are getting their first rays of light and breaths of fresh air in a long while.

I have also found that keeping a daily journal has helped me notice small moments during the day, such as this moment when a friend and I reached across the table and created a spontaneous colour palette with our sleeves and a smoothie!

Art is an interesting sort of mirror. It often shows me things about myself that I haven’t yet noticed. I didn’t realise I was in a good mood until I saw these pages I had made!

During these last few days of February, I have been taking over the Get Messy Instagram as a member of the Creative Team for 2018. (Yes, I thought I’d just casually slip that in there. A post on this very subject is coming soon!) It has been great fun hanging out with the community and creating some fun prompts and tutorials for Instagram stories. Today, the last day of February, we have been googling for kindness inspiration. I chose the phrase: “Kindness is the best medicine”. Some brightly coloured gouache and a white gel pen later, this is the page that resulted:

It would seem that I have come full circle this month. Kindness really is the best medicine!

The daily art project is such a wonderful way to move through the year. Many of my fellow artists at Get Messy are taking part in this movement, too. Check out all the awesome art they are making each and every day on the #mydayarted hashtag.

Wishing you all a wonderful March!

Rituals Class – January and February

Rituals is a wonderful art journaling journey through the year led by Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd at Get Messy. Each month has its own theme that we are exploring in our art journals. There is a solar spread exploring the light, positive aspects of the theme and a lunar spread exploring the challenging, shadow side.

Before 2017 came to a close, we prepared the way by creating a wheel of the coming year, anchoring our intentions for each month. I drew a tarot card for each month and spent some time clarifying what each card represented to me. Then I wrote a single word in each section of the wheel. I drew a card for the whole year – The Empress. I couldnt think of another word to represent what this card means to me, so I just wrote it as it is beneath my wheel.

We also created a blank wheel so that we can fill in our experience of each month after it has happened. The word “Love” spontaneously appeared above the empty wheel which we will fill in during the course of the year.

It feels a little strange sharing my art from this wonderful course when the registration for the year is now closed! But I am happy to say there is a free class available online where Vanessa shows how you can make these two wheels for your year.

I also made a wheel celebrating 2017. It felt very good to look back over all the wonderful things that had happened during the year before moving on to the next.

The solar spread for January was all about what we wanted to invite into 2018 with us. This one ended up being a fiesta of rainbow colours. I guess I was excited about the coming year! Even though at the start of January I was feeling all wintry and hibernatory, it was good to connect with the joy of welcoming in the new. All over the spread I wrote “Come on in”, inviting in all the good qualities I wanted to include. What a beautiful way this was to start the year. Much better than new year’s resolutions!

The lunar spread was all about what we wanted to cast out. On the red heart I wrote all the things I wanted to leave behind so that I wouldn’t bring it with me as I began the new year. It felt very cleansing and also grounding to give some attention to the shadow side of things.

The hand on the right opens to reveal the heart beneath, and this gesture frees everything up so that it can be realeased.

I was surprised by the little eye that appeared in the centre of the heart. I put it there to cover some holes I had made that I didn’t like. But as soon as it was in place I felt it was the heart (within the heart!) of the page.

When January came to a close, it was time to write my word for the month. It was interesting looking at the word I had chosen beforehand and the word I chose afterwards. I felt that the word involvement included a sense of togetherness with others and at the same time a feeling of connection with myself to balance it.

It felt good to look back on the month before stepping into February. It helped with that feeling I often get of the calendar moving too fast!

The theme for February was love. The solar spread was about selfless love. I explored that feeling of having so much love to give and wanting to give it all. And how quickly this feels draining. I found it interesting that after a while the arms weren’t even connected to my body anymore!

The lunar spread was about self-love. One side has a self-portrait showing lack of self-love. This is the tired me with no energy or zest for life:

The other side of the page shows a self-portrait where self-love is present:

At first, the two sides seemed so different, I didn’t know how I might link them. I decided to spread the yellow colour and the hearts over to the lack of self-love side. It’s funny, once this was done, the tired, unloved portrait almost looked like she was smiling.

And now February has come to a close, it’s time to write in a word for how I actually experienced the month. My original word was celebration. At first glance, my month did not seem to be about celebration at all! I spent three weeks out of action with the winter bug that was going around. And yet, as I was getting better, there were family visits and celebrations that were really lovely and enjoyable.

So, I think this time round, the word I choose will serve to balance the one I have already chosen:

It has been so wonderful taking the time to greet each month in my art journal and also to reflect on it afterwards. A great antidote for that feeling I so often have that the year is moving by too quickly without any time to think about it. Big thanks to Vanessa for creating such a beautiful journey for us.

If you would like to take a class with Vanessa, I can heartily recommend the Totems class which is still available at Get Messy Art Journal. It was the first art journaling class I ever took and was the beginning of this whole incredible adventure.

Wishing you all a wonderful March!

Season of Kindness (part 1)

It’s the Season of Kindness over at Get Messy Art Journal. I usually do a big post at the end of each season, jam packed with all the pages I have worked on for the previous two months. This time round, I thought I’d try something different; I’m going to post my pages every week or two so that it’s less overwhelming at the end of the season and more of an enjoyable ride along the way. With that said, here are my pages from the first two weeks of the season!

The start of February found me in the midst of a rather pernicious strand of winter flu that ended up lasting three weeks or so. During that time, I felt I was very much on the receiving end of so much kindness and I wanted to reflect this in my daily art journal.

I felt very loved when a bouquet of flowers arrived at the door for me with a lovely note wishing me better from my dear and beautiful artist friend, @rosieraindrops. I was blown away by the kindness, love and care that brought these flowers from Rosie’s heart to my doorstep.

But that isn’t the end of the story! The very same day, I received not one but TWO beautiful aromatherapy love packages from my dear friend and artist soul sister, @angelwingshen! With little bottles that said things like ‘breathe’ and ‘immune bomb’. Oh my goodness.
I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have such loving and thoughtful friends.

Each day I continued to watch Rosie’s flowers bud and bloom and inhaled the exquisite aromas from Henrietta’s beautiful oils. All this love and beauty was working its magic and I started to feel better. What a way to begin the season of kindness! I felt so grateful to my dear friends for their love and care. There is no greater magic.

I spent a few days at the start of the week working on my page for the Spirits class with Roxanne Coble. The page ended up being very much about the wanderers on the left, with the figure on the right a sort of guardian angel watching over them. The words surrounding the travellers say: “I am with you in your wanderings.” This felt like a very healing page to make while I wasn’t feeling well as I felt a bit disconnected from my plans and routines – a bit like a wanderer!

Meanwhile, after spending the WHOLE first week of the season deliberating whether or not to make a special journal for the Season of Kindness, I finally decided to take the plunge with Kiala Givehand’s dos-a-dos journal. We are so lucky to have Kiala as our guest artist this season. Her bookbinding tutorials are really inspiring and make me want to drop everything and just bind some books. This was the first time I had ever created a journal specially for a Get Messy season and the first time also that I have worked this small (A6). I felt excited to see what was going to happen!

The dos-a-dos journal opens from both sides. Above is the front cover and below is the cover as seen from the other side.

For the first page in my journal, I wanted to follow one of the prompts about defining kindness and discovering what it means to me. I was surprised to discover how hard I found it to say what kindness is. So I decided to hang out with this question for a while.

Sarah Rondon’s beautiful healing heart tutorial was the perfect thing to do on Valentine’s day. I had a little panic when I couldn’t figure out how my broken heart was meant to fit back together. Then a dear friend came over with her two girls and we drank tea and hugged and drew pictures. It was really wonderful.

When they left, I returned to my journal and the pieces immediately came back together! I added some gold paint along the cracks, thinking of the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi — a notion of beauty that accepts imperfection and impermanence – and the art of kintsugi which uses gold along the cracks when piecing a broken object back together.

The words around the heart say: “You pieced me back together.”

This next page is a thank you letter to one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. Maureen was a real-life fairy godmother to me when I was a girl and I feel like she gave me enough love to last a lifetime.

I am enjoying this season at Get Messy so much and the theme of kindness feels like a warm and loving hug at a time of year which can so often be rather cold and dreary.

Sending out that warm and loving hug to you and wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Meanewhile, at the art journal hideaway

Have you ever wondered where those art journals disappear to when you just can’t find them anywhere? Why, they are drinking tea and telling stories at the art-journal hideaway! I’ve heard the tea there is pretty good actually. I’m trying to get my art journal to give up the location but so far, no luck. I’ll keep trying. If I find out the secret, I’ll be sure to let you know!

This cartoon was inspired by my artist friend and fellow Messian, Riet Poch, whose Season of Nature journal seems to have gone walkabout. Whilst a comic is no consolation for a missing art journal, I do hope it goes a little way towards lightening the situation. And I hope it turns up soon!

In case any of you would like to use this cartoon as a bookplate for your Season of Nature journals, I have created a pdf which you can download and print. There are two versions: one with a black background, as pictured above, and one without (in case you fancy colouring it in!)

Enjoy!