About Divyam

Writer, storyteller, cartoonist, dreamy professor. In love with stories of all shapes and sizes.

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!)


January daily art project

This year, I have decided to join the daily art movement! This is essentially a 365 day project of making art every day. I read about this idea in Julia Cusworth‘s inspiring article in Brush Magazine and knew I had to give it a go. I chose a Moleskine daily planner as my journal – perfect for the job because it has a page already designated for each day. Not so perfect because the paper is really thin and not meant to have paint, glue and markers thrown at it.

I imagined that the art I made in here would be relatively quick and simple and some days it was. But, more often than not, I spent as long on the day’s page as I would do on any in my “proper” art journal. As the month went on, I really enjoyed the diary aspect of the project and I found myself spending more time with comics and cartoons than I have done for some time. And it also became a great place to practice working with different supplies and techniques.

Here are my pages from the first month of this project!

From the get go, I came up against the thinness of the paper and some of the materials showing through. I added a bit of collage on day 3 to cover up the markers that had bled through. I imagine that over the course of a year too much collage will bulk the book out too much. So I will use it sparingly!

There was a little bit of New Year’s anxiety coming through in days 7 and 8.

Days 11 and 12 were very much influenced by Katie Smith‘s “Connected to Nature” tutorial in the 21 Secrets: Tell Your Story class. The fern on the right is a gelli print I made for the tutorial.

Days 13 & 14 featured drawings made with my eyes closed (and then coloured in with my eyes open!)

I pretty soon got into the pattern of using the same materials or approach on both sides of the page. I found it funny how the two days end up playing off of each other. Monday’s brain ache ends up looking like it’s coming from the intensity of Tuesday’s patterns!

Days 17 to 20 were inspired by a wonderful book called Imagine a Forest by Dinara Mirtalipova.

Up to this point I had been using the same materials on both sides of the page. Days 23 & 24 seemed to have broken the pattern. Crayon on the left and drawing pens on the right. I love this art woman who appeared. Her arms seem to be incredibly long…

My colourful self-portrait for the week’s Get Messy mini-challenge appeared on day 25 (At 10:46 pm!) At this point, I was thinking Tombow dual brush pens to be my favourite art supply for this project. The colours are incredible and yet they don’t bleed through to the other side of the paper. Magic!

I’m imagining that veterans of the daily art movement will be all too familiar with the highs and lows of discovering what materials this Moleskine paper can (and can’t) handle. The Crayola felt tips from Friday bled through completely into Saturday. And then, on Sunday, I discovered how wonderfully gouache works on this paper. Oh joy!

I was inspired to try gouache paints after seeing how perfect they are for painting folk art in Dinara Mirtalipova’s book. I joined the Oh My Gouache class with Mary Ann Moss and started mixing my own gouache palette. After discovering how well the gouache works on this paper, I expect I’ll be using a lot more of it in this project!

Thank goodness for art journaling when you’ve been stuck at home with flu!
On the last day of the month, I played around with gouache on a dark acrylic background. Topped with some enthusiastic gelli roll pen marks.

I enjoyed this first month so much. I found that the daily art project ended up being far more than a quick side project. During quite a busy month, it encouraged me to learn, practice, and make art every day when I otherwise might not have done.

I look forward to sharing next month’s pages with you. In the meantime, check out the #mydayarted hashtag to see all the wonderful art people around the world are making as part of the daily art movement.

Wishing you all a good February!

Season of Nature

The Season of Nature has just ended over at Get Messy Art Journal and what a nourishing and uplifting season it has been. It was also perfect timing as I was away on a winter beach holiday at the start of the season, surrounded by beautiful trees, flowers, and a warm and welcoming sea. My travel art supplies: a box of watercolours and a Hahnemühle watercolour journal. (And a couple of pens!) I hadn’t worked much with watercolours so far, and decided a vacation was the perfect time to try them out.

As with all my previous Get Messy season posts, this is a bit of a bonanza! Next season, I’m going to attempt to post my pages once a week. For now, sit back and enjoy the ride!

‘Most of the time I forget that I am nature’ – these circles reminded me of exotic fruits, planets, and the cells that make up our won bodies and all living things!

The first day of our beach holiday it poured with rain the entire day. It was the perfect opportunity to get painting! (Also a perfect opportunity to fall in love with my new watercolours…)

‘Lazin’ around’ — I only noticed after finishing this page that the clouds and hammock create a smiley face!

Note: I LOVED the Hahnemühle watercolour journal I brought with me. The paper seemed quite thin compared to other watercolour papers I have tried, and yet it took generous washes of watercolour incredibly well. One of the best things about the big landscape format is that I could work on two pages at once, leaving plenty of time for the watercolour to dry (good for impatient people!)

‘Late night rambling’ – this one felt a bit like a “jazz doodle”!

‘Dreaming of the sea’ — this page emerged from the Get Messy prompt to imagine yourself as a queen of nature. Being on a tropical beach holiday, it was easy to daydream about being queen of the sea. The magical hair was very much inspired by the beautiful portraits of Riet Poch and Katie Smith.

More watercolour doodles. I wasn’t sure what that hole was at the bottom right hand corner of the page… My doodle people weren’t sure either!

‘Walking on the beach’ – I was very happy I had brought a few pens along in my travel art kit. I loved the simplicity of some simple line drawings on top of this watercolour scene.

‘Pattern’ – inspired by a lesson from the watercolour book I brought with me in my suitcase: ‘Water Paper Paint’ by Heather Smith Jones.

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” — Isak Dinesen.

‘Sunny Street’ – It was fun playing around with both black AND white lines on top of this watercolour background.

‘All sorts of birds are chirping…’ — I wasn’t sure what to paint one morning so I painted some words! It was so enjoyable painting words instead of writing them with a pen as I usually do. I might have to write my diary like this every morning!

‘Flower Lady’ was inspired by this beautiful nature woman by Eleanor McComb.

‘Welcome to the Flower Forest’ — this page was inspired by a wonderful tutorial with Riet Poch . My favourite flower is the daisy, representing innocence and new beginnings. Perfect for an approaching new year filled with adventures! Found poetry courtesy of a Barbados travel booklet.

‘Wave Dancer’ — this is my favourite kind of dancing in the whole wide world!

I wasn’t sure where to start one morning so, once again, I wrote with a paintbrush across the whole page. Not many of the words were still visible by the time I was finished! But at the top you can still see the words “I think I have fallen in love with watercolour…”

‘Turning my thoughts towards home’ — this page started as a love letter to Barbados, saying thank you for the wonderful and nourishing holiday we had. Creating this page helped me make the shift from sadness at leaving to an excitement at returning home. I was sad to bid farewell to the beautiful turquoise sea! But I also felt ready to return to our hearth and our garden and our friends!

I figured it was worth a shot asking the sun to come home with me. And as I write this on a bright sparkly winter’s morning in January, I can see that the sun did jump into my suitcase after all!

‘The Night Garden’ — this is what happened when Katie Smith got me doodling and playing around with zentangles in her wonderful tutorial! I used Sakura gelli roll pens on a watercolour background.

‘All the sparkly lights’ — enjoying rainbow watercolour drips in a wonderful tutorial with the Get Messy guest artist for the season, @agirlwithajournal .

‘Think like a tree’ — This page was created in Katie Smith’s ‘s wonderful ‘Connecting to Nature’ class in 21 Secrets: Tell your story . I had so much fun playing with so many different elements and techniques, including drawing a Katie-style girl! The central flap folds over to reveal a tree on the other side:

The title of this page and the awesome quote on the left come from this inspiring poem by Karen I. Shragg .

‘Think Like a Tree’

Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.

I didn’t have a gelli plate so I used a ziploc bag to make the gelli prints for this tutorial. I enjoyed the process so much and found the prints worked well as stand alone pieces of art too:

I used one of the prints in my daily art project:

More on the exciting #mydayarted project is coming at the end of the month, when I will be posting all of my daily art pages from January!

These two women appeared during a Get Messy hangout last week. One of the things I LOVE about these wonderful hangouts is how, while you’re busy talking and listening to everyone, the weirdest stuff starts appearing on your page!

‘What am I going to do today?’ – (It’s good to ask such questions surrounded by huge flowers, I always say!) Once I had drawn on top of the watercolour background, I found the shapes  were not so easy to make out. So I painted around them with white gesso. I love the way the gesso covers but also reveals the watercolour layers underneath.

‘We may be on different planets, but we are from the same universe’

And on that note, I want to say thank you so much for journeying with me to the very end of this post!

Wishing you all a wonderful start to 2018!

The Adventures of Galaxy Girl

When it was time for the Christmas card exchange at Get Messy this year, I was so excited to discover that I was going to be sending a card to Katie Smith. She has been such an inspiration to me this year. I enjoyed her Painting Galaxies class so much, I have discovered a new lifelong passion for cosmic art!

I decided this Christmas card would take the form of a comic. I always think of Katie as a space traveller and the character of Galaxy Girl began to form in my mind. I made an accordion book with pieces of 4″ x 6″ watercolour paper stuck together with washi tape. On the front pages I drew the panels of the comic and on the back I painted the longest galaxy in the universe!

Wishing you all a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas, and a nourishing Winter Solstice. May your new year be filled with wonder and adventure and all your dreams come true!

And now, without further ado, I present to you The Adventures of Galaxy Girl!

consulting the oracle… again!

I so loved my recent experience of making my own oracle cards, I had to do it again! So when I met with the lovely Tammy Hanna for an afternoon of art making at The British Library, we decided to create our own oracle cards together.

We each brought 32 small cards and laid them all out on the table. Then we made marks with watercolour, working on all our cards at once, bypassing the urge to over-focus on any one card and designate meaning. I didn’t feel complete until I had added some splatters (trying not to splatter Tammy’s cards at the same time!) My cards are on the left and Tammy’s beautiful cards are on the right.

We chatted while we waited for them to dry. Then we spent some time looking at our cards seeing what we could decipher. Creatures and scenes began to appear. I was going to trace the outlines of the shapes I was seeing in black like I did with my earlier deck, but as these were a gift for a friend, I felt I wanted to leave the meanings even more open.

I wrote a single word on each card. Then, back at home, I painted the backs of the cards. I used four different colour schemes although this was random, just for fun, not because I was categorising the cards in any conscious way.

I had great fun trying to figure out how to make a box for the cards. I placed the deck on some thick card and then traced a pencil outline round the deck, including its length, width, and height. I then folded the card along the pencil lines. In the end, it was much simpler than I had imagined it would be. This is what the card looked like before I stuck it together:

Once I had glued the box together and painted it, the set was complete!

All that remained was to wrap the cards in some handmade wrapping paper:

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole process from start to finish. And it felt so satisfying to give a gift to a friend that came from both my heart and my imagination. Below are a few of my favourite cards from the deck:

Thank you for reading! You can see all 32 cards in the oracle deck here.

Consulting the oracle

I think I may have discovered my most favourite thing ever: making my own oracle cards!

The inspiration for this project came from the Metamorph class with Erin Faith Allen. I loved her approach of not having any fixed ideas before or even during the process. Instead we went abstract, splattering paint and making marks, working on many cards simultaneously. Only once the image-making was complete did we explore what the cards might mean.

Oracle cards are meant to connect you with the richness of your subconscious and super-conscious. This is so much more powerful when the images have actually come from deep within you, bypassing your conscious mind.

The one thing I did decide, which came to me once I started playing with paint on the cards, is that I wanted there to be four sections, designated by colour: yellow for creativity and joy, green for nature and the body, blues for spirit and wisdom, and red for love and friendship.

First I splattered some ink on the cards, covered it with gesso, then smushed some acrylic paint around in the four colour categories. The resulting colours were too bright, so I covered the cards with white gesso once again which made it easier to see the shapes that were emerging.

I then traced the shapes that I saw with a black drawing pen. The images that came were surreal, dreamlike, and really felt like they came from the deeper reaches of my imagination.

I loved how many creatures and strange beings appeared!

Each one has its own atmosphere but, even now that the cards are finished, I don’t want to attribute any one specific meaning to them. They could mean all sorts of things depending on the context and situation. I haven’t yet decided, but I might give each one a cryptic title that points in a certain direction yet is still open.

I loved this process. It felt strengthening to connect to my own inner wisdom in this way. Now that I’m finished, I want to do it all over again! (Spoiler: I already have! This could become a habit!)

It felt so perfect to be connecting with my inner wisdom through this project during the Season of Connections at Get Messy. You can see more of my art from the season here.

You can see all 24 of the oracle cards here. Thank you for joining me on this journey!

The season of connections

The Season of Connections has been an interesting one for me. In some ways I found it hard to get into the subject matter. At the same time, it seemed to me that everything is about connections in one way or another! And looking back over the pages I have made over the last couple of months, I certainly get the sense of a deeper connection to myself, to others, and to the natural world around me.

There have been several side-projects this season, many already featured in their own posts. Rather than show all the same pages again, I will include links so that you can check out each project individually.

I began the season with a series of pages connecting to my inner world, What are you dreaming about?

You can see more of the pages and read about what inspired them, here.

‘We are connected’ — I really got in to the continuous line drawing from Sasha Zeen’s inspiring tutorial. Imagining female ancestors spiralling out of my hair, and their ancestors spiralling out of theirs, too:

This theme continued while chatting on the phone to a good friend. More ancestor goddesses emerged in my doodles:

I went on to colour in my doodles with Winsor and Newton ink. I am including both versions here as I find each one is quite different and I like both!

‘Feeling connected’ — In this page, the ‘roots’ theme of the Inner Space class with Erin Faith Allen met the Season of Connections:

‘Self portrait with owl and coffee cup’ — With this page I went on a wild and magical journey through the past, present and future together with Riet Poch in her wonderful self-portrait tutorial:

‘The woman in the forest’ – There’s a story that’s been hovering around me ever since I started art journaling back in January, waiting to be told. During this season, a page from that story appeared in my art journal:

I look forward to sharing more pages of this story as they appear in my art journal!

‘Nature on the outside, nature on the inside’ — this page was inspired by the theme of connection to nature and also the theme of ‘Who do I want to be?’ from the Metamorph class with Erin Faith Allen.

‘Monday’ — I created this page on a rather chaotic Monday! I intended to follow a Get Messy prompt to explore different materials on different pages. I ended up using loads of different materials on the same page: coloured pencils, heavy body acrylics, high flow acrylics, acrylic ink, drawing ink, letter stamps, and gel pens. And you know what? It was FUN!

My favourite project so far in the Metamorph class with Erin Faith Allen has been creating my own oracle cards. Oh my goodness! I was just in heaven with this project from start to finish. Here is a glimpse of the deck I created:

You can read more about the process of creating these dreamy cards and see more of the deck here.

‘Empress of Leaves’ — this page features real life leaves gathered from my local park and the torn up pages of a book! It was made during a wonderful arty evening with a circle of creative women. Magic!

Brandi Kincaid, guest artist for the Season of Connections, gave us an inspiring tutorial on creating small books to record our everyday moments. And so I decided to make my own little book and document something each day for a week.

You can see all of the pages from ‘Autumn Days’ here.

My art this season has been strongly influenced by Initiation: into the sacred feminine, the year-long training I have been doing with Jewels Wingfield at EarthHeart UK. Goddesses, ancestors, a sisterhood of women and the beauty of the natural world are to be found on almost every page.

I recently returned from an exquisite few days at EarthHeart, completing the incredible year-long journey with our group of incredible soul sisters. It was no surprise then that this majestic woman appeared on the page when I followed Ashley Rodger’s lovely connecting the dots tutorial.

If you have made it to the end of this post, thank you so much for joining me on this journey through the Season of Connections! And thank you for all your kind comments, encouragement and support. They mean a lot to me!

Autumn Days

Brandi Kincaid, guest artist for the Season of Connection at Get Messy, gave us an inspiring tutorial on creating small books to record our everyday moments. And so I decided to make my own little book and document something each day this past week.

I was eager to experiment with the task of keeping a daily art diary after reading Julia Cusworth‘s article, ‘How I started an art diary and why you should too’, in the wonderful new Brush Magazine. And I’ve been itching to make a mini-sized art journal ever since coming across Torrie Lynn’s incredible series of tiny art journals.

From the first day, I found myself relying heavily on my Tombow dual brush pens. They are so quick and easy to use and create amazing results. I came cross these pens during Julia Cusworth’s Pen + Ink class, and discovered yet more of their amazing capabilities while Painting Galaxies with Katie Smith. I’m certain that if I join the #mydayarted daily art movement for 2018 (and I plan to!) I will be using these pens A LOT.

And now, without further ado, here’s a glimpse into the last 7 days:

It was wonderful to celebrate each day by bringing some moment from my experience into my little book. And what a sense of accomplishment to complete an art journal in the space of a week!

What are you dreaming about? (part 2)

In What are your dreaming about? (part 1), I described some of the process of creating the final triptych-inspired pages of my first ever art journal. Here is a video flip-through of the whole thing. If you would like to have a longer look at any of the pages, feel free to pause the video or to browse through the images in a more leisurely fashion in the art journal section of the blog. Enjoy!

What are you dreaming about? from Divyam on Vimeo.

Books, historically, have been sacred. So it is by working in an intimate manner with a book that we develop a preciousness of self. There is a ritualistic aspect to opening  and closing a book: opening a book says I am here, I am ready to receive, and takes us into the world of unknowns where all sense of time disappears. Closing the book says I am ready to return to the known world.

– Juliana Coles, Institute for Extreme Journalism

I have loved working in this book so much. We have been on quite a journey together. I am sad to reach the end! A big thank you to my friends at Get Messy for being the most incredible bunch of artists I could ever hope to meet. Onwards to the next journal!

What are you dreaming about? (part 1)

The Season of Connections has just started this week over at Get Messy! This set of pages is about the connection to my inner world. It is also the last page in my first ever art journal. I thought it would take no time at all to complete just one more page but I should have known the last one would be the most involved!

Here is a short video, showing how the two sides of this spread open out to reveal four female figures on the page beneath:

When I saw the folder at the back of the Moleskine journal, I thought it was the perfect chance to create a flap, inspired by a wonderful tutorial from @diekleineriet . I’m also at the point in the Metamorph class with Erin Faith Allen where we are looking at ‘The Holy Within’. I immediately thought of medieval triptych art (which sent me off into a frenzy of gold ink!) Add to the mix the ‘Initiation into the sacred feminine’ year-long training I have been so enjoying at EarthHeart in The Forest of Dean, and I had a pretty powerful mix of influences going into the creation of this page. You can see a wonderful diagram of the cycles of the Wombdala on EarthHeart UK’s instagram page.

During the Initiation training, we have been looking at the cycle of the seasons, phases of the moon, and the phases of a woman’s life cycle. I had always heard of the three stages of a woman’s life – maiden, mother, crone. In this map, however, along with the four seasons, there are four stages of a woman’s life: maiden, creatress, high-priestess, and crone. I love it that the later phases of a woman’s life are given more space here. I wanted to reflect these stages of life in my triptych. I added an extra flap so that the traditional three panels could become four.

As I was working on these four female figures, I chose colours that reflected the mood and energy of each phase of life. I thought about what has been important to me along my journey through life so far, and imagined what might be important to me as I move forwards on my journey. I included a symbol at the centre of each figure to represent the dreams and longings of each chapter of life.

It was only afterwards that I realised I hadn’t written the word love anywhere. Surely this is something important! And then I realised that perhaps each of these qualities is a facet or expression of love.

I have loved working in this art journal. We have been on quite a journey together, I am sad to reach the end! A big thank you to my friends at Get Messy for being the most incredible bunch of artists I could ever hope to meet. Onwards to the next journal!

But before I move on, I’d love to show you the pages of my completed art journal. I hope you’ll join me for part 2 of this post where I will include a video flip-through of the whole thing!

Collaborating with the Zine Squad!

When I first heard of the Zine Squad, it sounded to me like the stuff of legend: a group of artists who create one-off zines for individual fellow-artists around themes chosen especially for them. So you might imagine how thrilled I was this summer when I was invited to collaborate with the Zine Squad on an Elements zine for fellow Messian, Serena Kuma.

As you will probably know from many of my other posts, I have been loving all the incredible things I have been learning and experiencing since joining Get Messy at the start of this year. I had heard of collaborations but always felt a bit nervous about joining one. The idea is that several artists work together in one journal around a particular theme. Each artist can work on their own pages, leave backgrounds for other artists to add to, and add to other pages in turn.

I had only ever worked in my own journal and so I felt a bit shy about adding artwork to other artists pages! But it felt good to leave space on a couple of my pages for welcome additions. My first page (on the right, below) was around the theme of the sea, and the way the sunlight sparkles on the waves.

The vibrant page on the left is by Vanessa Oliver Lloyd and together the pages make a really dynamic double spread.

The page above was inspired by grasses and leaves and the idea that nature has it’s own kind of map across the earth. I love how you can see the artwork from the larger pages beneath, peeking through. And the lines of text that are showing are just wonderful. The hand-drawn leaves and the round image of the woman in the leaves were a later addition, perhaps by Katie Smith?

My third page (on the right) explored the element of earth. The crystals were such a great addition (by Katie?) And I love how the page opposite compliments the notion of crystals slowly gathering strength as they form deep within in the earth. I recognise Jules Tea‘s unmistakable and energetic lines (and her handwriting!)

I loved being part of this collaboration. A big thank you to the Zine Squad for inviting me! It was such a great feeling creating something together and knowing that, at the end, a good friend and fellow artist was going to be so happy to receive it.

Check out the other pages: Vanessa, Katie, Jules, and Serena.

The Season of Fairy Tales

If you go deep,
deep into the heart,
the heart of the forest,
you will find her.

I have loved The Season of Fairy Tales at Get Messy so much, I don’t want it to end. It is a subject very close to my heart and I feel that during the last two months I have only just begun exploring the realm of fairy tales in the pages of my art journal.

‘The Heart of the Forest’ – While some of my pages touched upon specific fairy tales, many of them drew upon the images that exist across many tales. I was particularly attracted by the image of the forest. I loved the idea of the heart of the forest as a place where all the juicy stuff happens in a fairy tale. It is an external setting and at the same time it is a place within us, a place where we can find something beautiful and essential if we are willing to make the journey.

‘Don’t prick your finger on the Wheel of Time’ — The messages attached to my ‘Women’s Energy’ tea bags reminded me of the blessings given to Sleeping Beauty at her christening. In the Grimms tale, the king invites ‘wise women’ to the party. (Perhaps Disney is responsible for turning them into fairies?) In my rewrite, these women are not divided into good and evil. Instead, they have a depth of beauty and power which they wield unapologetically.

As I was working on the page, I kept thinking about time. In the tale, it cannot be slowed or stopped; Beauty cannot be prevented from turning 13 and pricking her finger. Neither can it be made to go faster; the hundred years of sleep will certainly be a long, long time. I felt drawn to include a multitude of clocks. And it occurred to me that for us today the clock is a kind of spinning wheel. We prick our fingers many times a day and fall into all sorts of ‘slumbers’ because of our reactions to time.

And then I came full circle to the advice on my tea bags. We need these little blessings! Especially the one at the bottom of the page: ‘The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.’

‘There once was a woman who fell in love with a star’ – When I painted this page, I didn’t realise that the Painting Galaxies class with Katie Smith was waiting for us round the corner! I loved creating a page that explored the beginning of a tale. It’s as if the whole story is contained within that beginning. Our imagination is drawn along that starry path into the rest of the tale. You can read more about my experience of the Painting Galaxies class here.

Come live with me
in my wintry realm.
You will never need
to feel again.

‘The Snow Queen’ – This page was inspired by a wonderful stencils tutorial with @sasha_zeen. Once again I found myself exploring the idea of a fairy tale setting as a place within us, that place where we just want to be numb and not feel any more.

‘Not a morning person’ — This strange bird was my first ever acrylic image transfer, made as part of the Transference class with Tiffany Julia. And the Season of Fairy Tales was the perfect time to explore image transfers because they are like magic! In this page, I was working with something that often happens in fairy tales: one of the characters is transformed into an animal, bewitched, put under a spell. This seems quite similar to the feeling I have when I wake up in the morning, hatching out of my shell, feeling not quite like myself. It usually takes a cup of tea or coffee to shake off the enchantment and come back to my usual shape and form!

I always had the feeling
this was not my place
but someone else’s
as if I needed permission
to walk these paths.
I will take my place
among the trees
that sing to me,
and call me my true name.

‘These are my woods now’ – This page was inspired by the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, and every tale where female characters are made to fear walking into the woods, into the dark.

‘Gown of tatters’ – So often we imagine we cannot ‘go to the ball’ because there is something not right about us. In Cinderella, her fairy godmother procures her the most beautiful dresses. But what if she were to go to the ball just as she is, in her gown of tatters. What if she were seen in her own magnificence without the need for a make-over?

‘I have always been here’ – During this season, I’ve been rereading many old favourites about the merging of myth, fairy tale, psychology, and personal history. One such favourite is ‘The Heroine’s Journey Workbook’ by Maureen Murdock. Each day, I have been taking a morning pages approach to the writing exercises in this wonderful book. Writing in depth about my sense of myself at various intervals throughout my life so far, I’m struck by how much change has taken place. And at the same time I can sense the thing in me that is unchanged — some essence of who I am that I carry with me through all the adventures and transformations.

‘You the moon’ – This page was inspired by an exploration into rebirth as part of the Metamorph class with Erin Faith Allen. In this exploration, we cut up a picture we had already made, one that we had some degree of attachment to. We then brought it back together as something new and quite different. You can see the original image here.

‘The Duchess of the moon’ – My image transfer came out looking quite cloudy so I traced over it with white gel pen, which gave the woman’s face an ethereal look. I added planets which I made during the Painting Galaxies class. As I worked,The Duchess of the moon began to emerge. Once again, it seems the fairy tale character and the landscape through which she moves seem very much intertwined.

‘Revisiting the Snow Queen’ – It seems I’m not finished with this icy figure! There is something I find so fascinating about her: the icy stare, her chilling beauty, her stillness.

‘Looking for lost selves’ – This was another piece influenced by my work with The Heroine’s Journey Workbook. I used much more journaling on the page than usual. This stream-of-consciousness writing on the theme of identity became an integral part of the layering of the piece.

‘Babas at large’ –  Look out! Babas at large in the forest! They will sit you down by the fire, brew you tea which will turn your mind into a galaxy of stars, and tell your fortune deep into the night. If you should be lucky enough to cross their path, please say hi from me! The trees in the background are from a wonderful tutorial with Julia Cusowrth.

I had to end the season back in my favourite place – the forest! And it was great timing, too, because I was just about to travel to the forest in real life – the beautiful EarthHeart centre in the Forest of Dean. It was time for the next part of the Initiation yearlong journey into the sacred feminine. Time to write a new page of my story…

Thank you for coming along with me on this magical journey through the fairy tale realm of this past season! I can’t wait to see what the coming season at Get Messy will bring!

Dreaming of distant galaxies

During the Season of Fairy Tales at Get Messy, I had the pleasure of taking part in the Painting Galaxies class with Katie Smith. It was the perfect accompaniment to the season, with a magical atmosphere and a sense of entering another world.

One of the things I love about the techniques that Katie shares is that they are quite simple to do and yet create such a dazzling effect. It is also possible to use many different mediums. The galaxy above was created with acrylic paints, while the one below was made using watercolours.

I love the soft haziness of the watercolours. It reminds me of the clouds and nebulas of the galaxy. The word Breathe came to me as I was looking at the finished galaxy. I felt so calm looking at something so vast and peaceful, and had a sense of the whole universe breathing. Pretty cosmic stuff!

I spend my Sunday mornings out and about at a lovely cafe in West London. I have called it The Doodle Cafe because I always spend my time there writing and drawing. A minimal art kit is essential on these mornings, and so I was delighted when Katie shared a technique on Instagram using Tombow watersoluble markers. It was a great accompaniment to the class. I love the cloudy quality that comes in unexpected ways when you add water to the markers.

I loved this technique so much, it soon became one of my favourites! In this next galaxy I splashed even more water onto the markers and was delighted with the clouds that were created.

I stuck with a limited colour palette so that the clouds could be the main focus.

Back to acrylics, and this time, instead of using the white gel pen to outline the clouds of the galaxy, I used it to add a drawing of myself as an intergalactic princess!

The stars are drawing close to me now

with their whispers of magic and other worlds.

We will talk to each other

like we did when I was a girl,

singing songs

in strange and wonderful tunes.

The above galaxy was made during yet another Sunday at The Doodle Cafe. I used Tombow markers once again, this time really going for it with the vibrancy of the colours.

‘Dressed for the universal weather’ – This is a watercolour galaxy with added blobs of high flow acrylics for bursts of saturated colour. Wow! This added a wonderful vibrancy to the galaxy. I had been enjoying the galaxies in their own right up to this point, but decided to see what it was like using a galaxy as a background. It didn’t take much to complete the page, with a single figure and some writing along the top.

This time I added the high flow acrylic paints to a Tombow marker galaxy. I sprayed the high flow paints with water which again activated the markers underneath. This created a wonderful effect – both vibrant and hazy. I added a quote by Rabindranath Tagore, perfect for the beginning of autumn and the nights drawing in.

Shooting-star-like, blazing briefly,

fire the autumn dark within me.

– Rabindranath Tagore

I often find the time I spend in my art journal to be quite meditative. I found this effect was heightened while I was painting these galaxies. There is something about gazing into the vastness of space that helps to put everything into perspective. As if by magic, towards the end of the class, I noticed the tag on my teabag had a message for me that felt very fitting for the art of painting galaxies:

Open up to infinity

and become infinity.

These are my woods now

I always had the feeling
this was not my place
but someone else’s
as if I needed permission
to walk these paths.
I will take my place
among the trees
that sing to me,
and call me my true name.

Chronicle of a yoga retreat

Day 1

I have just got back from an intense and rewarding week on a wonderful yoga retreat with Alaric Newcombe at Le Tardoun in France. Inspired by Julia Cusworth, I took with me a passport-sized Muji notebook, a teensy watercolour set, and a single black pen. Each afternoon I created a watercolour background and each night I added a drawing of my experience of the day. The end result is a record of what turned out to be a rollercoaster ride, both emotionally and physically!

Day 2

As someone who is used to going to a weekly class or two, 7 hours a day of pranayama and asana very quickly took me well out of my comfort zone! I drew this self-portrait with eyes closed, which helped me express that feeling of being outside my familiar ways of doing things.

Day 3

Due to an ongoing nerve condition in my left foot which makes it difficult to stand for any length of time, it can be challenging to find ways to strongly move my whole body. One of the reasons I love Iyengar yoga is that I am able to explore the strength and energy of my body whilst working safely around my foot. On this day, we were working with backbends and I came out of the class feeling more energised and alive than I had done for a long time.

Day 4

This was a really tough day! It was so hot, I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head.

Day 5

‘All this moving and breathing can make you feel so much more alive, but it can also make you feel vulnerable.’ This self portrait was drawn with eyes closed which helped to express the feeling of being a little dismantled, a little unfamiliar to myself.

Day 6

The calm after the storm. Coming back to a feeling of wholeness. This page was inspired by our early morning pranayama session: the cool air of the pine forest, the chirpings of the birds, the first rays of sunlight entering into the studio.

Day 7

It is strange to feel super energised and super tired both at the same time!

I wouldn’t normally have chosen browns for this page but I was feeling so grounded and in my body, I was drawn to these earthy tones.


I’m so grateful for this incredible experience. For my inspiring teacher Alaric Newcombe, for my beloved Keerti, for the wonderful group of friends who were so lovely and kind, for the mountainside beauty of Le Tardoun, and for the continual wonder that is Iyengar Yoga.

The Wheel of Time

‘Don’t prick your finger on the Wheel of Time’ – my first page for The Season of Fairy Tales, inspired by Sleeping Beauty.

I was so excited when I heard about this particular season at Get Messy Art Journal. I have always loved fairy tales and imagined I could easily spend a year diving into the treasure chest of these beloved stories. But when the day came, I found I didn’t know where to start. There is so much I want to explore and this made it even more challenging to begin.

Inspiration came to me while I was enjoying a cup of ‘Women’s Energy Tea’ with some friends. The messages attached to each tea bag reminded me of the blessings given to Sleeping Beauty at her christening:

In the Grimms tale, the king invites ‘wise women’ to the party. (Perhaps Disney is responsible for turning them into fairies?) In my rewrite, these women are not divided into good and evil. Instead, they have a depth of beauty and power which they wield unapologetically.

Magazine images are not usually my first point of call when I’m working on an art journal page. With a subject such as fairy tales, however, I suddenly realised how almost every magazine image draws upon our associations with these magical stories. The opulent gowns and jewels are straight out of Cinderella’s ball. The women are often portrayed archetypally as innocent maidens or sultry seductresses with magical powers.

As I was working on the page, I kept thinking about time. In the tale, time works as a kind of antagonist. It cannot be slowed or stopped; Beauty cannot be prevented from turning 13 and pricking her finger. Neither can it be made to go faster; the hundred years of sleep will certainly be a long, long time.

It occurred to me that for us today the clock is a kind of spinning wheel. We prick our fingers many times a day and fall into all sorts of ‘slumbers’ because of our reactions to time. So many of our struggles are ‘against the clock’, rushing to squeeze more hours into the day, or even more impossibly, trying to prevent our own aging processes (back to many of the adverts in magazines – “try this new product! It will work like magic and prevent you from getting old!”)

I came full circle to the advice on my tea bags. We need these little blessings! Especially the one at the bottom of the page:

I love how these little messages point to an inner experience and enjoyment of life – a realm in which the spinning wheel of time has no dominion. I might just go and brew a cup of ‘Women’s Energy Tea’ right now. I wonder what message is waiting for me today?

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!