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!

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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!

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!