Season of Story (part 3)

I recently had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours making art at the British Library with the lovely Tammy Hanna. Our table was looking clearer and calmer than usual. Maybe a response to the summer heatwave we’ve been having in the UK recently?

‘Places’ – these are some of the significant places from my childhood. I was already a teen when I went to Paris but I couldn’t resist throwing in the Eiffel Tower!

‘The outcome is unknown’ — decisions are an important part of the story. The choices we make send us down one road rather than another. We cannot know where it will all lead, which road is the right one, and yet still there are times when we must decide.

This page was made using some wonderful handmade watercolours sent to me by the lovely Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd. The red and the blues were made by Vanessa. I added some yellow to this from my Winsor and Newton sketch box. These beautiful paints were such a joy to use. It’s so inspiring to know that it’s possible to make your own watercolour paints! The blue of the door has a beautiful metallic sheen to it, perfect for a magical portal into the unknown future.

Celebration – This page was created at the Sunday morning at the doodle cafe. When I started the page I wasn’t in the best of moods and had no idea what I wanted to do. Writing out my thoughts in watercolour helped me arrive. Next, the overlapping circles of colour lifted my mood. By the time the dancing ladies arrived I was in quite a different space to when I had started. The transformational power of art journaling!

Looking back over the last couple of weeks, I can see a definite watercolour theme! There is something very refreshing about using watery washes of paint when it’s so hot outside.

Thanks so much for joining me for this look at the latest from my Season of Story journal!

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100 days of story (final week!)

I have been postponing posting the last few days of the story because basically I can’t quite believe it’s over! It has been such a wonderful process from beginning to end, made all the more joyful by knowing that so many of you have been following along and enjoying the story.

Thank you so much for listening to the story of Silent Woman — now Story Woman! — I have felt so heartened by you cheering me on and leaving such lovely and encouraging comments. This gave me so much energy to continue the story. I couldn’t have done it with out your lovely presence round the fire!

Of course ‘The End’ is never quite the end. For I have heard it told that there are stories waiting in the mountains…

Coming soon: a video of me reading the story while turning the pages of the book and a print copy of the story which will be available in my etsy shop. In the meantime, you can read the whole story from start to finish over on instagram using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory and also on my flickr page.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the the final instalment of the story. Enjoy!

Rituals class – June

The theme for June in the Rituals class with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd was ‘Nourish’. It felt so good to focus on the elements that are nourishing us, especially at a time when everything can feel very expansive and outward going. We were focusing on water-soluble media which also felt perfect for summer. Using watercolours and inks felt very light and cooling, like taking a dip in a cool swimming pool!

I am nourished by the earth – My solar spread for this month’s Rituals class. I don’t have much earth myself. There’s almost none in my astrology chart. I’m mostly all water and fire. But earth is the thing I need to nourish me. Over the last couple of years I have spent more time in nature and it feels so life-giving and calming to my whole system. I need to connect with the earth in order to expand and grow.

From the technical side: this is probably the most fiddly bit of collage I’ve ever cut out! But it was very calming and meditative slowly cutting round all the branches and leaves.

My lunar spread is to do with the element of air but I think it also borders on the fifth element, which is space or spirit or the universe:

I am nourished by the stars and the sense of being part of the universe. While the earth in my solar spread is energising, the universe nourishes me more on the inside and takes me into a quiet space.

The quote in the background is from the writer, Ben Okri:

In every moment, we are part of the infinite stories that the universe is telling us and that we are telling the universe.

(The Mystery Feast, 2015)

I found these blues to be really calming and cooling… We’re having a bit of a heatwave in England at the moment so I’m a little bit obsessed with anything that can cool me down!

It felt really nourishing making these pages for the Rituals class this month. I wish you all a beautiful July!

100 days of story (week 13)

The time has come for a showdown between The Silent Woman and The North Wind!

I am posting the latest instalment of the story each day over on instagram using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory. You can also read weekly posts right here on the blog.

Without further ado, here are the latest pages of the story. Enjoy!

Season of Story (part 2)

It has been a wonderful couple of weeks of The Season of Story at Get Messy. It’s been a while since I was able to spend so much time making art in my art journal. I’m taking the theme quite loosely, allowing my pages to take me where they will.

Then and now – I created this page because it can be easy sometimes to look back at younger versions of myself with a certain amount of nostalgia and longing. And yet, I have a sense that if my younger self could look into the future, she would be so proud of the journey I have been on and the woman I have become. It feels important to remember this! I painted two self-portraits, each facing the other, looking both backwards and forwards in time.

I created this page while I was on a Get Messy hangout one Saturday afternoon. While I was busy chatting away with my wonderful Messy Artist friends, I found myself making a series of shapes without thinking too much about what I was doing. Later on, I filled in the shapes with the story of my day. I was inspired by Suzanne Earley’s ‘fragments of a good day’ page with all its small lovely moments.

Watching @sasha_zeen showing us how to paint loose watercolour flowers was balm for my soul. You can watch her wonderful tutorial on the Get Messy open blog, even if you aren’t a member. Perfect for these long summer days we’ve been having (in the northern hemisphere at least!)

Another page made from Sasha’s wonderful tutorial. My left foot was feeling sore so I wanted to give both my feet a carpet of soft leaves and flowers. Ah…. much better!

There was an incredible 24 hour Get Messy hangout this weekend. It was so much fun, with different artists hosting every couple of hours, offering new prompts, techniques and inspiration. While I was hosting, I gave a tutorial on creating pages that tell the story of a particular colour.

The first page – The story of blue – employs a “throw everything you’ve got at the page” approach! Here are the steps we followed:

• Choose a colour
• Gather all the materials you have in that colour
• Paint a shape or blob on the page
• Write some associations you have with that colour using watercolour (or pen/pencil) starting at the shape you just made and moving in whatever direction you want.
• Stick a piece of collage somewhere else on the page.
• Make marks moving outward from the collage. Don’t be afraid to overlap with what you have already done.
• Add some scribbles across the page
• Write the name of your colour in big bold letters
• Add washi tape
• Add more small shapes and marks.
• Cut words from magazines that feel like they belong to your colour and stick them on the page.

I made the blue page during the hangout. The red page, following the same approach, was made in preparation for the hangout.

The second part of the tutorial took more orderly and minimal approach, giving us a chance to calm down after the chaos of the first one we did! As you can see, it looks completely different!

• Choose a colour and gather your materials as before.
• Give each material its own space on the page. Make small patches of colour and leave space around each one.
• Write a word near or on some of the shapes that belong to that colour (or cut words out of magazines as before)
I haven’t yet got round to adding the words to my yellow page. I’m enjoying hoe cool and clear it all looks – quite an unusual style for me!

The page below was made using the wonderful monoprint technoque Debbie Bamberger taught us during the hangout. This is a fabulous technique and one which I will keep practicing until I get the hang of it!

Thanks for joining me on this journey through my Season of Story journal from the last couple of weeks. Wishing all of you in the Northern Hemisphere a lovely summer. I hope you’re keeping cool in the hot weather! (And lots of love to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere too!)

Divyam xxx

100 days of story (week 12)

The Silent Woman has travelled far and wide, undergoing great hardship and receiving many gifts. She is no longer the same woman who set out on her journey of transformation. It is time for her to face The North Wind. She is ready!

I am posting the latest instalment of the story each day over on instagram using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory. You can also read weekly posts right here on the blog.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the latest pages of the story. Enjoy!

100 days of story (week 11)

There was a carefree quality to starting out on this adventure. Each day I had the sense that anything could happen. I cast my net and pulled in all sorts of characters and happenings from the far reaches of my imagination.

There is something potent about this stage of the story. The tapestry is now rich with threads. Instead of anything happening, I have a sense of what must happen. It might sound a little sombre, but I now feel a sense of responsibility to the story. Even though things are moving each day towards a completion, all meetings and partings need to be given their right time and space. I feel that I am learning something about completions. There is perhaps less action, and yet these moments are potent with all that has come before.

Now that The Silent Woman had been given The Stone of Silence, I turned up for my daily story session ready for her to carry on with her journey towards The North Wind. I immediately felt that I could not move on without the characters paying their respects to the monk who had silently and patiently guarded the stone for 1000 years!

There is one more thing she must do before facing The North Wind: she must seek out The Owl Woman and deliver the message given to her by The Queen of the Sea…

I am posting the latest instalment of the story each day over on instagram using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory. You can also read weekly posts right here on the blog.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the latest pages of the story. Enjoy!

Season of Story (part 1)

The Season of Story has begun! And it’s already taking me by surprise. I thought I would be telling specific stories but instead I find I am attempting to express something about story itself.

This first page was created during a wonderful Get Messy hangout.

‘How did I get here?’

This page was inspired by Alicia Schultz‘s wonderful abstract art tutorial over on the Get Messy Art Journal member’s website.

It got me thinking about story in a whole new way. Especially the stories I haven’t yet put into words, even in my own mind.

‘This is why we tell our stories deep into the night.’ — I continued the abstract approach with this page. Here’s some of the writing in the background:

The story is a creature, a beast.

You have to give it acres of land

to prowl and dance.

You have to feed it with longing

so that, one dark moon night,

it will perform its magic.

“Is this me?” you will ask.

“This woman, this girl,

this seeker, this shapeshifter?”

What a relief

to be the one you always knew,

to be the stranger.

This is why we tell our stories deep into the night.

‘The girl, the woman, the seeker, the shapeshifter’ — this page came out of the writing I did on the previous page.

I felt a bit naughty for trying out some acryla gouache paints when I haven’t really learned much about regular gouache yet. But I couldn’t resist! And they are sooooo lovely. I really like the fact that they are non water soluble when dry.

I also enjoyed using some of the frames from a book of frame designs I picked up at the charity shop. I expect there will be more frames popping up in my pages this season!

I am continuing to feel the inspiration of the work I did last year in Initiation: Into the sacred feminine at EarthHeart UK. The sense of the seasons or life stages of woman. (Check out ‘What are you dreaming about?’ for another take on this.)

I’m really enjoying this season so far which is no surprise really, as stories and storytelling are a big love of mine. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to appear in my art journal as the season progresses!

Divyam xxx

100 days of story (week 10)

Even though The Silent Woman has not been able to speak for most of the story so far, this week things get really silent. There’s a monk who has been patiently and silently guarding The Stone of Silence for 1000 years. And it’s pretty much impossible for our heroine and her friend, Lam, to do anything other than sit in meditation when they arrive at the cave where the Stone is kept.

Somehow, even though events are not that different to a meditation retreat, things manage to stay dramatic. (Okay, it would be hard to find a meditation retreat quite like this, but you catch my drift, right?)

I am posting the latest instalment of the story each day over on instagram using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory. You can also read weekly posts right here on the blog.

Without further ado, I present to you the latest pages of the story. Enjoy!

The Ancient Ones

There are some images that appear on the page, whether it is a page of writing or of visual art, that keep coming back in different forms over time. For me, one image that keeps returning is that of The Ancient Ones.

Years ago, when I was doing my MA in creative writing at Middlesex University, I was working on a fantasy novel that drew heavily on Russian folklore and mythology. As I was researching the figure of Koschei the Deathless, I came across his twelve sisters and immediately fell in love with them. They were keepers of wisdom, the magical aunts and grandmothers we have always longed for, overflowing with rich delicacies, long-forgotten secrets, and a hearty dose of love. (Note: As I write this post, I can’t seem to find any mention of them on the internet! Did I imagine it all?)

The twelve ladies arrived just as the last of the day’s visitors were leaving. They had palest skin with blushing red cheeks and were all rather tall. A few of them walked with sticks and they shared between them an enormous array of scarves, umbrellas, coats and jackets, handbags and women’s magazines. They wheeled along a red wooden cabinet, painted with green leaves and small yellow flowers. As they removed their coats and entered the house, the smell of pine cones and chocolate cake wafted around them.

A few years later, they reappeared during NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) in the form of the Last Storytellers of Cremone. You can read the full poem here.

… They promise to tell one story
for each round of fabric
that is unwound from their heads.
And as they talk, all that they have carried
falls onto the floor:
painted tea-pots, silver thimbles and spoons,
wedding dresses, candlesticks,
waistcoats and blankets sewn by hand.
We sit on the floor and laugh.
They strip the night from my eye.
They tell the story of the king of the wind.
They voice the jewels of my own wonder …

Then, last year, while I was taking part in Initiation: Into the sacred feminine at EarthHeart UK, I had an image of The Ancient Ones, sitting in a circle beneath a sky of stars.

Since that time, they have continued to appear in my art. I find myself doodling their faces while talking on the phone:

And since I introduced them into my art journal, they keep popping up everywhere!

After completing the Initiation training at EarthHeart, I went on to participate in the Cauldron of Pearls feminine leadership training. I knew The Ancient Ones had to take centre stage on the cover of my notebook!

Their latest appearance is as The Grandmothers in my 100 day project, in which I am telling a story in words and illustrations, one page each day for 100 days.

I am posting the latest instalment of the story each day over on instagram using the hashtag #divyams100daysofstory. You can also read weekly posts right here on the blog.

If you’d like to have a go drawing faces in the style of these women, check out my one-minute video – part of the Ask an Artist series over at the Get Messy Art Journal.

What form will they take next? I will have to wait and see. In the meantime, I can only say that my life is richer since they appeared on the scene.

A Messy Conversation

Today I had the great pleasure of being interviewed for Get Messy Art Journal by one of my favourite Messy Artists, the fabulous Misty Granade.

We talked about my creative story so far, the things that inspire me to create, how there’s no such thing as a beginner, and a whole lot more.

Here is the replay of the interview for you to enjoy!

Getting ready for the Season of Story

I’m always a little sad when a season comes to an end at Get Messy. This lasts for about five seconds, however, before the excitement of a new season kicks in! And the season that has begun today is all about my favourite thing in the whole world – story.

Each season this year we are working in special journals dedicated to that particular season. This time around, we are hand binding our own journals. I made my journal using the long stitch from the Basic Bookbinding class with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd.

The cover is made from an Anthropologie bag (they do the best bags!). The handles make perfect book closings. And I strengthened the inside of the cover with more pieces from their wonderful bags.

I will probably add to the cover as the season progresses, but for now this evocative design feels like the perfect jumping off point for telling some of my stories.

My vision for this coming season is to tell my own personal story in as many different ways as possible. I know that the prompts and tutorials together with the inspiring art from the whole Get Messy community will help me to explore many different approaches to telling my story.

My creative life has been so enhanced and enriched by being a part of this incredible community. If you’re not already a member of Get Messy Art Journal, why not sign up for the coming season? Here’s a peek at some of the incredible things this season has to offer:

When you sign up for a Season Pass you get access to all the Get Messy Season of Story posts between June 1st – July 31st.  This includes a treasure chest full of inspiring tutorials, prompts, discussions, live webinars and more to keep you creating! As well as the Season of Story posts, you will have access to the Get Messy private facebook group, the Get Messy forums and the discounted member shop, where all classes are 30% off. You can read more about what the season has to offer here.

Note: When you purchase through my link I receive a commission, but you are not charged extra nor does this affect your purchase.

Season passes are on sale from today, June 1, until June 7. It would be wonderful to see you there!

100 days of story (week 7)

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

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

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

100 days of story (week 5)

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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!