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!

Advertisements

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!

100 days of story (week 5)

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

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

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

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

April daily art project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you all a lovely May!

Divyam xxx

Rituals class – April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you all a lovely May,

Divyam xxx

100 days of story (week 4)

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

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

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

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

Season of Play (part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100 days of story (week 3)

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

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

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

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

100 days of story (week 2)

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

You can read the first week of the story here.

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

Enjoy!

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 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

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!