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!

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!

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.

100 days of story (week 9)

I can’t believe we have already reached day 63 in the 100 day project. Time seems to be moving very fast all of a sudden! And, while there is still plenty of road to travel, I am very much aware of the need to move towards an end to the story.

This knowledge is affecting my choices as I move along. For example, this week the Queen of the Sea reveals that she is the Owl Woman’s sister. They have taken different paths in life and so have not seen each other for many years. It’s clear to me that the explanation for this could be a whole other story — one that I won’t be able to do justice to here. I can see a side story coming along in my future!

I also felt it was time to include a more active male character in a story populated by such strong female characters. And so the guard has stepped up to help The Silent Woman in her quest. He is also the first character in the story to receive a name. I didn’t want to keep calling him “the guard”, especially as he’s no longer in that role.

This week I also had a wonderful Messy Conversation with one of my favourite Messy Artists, Misty Granade. We are talking about my creative story, and my approach to the creative process, including this 100 day project. You can watch the replay here.

And now, without further ado, here are the pages from this week’s story:

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!

Season of Play (part 2)

It has been a wild ride through a universe of colour and imagination this season in my “guide to the universe” altered book. The pages I have made over the last few weeks have all been so much fun to make:

The Paintbrush of Power – this page was created for the tutorial I gave on the Get Messy member’s site. It’s all about turning yourself into a superhero using techniques from comics and cartoons. I love how the space background was the perfect scene for Art Woman to find herself!

Note to self: Take a moment to play! – It was a month of unpacking from one trip and then packing for the next with just about enough time to do some laundry in between. It was starting to feel like forever since I had played in my art journal. And then I thought: why not do a super fast collage? I spent five minutes ripping papers from my stash and sticking them down with a pritt stick and I have to tell you: IT FELT SO GOOD! This was a great reminder that you don’t need loads of time to make art.

Come rain or shine,
mysterious trails of light
connect my heart to joy.

I really enjoyed making this piece. I thought it was going to be another 5 minute collage but once I got going I took my time with it. I noticed that I’m feeling more adventurous in the realm of collage since last month’s Rituals class with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd.

The Monstr of the Melting World!! – It’s not a typo. I just ran out of room to fit in all the letters. This happens to me all the time, but I have to say I quite like the word “monstr“!
This page was inspired by my monster prompt on the Get Messy member’s site. The backgrounds in my universe altered book are the perfect settings for creatures such as these.

There are text boxes dotted throughout the book. I have been covering most of them up but it felt perfect to leave this one visible because it is describing my monstr’s melting world. I didn’t realise this guy was going to turn out looking so friendly. But don’t be fooled. This is not a good monster to cuddle. He’s VERY hot!!!!

It has been pretty busy in my life these past weeks and I did not get as much time to play in my journal as I would have liked. But the time I did spend in there was truly wonderful. And the upside of not having yet finished my journal is that there are still plenty of pages left in there, ready for me to dive in whenever I want to play!

100 days of story (week 8)

Even though I am already past the halfway point in the 100 day project, I felt that this week has been the true heart of the story. I’m not yet sure how, but the time The Silent Woman has spent with her grandmothers will be of crucial importance in her journey to retrieve her voice.

These pages were written around two consecutive weekends spent at EarthHeart UK with two different circles of wise and beautiful women. During our time together, we touched on the stories of our own grandmothers. My own journey and that of this story became very much intertwined and each inspired the other.

Thank you so much for following along with this story as it unfolds. Your presence around the fire means a lot to me and is both inspiring and encouraging me to keep telling my tale.

And now, without further ado, here are this weeks pages for you to enjoy!

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!

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

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!