Behind the Art With Felecia


Today, I'm tackling liberating myself from my notion of "normal." 

When I was a kid, the TV families were always perfect.

The Cleavers, the Brady's (a blended family that was perfect!), even the Huxtables - who were supposed to be more "real" - were my examples of family life with kids.

My own family bore resemblence to those I saw on TV only in that there were two parents, two kids, a house, and a dog. The rest didn't seem all that "normal."

It took me a pretty long time to realize that "normal" doesn't exist and that family life takes on the shape of the individuals involved. No family is perfect and the variations that they can have are more numerous than the stars.

When I got married (for the second time), I had no idea what sort of crazy fun I was in for. I had a vision of married life with this man - and maybe kids if we got around to it - but my own vision was not exactly the whole picture.

Now that we have kids, the dynamic has taken on a distinctly un-normal atmosphere.

We, as a group, are authentically crazy - in a fun and somewhat bewildering way. We have our own language, our own habits, our own processes. We are strict about using "Ma'am" and "Sir" but we tell one another how much love we have by using random and funny words - like "I love you two tires and a biscuit." (isn't it more fun that "soooo much"?) We make our kids make their beds every single day, but they are often covered in mud and markers. There is always singing and dancing, very little tv or video games, and everybody reads...a lot.

Now, I won't lie. My uptight, perfectionist self has had a very hard time adapting to all the weirdness that prevails in my house. For example, in conversations I have with my kids, I say things like "don't lick the window!" and pause for just a moment to think "that was a weird thing to say."

At the end of the day, tho, what really strikes me is that it works for us. When I liberate myself from my expectations, from the delusion that there is a "normal" way for any of this to be and just go with what is, I find myself with much joy and peace at the little bit of crazy that we have carved out for ourselves in this world. 

For this layout, the orange ombre paper seemed to be a fun place to start. I looked for the wildest pictures - the ones I wouldn't SHOW to anyone and committed to USE them to document how my life really is - FUN, weird, not "picture perfect."

I wanted to sit the pictures on a shelf - like THESE are the family shots that should be on my mantle, instead of the other studio shots that are there.

There is a little messy mist (think markers and mud like above), a little messy outline, and just one or two "perfect" flowers. Now that this layout is done, those flowers sort of make me chuckle, because they match in color, but they are SO NOT aligned with those pictures. Which, when you think about my purpose for this one...is...well...PERFECT.

It begs the question, what sorts of standards have we tied ourselves to that are not really who we are? I wonder about how many people are out there keeping up with the families they see on TV or at the grocery store or the park or whatever. How might liberating yourself from these notions of "normal" look?

Have a beautiful, day, my friends!!!


Behind the Art with Jen

This month, I used the "Liberation" kit to create Art Journal pages.  I have a spiral book that I will be creating all my pages in for the coming months.  It feels natural to use this format and create mixed media/ scrapbook style pages in an art book. So, I created this page using the stencil, papers, and embellishments from the kit. 
 You can see that I used the stencil from the kit with a thin tipped pen (I used a Faber-Castell PITT Artist pen in small tip) and created a bit of a scribbled look to it.  I wanted it to look hand drawn rather than perfect with the stencil.
 The stickers and gems from the kit were perfect accents to the page!  I also added half of a butterfly image that I had used in another artwork.

 The entire page is seen here and I loved the birdcage, butterfly, and sequins were perfect for conveying the feeling of flying free.
 To adhere the sequins, I used Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft Gel Medium.  It dries clear with a mostly matte finish so it's perfect for the scattered look.
 Here's another view of the doodled image.
 I cut the circle from the center of the Glitz paper and added a sticker to the center.  I journaled around the circle in each space.  I loved how this turned out!


Behind the Art with Stacey

I like to scrap the things in life that I appreciate the most.  I truly believe a sense of gratitude is liberating.  It sets me free from worry and keeps what is most important in perspective.  When I close my eyes and imagine feeling liberated, I see myself laughing and letting go.  I visualize myself dancing and singing.

There is a group of women in my life who make me feel liberated.  I know I can be myself through and through.  I feel young and free and adventurous with them.

I decided to use the This is My Everyday Life card because I actually work with all of these ladies.  I get to feel happy and supported on a daily basis!  I built my page from that large card, using the yellow slotted card below the photo.  I grabbed a shot of us laughing our heads off. 

The numbers represent the fact that I am always going to laugh when we are together.  It is like clockwork. 

To balance out the gray and the large elements, I used the stickers across the top.  I hummed the tune of this song as I scrapped.  Then I wrote my words.  Putting gratitude down on paper makes it real and lasting.  I believe it attracts positive energy in the world!


Behind the Art with Felecia

In August, it just seems right to be barefoot. I find liberation in being shoeless - especially in the dead heat of the summer. But even when its cold, I would prefer barefoot to most anything else. 

I suppose there is a certain amount of hippy girl in me...

Or maybe its my Southern California sensibility (the one I still have even though we live in the South and on the opposite coast now).

I personally think its that I spent my early career in banking and at the time there were tons of regulations about how we had to dress - uncomfortable shoes included. 

Or it could be that the shoes I ran around in as a child always seemed so comfortable, like my own skin.

Now, I'm still a girl who loves shoes...and pedicures...and all the lovely and even comfortable options that are out there for shoes today...but still...no shoes...that is one of my personal favorites.

Looking at this, I think its just a little weird that I did a layout about my bare feet. But, it is IS such a part of my person, this wanting to be shoe-less. Its also a challenge to consider how to use symbolism associated with Liberation in a layout. My ideas were: hippy/flower child kind of images and the feeling of "cool."

I wanted to evoke the feeling of bare wood floors and I like the idea of playing on the hippy theme with this considering the kit contents. 

The blue / aqua color is my "cool."

The brown paper with some paint around the edges is my "wood floor." 

And the layers of flowers and curvy free-flowing stencil are my "hippy."

I wonder what sort of things this will bring up in our future when this layout is found in one of my albums. It makes me laugh to myself about the idea of it all.

What sort of clothing or style items make you feel liberated? Do you enjoy wearing your hair down or your yoga pants? Is there something you wear that represents your liberation - tennies? earrings? a leather biker jacket? What about body art? What other style things might represent your liberation (or lack thereof)? Your home decor? Your car? Your phone cover? 

I'd love to see what you think of!!


Behind the Art with Jen

 Jen here to share a journal page I did this month with the "Liberation" kit!  It's my birthday month... I just turned 40 and had to kiss my 30's goodbye.  That was hard to do.  I won't lie, this has been an emotional decade.  Lots have happened in my 30's that have changed me as a person forever.  Some things are amazing and some have been difficult but needed.  I became a mother to both of my children in my 30's.  I got my National Board Certification in Art education, lost 30 lbs, gained 35 lbs., and started running (resulting in my weight loss journey again) and have completed three 5k races before 40 years old.  I've learned a lot about myself.  I've been very disappointed in myself, realized I'm stronger than I thought and am so proud to say that I've accomplished goals that I thought I could never do.  But it's still a journey and I think my 4o's will be even more memorable than my 30s! 
 I usually don't work in a 9x12" format but this page is in a journal and I decided it would now house my layouts for these kits.  I love the idea that 4-5 of the pages each month will be in a bound book in an art journal format!  So I am challenging myself to work a bit differently.  It feels more natural to me.
 Love those wood print letters/numbers!  This page was made to welcome my life in a new decade.  I can't wait to see what the 40's bring me.  Age is only a number after all! 

 Have any of your age milestones been recorded?  If not, why not reflect on what was learned or goals you want to accomplish in the next decade.



Behind the Art with Melissa

Happy Tuesday!

I'm really excited to share this layout with you all today.

This layout is about living the letting past hurts go.

My childhood is not filled with all pleasant things. In fact, at a young age, I experienced something no child should ever have to experience. And it took me many years to understand that. I grew up not really grasping that what had happened was terrible. I knew it was wrong. But, in my own young, naive mind, I thought it was also normal. And I thought people would know.

Over the years as I grew deeper in my faith, I learned what forgiveness means. It didn't mean that I had to have a relationship with someone who hurt me. What it means is, freeing myself from the shackles that person had over me... all these years. I didn't need a response from them. I didn't need to speak words to them. (Although I did do that and it is part of the healing process...) It was more for me.  

This is a prompt from our Inspiration Page that inspired this page:

Let off the Hook/Pardon: Who have you had to forgive, or who do you still need to forgive, from your past in order to move forward powerfully in your life? If you’re holding onto anger or resentment, why? What keeps you stuck in the past? Is it ego, history, or something else?

I shared a sneak photo of the layout above... I love the symbolism of the transparency... it shows my willingness to let others see inside of me. I've gotten to a point where I freely share my story because it not only helps them... it also helps me. I hear the words I say. I read the words I write and it helps my heart continue to heal. 

As a result of that... I feel the freedom... the liberation to dream BIG. 

When I finally felt the TRUE freedom that comes from forgiveness, I felt free to be the real me. I got to know who the real me was. And from there, I have made some decisions I never thought I would make... or want to do. 

That's powerful stuff!

We are not licensed therapists here at Inside Out. However, we are women with a story and have experienced how amazing it is to work through these areas of our lives. If you find yourself reading this prompt and thinking you've got some things you'd like to work through, I encourage you to look for someone in your area to meet with. It's so worth it! It really and truly is! 

Thanks for swinging by today!

Not sure where to start? Check out our Inspiration Page here for some helpful quotes, word play, musical and visual inspiration.

Or just dive in! Join us and grab your Liberation kit HERE. Welcome to the family.


Behnid the Art with Stacey

Every month, I love to get the new kit along with the monthly prompts from Rachel.  I read the prompts and just clear my mind.  I let whatever ideas are brewing float to the top.  Then I look for photos that might match up to the theme.  It is a fun process that is healing.  Think of it as a visual gratitude journal or a diary.

The idea of liberation means being set free.  I remember exact moments in my life where I prayed to be set free and/or times when I knew it had happened.  One such moment occurred just a few years ago.

I had three siblings that I had never really met or talked to.  It bothered me that I was left out of their lives for a long time as though I didn't exist.  I think it impaired my ability to live beautifully and happily in the moment.  There was deep pain that I had buried.  That changed when my sister reached out.  Within a short time, I had met all my siblings.  It was life-changing.

I pulled out this photo and decided to scrap my feelings about it.  There was a moment when we were driving away from hotel and I was looking out the window.  I felt healed.  I quietly cried happy tears knowing that I could be free from the pain.  The title of this page came from a simple place, You Cared. 

I have scrapped several pages about this happening and the adventures that followed.  This page was meant to document that moment where I felt peace deep within.  I clearly remember it today and I hope this page always helps me go back in time.
I used the butterfly to symbolize freedom and the beauty in the moment.  I purposefully scattered objects across the page, keeping it light and airy.
It is a page I know I will go back to many times.