I’ve always enjoyed coloring in color books. As a child I spent hours with my stack of books and the biggest box of crayons I could buy. Just seeing those rows of sharpened crayons sparked my imagination and fueled my creativity.
I never outgrew my love of coloring. As a young adult, before my children were born, I still had a stack of favorite books, the more detailed the better, and a box of Crayola Crayons. Once the kids arrived I had plenty of opportunities to join in their coloring marathons and we spent hours creating together. Now I color with the grandchildren.
Recently my older daughter Elissa shared that coloring has become a creative exercise in her office. She works for a very innovative company and I was intrigued. Elissa took the coloring pages home and she and Dayan have been enjoying this soothing yet fun activity in the evenings.
My awareness, therefore, was raised as I walked into a Barnes & Noble Bookstore Monday, in Rogers, AR. It didn’t have to be raised very high, as there were tables and tables of coloring books, for adults. (Not to be confused with adult coloring books!) I was enchanted. And left with a book titled Art for Mindfulness – Landscapes. I picked up a new box of Crayola Colored Pencils and I was set.
Tonight I had the opportunity to color. I did research first, to discover when this phenomenon started, and found that the coloring craze for adults began in 2013. Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford produced “Secret Garden”, a coloring book for adults, with an initial run of 16,000 copies. To date, this book has sold more than 6 million copies, with 4 million sold just in the last five months.
According to psychologists, the simple act of coloring reduces stress, enhances creativity and improves focus. There is a meditative quality in coloring, a sense of unplugging and opening to the artistic side. In some big cities, enthusiasts are hosting coloring parties. And people fighting serious illnesses such as cancer find coloring to be soothing, and the experience of creating something beautiful, freeing.
Tonight, I loved using colored pencils to free my creativity and unleash my inner artist. The page I selected to color caught my attention because the structure in the middle of the page reminds me of a Hobbit House. It’s probably supposed to be a bridge but that’s the fun in coloring…it is what I say it is. I left the little stream as flowing water, which now gurgles past the Hobbit House, rather than changing it into a pathway. I enjoyed the coloring process, without feeling hurried. I’ll complete this page over the weekend. On the opposite page is a wonderful quote from Kahlil Gibran: “Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. ” What a great time of mindful silence this evening, which did indeed free my soul to sing.