Monday, November 3, 2014

All the Glorious Colors

This looks like the ones I used to do as a kid.
Sometimes they had black velvet flocking...
I found myself coloring the other day.  Not sitting down with the girls and doing a fun art activity, but by myself,  in a rare moment when I was actually alone, and I felt like I really couldn't do anything else, and no one was expecting anything else from me. The girls had recently gotten some folders and a notebook printed with intricate patterns ready to color and the notebook, covered with a pattern of black and white swirls which formed concentric circles, beckoned to me.  The markers were right there. Charlie Rose's insightful interview with Benjamin Netenyahu ended and Sesame Street came on, but I didn't notice until I looked up from my work and saw Big Bird talking with kids about the many glorious colors of their skin.

I had to go to an appointment before I was finished, so I left many of the circles blank.  The girls couldn't believe I was the one who had colored-- they accused each other first, but then decided that I should finish it, since I was already doing a good job.  I should hope so.  Even though I'm out of practice, I have been coloring for more than forty five years. For several years when I was in grade school, big Doodleart posters with intricate designs just begging to be colored often featured as prizes in all kinds of school contests.  We would hang them on our walls and work on them for weeks until every blank spot blazed with color.  

I think something is wrong with me.

But I don't think I'm the only one.

Doesn't everyone else out there feel overloaded sometimes?  Maybe a lot of the time? I think I feel overwhelmed six or seven times a day, sometimes before lunch.  I didn't feel overloaded when I was coloring, and that is something worth repeating. 

I don't often tune out the world and pick up markers though, because I usually-- no really, I always-- feel so guilty doing something that is essentially unproductive.  Then I saw this article and I felt better, because it turns out that coloring not only relieves stress, but exercises our brains because it combines the logic of form and pattern with the creativity of color as we make choices to mix and match different tones.  It was on the HuffPost, so it must be true. 

I didn't give the folder back to the girls, because they want me to finish it.  Now I'm thinking maybe I'll get my own markers, so that I can keep the points fine and remember to put the caps on-- something the girls can't always do.  I still have the lingering mark of an apple green permanent marker on the sole of my foot from when I stepped on on it in their darkened bedroom the other night. Classy, right? 

Hey, I think you can still get those Doodleart posters on Amazon... 

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