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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Coloring Books = Tension Relief?

Remember the joy of a new coloring book?  An untouched box of crayons?  Kinda gets my heart beating faster just remembering the smell of those crayons.  And then of course as children we learned about "outlining" and eventually heard those teacher cautions "to color within the lines?"  Talk about a visceral memory.

web found coloring image for adults

Well apparently some brave souls (or entrepreneurs) have come forth to admit that the same thrill we received as kids is readily available to adults via the promotion of Adult Coloring Pages.  Who knew?

One of my fav blogs is put out by Austin Kleon, and not long ago he wrote a piece on the phenomenon of adult coloring books.  This post covers the two top selling books now on Amazon. 
Secret Garden by Johanna Basford has already sold 1.4 million copies.

Why do adults want to color within the lines?  Readers and advocates tout the zen-like meditation that comes over someone who is slowly, methodically applying color to a design.  With the hardest decision being what color to use, the adult can leave the cares and concerns of the work day behind and re-enter a place of joy and relaxation.  For those who find it hard to unwind at the end of the day this certainly sounds like a much healthier approach than scotch or pills.

Paging through my April edition of The Atlantic I came across another article that caught my eye: "Big in France: Coloring Books for Existential Angst."  "My breathing becomes calmer," the article quotes one advocate to claim.  "Relaxation support" was the promise the first books published in France offered, and boom, 2 million copies later many other publishers are jumping on the bandwagon.  One attractive feature for publishers and "readers" alike is that the coloring books don't have to be printed in a specific language for them to have world-wide appeal.  Materials can range from crayons to colored pencils, pens and some even with watercolor.  With no prior experience and no needed instruction, adults can plunge in and reap the healthy benefits for very little investment.  I say, don't knock it til you've tried it.

The end of the article notes that in a study on depression in 2011 the United States ranked second.  Perhaps we should lobby congress to issue coloring sheets with all government communications and encourage local governments to insert such in tax notices etc.  I mean, it can't hurt, right?  and then think of all the starving artists that could offer their designs for use?  Wow...I'm on to something.

Meanwhile, if you want to take a gander, here is a site that offers free downloadables, perhaps you can borrow your kids tools and take a try.

I know that those of us who paint daily really enjoy the zone we find ourselves in on a really good day...try it, you may like it!  let me know.

Coloring Always,

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