As the first book in the series is now available to purchase on Amazon, I wanted to explain how I approach my coloring sessions.

First, I find a quiet spot in my day. (For mothers with small children, this may be when you put your little ones down for a nap or after you have put them to bed for the night.) I lay out the page I am working on and the media I am using, ie: colored pencils, crayons, gel pens, Glitter Gel Pens (sparkly, sparkly), paint brush pens, markers or even paint.

After I have put my coloring space in order, I like to put on some soothing music. There are a couple of ways you can do this at no cost.

  1. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can create a playlist of relaxing music.
  2. Pandora is a great free app that can live on your phone or your computer and allows you to create a customized “station” with great relaxing music.  (Note:  If you are using the free version, you get an ad about every 3 or 4 songs.)

Each of the pages in my books has a “Happy Thought” underneath the picture.  I read the thought so I have something uplifting to ponder as I color.

Let your mind drift, focusing only on the process of choosing colors and applying them to the spaces on the page.  My particular approach in my “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy” series is to create interesting spaces for your to color.  There is no right or wrong way to color.  Remember, this is your personal, private space.  No one ever needs to see it, if you would rather not share.

Breath softly from your stomach.  Think about your breathing as you go breathing gently and slowly, filling your lungs with air and expelling stress and anxiety with every exhale.

When we color mindfully, you will notice a few things:

  • You will experience calmness and peace over time.
  • Researchers found that there was often a lowering of blood pressure.
  • When you color before bedtime, you will go to bed with a calm mind and will sleep much better than usual.
  • You will find over time that your ability to concentrate and retain what you are learning will increase.

From time to time, when I am taking an online course, I bring out my coloring supplies and color while I listen.  I find this actually helps me to concentrate on what the instructor is saying and I remember a lot more of what they said.  I don’t know if this will work for everyone as much as it does for me, but it is worth a try.

 

There is such great satisfaction finishing a coloring page. The time creating it is counted as a joy, but there is another thing that makes it even more joyful and satisfactory, sharing it. I feel just like a little kid, “Mommy, see what I made!” resounds in my mind as I complete the cycle…sharing my finished masterpiece with someone else.

However, oft-times I find myself in solitude at that triumphant moment.  What to do?  What to do?

I do color with a weekly coloring group in my community, and we enjoy sharing our finished pieces, but if you are searching for instant gratification in the glow of completing your work of art and if you want a sympathetic and accepting, even (dare I say) enthusiastic audience, then coloring groups online are a good place to go.

Within these groups enthusiastic colorists gladly share their own art with their online coloring buddies.  Comments and encouragement flow back and forth as well as tips and tricks for improving your coloring skills, where to find discount on cool coloring accouterments and the stories behind the pieces make this a rich and enjoyable environment for getting a thumbs up for your efforts.

Don’t be intimidated by those colorists who seem to create breath-taking pieces.  All skill levels are acceptable.  These groups often are made up of thousands of coloring enthusiasts and the reach is worldwide.

Some tips for these groups.

  • Each group has it’s own rules or guidelines.  Be sure to read them and understand them before you post.
  • Before you post, start by reading the posts for the last few days.  It will give you an idea of the personality of that group.
  • Always give credit to the author of the page you are showing off.
  • It lends interest to your post when you mention the media you used to create your finished work, such as:  “I chose to use my Prisma set of coloring pencils.” or “I am using glitter pens to get that effect on the unicorn’s horn.” etc.
  • If you want to get enthusiastic comments and suggestions on your posts, be sure to reciprocate.  More people will be interested in your work, if you take the time and courtesy to comment on theirs.
  • If you can’t say anything nice about a post, don’t say anything at all.  Good advice from a cute little bunny and this holds true for coloring groups.  (Or any forum you may be a member of.)  Just skip over the posts you don’t agree with or you can’t find anything good to say about.  Drama, bickering and unkindness is frowned upon in these groups and has a tendency to get you banned.
  • Don’t spam the group with several posts a day.  It isn’t nice to hog the limelight.  As we all learned in kindergarten, take your turn.
  • If you are a coloring book author, limit yourself to mentions of your books or pages to a few per week (see the group guidelines about this as every group is different).

Here is a list of some of the groups I can personally recommend.  (Please tell them that Peaceful Patterns sent you, wink wink.)

Any or all of these groups should give you hours of sharing your creations with fellow colorists and encourage you in your coloring therapy to continue to enjoy your peaceful coloring journey.

 

I remember hours of time spent with my grandmother, and my sister, coloring and chatting and just enjoying the time together. No television on, no cellphones and rarely a phone call, no criticism but plenty of suggestions and tutorials on how to shade, the source of light, the direction of shadows, the three dimensionality we were trying to replicate, how to blend colors and create new shades.

As an adult, when I color, my mind flashed back to those peaceful hours of mutual enjoyment. These days, I like to first consider and idea, a quote, a scripture or a project I am working on as I color. Happy music is also on the list of creating my peaceful, stress free coloring session. While I let my mind works in the background on that thought I have chosen to contemplate, I focus on the feeling, the colors, the shading, the ultimate look of the coloring page. Although I admit that most of them are not planned.

Since I am a mandala colorist, I actually like to blindly reach into my coloring pencil box and pull out random colors to work with.  Some of these mandalas have turned out surprisingly well.  I really enjoy my random coloring sessions because it is relaxing and delightful to watch the picture almost create itself and reveal its ultimate beauty.

The other fun thing about coloring is, admittedly, showing the finished piece off to someone who cares.  I have joined several coloring groups and post my finished pieces occasionally, but it is even more fun (like the little kid that I am) to show it to a family member or close friend.  I also share finished pieces with my local coloring club.

One of the benefits of mindful coloring is that often, in the course of creating the finished piece, I find solutions and have thoughts that might not have occurred to me in the hectic daily routine.  This is invaluable.  So often we rush through our day through the noise and bustle and frantic pace of modern living never having that quiet space that allows us to really think.

I am ever so grateful for the trend of adult coloring.  It is one of the truly joyful places in my day to day routine.

 

Wow, of all the things I ever thought I would do in my life, authoring coloring books was never on the list. But now I’m hooked.

It all started when my daughter-in-law, Jennifer, asked for a coloring book for Christmas. Then I got a really cool coloring book on my birthday from my friend, Vickie. As I sat there coloring I felt a range of emotions. I felt a little foolish. After all, coloring is for kids, right? As I continued, I got into a rhythm of picking colors and coloring spaces, totally focused on the task at hand.

I found as I continued my coloring sessions that playing happy or calming music as I colored further enhanced the coloring experience. I found myself browsing the aisles of stores looking for coloring supplies, pencil holders, pencil sharpeners, different kinds of colored pencils with a larger range of colors. I bought a clipboard to use as I started coloring in waiting rooms, etc. The clipboard gave me a compact, portable, hard surface to color on.

I started taking coloring breaks instead of playing Candy Crush or some such other mindless game online. I noticed after a coloring session I felt refreshed and while I was coloring, I was able to think deep thoughts. The sensation of the pencil on paper was soothing and the rhythm of my coloring strokes calmed my mind and made me able to think more clearly.

Now when I hit an obstacle as I am working, I pull out my coloring sheets and pencils and zen into my coloring break. Aftwards I always feel like I can focus more accurately and it opens my creative mind to be able to see possibilities I hadn’t considered before.

Try it yourself the next time you seem to hit a creative dead end or that knotty little problem you’ve been trying to work out just won’t click. It is a great way to get unstuck and move forward.

I am not an artist, far from it. But I have been told I have a good sense of color and design. There are some exquisite adult coloring books out there by very gifted artists. I will be reviewing some of them on this site over time. That being said, Peaceful Patterns has a different focus. The true purpose of my coloring pages is to relax the mind. There are no pictures on the pages, so there are no rules. There is no sky to be painted blue, no grass to be painted green, no dandelions to be painted yellow. These books are mandalas and patterns whose sole purpose is to give you ultimate freedom to choose the colors you want, the medium that gives you the most joy and the peace of knowing that there are no right or wrong ways to color in Peaceful Patterns, only coloring bliss to give you hours of satisfying and relaxing, drifting, contemplative bliss.

It is my fervent hope that all of my coloring friends will enjoy my “color shavings”, little thoughts on the magical world of coloring and how it can benefit each of us. Color on.