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.

 

It has been the plan from the moment I decided to publish adult coloring therapy books to donate 50% of my profits from the books to help veterans and their families.  My husband and I are both veterans, as well as all three of our sons, 2 son-in-laws and a daughter-in-law.  Our family has a strong long-standing tradition of service to our country.

The research I have done points to two charities that we are not able to name at this time.  Both of these charities have an “A+ ranking from The American Institute of Philanthropy and are doing important work helping veterans and their families through difficult times.  I can highly recommend them to any of you who feel to make a difference.

The next step for us is to do all the legal stuff that will lead to us being able to support these charities as we move forward. There are some fairly significant costs to registering with all 50 states that will be required and so we cannot say much more at this point except we are considering this. We have no official relationships with either of these charities at this time, but are hopeful that we can do the required paperwork and certification necessary to be able to announce this officially.

When our veterans raise their right hand and swear to protect and serve this nation, they say, “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

This is a blank check written to their countrymen to serve and protect.  Every one of them knows they could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice either by death or serious injury and yet, they make this oath in all seriousness to us, citizens of the United States of America.  I feel it behooves us to give back to the men and women and their families (who suffer with their veterans).  It is my hope that the sales of my books in the “Peaceful Patterns Coloring Therapy” series will make a difference in the lives of these heroes and their families.

 

Coloring clubs and meetups are springing up all over the country. Men and women from late teens to elderly are gathering with fellow colorists to color, compare favorite coloring books and pages and get some great face time with real people who love coloring as much as they do.

These groups tend to start small and grow quickly as attendees ask friends to join them. Before you know it, you have a great social group coloring and chatting together. It’s a great way to make new friends and learn new coloring techniques or find out about new ways of coloring or see how other people organize their coloring supplies.

I just started a coloring club here in the Tri-Cities, Washington. We just had our first meeting last week. It was small, but very congenial and one member said she is bringing her grandmother this week (today), so I am assuming everying had as good a time as I did.

So what is the point of this thing that is sweeping the country? Actually, it reminds me of the old time quilting bees where everyone sat around a quilting frame, working on a beautiful hand made quilt. As their needles flashed in the rhythmic and soothing stitching, the ladies talked and chatted, sometimes as a group and sometimes in little side conversations. It was a great way to get to know one another and stay in touch (long before social media) and ultimately everyone usually went home feeling the better for it.

Are any of my readers going to coloring clubs? In my next blog we will talk about coloring groups online. See you then.

 

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.