Monday, September 21, 2015

Color my world

When I was in college, back in the Stone Age, I (re)discovered the calming effect of coloring. I bought some crayons and a coloring book and when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, retreated to my dorm room to color. I don't recall sharing this activity with anyone, and my roommate was not often present, especially on weekends, so it was my private little vice.

Once again, I was ahead of my time. If you flash forward to now, you will find that "adult" coloring books and apps are all the rage. I tried one app, Colorfy, and while pretty good, it doesn't allow for shading or enhancements. However, you will never color outside the lines, as each space is filled with the color of your selection - no actual coloring required. I didn't find that as satisfying as the coloring apps targeting kids my granddaughter's age, although the subject matter was generally more interesting than fairies and Hello Kitty.

Barnes and Noble had some adult coloring books on sale, so I picked up one with a garden motif and one of Norse designs. (I'm clinging tenaciously to my Danish ancestry.) I also purchased some pens there, which I both love and hate. Each pen has two points, one short and stubby and one long and pointed like a paint brush. That's the love part. The hate part is there is no way to identify the true color of the ink without yanking off the rather tight caps and scribbling a bit. And some pens seems to have a different shade at each end. And if you don't get the cap back on completely, they dry out rather rapidly.

Naturally, my granddaughter wants to use MY pens and color in MY books. (Boundaries, child!) Yesterday I purchased an "advanced" coloring book for her at United Arts and Education (paisley prints) and some new pens for moi. I have more colors now, but the tips leave a lot to be desired.

I still find the act of coloring to be soothing, sort of like knitting but without the counting and the frustration. Sometimes I am in the mood for the tiny details in some pictures, other times I need to make broad strokes. While coloring, my mind wanders hither and yon, and I get some real thinking done without pulling a muscle in my brain. It easily becomes a time suck.

This pastime continues to be a secret, mostly, as I imagine some people just would not understand and/or approve. I figure it is no worse than watching TV. And maybe someday I will learn to share.

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