coloring inside the lines

When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to fill graphic design color books with marvelous artwork. What he made of those pages of geometric lines and curves still makes me wonder at his imagination and talent. He did not allow the pages to tell him what to draw or color. He made someone else’s black lines dissolve into his ideas. It must have been immensely satisfying, because he lined bookshelves full of this beauty.

Some years ago, I started thinking his hobby was worth exploring. I always liked colored pencils and sometimes crayons, and often chalk. Instead of talent, I capitalized on my ability to stay within the lines, my stubborn attitude toward completing things, and a great eye for good quality paper and pencils. Television-watching has never been more fun than it is now, because I can pay as much or as little attention to either pursuit – the TV show or the coloring page – as I want at the moment. What a worry-free zone I created for me.

therapeutic stress-relievers???

Until now. Everyone seems to be buying adult coloring books and art supplies for stress relief. We have coloring books that direct grief and coloring books that keep you from eating and others that encourage you to quit smoking. I have been years in this pursuit, and show no signs of stopping. I don’t remember picking up the hobby because of stress. It just seemed like a good idea. But it’s sort of like if the medicine helps your condition, didn’t you have the disease? And then another thought occurs to me. Shouldn’t I at some point in time feel cured and leave the books behind? All this commercialization of coloring has me perplexed.

I am left with one question. It’s not should I be worried?Β It’s how worried should I be?

….stressed out at the bungalow…. MarshaIMG_6262



21 thoughts on “Stressed?

  1. That’s interesting! I didn’t even know of the existence of adult coloring books. True. Your works are very beautiful! I believe any creative activity is good for us, stressed or not πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your colouring Susan. You should add to this sentence: “my ability to stay within the lines, my stubborn attitude toward completing things, and a great eye for good quality paper and pencils” – a superb eye for colour. The way you mix and match them is gorgeous. Don’t get too stressed about it though! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Alison. It’s a funny thing. Even the mandalas I love to color are made for relaxing meditation, and shouldn’t add stress to anyone’s life. If only the titles of the coloring books didn’t say they would reduce stress, I’d be just fine!

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  3. Stress is always in your life. That’s why we have hobbies. My stress buster is embroidery. It is an art form that takes on color, shape, and texture.

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  4. When I was a student in the 70s the fashion was for long black and white posters. You coloured them in on the wall. I’m not sure if they eased the stress of exam revision or acted as a total distraction!

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  5. I love this! No technology to go on the fritz as long as you have a pencil sharpener. The focus on creating with as much inspiration as one wants – within the lines. It is far from a waste of your time!! It is YOUR time.

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  6. I have several of Grandpa’s design books. As to the coloring book craze, I used to comb through museum gift shops looking for these. The other day I saw one on the magazine rack at Tractor Supply Company. As to the use of coloring to relieve stress, depression, cancer, etc. such a technique may be useful for those who already enjoy or have talent in this style. Otherwise, I see these as a solution seeking a problem. Now, my other theory is they have to do with selecting tattoo designs. Got any of those to reveal?

    Liked by 1 person

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