I’ve never considered myself to be a very creative person. When my childhood best friend Beth would proclaim “Let’s make things!” while contemplating our options for a lazy afternoon, I would groan. “Make things?” I’d whine, “No, not make things! How about we play Barbies or Charlie’s Angels?”
Beth was, and still is, very crafty. I’ve never seen myself in a similar light .
Recently however, I’ve taken up a new surprisingly creative (for me) hobby – coloring.
I purchased an adult coloring book, and lest you get any funny ideas, by “adult”, I mean that the designs are more intricate. And I began coloring.
Getting out of my artistic box was a challenge. Shouldn’t I plan a color scheme? Aren’t leaves always meant to be done in a shade of green? Won’t it look better if I made it more symmetrical?
As I dutifully began working on my first project, I was reminded of Harry Chapin’s old song, “Flowers are Red.” Give it a listen. I began to relax my standards and preconceived notions of how the finished product “should” look. It became a perfect option for the ‘artist dates’ I’ve been trying to practice.
Here’s what I learned:
- Coloring is a wonderful way to unwind and be a kid again. When was the last time you’ve taken a whiff of a fresh box of Crayolas not destined to be broken in half by little hands within the first hour?
- Coloring is an odd mixture of both mindless and mindful activity. I can lose myself, yet concentrate at the same time.
- My goal of unplugging more in the evenings is much easier to stick with while I’m coloring. Hard to text or surf Facebook and color at the same time.
- I may have uncovered some mad new skills. Creating color combinations is fun and I’m forced to relinquish my “I’m not creative” label I’ve carried with me since my days of making things with Beth on Teton Drive.
- Coloring could be a fun vehicle to get some gals together. Add in some wine, good music and laughter and it sounds like a recipe for an innovative girl’s night.
- Because of the intricacy of the designs I was working on, I could not finish them in one sitting. In fact, the first one took weeks. As a completionist, and someone itching to cross things off my list, this was an exercise in patience. Allowing something to go unfinished was difficult for me, but a valuable practice.
When I need to relax, I reach for the coloring book.
So who’s in for an evening of coloring?