Monday, January 11, 2010

color me content

I have always been a fan of coloring. Coloring as in crayons and coloring books and rainy days and quiet times. I remember settling at the coffee table with mom, each of us working silently on a masterpiece, or sitting in my grandma's kitchen, finishing page after page while she peeled potatoes for dinner. Everything about the activity whispered pleasure & peace, and I clung to it with a deep serenity that rivals most religious rituals. (I still do).

I can't recall being formally introduced to coloring - it was just something I did, mainly when I was too tired to read but not interested in TV, or when I was home sick. I was elated when Coloring was allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, at school; I was shocked to find out my friends were not nearly as excited about the prospect of Coloring when they came over to play. What kind of person didn't quiver at that thick smell of crayons, delight in the sound of them jumbling together in an old coffee can, take pleasure in selecting just the right hue for each tiny detail on the page? Signing one's name and dating the picture upon completion??

I have ribbons (some blue) from the Island County Fair for my carefully colored & ripped out entries. And many a Mother's Day card was really a coloring book page with a greeting scrawled in pretend cursive.

My collection of coloring books has ranged from popular dime store issues (Barbie and Peanuts) to the more coveted Mrs. Beasley (with paper doll!) and vintage Disneyland souvenirs. [I still have all of these, except for Barbie; she started to get on my nerves.] In college, I proudly purchased new ones for myself and turned to them when Life was too noisy and difficult. And I knew certainly I'd chosen wisely when husband-to-be Stu bought me a set of Suzy's Zoo Christmas coloring books.

I colored voraciously while pregnant; it was satisfyingly artistic but required little energy. My books are now filled with the inspired work of my sister, my cousins, and my own kids as well as babysitters they've had. It took a little letting go of my OCD everypicturemustbeperfectlythewayI'veenvisioned but once I did, my heart swelled to watch others settle in at the table, can full of crayons at the ready, and thoughtfully begin their journey to a quiet bliss of their own.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Did you ever get into the crazy, intricate, huge coloring posters? They were huge in the seventies--and they'd break your heart when you spent days and weeks and then, through bleary eyes, you picked up the wrong pen and made a mistake.

My husband does the placemats at Denny's when we're road-tripping it!

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I think we will have to reinstall more coloring days here at my place. It is so calming.

Janet said...

I just recently bought some water colors and acrylics ... we'll see where it goes from there!

snugglebug said...

I get the urge to color once in awhile. I always admired my cousin's coloring skills and would mimic her style (outline the area pushing harder on the crayon, then color lighter in the middle).

dkuroiwa said...

One of my most favorite pictures of my grandmother (who passed away last year) was taken when she was about 85 years old...she's sitting at the dining room table, in her housecoat, coloring. It's wonderful. She always said that coloring just made her feel good. I totally agree.

Fantastic Forrest said...

I loved to watch Super Son when he was little, coloring away. Once, he took a picture of a boy and transformed it, adding a cape and helmet, drawing a lightsaber in the boy's hand...Darth Vader. I still have that drawing. :)

orneryswife said...

I agree that Suzy's Zoo would make that man the best choice! Cool post--although I am a little OCD to enjoy crayons as they got dull quickly and too hard to control inside the lines. My favorite was markers. :)


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