Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Playing With Color

While The Peanut was home sick last week, I re-discovered something that I absolutely love:  coloring.

It's funny how you can pick something up that you haven't done in years and have so much fun with it, isn't it?  We colored a LOT while watching movies or just listening to music.  She found it a soothing way to keep from scratching her chicken pox, and I found it a nice creative change of pace and a good way to relieve some of my mommy tension while she was so sick.

We both had a blast spending time together, sitting side by side and sharing crayons and colored pencils.  I had forgotten how fun it can be to bring a little black and white picture to life with a little color.

How had I forgotten how fun that is?

Several years ago -- before The Peanut started school, actually -- I had gotten myself an intricate coloring book of springtime designs by Ruth Heller on an Artist's Date when I was trying to kick start my creative juices via Julia Cameron's Artist's Way.

Somehow, though, this coloring book got buried in a drawer (during some whirlwind "company's coming" clean-up spree no doubt)...and only got unearthed again, years later, this past week.  Which I think may be the most symbolic representation of my creative fits and starts and my difficulty with putting my creative needs on the front burner ahead of family and everything else in my life.

It is what it is, right?

But the thing is, once I rediscovered this coloring book?  And then started coloring in it?

I had a BLAST.

So much so, that I've decided to pick up a few more of Ruth Heller's books for my own coloring play time, and also for the library at school -- I think these more intricate designs will be a hit with the 5th and 6th graders.  It turns out that Ruth Heller did several "designs for coloring" books that have wonderfully detailed and beautiful pictures in them, including:

-- Leaves
-- Ornaments (which would be perfect for Christmas!)
-- Shapes of All Sizes
-- Sea Life 

And additional books on topics as varied as Ancient Egypt, butterflies, snowflakes and a whole lot more.   After browsing through the sample pages online, I seriously covet the sea life one and placed it on my wish list in the hopes that someone picks it up for me as a Mother's Day present.  (hint hint to Mr. ReddHedd...LOL)

I'd recommend photocopying the pages, though, and then coloring the copies.  Dover publishes these on thinner newsprint-type paper these days and it doesn't stand up well to vigorous coloring.  In my mind this is a plus, because I can then color the beautiful pictures as many times as I like, and so can The Peanut, so we can get years of enjoyment from our book.

All this to say:  Ruth Heller's coloring pages are amazing.

If you need a little stress relief or just a little escape for a few minutes now and then or even just want to recharge your creative batteries?  They make an amazingly fun and beautiful way to do just that.  I highly recommend giving  yourself a present and picking up one of Ruth Heller's books.

Your date with something beautiful is only a book and some colored pencils away.

(Photo via nohjan.  Love all of bold color in this shot.  Beautiful and so vibrant!)

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