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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Join the coloring craze

Oct 04, 2016 09:44AM ● By Melanie Wiseman

Can you guess what today’s bestselling books are for adults? Along with a couple of Danielle Steel novels and Carol Burnett’s new book, adult coloring books are topping the lists.

The adult coloring craze has become an international phenomenon. Adults of all ages report that coloring conjures childhood memories; allows them to free their creativity; is therapeutic, relaxing and just plain fun.

The recognition for play as a basic need has spawned a number of products and services dedicated to providing just that. Coloring books, in addition to adult summer camps and laughter clubs, are just a few activities grownups are engaging in to retreat to their youth. Coloring books also fit in with the current trends of mindfulness and meditation to help deflate high levels of stress.

Easy, inexpensive and local

Coloring is inexpensive and easy. No experience or special talent is required. You can color on your own or with people. Coloring gatherings are springing up around the Grand Valley at locations like the Mesa County Libraries and Barnes & Noble, and books and coloring tools are found at many other locations, including grocery stores, drug stores, craft stores, dollar stores and more.

Librarian Ike Rakiecki initiated the monthly coloring gatherings at the main Mesa County Libraries branch in downtown Grand Junction.

“Adult coloring has been around awhile but it has become mainstream in the past year,” Rakiecki said. “We began monthly coloring gatherings in January and it has been a huge success.”

Rakiecki said that success is partly due to the opportunity participants have to socialize with people of different ages and backgrounds.

“We see entire families, mothers and daughters, grandparents with grandkids, young and old, men and women,” Rakiecki said. “What makes it special is everyone is so friendly, encouraging and inclusive. It’s a great way to relax and be creative. An hour will disappear just like that.”

The gatherings are informal. No registration is needed and you can come and go as you please. Coloring pages, pencils, markers and crayons are provided.

First-time colorer Jeannie Maraschin, 71, said, “I can see I’m really going to get into this. The library gatherings are a good introduction. There is no investment and it’s a great way to see if coloring is something you want to do.”

The benefits of coloring

Coloring helps you unwind.

Our everyday lives are full with appointments, meetings, volunteer and work schedules, deadlines, social commitments and dealing with health issues. Studies show that coloring helps clear your mind to help you relax and de-stress. Focusing on one calming activity helps us center our thoughts and focus less on our worries.

“If you find me coloring at home it’s because I’ve taken on too much and I’m trying to relax,” Janice Shepherd, 58, said. “Just let your imagination go.”

Coloring stimulates your brain.

Nurturing your imagination is crucial and coloring helps you express your creativity.

According to an article by The Huffington Post, psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala said that coloring taps into both sides of our cerebral hemispheres. Coloring forms inside the lines requires logic, and mixing and matching colors engages your creative side.

“I used to stamp and color with my mom who had Alzheimer’s and she really enjoyed it,” Thelma Hughes, 75, said.

Phil LaRocca, 70, has been coming to the library coloring gatherings since the beginning.

“I have done a variety of other art and photography,” he said. “Coloring keeps me focused. I like to look at the black and white picture, and imagine ahead of time what it will look like finished.”

Coloring can help you socialize.

Instead of grabbing a beer or dinner with friends, get together and color—it’s inexpensive and can help bring people together.

“We should have a coloring club instead of book club and drink wine,” coloring newbie Lynettee Randleman, 63, said.

Marianne Moore, 53, rubber stamps the outlines, then colors them in and makes cards.

“It’s fun to come and see the creativity of others,” Moore said.

There are no rules to coloring!

There’s no right or wrong way to color and you don’t have to be artistic. Best of all, you can use any color you want!

Judy Dean, 80, has been coloring with her 26-year-old granddaughter for months, and has hung her favorites up in her living room.

“I’m not artistic but I can follow a pattern,” Dean said. “My granddaughter got me started. I got both of us the same book and it will be fun to see how they compare when we’re done.”

Coloring books are for everyone!

“One great thing about coloring is that it’s a great gift for anyone, especially that person who seems to have everything,” Shepherd said.

Sue Springer, 66, said she’s given coloring books to friends in the hospital because it requires little concentration.

The finished product is fulfilling.

There’s something satisfying about seeing your thought and effort create a tangible, artistic work—all which you did at a reasonable pace.

“It feels mindless but it gives you a sense of accomplishment,” Shari VanderVelde, 59, said.

Doodling is one way people organize their thoughts and focus. Coloring offers that relief and mindfulness without the paralysis that a blank page can cause. With coloring, you know what you’re working with. You just choose how to fill it in. There’s comfort in the patterns, concentration and repetition.

If simple opportunities for play escape you, give coloring a try. You’re likely to feel youthful, relaxed and creative, and you’ll get hooked on an activity other adults are raving about.

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