r By Belinda Bringhurst
According to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, Psy.D., coloring ”has everything to do with refocusing our attention.” It may look like a simple activity, but focusing on color choice, patterns, darks and lights, texture and movement has the ability to make “the difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness …. It is very much like a meditative exercise” that keeps your attention in the present moment which, when done regularly, can improve your overall health. So when you’re feeling a little antsy, stop, check in with yourself and pull out the colored pencils.
Besides giving your brain a break, you have something to show when you are done. In 2012, a worldwide study called “State of Create” revealed that there is quite a gap between where we are and where we want to be creatively. Many felt their jobs focused more on production rather than creation. The school system was also thought to be stifling creativity. Coloring can satisfy the need to create no matter what your skill level. With myriads of ways to color, you will always have a unique piece. And when you are done, you can say, “Look what I did!”
Utah coloring book artist Jeanette Siufanua was immediately drawn to the first adult coloring books, recognizing how fun they were. She also has a great love for temples with all their rich symbolism. “Temples: Drawing on Symbols” is the result of combining the two. To promote the social aspect of coloring and to talk about the symbols in her book, she has taken it to places like hospitals and assisted-living facilities like the Abbington in Mapleton. On June 7 at 1:30 p.m., she will be taking it to River Meadows Senior Living at 137 E. Red Pine Dr. in Alpine. You can join in and try it there or stop by and rest your feet at her coloring party booth during Springville’s Art City Days.
Coloring is the new knitting circle or painting group. It does not require expensive supplies or drawing skills. Just turn off the electronics, add music, share some treats, and you have a great party or family activity. Already Siufanua has had an overwhelmingly positive response from people about her book. One woman said it helped her child who struggles to focus while listening. Another mom said that was exactly what she needed for church. You can take a peek or learn more about Siufanua’s book at www.drawingonsymbols.com.
With all they offer – portability, social connection, stress relief, beauty, creativity and more – coloring books for adults may be here for a while.