May the Little People Be With You

There is gold at the rainbow’s end. Leprechauns and children know it! Pure color. Pure delight. Heartfelt play and laughter. THAT is true worth.

I must go undercover for this writing. My art professors will hunt me down and revoke my “credentials” for my blasphemous views. So, today I am Kathleen O’Hughes. Remember, shhh….you don’t know me.

Get yourself a coloring book. Find one you like. Dollar stores and discount stores have a nice selection for the best price. Buy yourself a good box of crayons. (The craft and hobby stores run weekly coupons for 40% off one item.) Don’t skimp on the crayons. It is hard to top Crayola on this, and the more colors the better. They will give you smooth coloring and the brightest colors. New crayons smell so good. I am instantly five years old the minute I open a box. Get a few pens and pencils too. Now you are ready for adventure.

Use your coloring book as a working journal, your research project. Hey! If you get questioned with the third degree, simply say with conviction in your voice, “I’m doing RESEARCH! I need my quiet time and space.” 

Choose a page and just begin writing. List anything that makes you smile, brings you joy. Write inside the images, outside the images, around the edges of the images. Go to another page and do the same. Add until you run out of space. Use pen, pencil, crayons, markers, whatever tickles your fancy. Do a doodle or two if you want. Decorate your words. Scribble. Initial (or sign) your page and date it. Add comments about your feelings.

Next (actually there is no particular order with this) just have some fun coloring. Color the way you remember coloring when small. Still add notes or even your to-do list on the page if you like. I love finding used coloring books at thrift shops and yard sales. I notice we all seem to follow patterns as we grow and are experimenting with colors, shapes and forms (see how I cleverly snuck in art terms on you?!) 

Did you go through a stage where you outlined each image in a dark line and then filled in the area a bit lighter? I’ve seen hundreds like this. That is your inborn little creative muse teaching you the beginnings of shading and values. Then there are the scribbles. They are either zigzag or circular. They just ooze joy! You are discovering pattern and rhythm.

Just color. Just discover. Just feel. Experience joy. 

Your goal is to rediscover who you were when you were small, before the outside world began critiquing your inner voice. Again, make notes on the page about your feelings.

Get as wild and crazy as you want. Glue in pictures from magazines or the newspaper. Try different media (maybe colored pencils, watercolor or acrylics). Try mixing colors. Make the trees pink and the animals green. Add little stick figures. This is your journal. This is your secret discovery place. We’re not talking the Louvre here, we’re talking research, remember? 

Don’t analyze, don’t think, and don’t plan. Just DO. Add anything except judgment.

Happy coloring!