The Joys of ADULT COLORING

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By Dara Weyna

Do you remember the last time you sat down for a much-needed break and grabbed your coloring book?

Welcome to the newest craze in finding your center while losing yourself in the moment. Move over yoga, adult coloring books are here.

As an artist, I have always found creative fulfillment by letting my ideas flow through line and color onto a surface in the form of drawing. I know the personal, often hard to articulate benefits of releasing the creative impulse. It, therefore, excites me to see that others are finding ways to do the same, through the highly-popular medium of coloring.

Thanks in part to the wildly-successful book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by illustrator, Johanna Basford, which has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, the coloring book market has skyrocketed. Dover Publisher’s “Creative Haven” line, launched in 2012 has sold over 3 million books and has helped to create a massive, new, industry category. Walk into any bookstore, box store, or even grocery store, these days and, sure enough, you will find a section devoted to coloring books.

Since we rely so heavily on technology in our fast-paced and stressful world, it is crucial to find non-digital ways to eliminate stress and maintain a calm mind and body. This is one reason why the “old-school” trend of coloring has become so enticing.

Group coloring sessions are sprouting up all over the country in libraries, recreation-centers and amongst friends in their homes. According to former Bay Area artist and popular coloring book author, Lisa Congdon, “It’s a fun way to socialize while ‘making art’ and it doesn’t require a lot of concentration, so you can chat or have a glass of wine while you’re doing it.” It allows for creative expression because coloring evokes the nostalgia of childhood.

When children create, they do so without fear or intimidation. They go forth in the freedom of pure expression because they haven’t yet been conditioned to “stay in the lines” or to only color things as they may be seen with their eyes. So, their pages are filled with blue cats, orange trees, pink trucks…and purple grass. It was the inspiration of my son’s own colorful interpretation of a nature scene that led me to choose the title, “The Grass Can Be Purple” for my first coloring book.

While creating line-drawn Valentine’s Day cards as a fundraiser for my son’s school, I began thinking about turning the images into actual, full-size, coloring pages. Many friends were sharing articles on the adult coloring-book craze with me on Facebook and when people saw my illustrations they began encouraging me to create a book of my own. The timing of this encouragement was perfect as it was a very stressful time for me personally, and I found that drawing and coloring were some of the best ways to calm my anxiousness and diffuse my frustration. Experiencing the benefits of this activity made me want to offer the same service of healing to others. In the future, I intend to organize group coloring sessions at our teen and senior centers in the hopes of bringing our communities together through this fun and rewarding creative activity.

Once I committed to making the book, I began drawing images that appealed to me: abstract nature forms, floral and paisley patterns, underwater scenes and other designs inspired by my appreciation of global elements from India, Scandinavia and Mexico. Many of the pages in the book are a synthesis of drawings or paintings that I had already done in the past. Some of the work is very loose and organic…swirling curly-cues and vines, whimsical flowers and leaves. Other drawings are much more symmetrical or have a lot of repeated patterns. I love knowing that others will make these pages into their own unique piece of art, turning the final product into a creative collaboration.

When I was a young girl, I would sit for hours with my box of Crayolas and large sheets of paper that my dad would bring home from his office. I’ve always had an insatiable desire to make things and a deep appreciation and admiration for things that are made by hand. I work in printmaking, jewelry making, crochet, needlepoint, watercolor and acrylic painting, to name a few, but drawing and coloring have been my very first artistic love. Now, 40 years later, it is a rewarding,
full-circle joy to be liberating this childlike creativity again for myself and for others.

I invite you to join me in the fun and relaxing practice of coloring. Come, embrace an activity where you can let go of perfectionism and make your own rules. Mistakes are a part of the process and can become “happy accidents.” Let your hand take your mind and body to a relaxed and restorative place. Release your inner child and hush the voice that tells you it’s just about “staying in the lines.” Revisit your childhood and let your color choices be influenced by your mood or desire. After all, who says the grass can’t be purple?

Dara Weyna is a mom and artist from American Canyon. Her book, “The Grass Can Be Purple: 24 unique illustrations for creative coloring” is available at:

The Napa Bookmine

Online: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CoffeeandLilacsLove (free shipping for locals)

In person (daraweyna@gmail.com)

Follow her @ facebook.com/coffeeandlilacs  to see more work and to join in future coloring events.

Napa Valley Arts in April

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by Kristin Ranuio

What do Andy Warhol, Rembrandt, and the Calistoga Camera Club student have in common? You can see work by all of them, and much, much, more, at the fifth annual, Napa Valley Arts in April, featuring works that span artistic disciplines, mediums, genres, and decades.

During the entire month of April, there are dozens of special shows, exhibits, openings, and events celebrating the arts and artists. Events are being held throughout the Valley, from American Canyon to Calistoga, with offerings in American Canyon, Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Calistoga. Many of the events are free to attend; less than thirty percent will be charging an entry fee, and most of those are under twenty dollars.

The month begins with the “Kick off Arts in April” reception at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville on April 2, 2015. Events that follow include Art, Sip, and Stroll in Yountville, a behind- the-scenes tour of the 15,000 sq. ft. studio of renowned local artist, Gordon Huether, anonymous urban art at a preview tour of the Napa Valley Ruins & Gardens, and an Art, Antique & Collectible Appraisal Day at the Napa Valley Museum. Visitors may bring in their goods to get a verbal,      

auction, market value for a donation of ten dollars per item; up to five items per person may be evaluated.

Also included is the month–long, Inspiration Station, an exhibition showcasing the original works of Heidi Barrett at the Napa Valley Wine Train Station, The Art of Life presented by Festival del Sole and The Hess Collection, iPhonic Art: Astonishing iPhotography at Markham Vineyards in partnership with Knox Production of Pixels and long-time friend of the winery, Rolling Stone Magazine’s first chief photographer, Baron Wolman, a behind the scenes tour of internationally-renowned artist, Carlo Marchiori’s Villa Ca’Toga, and so many more. There are exhibits, interactive tours, private collections open to the public for the event, artist meet-and-greets, and dozens of other offerings to help quench your cultural thirst.

Participating wineries offer a wide range of events and exhibits, including tours of permanent, and rotating, collections. It offers the opportunity to see wineries you may have been to before in a new way, and to explore new ones, while viewing art and meeting artists. Rather than traveling to Italy or New York to see great works, we have the chance to see them right in our own backyard.

New to Napa Valley Arts in April is the Creative Change Program, launched in conjunction with Arts Council Napa Valley. Throughout the month, partnering businesses and wineries have committed to donate a percentage of their proceeds, or offering an easy way to guests to contribute to help the Arts Council Napa Valley reach their goal of $20,000 by the end of June. Funds collected stay in the community, including helping to keep arts and music alive and well in local schools. This means a chance to do something worthwhile, while having a good time. Creative Change Partners include Andaz Napa, Cairdean Estate, Gordon Huether Studio, Engage Art Fair, Humanitas (sister label to Jessup Cellars, part of Good Life Wine Collective), and the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Napa Valley Wine Train Proprietor and Director of Marketing, Kira Devitt, says,“We are delighted to give back to the local community and thank them for their ongoing support of the Napa Valley Wine Train. As the Wine Train is considered a rolling museum and a treasure in the valley, and the Arts Council Napa Valley strives to enrich the lives of the greater Napa community through arts and culture, we are honored to call the organization a partner.”

The month culminates in the final event of the celebration, Engage Art Festival, at the Napa County Fairgrounds, April 25 and 26.  This two-day, indoor, immersive-art exhibition offers the opportunity to experience the Napa Valley art culture in a dynamic environment, with gallery booths mixed in with active artists’ stations. Here you will have the opportunity to engage with the artists while sampling boutique wines, paired with the culinary artistry of local chefs. Arts in

April Producer, Danielle Smith, says this one is a must-do, with art ranging from classic to outrageous, and everything in between.

A complete listing of all exhibits, activities, special lodging packages and events can be found at VisitNapaValley.com/artsinapril.