By Radha Marcum
More often than not, my end-of-day stress relief comes in the form of browsing Facebook for news and inspirational articles over a glass of wine. There’s nothing wrong with this scenario, I suppose, except that neither one of these activities seems to truly decompress my already overstimulated mind. So, when I saw the beautiful patterns in Angie Grace’s Balance: Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders, Volume 1, I was dying to try coloring—for adults.
Turns out that coloring isn’t good for just toddlers. It cuts through the adult-sized mess of information and unresolved emotions that build up over the day. And it’s addictive—in the way that swaying in a hammock or going for long, meditative runs is addictive.
What makes Grace’s designs so uniquely stress relieving? “I think that for coloring to be deeply relaxing and restorative, it needs to have that certain magical element that we find in all of our favorite soul-soothing activities—the feeling of ‘coloring rhythm,’ very much like the feeling you get while knitting, playing music, rocking in a chair, or going for a peaceful walk,” explains Grace.
Designed in the round, mandala style, Grace’s coloring sheets lend themselves to meditative rhythm. As I dove into my first design, the pattern invited me to slow down, see the details, and carefully choose colors that would complement one another and the whole. “Coloring in the round has a special quality,” she says. “The rhythmic aspects are so prominent.” Grace created round designs because they are “easy to enter, give you a supportive and familiar shape to explore, and the finished pictures have such a lovely harmonious feeling.”
“When someone colors my drawings, I want my lines and patterns to suggest paths to explore,” she says. “I want a drawing to hold moments of familiarity, moments of surprise, and moments of delight. I want it to allow the colorist total color-creative freedom, but also to provide a sensible, comfortable, and cozy framework.”
The moment I opened the book, my kids said they wanted to color a design too. As we sat at the kitchen table and colored together, we discussed events of the day and borrowed colored pencils from one another. A sense of warmth and community formed around our coloring. Grace has noticed this as well: “One thing that I never expected, but am so grateful to see, is that my colorists are also sharing a beautiful sense of community as we each transform black-and-white lines into unique coloring art pieces that reflect our individual experiences of our own present moments.”
To learn more about Angie Grace’s coloring books, visit www.angiegrace.com.