19 September 2018

Did You Say You Colored?

[[ Hi Sister, I [was] intrigued by your reference to coloring in a post you put up recently. Do you ever share the pictures you color? I would love to see them! I have been involved in the adult coloring movement for several years and especially love the Johanna Basford books. I love the way coloring relaxes me. Do you know these books? . . .How long does it take you to do a picture and what kind of pencils do you use?]] 
Yes, I definitely know Johanna Basford's books. During the past year or so (the time I have been coloring) I have colored in two of them, Enchanted Forest, and, The Magic Jungle. One of these pictures from EF is found to the left; it's not the greatest picture, and it has serious flaws in the coloring of the background --- though it shows the layering of several different colors very effectively, but I love the colors nonetheless. One other is found at the very bottom of this post. The other pictures shared below are from Mythomorphia by Kerby Rosanes. I mainly use Prismacolor Premiere (wax-based) pencils --- they blend so well! I find oil-based pencils much harder to achieve the vividness I like. Also, I may just lack sufficient patience in using them since they take much longer to produce their effects than wax-based pencils. Still, I have a small number of Polychromos (oil-based) pencils and have been encouraged by someone who loves them to give them some time and perhaps learn to love them myself. (Given their expense -- I tend to get a few via open stock every six months or so -- it will take a LONG time before I can learn to use them sufficiently well!) 
This double page work is a water dragon and a fire dragon. Also done with Prismacolors. I think these two pages took me about a month. Sorry for the glare on the pages but they are protected with a gloss spray (I should have used a matte finish, I guess, but this was on sale!). I had never attempted coloring water before and was trying hard to capture the foam of the waves/water on the water dragon. I have seen fantastic results in this regard (and I could not really duplicate these!) but I am still pretty happy with the results.

The last two Rosanes' pictures involve my first attempts to do a sky at sunset. As I told a friend recently, backgrounds are a real struggle for me. They are something I am learning to do, however. Most pictures take me several days at least and sometimes I have to let them go until I can come back to them with renewed energy (and imagination). Yes, I know folks talk about how relaxing coloring can be. I find it absorbing and these kinds of things can be very helpful to contemplative prayer. (One of the things spiritual directors will often suggest to persons who are beginning their adventure in contemplative prayer is that they regularly do something which is truly absorbing. Some do gardening, some draw or get involved in pottery, or maybe do jigsaw puzzles. The point is to allow oneself to become/be totally present to the reality in front of oneself and (at least implicitly) to entrust one's entire self to God in the process. Learning to listen/attend to whatever comes up during this time is also integral to the process. For me coloring has the added benefit of giving me a way of dealing with chronic pain while I wait for meds to kick in (or not), for instance. As noted below, it also became a significant part of the inner work I began about 2 years ago.

This gnarled guy was challenging. I think there were at least five shades of green used in doing his skin and I kept thinking of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy along with things that were arising in me as a result of the inner work I was doing at the time. (As noted before, there were/are a few "demons" or "monsters" I have or have had to deal with in this work!) This was my very first attempt at a sunset (sunrise?) sky and it is definitely better in terms of gradations than the one above. You can see part of the line drawing of the facing page --- the way this one began, of course.

This Johanna Basford picture, done in January of this year, was modeled on a version I saw done by another colorist; I tried to duplicate the rounded quality of the ring but I also added the moon to the picture as a bid for originality. The texture of the moon's face  worked well in the drawing but is hard to see in this image; this was my first attempt at doing eyes using a bit of white acrylic paint. I  used black acrylic paint over colored pencil for the night sky.

I have been asked in the past if hermits have hobbies. Well, these (along with violin) are examples of mine! Holy leisure!