Friday, October 19, 2018

Lessons from the Pew Art Artists

Written by  David Polzen

I have had the enjoyable privilege of seeing much of the pew art created by the young people of our Cathedral parish. I have been impressed and moved by it. It truly is beautiful. My favorites tend to be the ones I believe were probably created by some of our very young artists. They tend to be full of colour and random squiggles and lines and circles and shapes of all kinds. What a delight to have that freedom of expression! To seemingly go at it “willy nilly” without a care in the world, and yet it is done with great determination and focus. Truly what a great gift these young ones have, and maybe even what a great example they are for me…for us?

Colouring. The simple act of placing colour upon a page. Why do I have to make it so complex? Oops, let me back up a wee bit in my blog thoughts. Throughout my life I have always heard about the necessity to have a hobby or a few hobbies, and in my younger years I had a few ranging from reading to downhill skiing and a couple in between. As the years past, my time seemed to be consumed more and more by life’s demands and pursuit of academic studies and careers, and the hobbies slid off the radar and out of the daily routine of life. It came to a point where my only hobby was sleeping. It is a grand hobby by the way, and one I truly continue to enjoy. Realizing that this was the case, I came to a point in my life where changes were to be made so as to liberate myself some from the chains of the daily routine. I began to golf more with my wife. To putter a bit more deliberately in the yard. To pick up a novel or book of some sort. To play a few hands of solitaire on the iPad. At some point in time, I came across an article about colouring books designed for adults. It stirred something within.

I had heard about the therapeutic wonders from colouring (and art therapy) years ago, and I think I may have even recommended it to people along the way, but never did I pick up a crayon and colour. Then about a year ago I began to hear more and more about it. I would see the colouring books designed specifically for adults in stores. They are becoming more and more abundant. I flipped through one once. It was nice. But then I also flipped through a regular children’s colouring book and I was just as impressed. But I still never purchased either of them. Not sure why. I recall colouring with nieces and cousins and quite enjoying it.

My wife got a colouring book and coloured pencils for a gift this past Christmas. She has done a few pages. I have done none. It is her colouring book is my thought. I can’t be colouring in her colouring book. A few months ago, I noticed that my wife had some kind of an app or webpage or whatever it is, on the iPad that was a colouring book. I thought enough is enough, I had better give this colouring thing a whirl. Get on the bandwagon. So trying to be “with it” I figured I would do it electronically. So, I gave it a click and did my best to maneuver about on it. It worked okay. It was kinda neat. But it seemed to lack something for my personality type. I think I may still be a bit of the old school and not of the “click” age. So, I have not click coloured since then.

This past week I was chatting with colleagues and the discussion turned to that of adults colouring. It once again stirred my curiosity, and I was bold enough to say that I was going to have to give that colouring a try. I think that one of the folks I was chatting with knew me a wee bit too much, and the next day came with a colouring book for me. It is a lovely colouring book entitled Stress Less Coloring:  Mosaic Patterns – Coloring Pages for Peace and Relaxation. I love the title, and the potential that it holds. My sincere thanks and appreciation to this person for gifting me with such a book.

I have had this colouring book for a few days now and still have not done more than flip through the pages quickly. There is so much to consider and to determine before the colouring can begin. I have to decide if I am going to use wax crayons, or coloured pencil or markers. And should the markers be permanent or washable. Will they smear on the page? Will I be able to stay within the lines? Then there is the whole question of what page does one choose to colour. One just can’t jump into these things willy nilly!

Then Jesus said, “…become like little children,” (Matthew 18:3). Oh my, why complicate something not complicated. Why stress about something that is called stress less colouring. Why not dive into that book willy nilly and reap the benefits of the peace and relaxation? Why not listen to Jesus and become like a little child and colour freely and willy nilly? Why not, indeed! Thank you, my little pew art artists, for your inspiration. And thank you Jesus, as always, for your Word that lovingly inspires, heals, and challenges us to be better people. Time to shut down the computer and open my new colouring book… and open it with the enthusiasm and fascination of a child. Let’s colour!

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