For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love of color. From that first 8 pack of Crayola Crayons to my current more-than-you’d-ever-need-sized collection of coloring utensils, I’ve had coloring fever. Remember your first black tin of Prang Oval 8 watercolors? I remember staring at the colors, touching each one, getting goose bumps, and then, that first dip of color going onto the paper in elementary school. And that dollop of smooth, perfectly purple finger paint placed on the smooth paper by your kindergarten teacher? And remember when your art teacher first got out those vividly colored square sticks of chalk? Oh, my God! Just seeing their bold colors seemed enough for me, but then, that first stroke across the manilla paper! WOW! Then there was the grand moment when you finally owned the 64 Crayola Crayon collection WITH A SHARPENER! And SILVER, COPPER and GOLD! WHAT?!?!?
And just when I thought things could get no better, “magic markers” came on the scene. I remember in middle school, FLAIR pens came out, and with them, the psychoFLAIRapy calendar. With black and white drawings by Peter Max and a set of 12 Flair pens, I really began my journey into the land of all things coloring. My friend and I excitedly compared our color choices each month through that Year of Flair, way before the current coloring craze was even imagined.
Then I became a teacher, and was able to fulfill my need for color on a daily basis. That brilliantly colored chalk went from manilla paper to my chalkboard, announcing the date and any important announcements to my students. Brightly colored construction paper became letters and characters on my bulletin boards, mounted on a black background to make the colors pop. Colored wet-erase markers on the overhead projector to accent the sentence diagramming or math I was teaching. Colored pens for grading papers…anything but red. And eventually, white boards opened the world of dry-erase markers, which still give me a thrill to use on my wall calendar.
And now, well into my adult years, I am still drawn to color. I collect those paint chip cards from the hardware store even when I have nothing to paint. I repainted the bedrooms in my house bold, bright colors. My parents, if they were still alive, would gasp at my not-eggshell-white walls! I purchase markers and pens in a rainbow of colors almost every time I’m in a store that sells them, even though my supply at home is more than ample. I spend hours admiring the writing and coloring utensils in the office supply stores, lusting after new colors and brands.
When the coloring craze took off, I was in heaven! I started printing coloring sheets from the internet, and then started purchasing coloring books, and, of course, more markers, crayons and colored pencils. I started giving coloring books as gifts, foisting my love of color on others. Each time I choose a page to color, I make that bold decision as to what media to use. Then I agonize over each color choice, wanting the combinations to be perfect on my page. I even put together and colored a ready-to-color jigsaw puzzle I got for a birthday present from a friend who realized how serious my addiction had become.
Although my addiction to color may seem a bit over the top, and can create some angst for me, I consider it my therapy. Color makes me happy, whether I’m seeing it, wearing it, or creating it. I color with friends…I color alone. I own what you might believe to be way too many coloring utensils and coloring books, but frankly, SCARLET, I don’t give a damn! (I’m punny like that, too!)