Coping, with Coloring

At the moment, I think many of us a coping with extraordinary external stress.

I’m in the U.S., so I’m watching an unfolding political scene.

But, we’re planning to move to England, so today’s General Election is important, as well.

Yes, I find the news stressful. I also feel as if history is unfolding in front of us. I want to witness it, or at least remain aware of what’s going on.

Also, I like to make my own decisions, not rely wholly on others’ interpretations.

So, I’m on the sofa, watching the TV, more often than usual.

And, though I check facial expressions and body language during some news coverage, I can usually just listen to what’s being said.

So, I color. And, I like to color “happy” images.

For me, that’s hippie-style art, and — currently — hearts. In my head, I’m often recalling a song that was popular during my childhood, with lyrics that said, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love… that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

This week, I’ve been coloring pages from my Hearts! Volume 4 book. I printed them with my home printer, on regular printer paper. Then, I put a few sheets of paper beneath the page I’m coloring, and use a clipboard for support.

Here are the three pages I’ve colored, so far.

Hearts! Volume 4 - 3 pages
Three pages from Hearts! Volume 4, colored by Aisling

For me, this is a relaxing way to maintain my sense of calm and balance, while still being current on important world events.

Today, I’ll color at least one more page from this book.

And, when I’ve completed at least four pages, total, I’m planning to sign & frame them as a birthday present for a family member.

At the moment, my favorite YouTube video of the “What the World Needs Now” song features the composer, Burt Bacharach, with Tom Jones. This video is from 1970.

How to Choose Your Colors – Art Nouveau Coloring Books

by Joan Verch-Rhys

How do you choose your coloring book colors?

101 Art Nouveau Mandalas to ColorSince I recently published Art Nouveau coloring books, several people have asked which colors to use for an authentic, period look.

The colors on the cover of my “101 Art Nouveau Mandalas” are somewhat correct for that era… but only somewhat.

For that book cover, I chose mostly vibrant colors. I wanted them to stand out against the black & white background.

The colors on the cover of my second Art Nouveau coloring book — shown at lower right — are more somber, but more authentic to the Art Nouveau era.

Art Nouveau period art emerged in the late 1800s and continued popularity through the early 20th century, with several revivals to follow.

(In London, it was first known as the ‘Liberty’ style. If you’re familiar with Liberty printed fabrics, you’ll recognize their roots in the color palettes of Art Nouveau decor.)

Art Nouveau Mandalas to Color, Beardsley Collection 2Colors from that time favored natural dyes, especially vegetable dyes. Peacock feathers were iconic at the time, so you’ll often see a mix of jewel tones and muted, natural colors, even pastels.  So, Art Nouveau colors include:

  • Most shades of white, including cream and off-white, but rarely a bright bluish-white.
  • Tan colors including everything from light parchment to warm ochres and browns. Mustard (light, yellow, and tan) inspired some color palettes, as well.
  • Greens that favor sage and olive greens, jade, and Mediterranean blue.
  • Reds included ruby-like jewel tones, but also muted shades such as rose, russet reds, and pinks with a tint of peach.
  • Purples favored mauves and lilac shades.
  • Blues included sapphire, but also Copenhagen blue.

Here’s one inspiration for your color choices. It’s a poster from 1894 and features several classic colors from Art Nouveau palettes.

Art Nouveau colors from 1894 poster

These are the colors from it (HTML hex codes are noted on each):

Art Nouveau colors - hex

If you match them to Prismacolor pencils, you might choose:

  • PC 906 – Copenhagen Blue
  • PC 1022 – Mediterranean Blue
  • PC 1015 – Deco Blue
  • PC 1021 Jade Green
  • PC 945 Sienna Brown
  • PC 1032 Pumpkin Orange
  • PC 942 Yellow Ochre
  • PC  917 Sunburst Yellow

Or, you can visit the official Berol Prismacolor site, and they’ll suggest current product colors that are close. Visit their Color Picker page and scroll down to where it says HEXcode. Enter the code from the chart, above, in the form, and see what Prismacolor recommends.

For example, for the darkest blue on that chart (HEXcode 053371), Prismacolor recommends several pencils and markers in indigo blue shades. On that list, my favorite is Indianthrone Blue, PC 208.

If you’re getting started with Art Nouveau colors, I recommend starting with two different colors — one jewel tone (sapphire or ruby, for example) and one muted tone (perhaps pale teal or lilac) — and then select colors that look good with both of them.

You can use all jewel tones, or even all muted colors (see the image from the back cover of my second book, below), but a mix of the two will probably give you a more authentic look.

Art Nouveau coloring book design - muted colors.

No matter which colors you use in your Art Nouveau coloring pages, they’re likely to look very different from modern, vibrant (and sometimes artificial) colors.

Give Art Nouveau colors a try. Once you’ve seen how they look, they may not suit your style, or they may become your new favorites for coloring books.

If you have any comments or color questions, I hope you’ll share them in the comments section, below.