Stepping Stones Blog

Coloring Lessons: Vivid vs Pastel

Last week I shared my desire to add more fun to life.  I decided to start small, however, and chose to revisit a favorite pastime from childhood:  coloring.

In the one hour coloring session I learned a few lessons.  I discovered that I have lived most of my life with a scarcity mentality – which robs me of joy and satisfaction.  I have decided to live the rest of my life with an abundance mentality – that I have enough, and I am enough.

Another lesson I learned came as I analyzed my coloring style.  When I began the project, memory muscle had me start from the outside and work my way in.  It also had me using a light touch which created a pastel look (notice the hearts on the right hand side of the page).

When I finished the outside layer, however, I realized there was little difference in hue even though I used several different shades of reds, pinks, and purples.  In addition, the colors were nearly transparent, almost ghost-like.  It was as if I wanted the color to fade into the background … not draw attention to itself.

But the thing is… I really like color.  I love the bold, vivid look that markers provide.  I think colors better complement one another when they are bright; the pastels tend to be bland and boring.

I tried to recall why I never used bold strokes with crayons.  I think in part I was afraid of breaking them.  But when was the last time I broke a crayon – kindergarten?  And what if it broke?  I could easily replace it. (there’s that scarcity mentality again).

Another reason is that I convinced myself that an accidental slip outside the lines would be quite obvious if I was heavy-handed, but could be easily overlooked if lightly colored.  Obviously I learned perfectionism at a very young age.  (Why is coloring outside the lines so wrong?)

Lastly, I think I associated bold coloring with negative emotions, like anger or frustration.   Suppressing those feelings was far more acceptable in real life, and apparently that extended to coloring style.

Seeing my insecurities manifested in this coloring exercise made me realize that I have the power to change.

I do not necessarily want to be the center of attention, but I do want to have a voice.  I want to be accepted.  In order to do that, I need to be willing to show my true colors – be vulnerable and imperfect, occasionally coloring outside the lines.   While some may find this offensive, I must be true to myself and not ashamed.

Interestingly the definition for Vivid is:  strikingly bright or intense; full of life; strong, distinct

YES… I want to be vivid … full of life… strong, with a distinct voice.



  1. cathyensley

    The picture is an interesting play of vivid and pastel. I love the orange and yellow, and what appears to be a bold, black center.

    I used to have a scarcity mentality, but have been working on not being that way in many areas of my life. Conversely, though, I’ve become more thrifty lately, not out of a fear of scarcity, but more because I hate wasting resources.

  2. What is so wonderful about this post and your insights … is that you do have such a strong and bold writing voice. Love it !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: