Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Amy Murrell, Kenai Community Library Aid, organized the Adult Coloring event Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska. Murrell has been coloring since she was a child, a hobby she continued on into adulthood, and secured support to turn into a regulary offered program.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Amy Murrell, Kenai Community Library Aid, organized the Adult Coloring event Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska. Murrell has been coloring since she was a child, a hobby she continued on into adulthood, and secured support to turn into a regulary offered program.

Adult coloring comes to Kenai Peninsula

The central Kenai Peninsula has been hit by the adult-coloring craze.

Programs and products are cropping up in community centers and stores throughout the area with a satisfactory reception.

“It suddenly exploded and the coloring books are all over the shelves and I don’t know why,” said Amy Murrell, an aide at Kenai Community Library.

She established the library’s adult-coloring classes and secured materials so anyone, at any time during open hours, can sit down and spend time shading and toning in or outside the lines.

“I always tell people the first rule is, ‘There is no rules,’” Murrell said. “If you want to color outside the lines, color outside the lines.”

Murrell said she never stopped coloring. She started as a child and brought her materials through every new stage of her life. She traced her interests back to her family, which is full of artists.

“I have never been an art snob,” Murrell said. “To me, all art is good art.”

She said her way of gauging a good piece is whether or not the piece made someone feel something, no matter what that something is. Picaso’s “Guernica,” a massive oil painting full of distorted human and animal figures, “evokes terrible feelings,” according to Murrell. But that hasn’t kept the painting from becoming one of Picaso’s most famous works.

Murrell said she allows people to go off and draw freely during the program, but is always there to offer advice. She has experimented with the best way to print off digital materials so the pencils’ color will hold well, and made sure to buy pencils that have a good “softness and smoothness” about them.

She contacted Anchorage-based artist, Shala Kerrigan, whose blog donteatthepaste.com has free adult-coloring materials, before printing out the intricate boxes for Sunday’s program at the Kenai library.

Much of the marketing for the pastime centers on the idea that coloring can be used as a form of therapy and way to relax. There is not an overabundance of studies that support the concept.

“Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety?” was a study done by Nancy A. Curry and Tim Kasser and was published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association in 2005. Students were asked to color a mandala, plaid form or a blank piece of paper. The results showed a similar decline in anxiety for those students coloring mandalas or plaid designs.

“These findings suggest that structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety,” Curry and Kasser wrote in the study.

Murrell did bring out an article for participants to read concerning the potential benefits of adult coloring at Sunday’s library program.

Cris Mamaloff was the only participant that came that day. Murrell said the events are hit or miss, but some have been extremely popular.

Mamaloff has been to every coloring session that has been offered.

“Once I started it was relaxing,” Mamaloff said. “You just lose yourself.”

She has experience painting with acrylic and oil, and working with ceramics.

“You don’t have to be so exact (with coloring),” Mamaloff said. “You just grab a color and go.”

She has purchased her own home materials for coloring.

“For me it is relaxing to listen to the music and just go with the color. Unfortunately, I always pick the same colors,” Mamaloff said with a laugh.

She usually picks pinks and purples.

“I would say they are soothing, but they are not that soothing,” she said, laughing again.

The Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library also hosts free adult-coloring programs.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Amy Murrell found free coloring pieces by Anchorage artist Shala Kerrigan for the public to use at the Adult Coloring event Feb. 13, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Amy Murrell found free coloring pieces by Anchorage artist Shala Kerrigan for the public to use at the Adult Coloring event Feb. 13, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cris Mamaloff attended the free Adult Coloring class at the Kenai Community Library Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cris Mamaloff attended the free Adult Coloring class at the Kenai Community Library Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska.

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: How to grow old and not waste your life

At its core, the Bible speaks a great deal about the time allotted for one’s life

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson appear in “Civil War.” (Promotional photo courtesy A24)
Review: An unexpected battle for empathy in ‘Civil War’

Garland’s new film comments on political and personal divisions through a unique lens of conflict on American soil

What are almost certainly members of the Grönroos family pose in front of their Anchor Point home in this undated photograph courtesy of William Wade Carroll. The cabin was built in about 1903-04 just north of the mouth of the Anchor River.
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story— Part 2

The five-member Grönroos family immigrated from Finland to Alaska in 1903 and 1904

Aurora Bukac is Alice in a rehearsal of Seward High School Theatre Collective’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward in ‘Wonderland’

Seward High School Theatre Collective celebrates resurgence of theater on Eastern Kenai Peninsula

These poppy seed muffins are enhanced with the flavor of almonds. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
The smell of almonds and early mornings

These almond poppy seed muffins are quick and easy to make and great for early mornings

Bill Holt tells a fishing tale at Odie’s Deli on Friday, June 2, 2017 in Soldotna, Alaska. Holt was among the seven storytellers in the latest session of True Tales Told Live, an occasional storytelling event co-founded by Pegge Erkeneff, Jenny Nyman, and Kaitlin Vadla. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion file)
Storytelling series returns with tales about ‘making the most of it’

The next True Tales, Told Live will be held Friday, April 12 at The Goods Sustainable Grocery starting at 6:30 p.m.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes they come back

This following historical incident resurfaced during dinner last week when we were matching, “Hey, do you remember when…?” gotchas

Art by Soldotna High School student Emily Day is displayed as part of the 33rd Annual Visual Feast at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Creating art and artists

Exhibition showcases student talent and local art programs

The Canadian steamship Princess Victoria collided with an American vessel, the S.S. Admiral Sampson, which sank quickly in Puget Sound in August 1914. (Otto T. Frasch photo, copyright by David C. Chapman, “O.T. Frasch, Seattle” webpage)
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story — Part 1

The Grönroos family settled just north of the mouth of the Anchor River

Most Read