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Artist cracks adult coloring book market

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By Lynn Burton

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

The publishing world has discovered “adult coloring books” at about the same time Carbondale artist Staci Dickerson printed her own, titled “Mountain Life COLORado.”

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The coloring books — sold at retail giants such as Amazon, Wal-Mart and Barnes & Nobel — caught the attention of The Atlantic magazine senior editor Julie Beck. In the Nov. 4 issue, in her article headlined “The Zen of Adult Coloring Books,” Beck started out “I have never changed my mind about anything as quickly or completely as I changed my mind about adult coloring books.” I found the trend mostly baffling and a little dumb.” After buying one, however, Beck writes “ … it has filled a particular activity niche for me, which is ‘something to do with my hands while I watch Nexflix. … In part it’s because I feel a little less lazy if I’m making something while I wile away the hours with (the TV show) Friday Night Lights.” She said studies have shown the effectiveness of art therapy in reducing stress, “ … and coloring seems to offer some similar benefits.”

Enter Staci Dickerson: “As an artist and a practicing meditator, I am completely aware that drawing and painting calm my mind, relax my body and allow me to be in the present moment.”

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Dickerson told The Sopris Sun her idea for creating an adult coloring book came last summer while talking to the late Ro Mead, an art teacher and ceramist. “She told me she never had time to learn to paint! … Not being able to draw remains a major obstacle for people to color or paint. I got the idea to draw some favorite scenes for my friend Ro … and those are the beginnings of my coloring book.”

Dickerson focused mostly on 20 local scenes, landmarks and events, and hand-drew outlines of the Crystal Mill, Mt. Sopris, Maroon Bells, a cattle drive and rodeo, and more. She started in mid-summer and had about 10 drawings when she pitched her idea to Marjorie DeLuca (aka Aspen Graphic Solutions). “She gave me an Oct. 31 deadline.”

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DeLuca did the layout and worked with Peczuh Printing of Grand Junction. “She (DeLuca) was an all around awesome behind the scenes gal,” Dickerson said.

Mead knew that her friend was working on the book. She saw some of the drawings but did not live to see the book published, nor did she color any of them. “The book is dedicated to Ro Mead.”

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“Mountain Life COLORado” retails for $14.95 and is available in Carbondale at The Artique in the Launchpad, Dancing Colours, and the Roaring Fork Valley Co-Op; in Basalt at Bristlecone Mountain Sports and Basalt Printing; in Aspen at Carl’s Pharmacy and Explore Booksellers; in Glenwood at the Book Train and Treadz and from Dickerson herself.

Beck concluded her article in The Atlantic, “I’m sure my interest in this hobby will wax and wane with my whims, just as it does with knitting and nail-painting and cooking things that aren’t quesadillas. But as someone who can’t sit and breathe deeply and try to calm my thoughts for even 30 seconds without getting itchy all over, it’s nice to have something other than meditation that still feels meditative. … ”.

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Published in The Sopris Sun on December 10, 2015.

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