Infinity Loops of Awesome Keep Hearts Afloat In Difficult Times
The current Free Coloring Page here on havecolorwilltravel.com was inspired by my next door neighbor, Lewis’, creative and community building way of showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
|This is the smallest Free Coloring Page I have ever shared.|
I initially shared it to my newsletter subscribers on a Sunday
morning, and it was colored and shared with me later
that same day! I have never had anyone color one of my
illustrations that quickly before! It leads me to believe that perhaps
I should share smaller illustrations with the universe
from time to time:)
Upon hearing that Russia had invaded Ukraine and that thousands of people were suffering and dying, Lewis felt like all of us did: angry, heartbroken, and helpless. But, rather than letting his emotions boil in his body or be thrust out onto social media, Lewis took these feelings and set about collecting old political campaign signs (the kind folks post up in their yards on skinning metal spikes to show which candidates they endorse) and then meticulously painting them in the Ukrainian national colors with weather-proof paint. He first placed one in his own yard, and then Lewis then began gently asking folks around the neighborhood (and eventually around town) if they would like one of his signs posted or pinned somewhere on their property as well. For those folks who welcomed the sign, Lewis even installed them.
This simple, creative act didn’t stop Putin sending troops into Ukraine, of course. And I know for a fact that it didn’t erase all of Lewis’ feelings of rage, frustration, and powerlessness (he and I chat regularly over our shared fence). But making these signs of solidarity pushed those feelings out of his body and into action, and that action became something extraordinary—a symbol for our community to display that reminds anyone who sees it that they are not alone in their feelings about this war.
When I saw the first of Lewis’ signs, it made me realize that with a few simple strokes of my Apple Pencil I could repurpose my art for emotional-political good just as he did, and channel my powerful and difficult feelings about this wretched war into creative action as well. To do that I altered the final page from my latest coloring book Feminism Is For Everyone in the Procreate app, creating a colorable sign of solidarity with Ukraine for subscribers to my free colorful newsletter to engage their creativity with (I turned my book’s Love Will Win tambourine into a Love Will Win sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine). In doing this I also completed the infinity loop of awesome that my neighbor began with his signs (when I spy good, creative, and encouraging things giving birth to more good, creative, and encouraging things I label that energy an infinity loop of awesome, and yes, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for these amazing twisty loops🤓).
Now, obviously Lewis’ signs of Ukraine solidarity and my “Love Will Win” Ukraine solidarity Free Coloring Page are not related at all in shape and form—his signs are blocks of two bright colors meant to be hung outside and seen by many, and my page is a colorless collection of black lines meant to be colored privately (although I do see folks coloring in public from time to time). Regardless, our individual signs are deeply related emotionally and ideologically. I’ve written before about the ability art has to help us move through difficult times and emotions so I’m not going to repeat myself on all that here. But, my hope is that this small creative gesture of mine will do for folks that decide to color it what the Lewis’ signs did for both himself and for the recipients of his signs of Ukraine solidarity: give them a creative place to process difficult emotions and a reminder that they are not alone in how they feel.
As is now my policy, I am sharing this Free Page both as a traditional coloring and a digital coloring page (read here about how to color my Free Pages with pixels in Procreate). But with this Ukraine solidarity coloring page I wanted to go a step further. Coloring in community is still a challenge to do safely for everyone, but I am trying my best to reach folks where they are during the pandemic with my Coloring Together video series on my YouTube channel. Below is my latest installment, a wacky coloring session where I explore my new Stabilo 3-in-1 Woodies (y’all they are SO fun!) on the Ukraine solidarity coloring page. I chose this page in particular for an art tutorial/coloring together combination video because it feels to me like an illustration that is best colored in company. I go a bit wild with my marks, get super excited about the properties of these little colored pencils, and gently talk with my audience throughout it all just as I used to when I was able to teach such classes in person a few years ago. I hope y’all enjoy coloring this page alongside me; and if you’re feeling inspired to be a part of this infinity loop of awesome, I also hope you’ll share this coloring page with the folks in your life who might want/need to experience it.💚