The Coastal Star

Highland Beach: Adults de-stress as they color like kids

Cindy Feder (l-r), Sandy Israel and Emmanuel ‘Malo’ Forde practice their coloring techniques

during an adult coloring club gathering at the Highland Beach Library.

Detail of Israel’s coloring project.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Lucy Lazarony

    At the Highland Beach Library, grown-ups are taking a page out of a children’s playbook. They color.
    An adult coloring club meets on Wednesday afternoons.
    “We say arrive any time between 1 and 3,” says Suzi Hayes, interim director of the Highland Beach Library.  “It’s designed to be a way to put down your phone and get away from it all.”
    And there’s no need to stay the whole time.
    “If you want to come in for 20 minutes, that’s fine,” Hayes says. “If you want to stay for an hour or two, that’s fine, too.”  
The aim of the afternoon is de-stressing.  Colored pencils and handouts with various designs and themes are provided.  Classical music plays in the background.
    “It’s also a creative outlet,” Hayes says. “Personally, I’ve had a coloring book and crayons at home for years and years, mostly when a young child was visiting, but I love to color. The first session one resident said she was going to take it home and show her grandchildren. It’s kind of a happy thing. They may be decorating their refrigerator with it or a bulletin board or showing it off to the grandkids.”
    Many of the pictures provided for coloring at the Highland Beach Library are much more complicated than you would see in a child’s coloring book. Hayes chose sample sheets of fish, flowers, birds, stained glass windows, intricate geometric designs, snowflakes, buildings, cars, sports scenes and even the Brooklyn Bridge for any visiting New Yorkers.
    Joan and Leo Pruner, who live in Seagate in Highland Beach, are attending their first coloring session. Compared to oil painting, the coloring is a snap.
    “We used to paint oils and it’s a lot of stuff to drag around and work on,” Joan Pruner says. “So I said, ‘Let’s try this.’ ”
    Joan is coloring an ornate bird surrounded by an intricate design of flowers and Leo is coloring a peaceful underwater scene.  
    Across the table from the Pruners, Malo Forde, 77, also of Highland Beach is coloring a stained glass window with a young woman at its center.
    He was reading The Wall Street Journal when someone asked if he was there for the coloring, so he joined in.  
    “It’s kind of therapeutic and very pleasant conversation,” Forde says.  “So it’s very nice. It’s a lovely, different sort of thing. I am going to bring it back and show my wife that I was doing more than reading the newspaper.”

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