Originally published Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 06:04a.m.

One coloring book led to another and another. Now artist Elizabeth Urabe has three adult coloring books under her creative belt.

The first book took two months to design and create the short meditation poems on the facing pages. The next two books came more quickly, both published in June.


Aug. 2 is National Coloring Book Day. For ideas and events, visit: www.coloring bookday.com

The Ash Fork resident said her coloring books help open one’s consciousness. As users fill in the spaces of the amoeba-like designs, they “discover and return to a state of oneness with their inner truth and source of all life.”

Adult coloring books have reached a fad stage, and Urabe acknowledges that hers resemble the trend. But while other books are designed to relieve stress, hers does that and more. Her books generate “creative tension, a chosen, disciplined response to seemingly paradoxical truths which involves holding the discomfort consciously within our own being until the energies merge, take form, and lift us up to a new dimension of reality.”

The point of her coloring books is about not just about reducing fears and anxieties. Rather, it’s to get to the bottom of it. “You are responsible for your stress,” she said.

The images integrate both the masculine (logical, make sense, in control) and the feminine (feeling all right about not knowing, free to color outside the lines) sides of a person. They give men permission to be OK with whatever is, without having to take care of things. Coloring also takes one back to the carefree feelings of being a kid.

Urabe has been doing similar art for more than 20 years, and has never cared about staying within the lines.

“So what?” she said. “I loosen up my inner energy to face my demons and let it flow again.”

The text, she said, comes naturally. An example reads: “Summer slips away/winter draws near…while I rest/somewhere in between.” The imagery is meant to inspire and help create a safe space to allow mind and heart to travel to unexplored realms, she said.

The slender, energetic artist spent 16 years in Japan where married and acquired the Urabe surname, a word that translates to “family of divine origin.” Her images are not geometric or of a mandala style. Rather they are like irregular cells with protuberances and eyes, squiggles and lines that radiate and cross over and under each other. Each image is repeated three times with 90-degree rotations. Each rotation has its own energy and provides a totally different healing process, Urabe said.

Urabe’s books are available for purchase online: Color Me Freedom, The Colors of OM, and Seven Shades of Dharma. She sells the 68-page large paperback books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through the publisher, Lulu.