So I really thought I would enjoy last week's challenge, All The Colours, a lot more than I did. Despite being rubbish at art, I always love drawing ridiculously awful pictures with my kids. "Do a tiger, mummy!" results in something that looks like a capybara and an oompa loompa mated at a nuclear power plant. But, no matter, my kids are always blown away by my artistic prowess. They either think that, seeing as I am their all-knowing mother, I am just sketching some rare sub-species of tiger that actually DOES look like the tangerine abomination below, or they are humouring me.

BUT, when it came time for this challenge and I busted open my colouring book, Mandalas for Beginners, the first page felt more like a chore than a pleasure. I put this down to two major problems. One, my colouring pencils SUCK. I had to press so hard to get any kind of colour out of them that my hand genuinely started hurting within about ten minutes. You can see the damage me and my heavy hand did to the page in the image below. It's like I was trying to emboss the damn thing.

Two, filling in a complicated, repetitive image felt mind-numbing, but not in a good way. More in a, "Is this not done yet?! WTF?? There must be like 500 of those wretched little wiggles to colour in on this stupid page." grumble/moan kind of way. I finished the page, but, seeing as I didn't enjoy the process, the final image didn't bring me any kind of pleasure. The sunrise in the background of the shot below? That did.

I bought a packet of pens, thinking that once I had the right colouring instruments, maybe the exercise would become fun. It didn't. My eyes hurt from squinting at the tiny lines dividing up the page. My back hurt from being hunched over the book. Plus, the whole time I was colouring, I felt like I was just wasting time. The wee pokey pockets of triangles and circles and waves and diamonds felt never-ending. I have S.T.D, as my brother once announced to the collective horror of our family... Shit To Do.

Colouring in the pages of my mandala book wasn't helping me scratch things off my endless to-do list, nor was it bringing me any kind of mental peace - I just felt frustrated and antsy. I mean, look at the mandala below. In the time it will take me to colour all that in, I'll probably need glasses, a back brace, a wrist guard for my carpal tunnel syndrome, and dentures because I'll be 96.

HOWEVER. I'm not ready to write the challenge off just yet. I'm just going to come at it from another angle and then MINDFULNESS WILL BE MINE!! MWHAHAHAHAH!

Ahem. When we first moved into our flat here, after yet another torturous trip to Ikea, I'd decided that I didn't like any of the rubbish prints they were selling there and I would just paint my own. I ordered some massive, cheap canvas off Amazon and a beginner's pack of acrylics and brushes, and pinned some images to Pinterest of art that I was pretty sure I could replicate without too much effort. Abstract, minimalist art, of the "My toddler could do that!" variety, naturally.

Eleven months later, the canvas is still propped against the bare walls of my bedroom. We've got 15 guests flying in for our Midsummer's party next weekend and, after procrastinating for almost a year, I think it's about time I knock off some art for the blank walls of our apartment. It may not be a mandala; it certainly won't be a shitty tiger, but perhaps splashing some paint on a big blank canvas will help me find some of that rarely achieved 'mindfulness' that colouring books are supposed to induce. At the bare minimum, at least I'll be crossing a year-old item off my S.T.D. list.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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