When Seeing Beautiful arrived in my mailbox, I had to fight with my 12-year-old over who would get to look at it first. It is definitely not your ordinary adult coloring book! Timothy Chambers’ book is a true gem that is essentially a bundle of three things all in one book.
Seeing Beautiful certainly can be used as an adult coloring book for times of relaxation and enjoyment.
One of the things that sets it apart is the illustrations are done in both ink and pencil, with various degrees of shading, to help create colorings with a 3-D, breathable, organic feel. This adds a fun twist to the coloring experience.
The book also contains inspirational quotes and a few copies of famous works of art. I especially enjoyed reading the history behind Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. It gave more meaning to the picture as I colored it.
Seeing Beautiful is also an instructional book containing art training from an accomplished, professional artist.
If you are looking for an art curriculum, Seeing Beautiful is a wonderful book to use to teach various techniques, including shading and selecting colors. The book also includes an online art course at Iguana Art Academy, valued at $119. The price of the book seems reasonable enough for the book itself. Adding in the free online art course makes this book a deal and a half!
I went to iguanaacademy.com to enter my coupon code and redeem my free art course, and I was pleased by how simple and straightforward it was to access the online art lessons. The lessons included instructions on selecting materials, warm-up tips, an art demonstration, viewing and discussing famous works of art, and a PDF homework assignment to print off based on the art demonstration.
What surprised me the most is that Seeing Beautiful is even more than an adult coloring book and art instruction manual. It is a journey of discovery and appreciation of what is good and magnificent. It is an inspiring celebration of life, and of overcoming obstacles, as the author shares his incredible personal story.
At the age of 30 Chambers was diagnosed with a syndrome that would steadily rob him of his hearing and sight. This news would be devastating for anyone, but no doubt even more overwhelming for a professional artist. At the time Seeing Beautiful was published, Chambers had only 17-degrees of vision remaining and a 70% hearing loss.
Chambers can only see less than 10% of what is normal. But, he says, “I can see enough to see beautiful.”
Chambers’ story in Seeing Beautiful is intimate and honest. He worried about being relegated to the corner of his house, forgotten, deaf, and blind. “I would be nothing but a shell of the creative person I once was.” He even prayed, “Take my hearing; but my eyes? No. Please, no.”
After wrestling through despair and fear, Chambers resolved to celebrate what he has, and the beauty around him, rather than dread what will come tomorrow. Each new day when he wakes up and still has his sight is a wonderful gift.
“I had to stop living in fear of losing my sight and instead live in celebration of the sight I woke up with.”
“Art is a gift, but weakness is a greater gift. We can see beautiful not just in spite of life’s challenges, but because of them.”
Chambers is a great mentor for those who want to learn art techniques. But he is also a great mentor for those who want to live life well.
I loved that I didn’t feel alone when reading and coloring this book. Because of the back-story and Chambers’ words of inspiration, the whole time I felt like I was creating art alongside a thoughtful companion. Chambers is a master artist with a beautiful soul who encourages his readers with wisdom, faith, and visions of beauty.
While reading Seeing Beautiful, I couldn’t help but think of Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf. She is quoted in the book: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.”
Seeing Beautiful made me carefully observe beauty both on the pages of the book and in the world around me. What is more, I also experienced beauty that is felt only in the heart.
DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of this book for review.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Anna Soltis.