Put On Your Big Girl Boots
How did I start to design coloring books?
Here's the prologue from my first coloring book:
Hello Dear Friends and Fellow Artists,
I’m so happy you picked up my book. This little compilation of boots and fancy things isn’t just a coloring book. It is a lifeline. That may be hard to understand for some folks, but many women will nod and smile. This book started out as a just a way to calm my nerves and soothe my soul, but as the ink slowly turned into images, my heart opened up again. These fancy boots brought back memories and also stirred a creative desire that had almost been snuffed out. I had reached a point in my life where it was hard to find joy, hard to find anything that made me look forward to the next day, even the next breath. The first page was the hardest.
I spent years being confidently in charge of many things – a home, employees, budgets, calendars. I didn’t stop to think about where my life was going because there were so many things that had to be done each moment. Then the job I loved disappeared, the friends and colleagues I had cherished for so long slipped away, and my health took a turn for the worse. I felt unwelcome, unwanted and insecure in my own world.
Doctors said pills would help, but my soul knew better. Instead, I started my journey back with many new and almost scary tools. I studied mindfulness to take respite in the tiny details of my life. I practiced yoga to bring my body back to full strength. I started a daily meditation to learn to breathe again. A woman’s devotional called “Jesus Calling” gave me the will to get out of bed each morning. I stopped watching the news. I searched out other women my age to see if I could find kindred souls. Perhaps the hardest thing I did was give myself a break – and stop that little voice in my head that always whispered that I wasn’t enough.
I’ve always loved to doodle fancy things. Horses, dresses, flowers, anything a little frilly or fancy. I bought a sketchbook with fresh, clean pages and I labored over what to draw. My husband gave me the greatest gift with a simple piece of advice. I was really struggling with self-doubt about these pages, were they good enough? Would anyone want to color them? He simply told me “they don’t have to look like anything except what you want them to look like. Draw what pleases you.”
Some of these pages remind me of wonderful times I spent around horses and growing up in Texas. Others have a deeper connection. You’ll see a pair of custom made boots that belong to by daddy. There’s a pair dedicated to a dear friend of mine who lost her precious son this past year and, in her sorrow and grief, has shown more strength and grace than anyone should ever have to possess. I even left a pair for you, sweet friend, to design to match your own cowgirl style.
If you are on your own journey from one segment of your life to the next, or if you simply enjoy fancy boots, I hope you have a few hours of peace and calm while coloring these pages. Maybe they’ll even help you plan out your next steps!
I would be so honored if you would visit my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ColorsOfACowgirl) and post a picture of one of your finished colored pages. I hope you will share the page with your friends so they can see your creation. I’m also hoping you’ll visit me at www.ColorsOfACowgirl.com to see when my next book is ready to launch.
A 4th generation Texan, Tammy Pennington grew up riding and showing American Paint Horses across the southwest, spending decades in the saddle, then sharing her skills by helping local youth with riding lessons and horse training. The daughter of an artist, she found herself drawn more to crafts than painting, launching several ventures focused on western design. A physical and spiritual setback started her creative journey in using art to help heal her heart and mind. Working in pen and ink, she published her first coloring book for women, Colors of a Cowgirl, followed shortly by a second work titled Rodeo Queen, which is included in the collection of gifts for contestants in the Miss Rodeo America and Miss Rodeo USA pageants each year. Focusing her art now to the canvas, she paints voraciously each week, specializing in custom pieces that portray poignant moments between horse and rider. Tammy’s work has been included in many art shows throughout Texas, including The Texas Invitation at The Pearce Museum, Spirit of the West at The Doss Museum, Rockwall Art League Annual Art Show, Gainesville Area Visual Arts “Beautiful Things” Art Show, Hunt County Art Festival and the Texas Invitation at the Pearce Museum. Three of her pieces recently won awards at the North Texas State Fair and the Winnsboro Art Council Fall Roundup, “Cowboy Tales”.