Jeanette Siufanua was immediately captivated by the mounting interest in adult coloring books. She saw this return to what is typically considered a childhood pastime as a fun way to relax and to be creative.
Soon, that interest grew from wanting to color the intricate designs or detailed pictures to wanting to actually draw those pictures herself and to use this popular new medium as a way to express her love for the temple and its rich symbolism.
She began in November and, by spring, had published a coloring book called “Temples: Drawing on Symbols.”
“She wanted to combine two things she loves together,” says Jeanette’s sister, Belinda Bringhurst.
But, Jeanette wasn’t an artist. She had no formal training and little experience.
“It is the first time I attempted to draw anything like this,” she says. “I think I have surprised many people, including myself.”
“It blew all of us away to see what she did,” Belinda says. “It really is a gift. She felt inspired, felt it was not her doing the drawing.”
“In a way, this coloring book found me,” Jeanette explains. “The pictures flowed freely when I put pencil to paper. I was amazed through much of this process.”
Soon Belinda was involved in the project too, serving as Research and Artistic Director and one of Jeanette’s greatest fans. Their two brothers, Feleni and David Siufanua, were both out of work and joined in to help market the book, and youngest sister Liva helps with the photography.
“It’s a family thing,” Belinda says.
Through it, the siblings, who all live in Utah, have gained greater appreciation for the symbols of the temple.
“Each page is filled with symbols interwoven in the designs,” Jeanette says. “As I drew some of the pictures, I was amazed to find that, just like the temples, there was meaning to the patterns.”
Belinda says, “Discovering symbols is a very individual journey.”
They considered adding a description of the symbols on each page, but decided to add a scripture reference only.
“We chose instead to allow you to discover these symbols on your own,” Jeanette says.
Publishing “Temples: Drawing on Symbols” has also taught them more about the benefits of coloring.
“It may look like a simple activity but focusing on color choice, patterns, darks and lights, texture, and movement has the ability to make ‘the difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness … It is very much like a meditative exercise,’” their website explains.
“Coloring is accessible to all skill levels. It can satisfy the need to create and helps you refocus your brain,” says Belinda.
Jeanette has promoted the social aspect of coloring as well, speaking about the book’s symbols at coloring book parties hosted by bookstores, libraries and assisted living centers.
The family has seen another blessing from this project. “As soon as the coloring book was published, both of our brothers got their dream job,” Belinda says.
“Temples: Drawing on Symbols” is available through www.drawingonsymbols.com.