SIOUX CITY | At age 76, Kris Bergstrom is finally getting in touch with her inner artist.
"I never considered myself to be artistic in the past," she said, methodically coloring in intricate patterns with a pencil, "but I'm amazed at how relaxing coloring books can be."
No, you read that right.
Bergstrom is one of the regulars for Coloring Corner, a weekly class held every Wednesday at the Siouxland Center for Active Generations.
"When I heard about this class, I couldn't believe my ears," Bergstrom's sister Kathy Anders, 65, admitted. "C'mon, coloring books at our age? Before we knew it, we were both hooked."
Each week, Coloring Corner members create vivid illustrations that may be used as bookmarks, calendars, coffee mugs or random pieces of art.
"It doesn't even matter if we stay within the lines," Alice Card said. "There aren't any rules when it comes to coloring books."
A former teacher before she married, Card dabbled in different forms of art. But the 70-year-old never tried her hand at drawing.
"I like the creative challenge of drawing," she said. "Even more than that, I like spending time with my friends. Every member of the Coloring Corner has become friends, since there's so much camaraderie in this group."
However, Dianne Wickstrom, 71, is looking for ways to share her creations.
"I've laminated the bookmarks that I've made and given them out as gifts," she noted. "People seem to like them. Who knows? There might be some interest in my art."
Miriam Clayton, 84, can't help but smile when Wickstrom mentioned the marketplace for art.
"You know it's the book publishers who are making millions of dollars by selling coloring books," she said. "Go into any book store and you'll see coloring books aimed at every age and every interest."
"When I was a kid, coloring books were inexpensive," Card interjected. "This isn't the case anymore."
Despite that, it suddenly made Christmas gift-giving a whole lot easier.
"My family got me a gift card from Hobby Lobby," Card said. "I was able to pick up plenty of art supplies with that."
Grabbing a handful of colored pens, Bergstrom continued working on a psychedelic design, which is so obscure she doesn't understand it.
"When I started on this bookmark, I thought I was coloring in a horse," she said. "Then I looked at it from a different angle and realized it was a deer. Or maybe, it was a giraffe instead."
Bergstrom said it doesn't really matter to her.
"Coloring is just fun for me," she said. "I can be as creative as I want to be."