My earliest memory of painting by numbers is from when I was around 13. The Sunday edition of the newspaper would carry a children’s section and I would spend all morning painting. The thought of seeing the image appear as if by magic, is a very vivid one.
For the past few months, I’ve been dying to try paint by numbers for adults. So many adverts for this pop up and I finally went ahead and bought two.
If you thought (I certainly did!) this was a good pastime for older people, think again. I had friends and family ask why I needed to do this when I could simply paint. Maybe it was the nostalgia of childhood. Maybe it was just mindless activity I was looking for. I googled the best way to tackle a paint by numbers project – one site said paint from darkest to lightest. I tried it, then I got impatient and moved to painting the bigger spots so I could go over the smaller ones and ignore the numbers. I mean they were minuscule dots, my friends. And I lack patience.
I don’t follow every rule or suggestion, I skip to the fun stuff, I improvise, problem solve, figure out what details can be ignored and what can’t, I color outside the lines, and I change it to the way I think looks better. Which is really the whole point of painting isn’t it? So why try painting by numbers? Truthfully it’s just simple, visceral satisfaction and fun. Your mind can focus entirely on a singular instruction and at the end you’re left with a beautiful finished piece.
Listen, I don’t think creativity should ever be a chore. Self-expression shouldn’t be too taxing. So if you need a break, but still need to create, then try painting by numbers.
Some links to where you can get these kits: