May 11, 2009

Paint-by-Numbers, A Relaxing Creative Outlet

Art and craft enthusiasts have long known the calming, meditative, right-brain blissfulness that comes with delving into a project; concentrating on the colors and shapes; finding all the pieces coming together to create something beautiful.

Yet often painting is a daunting thing to take up. The materials can be confusing; all the different types of paints and brushes called "flats" and "brights." The smell of oils, not to mention the expense. And the fact that most of us do not believe we really can draw, and who wants to face failure when you just want to relax and have some fun? This is why paint-by-numbers were created, and I -- for one -- do not think anyone should feel hesitant to embrace this hobby. It's a real hobby and a real craft; no different than following the directions on a crocheted afghan (such as I'm doing now) or knitting a beautiful cable sweater or cutting out various images to make a collage.

The beautiful paintings shown here were done by my sister, Joyce Phelps, of Bradenton, FL. I'm not surprised that her efforts look so great, because she has always been a person who paid attention to the details. Her home shows a good sense of color and composition. She is patient and stays with anything she starts until she's "got it." I, gal of many unfinished projects, admire that quality.

Joyce says that paint-by-numbers is relaxing; indeed many would say it is therapeutic in the way that so many hobbbies are.

The paintings Joyce has done here are shown in reverse chronological order. The painting of the cats was her first, the one of the birds and flowers second and the beach scene the most recent.

Some paint-by-numbers designs require more compex color mixing than others, and you can really see the excellent care Joyce has taken in mixing the paints to get the soft background in the bird picture, as well as the very lifelike water in the beach scene.

If you have always wanted to paint but felt intimidated by a blank canvas, consider one of the many paint-by-numbers kits available today. I've listed places where you can buy the kits and articles online about the hobby, below.


Complete Paint-by-Numbers Set from Readers Digest

Paint By Number Kit: Everything You Need to Re-Create 8 Vintage Masterpieces

Games Magazine Presents Paint by Numbers (The Unique Geometric Logic Puzzles for Ages 14 to Adult)

Paint by Number: The How-To Craze that Swept the Nation

Painting the Great Masters by Number: Create Your Own Masterpiece with this Easy Paint-by-Number Program

3-D Paint by Numbers: Under the Sea


Pencil by Numbers kits


Paint by Numbers Kits


“Paint by numbers: A ‘50s fad achieves status in the new millennium”

“Vintage Paint-by-Numbers Making a Comeback”


Various articles on the subject.

"The use of paint-by-number art in therapy"

“By the Numbers: An Interview with William L. Bird, Jr."


National Museum of American History

le salon de Paint-by-Numbers: Dedicated to the Art of Creative Relaxation

Extreme Home Makeover Paint by Numbers Room

Paint by Numbers T-shirt!

Paint by Numbers Toilet Paper

October 2009: Paint-by-Numbers Exhibit/Benefit in St. Louis, MO.

Paint by Numbers 2005 CD-ROM (note: it does not list VISTA as a platform)

Note: The paintings on this page are protected by copyright. All rights reserved by the copyright holder.

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