Paint By Numbers Abstract Art

Feeling inspired after reading the lovely Lauren’s awesome post on the Benefits Of Art & Creativity On Mental Health, I decided I wanted to do something arty and creative over the weekend. (Also, whilst you are on Lauren’s blog, go read all her latest posts, she has absolutely rocked National Stationery Week!).

As Lauren says, completing an art project or a creative activity can give a sense of achievement which leads to a boost in self-esteem. It releases dopamine, raises mood and helps us feel good. I love being creative, but sometimes I just want to go with the flow and not worry too much about the outcome. Paint By Numbers is perfect for this so I treated myself to the most colourful cat I could find on Amazon. 

The kit arrived the next day (no surprise, I paid for next day delivery) and it included 27 little pots of paint, 3 brushes, a photo of the multicoloured cat and a folded canvas. After having to figure out how to use an iron, iron the material and back it onto a board using double sided sticky tape, I was ready to get painting!

The best thing about this kit is that you don’t need to mix any paints! All the colours you will need are here, you just need to grab a pot, look for the numbers and get started. Yes, there are about a million tiny numbers and you will start seeing them in your sleep, but it’s worth it. Do it for the pretty cat.

I have done a couple of Paint By Number’s projects before, here and here, so I knew this was going to take some time and commitment.  In total, this took me 12 hours over the Bank Holiday weekend including tea and snack breaks. It’s one of those things, where once you focus and get into the zone, time just flies by.

My approach was simple – use all the pretty pastel colours first and save the darker colours for the end.

If colourful cats are not your thing, then there are plenty of different canvas designs available. Take a look at this adorable puppy, vibrant lion, decorative giraffe and magical deer – which one would you choose?

Painting by numbers is great because anyone can do it – you don’t need to be an artist to enjoy painting. 

You don’t even need to be too neat and if you make a mistake? Who cares? It just adds to the creativity! 

Painting is supposed to be super relaxing, but at some stages I thought to myself: AM I EVER GOING TO FINISH THIS?! Then I remembered, don’t focus on the bigger picture, take it one step at a time. And it’s true, looking too far ahead can be overwhelming. Just keep moving forward at your own pace and eventually you’ll get to where you want to be. There are your words of wisdom for today, thank you self-help books.

I love that you can switch off, forget the world around you and just create something pretty.

In the end, I wasn’t too strict with matching the colours to the numbers. I had fun adding splashes of colour here and there and making the picture my own. Just go with the flow – creativity is all about breaking the rules sometimes and trying something different. There are no mistakes with abstract art, go crazy!

Here is my finished colourful cat canvas – it’s amazing to think this started out as a ridiculous amount of tiny little numbers and now it’s burst to life with just 27 colours! This project is such a great way to spend some time away from the screens, slow down and create your own colourful abstract artwork to be proud of.

Have you tried painting by numbers? What is your favourite way to switch off? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

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5 Ways Creativity Improves Mental Health

The link between creativity and mental health has always fascinated me. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed getting creative, whether that is through scrapbooking, drawing, writing, digital design, photography, I’m happiest when I’m making something. I’ve also been through periods in my life where I’ve suffered badly with depression. But whether I am feeling good or bad, I’ve always found that getting arty and crafty goes a long way in boosting my mood and making me feel a little brighter. So today I thought I’d share with you some ways which creativity has and continues to improve my mental health.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying just pick up a paintbrush instead of getting professional help. If you struggle with depression, speaking to your doctor is the first step in getting the right treatment for you.

1.  Re-focuses the mind

Doing something creative is a great way to distract yourself from overthinking and worrying. If my mind is swimming with negative and anxious thoughts, I tend to pick up a colouring book and focus on making the pages bright and colourful. It’s the perfect activity to release stress and calm the mind.

If you don’t want to think too much, there are even Colour By Numbers books to help you switch off completely. Tracing Books are another therapeutic way to de-stress and unwind.

2. Enables self-expression

Sometimes when we feel depressed, it is hard to articulate how we feel and open up to others. Writing in a journal is a fantastic way to try and make sense of thoughts, feelings and emotions. It puts worries and anxieties into perspective, as leaving words on paper means there is less chatter going on in your mind.

The mental health charity, Mind, have created a beautiful Wellbeing Journal which includes colouring pages, writing prompts and activities to inspire creativity and express yourself a little more freely.

3. Gives A Sense Of Achievement

Making something from nothing is such a rewarding and satisfying feeling. It is a sure way to enhance your mood and you don’t have to be a talented artist to be creative. You can get a kit for anything and everything these days so you can get making something straight away without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I’ve made Unicorn Confetti Cupcakes, Choc Marshmallow Cookies and Rainbow Cakes all from different baking kits. If baking is not your thing, how about a Paint By Numbers kit or a Card Making kit.

4. Less Screen Time

Whatever your creative pursuit, whether it is baking, playing guitar, writing, painting, gardening, sewing, it means less time in front of the screens, which is a good thing (unless you watch TV at the same time, hah). You are creating your own positive mood, rather than letting the TV or internet tell you how to feel.

5. Inspires New Ideas

When we feel down, it is hard to feel enthusiastic and think too far into the future. But creativity inspires creativity and the more we do, the more our ideas will flow, discovering different projects to try and new skills to learn. If I have something creative to look forward to, my day always feels that bit brighter.

I find scrapbooking is a great place to start to get those creative juices flowing. Why not have a flick through a magazine and see what inspires you, maybe there is a new recipe or craft you could try?

Have you found that creativity has improved your mental health? What are your favourite creative hobbies? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

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