Paint by Number Art

Vintage Painting Now a Retro Trend

Do you remember spending rainy days creating beautiful artwork with your paint-by-number kit? The outside of the box pictured the painting you hoped to create, and the kit came complete with all the necessary paint colors, paintbrushes, and a canvas board with shapes drawn in pale blue. Inside each shape was a number that indicated which color it was to be painted according to the numbers on the paint provided. Anyone could be an artist with paint-by-number kits! And with myriads of pictures to choose from in a range of difficulty levels, paint by number was considered by some a relaxing artistic activity or hobby, and by others - serious artists - a means of learning the finer techniques of how to paint on their way to an illustrious career.

Paint-by-number kits are back in style! The truth is, they never really went anywhere, as these one-of-a-kind art projects have long been found in hobby huts, craft shops, thrift stores, and online. However the popularity of America's favorite 1950s pastime is on the rise as the paint-by-number phenomenon is appearing in many modern homes - on living room walls or as wall murals in children's bedrooms. Today's kits use acrylic as well as oil paints and the range of picture selections has grown in both sophistication and variety.

Benefits of Painting by Number

In addition to the great feeling of accomplishment you'll have from proudly hanging your own piece of artwork on the wall, here are some of the many benefits of painting by number:

•- Everything needed to complete the project is contained in one affordable kit

•- Easy-to-follow instructions even for children

•- Fun, easy way to dabble in painting for beginners

•- Creative way to pass time free time or long rainy days

•- Relaxing hobby

•- Practice at coloring "between the lines" and inside intricate designs

•- Portable art project to take on the road (for the cottage or vacation destination)

•- Clear vision of what your masterpiece will look like in the end

•- Allows the average person to create works of art by their own hand

•- Way for budding artists to hone their painting skills

•- Way for inexperienced painters to fulfill their artistic fantasies

•- Creative outlet for people who don't have the time, means, or patience to study art formally

History of Paint by Number

The artist Dan Robbins is credited with the very first paint-by-number picture in 1950, entitled "Abstract No. 1," which is still considered a valued collectible item by enthusiasts today. Partnering with the Palmer Paint Company and its owner, Max Klein, Dan Robbins went on to produce many more paint-by-number pictures, setting off an artistic craze which swept the country. With slogans such as "Now Everyone Can Be an Artist," "Every Man a Rembrandt," and advertisements promising professional results without formal training, paint-by-number rapidly ascended the charts as America's number one leisure activity. However paint by number wasn't only a trivial hobby; in the 1950s paint by number was considered a real art form along with sculpting and oil painting. One could take art classes in paint by number and many artists availed of this ingenious methodology to create their own Monet, Picasso, and Renoir copies.

Paint-by-Number Tips and Tricks

Here are some great tips and tricks to help enhance your paint-by-number masterpiece creations:

•- When selecting a paint-by-number design, consider whether you are looking for an artistic challenge or simply an aid to make your own wall art. With the array of paint-by-number designs available - i.e., detailed landscapes or simple dogs and cats - some projects are much more difficult than others

•- Instead of following the numbers exactly as indicated on the canvas, be creative and play with the colors or mix a new color of your own

•- Try individualizing the painting with slight alterations such as blurring some lines, using different shading, et cetera

•- For more detailed paint-by-number designs, invest in a special fine artist's brush

•- Keep a cup of water on hand for washing your brush between colors, as well a rag for wiping your brush and a painting tray

•- Finally, don't forget to frame the finished product and proudly display your paint-by-number work of art!