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OTHER ITA SITES:
Classical Paint by Numbers
When you were a kid did you use those paint by numbers projects? Many people have fond memories of paint by numbers. It hearkens back to their childhood and a more innocent time. Do you recall those pictures, with all the lines and the different numbers, and each number corresponded to a different color? I sure do, and they were great fun.
All of the colors came in a little package with the picture, and at the end you were supposed to get a picture that looked like the picture on the box or on the back of the package. It didn't usually work out that way, but I remember that I gave my best shot. For kids, these paint by numbers kits eventually got to the point where very little actual painting was needed, and soon just getting the paper a bit wet magically produced the color for you. There were a lot of take-up is on this concept and continues to be today. Kids can still get traditional paint by numbers kits though, and produce wonderful watercolor pictures of whatever subject matter is available.
In the 1950ís, though, this was considered to be an actual art form, every bit as valid as oil painting and sculpture. You could take classes in paint by numbers, and many hobbyists took up paint by numbers, painting very nice copies of other peopleís art and happily framing them or having them professionally framed and hanging them on the wall. They even had copies of the classics such as Picasso and Renoir.
People actually had jobs creating paint by numbers pictures, which must have been an interesting way to make a living. For those that used paint by numbers it was a wonderful way for some month otherwise would have limited artistic talent to create beautiful masterpieces.
Some individuals even honed their skills with the paint by numbers and became accomplished artists in their own rights, creating their own works of art. But the vast majority were simply more than happy to create whatever set up was included in and hang them proudly on their walls.
It was still an accomplishment in something that people enjoyed doing. It was a nice way to dabble, yet still having the certainty of knowing what your masterpiece would look like at the end. Believe it or not, paint by numbers pictures actually became rather popular and could be seen in many homes.
Paint by numbers allowed people to begin using their free time to do a craft. It was a wonderful way to pass the time and just great keepsakes. And just because the numbers were there, didnít always mean you had to follow them. Of course, paint by numbers artists were limited by the drawings that the cake came with, but that wasn't always the case. Many of the artists individualized their work by altering the picture slightly, perhaps blurring some of the lines, perhaps by omitting a part of the picture that they did not like. And of course having full discretion of which colors to use and where.
Paint by numbers was a rather fascinating phenomenon, and its popularity still surprises people even now. I know it surprised me. I always thought of it as something that small children did. Paint by numbers was nice though because it actually allowed the average person to create a wonderful work of art by their own hand.
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