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"EVERY MAN A REMBRANDT"
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THE UNFINISHED WORK OF PAINT BY NUMBER, 1960-2001
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Post a Reminiscence

I am painting once a week with my father who is in end stage Alzheimer's. I do not have any artistic talent and have relied on color books and paint by number kits for inspiration and help. I have to find the simplest drawings for he can not follow complicated color schemes. It is a joy to be able to sit with him and enjoy an activity even though he can no longer communicate in personal terms. It brings me happiness that I can do something with him at his level. Paint by Number gives my father honor and dignity because others see his work and are impressed. His workers are amazed at how well he does and see him with greater skill than what he generally present to them. Inside there is still an individual with character and life. Paint by Number lets others see it too.

LaVelle Grandy-Brown
Salem, OR
November 5, 2004

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IAt the ripe old age of two and a half, I believed my mother must be the finest painter in the world. I loved to watch her paint—by number of course. That was a rare treat because my nap time was her painting time. When she painted her eyes would light up and she would sing softly. My joy came from watching her. Just remembering can bring the smell of the oil paint to me today. It is the smell of family and love.

One afternoon I was to be upstairs napping. Instead I crawled out of my crib when I heard my Aunt Elizabeth arrive to visit with my mother. I could smell the oil paints, now waiting unattended on the table for young hands to dabble in their texture and color. I can still remember wearing my little cross-over white tee shirt, by now beautifully embellished with multiple colors of paint. What I have never forgotten however was the look on my mothers face when she walked into the room. There I sat, on my knees, on the dining room chair, painting, without numbers, all over the canvas.

Although she never got to finish that picture there were many others. Each painting had a place of honor in our basement family room. Over the years I heard many stories told by guests in that room reliving their experiences with paint by number kits.

A few years ago my fourteen year old step-daughter received a gift from her Grandfather. When the wrapping paper came off she politely thanked him for the present. She tried to explain to him that she wasn't very artistic but she would try. He told her it was okay. All she had to do was paint by the numbers.

Shelley Appler-Lovell
January 3, 2005

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While going through my dad's (he's 82) family collectibles, I came across this 18x24 paint by number picture. The only thing I know about this picture is that it came from Wisconsin, and a friend of my grandfathers painted it. I now have this picture in my possession and it hangs in my home above the fireplace. It's like it was painted specifically for our cabin living room, and my dad was so glad to pass it on, as in get rid of it. That's all I know about this paint by number picture.

Phyllis
January 26, 2005

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Yes I have a very old set of 3 paintings paint by numbers they were painted by a gentlemen who died he painted them over in Australia and sent them to his wife . . . she gave these to me before she got really sick. And they are in frame and beautiful . . . she lived in Australia for long time then they moved here. I was wondering where I could find some info and price list on them they are paintings of Jesus one he is standing holding the cross and another he is holding a lamb and standing by it and the small one goes in middle he is sitting on a hill looking out. They all in mint condition and all go together . . . thank you

Kathy Colbroth
February 6, 2005

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I received two PBN kits for Christmas, both at the beginner’s level. They really gave me a lot of enjoyment doing them. Now I'm working on a larger, much more complex, scene with neat houses and mountains. I've got a new hobby and it keeps me out of the bars. By the way, I'm 63 years old. A business man with two companies with income in the six figures.

February 16, 2005

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Not much to do in rural SW Louisiana. My brother and I would sit down and spend hours painting “The Horse and The Indian with a huge headdress.” We loved anything western! Yes, I too can smell the oil paints just thinking about this wonderful pastime.
I recently came across a box of paint-by-number framed pictures at an auction in Arizona. What fun.

I too can smell the oil as we sat at the kitchen table and Painted “The Horse” and “The Indian Chief.” Oh to have those days back of easy, slow living. I recently won a whole box of PBN framed pictures and they brought back fond memories.

Jo and Jerome Copeland
Chiefland, Florida
February 22, 2005

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I think the paint by numbers, and even “draw by numbers” I've seen (which are the same pictures but with pencils) are a great intro to art.

The art store I visit here in Toronto has it all lined up. Right next to the paint by numbers is the final step, a full sized canvas that is only sketched out. That is there is a picture on it they have obviously drawn on the canvas. Now you have to mix paint and do the rest.

I'm just about ready to try a few of these, and then one day, maybe even do it all myself.

Robert Foerster
Web Project Coordinator
Ministry of Education/ Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities
April 13, 2005

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My husband gave me the two paint-by-number kits that started me on my way; I still have the two main "paint by number" paintings that I did in 1959-1960. They are pictures of Emmett Kelley the sad faced clown. They are framed and until a few years ago hung in our family room. Strangely enough, I was watching TV and saw these same paintings hung in the living room of one of the houses that the detectives visited. We all were pointing and shouting. We could not believe it. Guess that I wasn't the only one who painted those pictures. I did learn not to actually paint-by- number by starting with #1 and continuing with 2, 3, 4, etc. The pictures turned out better if I chose the numbers pictured in the background and work my way forward. The paintings looked less like paint-by-number paintings that way. I did start on a Last Supper paint-by-number painting a year later but I never finished it because the addition of a fifth child in our family took up all of my time. Those kits were a lot of fun. The manufacturer stood behind their product and would send replacement pots of paint when needed. Guess those kits are now part of the history of fun art in our country.

Geri Scheitlin
June 23, 2005

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While looking on the web I found your address requesting information on Paint
By Number sets.

My late husband was an employee of Craftint Mfg. Co., in Cleveland, Ohio. They first came out with the sets in 1953. He was sent throughout the country establishing accounts to promote this new item and sell it. He was largely responsible for the growth of the company and the spread of this new hobby.

I, as a young wife and mother, painted many of them--but only half. This way there were samples to give to customers to show what they looked like. I also earned extra money for my household.

He was with the company until his untimely death in 1968.

Greta Katz Malkin
September 25, 2005

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I have recently come across your web site. The site is nicely done, however there are some very important details left out. Although the paint set was discovered by Dan Robbins and marketed by the palmer pan company, there was not much success until my father, Anthony Anton and Anthony Donifrio purchased the Palmer Pan company and all the rights, after which the paint by number took off. The paint by number by the late 1980s, was selling around 15 million sets a year all over the world. The company was sold in the late 90s, with an estimated annual sale of about 35 million dollars. Both my father and Donifrio have passed since that time. I would like to see more credit given to these guys. if not for them the paint by number would be just another patent #.

Thanks
Anthony D. Anton
October 14, 2005

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I did paint by number kits as a child in the early sixties and loved it. I cannot draw or paint. I am just not gifted that way. But the kits allowed me to have a creative outlet anyway. I fondly remember the kits and the hours of enjoyment and pleasure I got from them. So much pleasure in fact, that I will be finishing my "lady with a flower hat" kit by tomorrow. I am 51 years old, a wife of 32 years, a mother of a 24 year old and a successful author or technical reference manuals. This allows me a creative outlet and I don't mind admitting it. In fact, I even use my own colors and vary the kit a little each time to make it my own.

Sincerely
Vicki M. Lambert
October 22, 2005

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In high school during the 1960's I struggled with depression. A paint by numbers hobby was thought to be helpful in some way. A gift box contained two canvas boards. I don't remember the pictures. I painted over one creating a vibrating question mark. The other I threw in the trash.

October 23, 2005

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I well remember Paint by Numbers! My mother gave me a kit for Christmas one year...I was about 12 or 13, which would have been in 1957 or 1958. The kit contained two scenes of streets in Paris. I started painting one but became discouraged because it was taking so long. My mother then finished the paintings . . . my grandmother was from France so the Paris scenes appealed to my mother. She then framed them and hung them
up in the living room. They were there when she died in 1991.

I can still remember the smell of the oil paints in the kits.

Elaine Somoza
Clearwater FL
December 15, 2005

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