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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

We still have two paint by number kits decorating our wall. They’ve been displayed in our living room for almost 30 years. I found them in a local store in Dubuque, Iowa. I’d never seen Norman Rockwell paint by number kits. The painting of the small girl and the doctor and one called the flagpole sitter took me almost six months to paint. I painted a third but it was lost in a move. Perhaps someone knows the history of these kits.

Dan Bowman
January 14, 2003

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Good morning, I’ve heard of an organization that will take the photo you provide and turn
it into a paint-by-numbers drawing. I thought this would be a great gift. Have you guys ever heard of this. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Marx Wolf
January 23, 2003

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I’m 49, and loved paint-by-number when I was a kid. I always aspired to the biggest canvas with the most colors. I always thought doing a “Waterlilies” or “Irises” would be fabulous. If those weren’t available, I was sure it would be only a matter of time. Being Catholic, I wasn’t keen on
the “Last Supper” because I saw it everywhere. Now that I’m retired, I would love to resume the hobby, but the subjects available are pretty poor. Is a company planning to manufacture the good
stuff? Wal-Mart has a paltry supply but I contacted the company’s local distributor who only had a pair of watercolor puppies that caught my eye. I’m ashamed to admit the kit contains twelve colors.

When I painted, I felt talented. I bragged that I didn’t wait for colors to dry, giving a better flow to the line. Since schools can’t afford to offer the arts, it’s a shame kids don’t create anything after kindergarten crayons.

February 12, 2003

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My grandmother in her older years took up pairnting by numbers and believe it or not she did appx. 150 paintings by number the company at the time wanted to do a interview w/ her but she declined ,the comapny she ordered painting from was Master Craft I think and we have some of those pictures in our house now – pink lay and blue boy – but she also did some pictures that were huge. Unfortunately a lot of them were burned in a fire in storage after she past. Through out the family all of us have some of her work including the Last Supper. She must have done that picture at least 4 times.

Thanks
Bob Keefer
February 15, 2003

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I too have been a kit painter. This led me to use all the leftover colors to create original paintings. I now have an associate of art degree that was in some respect from my need to paint. While the kits were restrictive they did spark my need for art that continues today. I sometimes use ART WHEN I WORKWITH MY CLIENTS!

I am a staff psychotherapist at a womens maximum security prison.

Thanks for listening.

Lanelle
February 18, 2003

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To whom it may concern: I have absolutely enjoyed this website. I was a product of the 50s and had my paint by numbers box of canvas boards like so many other kids. I can’t say that I finished any of them, but they were fun. For me they opened a window for the exploration of art. I never considered them as a part of my decision to become an art teacher, but as I look back . . . they might have played a role. As an artist, art teacher, I abhore the idea of paint by numbers . . . from an educational and artist’s point of view, but this exhibit, forces me to think again, because they might have been more of an influence than I’ve given them credit. Interesting to ponder.

Thanks for this research and exploration.

Mrs. Sharyn Bieber
February 24, 2003


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I was born in 1945 and as a small child remember my mother painting by number. She did a series of Emette Kelly (small) pictures and two larger ballerina pictures for my bedroom. She is 86 now and I have given her a paint by number to work on. I am doing one also with her. I do alot of original watercolors and truly love to paint. I never tried a paint by number but I think I’m HOOKED. My interest and taste are for the classic reproductions -- where can I get kits of these? I am searching the web as we speak. I was amazed by the story of the White House staff doing paint by numbers. I worked for the FBI 1965-1966 and was excited to see the one by J. Edgar Hoover (smile).

Brenda Staresnick
March 1, 2003

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My father used to travel a lot when I was a child. Whenever he went out of town for quite a while he would always bring me back a present. One time he brought me a paint by number set of the Last Supper. I had done many paint by numbers before but this would prove to be the toughest yet! I worked on it on and off for about 3 years until it was finally completed. My parents
were very pleased when I presented them with the finished product for their anniversary gift. They had it framed and it hung in the dining room for many years. Now my parents are both gone but I still have that Last Supper painting and it now hangs in my dining room. I have wonderful memories of working on paint by numbers. My children are teenagers now but when they
were younger they also did a few paint by numbers. Unfortunately, they were not as excited as I was. But then again we didn’t have video games, etc. when I was a kid so I loved the paint by numbers. I’m glad to see it’s making a comeback!

Donna
Gilbert, AZ
March 6, 2003

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I just spent about 45 minutes looking at your Paint by Numbers Online Exhibit. As a child I remember my grandmother painstakingly painting by numbers. This was in the early sixties. Your exhibit tells of the pride individuals had when they completed their work. I know my grandmother particularly was enamored with her work and did have it framed and hung. All of her children received her paint by number pictures for Christmas. Ours hung over our piano. I only wish my parents still had it just for old times sake. Thank you for the walk down memory lane.

Karen Barrett
March 8, 2003

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My mother painted a pair of French looking ladies in 1958. She signed and dated them.
I have them hanging in the living room of my new townhouse and just love them. She is gone now, and everyday I look at them and smile. I am sure, wherever her spirit is, she is very
happy that I have them up for all to enjoy. However, I must admit, most people do not know what they are.

Nancy L. Schindler
Vienna, VA
March 9, 2003

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At one point in my parents’ lives they were having a hard time emotionally (maybe from having 6 children?). This would have been in the early-mid 1950s. Anyway, the doctor recommended my father start doing Paint-by-numbers. That’s all I know about the story, but I thought it was interesting that this is what the doctor would have recommended for mental relaxation.

April 11, 2003

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I lived in Michigan in the 50s and did PBN as a child. Then last year I started collecting the old ones. Then I decided to do one from Craft House myself with oils - what a mess. Could someone please tell me the tricks to doing a nice paint by number. My paint is globbed and I can’t make fine lines.

Thanks.
Suellen
April 12, 2003

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I purchased two swan paint by number paintings and completed them and gave them to my mom to hang in the bathroom. I enjoyed doing it and was proud of my work. I was probably 10. Later I discovered sewing and spent a lot of time on that. My mother threw them away when I was at college. They hung in the bathroom for years.

I wonder how many other mothers could not wait to trash their offspring’s efforts.

Maureen Hinueber
April 26, 2003


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Hello, I am an artist/art teacher born in 1950. I did paint by numbers when I was a little girl growing up in Detroit. Today I have continued by painting over photographs in the same style. I received my masters in art/photography and after 35 years am still painting over photos. My website is maclancyphotos.com Paint by numbers remain my first and favorite connection to the art world.

Marianne Clancy

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The Unfinished Work | Post-a-Reminiscence | Bibliography, Links & Credits