Paint by Numbers Home

Post a Reminiscence


Yes - Like many others we were into the "Paint by Numbers", and had done quite a few- we looked for a long time for the English coach scenes, we thought they would be the ultimate -- finally found them in Brantford, Ontario. By then my husband had gone back to university (at night) and I was able to do all four of them by myself. All four of them hung for many years in our home only to be replaced by a beautiful "John Barber" print of the Chesapeake bay. 

We still have the coach scenes - don't have the heart to throw them out even after all these years. 

Richmond, VA 
June 1, 2001


When I was growing up in the 50s, my parents would give my sister and me paint-by-number kits for Christmas. We would enthusiastically attack them with paint and brush and usually have them completed by the end of Christmas vacation. Hmmm, was this painting by number or baby-sitting by number? It kept us quiet and out of Mom's way for that week between Christmas and back to school. 

I do remember the pride in beginning to blend and blur the lines to get a softer look. I also remember being bored by the endless gray tones in a winter snow scene one year. My taste ultimately turned to the abstract, so I don't feel I was harmed by the paint-by-number experience. Now there's a subject for another study-how many paint-by-number "artists" ended up preferring abstract art? Is there a correlation? Is there cause?

Two of the paint-by-number paintings our parents had framed and hung over their mantle until sold at their estate sale in 1996. The two paintings were both scenes of rustic barns, and neither my sister nor I wanted them for our homes. Happily, a lady came by the estate sale and bought them to hang in her B & B. 

Linda Beason Hax 
Sacramento, California 
June 4, 2001


I recall with pleasure the finding of a set of light-houses Paint by Number. Having watched our favorite daughter Diane Ruth with art projects and her attention to detail, we gifted her with these. It seems she was about 12 years old at the time. They are in our living room and bring me great joy! Thank you for the other shared notes. Diane's "mute" though no e-mail address feel free to use for info. 

anon, please
June 6, 2001


I've taken the "craft" up again after 35 years. I'm guessing, that the last "paint by numbers" kit I had was in 1965. But I've had a yearning to do the kits again and I finally found one 3 weeks ago. As simplistic and "stupid" as others may find it, I want to continue... which lead me to your site (#1 hit on the Google search list.) I'm looking for kits. Any sources you happen to know of would be appreciated. And Thanks. I have to come down there and see this exhibition!!! 

N. Fuchs 
June 8, 2001


We were married in 1953 and started out on an Airman 2nd Class salary. Not having much money, the paint-by-number pictures were hung with great pride on our walls. There was a sense of accomplishment in completing the pictures that spoke to the would-be artist in me. 

I wish I still had those pictures - your article brought back many fond memories. 

Shirley Bumbalough 
Roanoke, Texas 
June 14, 2001


Paint by number may have saved my sanity. 

In the fall of 1956 my husband took on a new job in Houston. Not knowing the city or anyone, we spent the first month there living in a motel. I had no TV, radio and with a 6month old child, had only one room to stay in. The big treat of the day was a walk to the office to get a coke from the machine. 

After one week I knew I had to do something. On our trip to the grocery store I saw these boxes of paint by number kits which had two pictures each. Well, that was the start of a hobby that led to art lessons, art school, teaching art and living art. I guess I painted every picture on the market at that time. I do not think it was a mindless action, I felt it sparked my own natural creativity and I cannot tell you how much these Paint by Number kits meant to me. I thank the man who came up with the idea and STILL enjoy doing one now and then. 

Gwendolyn Gillaspia 
June 14, 2001


I have two paint by number pictures on a hard board and painted with acrylics of the "Blue Boy' and "The Old Man of the Sea" or "The Fisherman." These are large pictures. I would like to know the history of these pictures, if you know it, and about when they would have been painted. Thank you, 

Emma Yankauskas 
June 16, 2001


My wife just returned from Washington, D.C. where she picked up a beginner's paint-by-numbers set from your gift shop. They must be popular sellers as it was the only one on the shelf - a teddy bear in a hat holding some flowers. Our four year old daughter just completed it today, her first attempt at painting. The look of accomplishment on her face was priceless. Thanks for the memory. 

Bruce Combs 
Honolulu, HI 
June 19, 2001


I read the beautiful article in our local newspaper today, and knew I had to get my memory in there. I've been on the computer for 1.5 hours remembering when, 1951-2 we had a project for home economics class. I had always wanted a horse, knowing I would never own one. I chose a 12" x17" metal serving tray with the head of a race horse, that covered about a 10 by14 area of the tray as my project. I enjoyed it so much I went back and bought a wastebasket of the same scene. Till this day I have the wastebasket in my bedroom, and the tray is a catchall in my dining area. The funniest part of that was, in the 1970's we were in Mt. Jewitt, PA. We stopped at an old hardware store and I found 2 more wastebaskets that were in their original boxes, and must have been 20 years old. I had a friend freehand paint the flower pattern that was on the baskets. The owner of the store only charged me 2.99 for each basket. He was overjoyed to sell them. The quality of the metal was heavy duty metal, the baskets were 12 inches high and a 10" oval opening. I would really like to see the exhibit live. 

Thanks for the chance to remember. 

Annette Himmelstein 
Baden, PA 
June 20, 2001


I did a lot of the paint-by-numbers growing up in the 60s. My mother still has a large (24"x36"?) of "Pinkie" that I painted, hanging in her bedroom for 40 years. I always meant to do "Blue Boy" to go with it. Recently I saw clock kits and did one for a friend's present. My daughter watched me doing it and wanted to do a paint-by-number too. We looked in a couple craft catalogs and checked a few craft stores but could find very little. I enjoyed the museum's e-exhibit and was thrilled to discover the links to online paint-by-number kits. My daughter and I are gonna be a-painting now! 

Northern Idaho 
June 21, 2001


I am from Québec, Canada. Please excuse my English. I used to paint by number in the 1950s and I think that it was a very good and beautiful pastime. I remember giving some of my paintings to my friends and they thought I had a great talent but the only thing you needed was to be patient and careful, and you made a beautiful painting. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for the memory. 

Andre Mercure 
June 22, 2001


As I'm typing this note to you, I have before me my one and only paint-by-number framed painting. It has a cottage, a canal, a boat and about ten trees in the painting. I do not have a name for the masterpiece. However, it was framed in a gold frame by my father. On the back of the painting I have my name (not on the front as a true artist) and 7th grade written. I was born in 1939 in Pennsylvania and remember painting at a card table in our livingroom while home sick during a snow storm. This painting hung in my parents game room for all those years until two years ago when their home was sold. I now have it "hiding" in a closet. Thanks for the exhibit and web site. I'd love to get to the exhibit. 

Sewickley, Pa.
June 23, 2001


Thanks for the memories! 

As a new Associate Resident Member, I was delighted to learn of your Paint by Number exhibit. Yesterday I dragged my husband onto the Blue Line Metro for the express purpose of visiting this gallery. I was not disappointed. Born in 1949, I reached age 12 at the precise moment PBN was in full bloom. I spent countless hours painstakingly applying paint to board (and countless others cleaning it off my wrist.... paint took longer to dry than I realized at that tender age). Apparently, I was in good company: Dwight Eisenhower, J. Edgar Hoover and Ethel Merman shared my enthusiasm. So there, critics of PBN . . . 

This mandates a call to my mother in California to inquire if any of my masterpieces still exist in the recesses of her garage. Perhaps the walls of my suburban Washington D.C. apartment will yet be graced with exact replicas of three which hang on the wall of a Smithsonian Museum. And so I shall be the envy of my associates! 

Kathleen Setina-Herbert 
Alexandria VA 
June 24, 2001


Paint-by-number was my first experience with oil paints. It sparked the interest. Since then I have become an oil artist doing mostly landscapes but also doing other paintings. Some of these have sold. Most have gone to friends and relatives who thought them "great." For me, paint-by-number (of my pet dog) was entry into the world of art and world of imaginative painting. 

Marsha Rogers 
June 29, 2001




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