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April 18, 2019

Plotting Princesses - Vicki Batman: I Failed at Painting #paintbynumbers #MFRWauthor #shortstories

I like to think I’m something of a creative person. After all, I write books and short stories. I stitch needlepoint and embroider. I can do lots of things. But I can’t paint.

Every morning, I work out, come home and have a bit of breakfast while perusing the paper. Last week in the metro section at the top of the page, I saw an obit for Dan Robbins followed by the heading “Artist created first paint-by-numbers pictures.”

I had to read the whole obituary to learn more about Mr. Robbins and paint-by-numbers. He developed his idea based on an inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci. He remembered “Leonardo used numbered background patterns for his students and apprentices.” He decided to try that too.

His boss hated it but saw potential. Mr. Robbins created landscapes, horses, puppies, and kitties.

Sales reached at peak at 20 million in 1955.

I remember going to the five and dime stores and seeing the kits. I tried once. Lousy. I didn’t have a good steady hand for painting.

Nowadays, I’ve seen finished paintings at flea markets and antique malls. Some are pretty good. I searched the internet and found many places where one can purchase a kit. I even found a museum:

Not long ago, I went to an event where an instructor taught a class in how to paint a specific painting. She really broke down the elements and I enjoyed what I’d done immensely. The most interesting thing happened after we broke for lunch. At the back of the room, I turned and looked at the tables topped with paintings. All were different. Just like the artists.

Were you bitten by the “paint-by-numbers” bug?

Here's my creative bit--Just Desserts...and other stories: