In January, I stopped by a shop to find a puzzle. The employee suggested checking out their paint-by-numbers, which I did. My gramma always had them laying around when I was growing up so it reminded me of her. Why not? I’ve never really painted, but 2017 was to be a year of artistic creation, was it not? I did not really like any of the designs, but I settled on Railbirds.
Had I read reviews about it online first, I would have known about this issue, but my voice can be added to many others. First, the numbers in the chart do not match the numbers on the canvas. Second, there are two #10s and no #58 paint pot. And third, perhaps because it is part of their “artist collection”, the finished painting (particularly the birds) would just look like color blobs if you didn’t essentially toss out the concept of painting by numbers; maybe it is designed for people who want to paint with a level hard difficulty? (Or maybe that is how all paint-by-numbers are; I have never done one.) Oh, and fourth, some of the paints did not cover well at all, and I struggled covering up the printed lines at times.
I wrote to the company hoping they would send me a #58 paint pot. Instead, though months later, a package arrived in the mail containing two free products! Who knows if I will ever paint-by-numbers again, but it was certainly nice the company wanted to make up for my disappointment. I didn’t think companies did much of that anymore.
I began painting by following the numbers, and learned quickly that I hated painting that way. It made more sense to paint backgrounds and layer foregrounds than trying to go around little details. I completed the sky first, then the wooden fence. It was with that fence that I realized I had to scrap the idea of painting-by-numbers and just paint. Only, I did not know how to paint, so that was a bit of a learning lesson. Apparently, I took to it pretty quickly though. I am pretty proud of the result!
It took me five long months to make (because I also learned that I don’t prefer painting in general) and I gifted it to my mother-in-law who took the Master Naturalist class with me last year and fell in love with birds. That class now has helped me identify what I painted! Some are obvious, of course, like the Blue Jay:
Or the (Northern) Cardinal. But between the two is a Black-capped Chickadee and an American Goldfinch.
And on the other end is a Baltimore Oriole and an Eastern Bluebird.
I imagine the greenery to be grapes, though I have no idea in truth.
For now I have a love/hate relationship with painting. Sometimes it was cool and I felt the pride while working. But most of the time I found it boring and tedious. Yet, at the end, I am very proud of the final piece. I am curious to see how well I could do with an image that isn’t pre-printed on canvas….