Paint By Numbers – Oil on Canvas: Newb Alert

I guess a pandemic is a great time to try something new. Several years ago, I took a watercolor painting class with a friend of mine from work. I had a great time. We learned stuff. It was social.

I sucked, but I didn’t care.

So I decided to try some paint-by-numbers with acrylics. I found a bunch on Amazon, picked a painting I liked, and ordered it. For fun, I decided to take a picture every step of the way because, frankly, in the beginning everything just looks like spaghetti.

So here’s the progression. Enjoy! 19 different colors of paint on a 16×20 canvas.

By the way, the painting I chose has special significance, which I’ll explain at the bottom.

Two colors – barely could see the promise
Ooooo green. I get trees are in here
Loved the vibrant blues
Some deeper blues – starting to come together (ish)
More blues – ok now I”m getting fatigued on blue
How much more blue can there possibly be? Tough because the lightest blue required several coats
Oh thank goodness, something new. Ooo…like brick!
WOW that’s some orange – I’m beginning to get excited
Ok this is feeling like a painting now
Carpal tunnel, but more shades of brown/orange
Suddenly the painting has depth. Holy smokes, when did that happen?
Now we’re moving into the yellows
Feeling like an almost artist
What is that, lime green? Whatever works.
Now the pale grays and touch-ups. And all the numbers I missed along the way.
Finished!! I love it!!!

Finished product. Mostly. I have a few items I want to go back and darken up (if you really look closely you can see the numbers if the color is particularly light.

Significance of this painting explained: The setting reminds me of Amsterdam and that is where my husband and I traveled to for our honeymoon over 20 years ago. So since Valentines Day is coming up, I thought I would surprise him. The couple in the center just reminded me of us. And the colors were just so darn vibrant.

All told, the entire process took about a week. A few hours in the evening and a few hours on the weekends.

Since our cat passed away a few weeks ago, this was a surprisingly effective way at distracting me from the sorrow (while I focused on painting within the lines) and also is a great way to reduce stress from work, life, COVID, what-have-you. Also, since I walked away from social media, this felt like a great use of my time and energy and – at the end of it – I didn’t feel like I’d just wasted hours surfing. I had a painting to hang up!

I wish I could paint like this naturally, but I can’t. As a “check-box-er”, I like to do step-by-step / bite-sized projects, which is also why I like making bath products. Simple and can be done in an afternoon. Admittedly, this was much more involved, but it was time-consuming, not complicated. (And it came framed, which was nice.)

The kit comes with practically everything you need, but…..

I picked up lighted magnifying glasses (after I found the magnifying light was too cumbersome), a desktop easel, some paint brushes (in case I hated the ones the kit came with), and an artist brush basin so I could rinse my brushes between colors.

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