I took an art class. No big deal. Unless, like me, you can’t draw and find yourself in a class with a renowned artist as teacher and gallery worthy artists as classmates. In other words, outclassed and outperformed. But I don’t surrender easily and worked hard at sketching out in the midday sun and trying to work through problems. On the fourth day, an exhibit of student work was planned. I visited every other class to admire the work. When I returned, people had offered positive responses to my efforts.Not having time to think about it, I had scheduled a tour of the dunes for sunset.I hurried to the office and claimed a seat in the jeep. As soon as we entered the dunes, I could feel all those comparisons and concerns drift away on the wind. The dunes moved and changed in the wind, always to appear more beautiful and mysterious. More layers to a personality.The sunset was the reminder that the day’s trials ended and the time to give thanks and savor the light had arrived.I wanted to stand on the beach in that tiny pool of light until I absorbed the lesson.
Tag Archives: Visual Arts
Entering the Lovin’ Spoonful Cafe in Clarksville, TN, I stand speechless (and that doesn’t happen often!). Transported back to my childhood and the smell of oil paint in our New York apartment , I can see my dad carefully painting by numbers. There’s the old mill, a German Shepherd, and the Asian farmer hanging proudly on the walls and surrounded by hundreds of others.I can’t wait to explore , but given that it’s past lunch time , the tempting aromas lead us to sit at a table presided over by a fifties Blackamoor lamp. Other tables sported fifties and sixties pieces of Tupperware and kitsch.
The menu is an eclectic mix of comfort food and current trends.Green Goddess dressing for my salad and a chicken asparagus casserole make time travel possible. While waiting for the food, I rush to emptying tables to examine and shoot photos of the paintings. My friend and I reminisce over which ones we remember.
The food was wonderful and I was tempted by a dessert that described itself as having a 60’s secret sauce, but I was more curious about the paintings. Having adopted Memphis as home for the past years, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an Elvis paint by number displayed . After searching, I eventually found it.
As we left, I realized I knew next to nothing about paint by number paintings and needed to learn more. Dave Robbins is credited with creating Paint by Numbers kits for a toy show in 1951. In an interview with Egg on PBS, Robbins said the idea came from a process used by Leonardo Da Vinci to help his students develop their design skills and to complete large paintings. Robbins never expected the idea to become a cultural icon – so much so, that in 2001-02, the Smithsonian Museum of American History held an exhibit of paint by number paintings. Dave Robbins also didn’t expect the controversy that arose as to whether the kits were art or craft. Packaged and presented as craft, affordable to a large segment of the public, people did see them as their masterpieces. He also was surprised that the Last Supper was the overall biggest seller. There was more than one at the restaurant.
The paintings have regained popularity today with collectors and artists. There is a Paint By Numbers Online Museum at which you can view, search or learn more about the paintings.I came across an Alice and the Mad Hatter painting at an antique mall and was able to determine the date and manufacturer.
Artists have also used the paintings for inspiration or as part of new creative work. One such artist is Trey Speegle. His collection is large and there is an interview available with him as well.
In case you want to create your own pieces, a blog, Under the Sycamore Tree , offers a DIY tutorial on how to change old Goodwill prints into paint by number type art. Using acrylic paints , it will certainly smell better. and looks like fun. If you want no mess, there are several APPS, one is Fingerpaint by Number for iPhone and iPad. I found the iPad version easier to manipulate.
It’s amazing how now I am seeing Paint by Number pieces almost everywhere I turn. I learned that the Alice is much less expensive on Ebay, only $ 5.00, but that the Asian Farmer is $115.00. Maybe I should start a collection?
By the way, the Green Goddess dressing dates back to 1923 in San Francisco and the Palace Hotel. The chef created it to honor an actor, George Arliss, who was starring in a production of The Green Goddess.