Paintings

Paint By Numbers

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I did paint-by-numbers work when I was younger. It’s a wonderful way to train yourself without getting bogged down in the details that would otherwise thwart you from doing something with art.

Dan Robbins, the inventor of the paint-by-numbers kits, has died aged 93. 

His kits inspired generations of budding artists to pick up a paintbrush and create multi-coloured wonders. Here, BBC News website readers share their artwork and stories about how the method helped them.

I would have guessed that these things were much, much older and dated from the Victorian era. But, no. Robbins invented them in the 1950s.

Here’s why I mention this:

Painting-by-numbers literally saved my life when I had a breakdown last year. 

I could barely function and my anxiety was through the roof. I was crying all the time and everything felt like an overload. 

Painting-by-numbers helped me to heal and gave me a break from the pain I was in. The act of painting each shape with a colour and being able to shut my brain off except for painting within the lines made such a difference to my recovery time, and I credit it with getting me to where I am today. 

I chose the image because I like animals and the colours were attractive to me. There is also a slight sadness in the deer's eyes which spoke to me. 

I believe this image took me about three weeks to complete, doing about one or two hours a day. 

It was my first adult paint-by-numbers kit. I used to do them as a child. I do a little bit of drawing and I like the idea of being able to paint but don't feel confident enough to start a picture myself from scratch. I like the fact that all the hard work is already done with a paint-by-numbers kit, and at the end you know the image will be beautiful.

Please click over to the BBC and read the rest. You’ll see things like this:

Nancy Pope

Nancy Pope

Wonderful.

Thanks again, Mr. Robbins.

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Frank Underwood

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Whatever happened to this?

Jonathan Yeo has painted the "fictional" portrait of Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood character for the Smithsonian, and this was in 2016. It hung in the National Portrait Gallery, and, for all intents and purposes, it's probably not even worth $50 in terms of real value. For people who love macabre, scandalous items, it's literally priceless.

 

Portrait of Sylvette 1954

I had the chance to go see the collection at the McNay Museum in San Antonio, Texas, and I just had to collect a few images and write about what I saw.

The McNay has a wonderful collection, and I'm starting with one of the Picassos they have because why not? Portrait of Sylvette is an excellent piece of cubism and I very much enjoyed seeing how these paintings were presented. The whole visit was enhanced by the fact that this is a museum that does everything the right way. You can walk through the exhibits, sit down, and relax. I highly recommend going.

The Moral Purpose of Art

Auguste Renoir, Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, 1873
Painting the Modern Garden explores the interstices between nature and ourselves as revealed in the cultivation of gardens, that most delightful and frustrating of occupations, and an almost obsessive subject for many artists. About 150 paintings from the 1860s to the 1920s, gathered together from private and public collections in North America and Europe are on view, amplified by letters, plans, documents, photographs and illustrated books on horticulture.
The exhibition embraces not only artists’ responses to gardens from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, but obliquely the new culture of the cultivated domestic garden that was becoming ever more significant. The show is uneven, and several of the less familiar names are probably deservedly so, but that is because the purpose is twofold: to explore a new interest and preoccupation of both the middle classes and the artists whom they patronised, and the art itself.
What happens to the garden? 

As we change the way we live, and as we deal with climate change, sprawl, and poorly planned public areas, how do we maintain a connection to the purpose of surrounding ourselves with green spaces and parks and gardens? 

We have already seen a transformation of public and private spaces because of the collapse of golf as a recreational activity. What if gardening is on the way out as well? How will our modern art reflect this change?

The Iranian Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock, Mural on Red Indian Ground, 1950

Did you know that the government of Iran still maintains a vast collection of modern art acquired before the Iranian Revolution in 1979?
In the last years of the Iranian Shah’s rein, during a particularly flush oil-boom period, the Iranian queen Farah Pahlavi assembled a formidable collection of modern art, now valued at several billion US dollars. The Picassos, Pollocks and Warhols (among many other household names) in Tehran’s Contemporary Art Museum were viewable from the museums’ opening in 1977 until the Iranian Revolution in 1979 at which time the art was deemed ‘Western’, ie decadent and unsuitable for viewing. Curators spirited the art away into a climate-controlled basement vault – there, it has been safe not only from climate extremes but also knife-wielding revolutionaries. The artworks are often lent to other world institutions, but display in Tehran depends on who is leading the country – a few works were mounted in a Pop Art/Op Art show here in 2005, but any works depicting nudity or homoerotic overtones, like Bacon’s Two Figures Lying on a Bed With Attendants, remain hidden.
Has anyone ever tried to trade weapons for modern art? Would the Iranians accept a few Exocet missiles or a tank battalion? Would such a trade be legal?

It's a shame that all of that art remains hidden away in vaults.