It’s all in the numbers – #1

24 little pots of colour. 3 mini brushes

A very thoughtful friend gifted me something very new. Something I have never, ever done. And until now, never, ever aspired to do. Now, having immersed myself in the project, I am still not sure if I ever want to do it again.

So what is it? Painting by numbers. I’d come across it many times over the years. Seemed like something kids would enjoy, I thought. Not for the seriously craft minded. Like me.

Well, having spent the last two weeks peering at minute numbers on a canvas, I have changed my mind. There is no way any kid would enjoy this. Ever.

Can you see the little numbers? Huh? Can you ?!

By the way when I say minute, I MEAN minuscule.  They are so small that some of them cannot even be seen through a magnifying lens when I am wearing my reading glasses. Seriously, how can they print them that small? They are that small, because the space they are printed in is small. Like maybe a dot of a couple of millimetres.

Into this minute spot, I am meant to drop a drop of colour. Contained within the lines. So as you don’t mess the next spot which invariably has a different colour. If you do go over the edges, you stand in danger of covering the minute number telling you which colour to use. Guess how many times I have done that very thing….

In order to paint these mini spots, I use a paintbrush. It is a bit of a misnoma to call it a paintbrush when it has about six bristles on it, each the width of a hair. Just to make it that little bit more challenging, inevitably one of those bristles is bent. That’s my fault.

You see, in keeping with good work practices, when the brush is stored, it gets slipped into this little straw like tube to keep the bristles in good condition. That’s the theory. The practice is not quite so clear cut. One of the bristles has a mind of its own. It does not want to be confined.

Can you see it? That bent bristle? No? I can’t either. But it IS there

Now you would think that a bent bristle of this magnitude would not be a problem. Well, I got news for you. It is. Because when you dip the brush into the wee paint pot, the paint gets onto all of the bristles. In big globs. (Trust me, they look huge through the magnifying glass.) That in itself is a problem. Big globs tend to prefer living over the edge of any given boundary, Add to that the bent bristle, which I remind you, has paint on it. That single bristle, sticking out at a 45 degree angle or more, leaves pinpricks of the wrong colour where it don’t belong.

Why does that matter, you might ask. Because I KNOW it is there. And that bothers me.

The image is starting to emerge

You would think  there is a simple solution to this dilemma. I thought so too. Just cut the goddamn thing off. Problem is you can’t see it. And when you do, the scissors are not acute enough to slice through a bendy, elusive bristle that fades in and out of sight.

In the course of the last two weeks, I have bent many a rule, not just a single bristle,  in painting by numbers. I have come to the conclusion that it is artistic licence.  Creativity. Individualising my art work into something that is purely mine. No-one, ever, will be able to emulate what I have done. It may look vaguely like it is meant to look in the picture, but the story is in the minutiae. My artistic touch.

 I will reveal the final artwork soon. Prepare to be dazzled.

Raili Tanska

Dare to be creative

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8 thoughts on “It’s all in the numbers – #1

  1. I admire you greatly because I admit I could not do it. Now I know why you haven’t been posting anything 🙄 I know without doubt that it will look amazing 😉

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