What can you do when you have extra time on your hands, or to relieve stress? I’ve been working on a Winnie’s Picks Paint By Number over the past few months when I need to take a little time out and put the rest of life on hold temporarily.
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Choosing a Kit
Thank you to Winnie’s Picks for sending me a paint by number kit to try out and review in exchange for my honest review. It’s really been a fun project to do. Let me state that I have run into some roadblocks and disasters along the way, which I will explain, but in the end, that’s made the project all the more memorable.
I will admit that it took me ages to decide on the image I wanted to paint as there are so many of them. A couple of the choices available were the Eiffel Tower, London in the rain, a cabin by a fjord in Norway, Mount Fuji, Yosemite National Park, mountains, forests, lakes, wildlife, winter scenes, and much more, which all brought back memories to me of my travels. Finally I decided upon Winnie’s Cottage as it brought together a combination of scenes in one for me, and was neither too easy nor too complicated and the colours would go well with our home.
My Winnie’s Picks kit arrived by post in the autumn and I couldn’t wait to get started. It included the canvas (already prepped and ready to go), a paper copy of the painting to cross reference when needed, a set of paint brushes, some helpful hints, acrylic paints, and a wooden stretcher frame (these aren’t included in the kits, but can be added on to your purchase).
I did wonder if there would be enough paint to finish the picture because the pots looked so small and the picture so large, so at first I used the paints sparingly. However, I shouldn’t have worried because there was enough, and at the end I went over some of the areas again for better coverage. I still have plenty of paint remaining, so I will use it to paint my own picture using a canvas we have in the closet.
The paints came in a vacuum-sealed bag, so I kept them in a zip-top bag when they weren’t in use to prevent them from drying out, which has worked very well.
Let’s Paint By Number!
Because I did the majority of the painting in the autumn and winter, I found that it worked best to paint as early in the morning as I could to take advantage of the light in the kitchen before it moved away. I also used the ceiling lights, and on the darkest winter days I also brought out my SAD lamp and used it for ‘natural light’ as well as its intended use.
I would turn on some music and set up the children with their homework, then sit with a cup of tea and enjoy 30 minutes of doing something different from my usual routine. When you have something to show for your time and effort, it’s a satisfying feeling at the end of the session.
I began with the large areas of the canvas to get accustomed to the paints and brushes, as well as to feel a little sense of accomplishment. Then I moved on to some of the other areas. It’s best to use one colour at a time so that it can dry before you use another colour, so some days that dictated my efforts. I also tended to use the light colours first and then the dark colours to keep things more cheerful in the dark of winter.
I was seeing some great progress being made…until…
Just as my children were going to bed, Tristan stopped in the kitchen and he said there was something dripping onto the kitchen counter – you guessed it – right onto my canvas.
It happened to be a worst-case scenario – a bottle of rosé wine that had been happily lying in the wine rack for months unopened suddenly started leaking and dripping directly onto my painting….oh my, I was not a happy camper – I might even have shed tears. Of course, the drips had landed on an area that was painted, and then splashed up and spread further out with every new drip. Both the canvas and I were in a bit of a state that night.
I couldn’t sleep and eventually got out of bed at 2am and checked out the situation with a slightly calmer head. I dampened a piece of paper towel and tried to see what would happen. The areas of canvas I hadn’t yet painted couldn’t be cleaned – and the staining spread out over the next week. On the painted areas, some drips I could remove, while others I started to paint over to hide the wine.
I fear that I was so disheartened that I couldn’t brig myself to continue over December and January when there wasn’t enough natural light, and with the annoyance and disappointment of redoing what I had already done weighing on me.
Back To The Canvas
However, with the lengthening of the days and the sunlight shining in, I decided it was time to take out my canvas and start painting once again. It didn’t take long until I was finished. Then I went back over parts of the picture so that they were more defined. I may go back again and fix up a couple of areas I’m not quite happy with yet.
I had plenty of paint so I coloured around past the edge of the official picture to help cover up the splodges of wine so that they wouldn’t show around the sides of the frame when it was hung. I’m glad I did this as when we stretched the canvas over the frame, I needed that little extra margin or I’d have been left with some white showing on the front of the picture.
Phil helped me with holding the canvas against the wooden frame while I used our new staple gun to affix the canvas to the frame.
Time To Enjoy
Then it was time to hang the painting up. This year I’m changing the pictures and prints in our home and this is the first one up. We may move it to a different location, but with the blue tones it will look great anywhere. So far it’s hung in the living room and just inside the front door to greet you upon entering.
I’d actually love to do more Winnie’s Picks paintings – why not have one for every season? Some people paint them for themselves, while others paint them and give the completed paintings as gifts to their loved ones.
I never thought I’d do a paint-by-number, but it was fun. And I’ve learned how some of the colours go together, how the brushes and paint work on an acrylic canvas, I stretched my first canvas over a frame, and those are all worthwhile skills to have. Not to mention having an excuse to purchase a staple gun.ht
The wine incident aside, I really enjoyed sitting down and having a little time to relax and not worry about what is happening in the world, just watching my canvas fill with colour over time. If I didn’t have anything else to do, I might have been able to complete this in a week or two, but with many responsibilities, it took me much longer working for only about 30 minutes or so at a time.
Where To Get Your Paint By Number
If you’ve ever considered a paint-by-number, then give Winnie’s Picks a try; they ship from the USA, and it didn’t take long to reach me here in the UK. The prices are reasonable (and you can even have your own photograph turned into a paint-by-number), and there are dozens of scenes to choose from. You certainly will never run out of pictures – they change on a regular basis. The picture I completed is not currently available, but I see new ones that I’d like to try out.
With the current situation and so many people staying home, Winnie’s Picks have gone through a lot of stock, but they will be getting more in shortly, so keep checking back for new stock and plan to spend the summer with a pitcher of lemonade and painting the afternoons away.