Real Art! : The Paint by Number Book & Kit

Real Art! : The Paint by Number Book & Kit

By Douglas Brenner Paintings by Nancy Stahl Workman, $24.95 Paint-by-numbers used to be considered the Muzak of wall art. But in the past decade, the color-keyed paintings have become wildly popular with the design cognoscenti, who love the chic yet playful effect they create in combination with again-fashionable midcentury modern furniture. The demand for these charming color-keyed canvases may exceed the once-plentiful supply, but collectors and interior designers can create their own masterpieces now that writer Douglas Brenner and artist and illustrator Nancy Stahl have created the perfect paint-by-numbers kit. Budding van Goghs can break out the brushes, dip them into one of 18 big acrylic pots and begin painting on one of the 10 board “canvases,” each one recalling a familiar subject from the enormous paint-by-numbers repertoire. In <i>Real Art!</i>, Brenner writes the compelling history of the wildly popular ’50s pastime (who knew there were Cubist and Frankenstein’s monster paint-by-numbers?) and gives a brief description of each canvas included, plus an excellent primer on how to paint, frame and display finished work. In all of its charm, <i>Real Art!</i> serves as a much-needed reminder that the most inviting interiors always include something hand-crafted. You could do worse than rendering your very own version of the <i>Mona Lisa</i>.