Paint by number

On our way back from a sick visit with the pediatrician we stopped in at the Leonard J. Buck Garden in Far Hills.

Necessity IS the Mother of Invention (Dan Jurak's Alberta Landscape Photo Blog)

As children we have all done the paint by numbers sets, at least those of us who are older. I’m not sure that they still sell them any longer.

Paint the coloured areas with the appropriate paint. Stay within the lines. Voila. Instant painting.

That would seem to be a test of following rules rather than using any kind of creativity and the last time I looked, photography was a creative art.

I am old enough to remember the paint by numbers books. I disliked them. I struggled to keep the colours within the lines or use the right colours to match the numbers and was often admonished for not "following the rules". Inadvertently I was being taught that art was about following rules and that I was not good at it.

It wasn't until my early college years while attending Drew University1, that I dared to try my hand at creating art. I took a summer photography course. The instructor was "artsy" and pushed us to explore light and composition with my Pentax P3. I still have the camera.

I learned how to develop film and make prints, mostly black and white. By the time I had finished my engineering degree and graduate school I had forgotten the craft.


  1. Drew University is a liberals arts school in Madison, New Jersey where I majored in Physics and minored in Mathematics (of course!). 

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