Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Color By Number - Memories of Paradise

Yesterday evening, coming home from my water aerobics class, the sky reminded me of the sky of a color by number painting.  All those shades of blue and light purple.

Do you remember color by number?  It was really popular in the 1950's and early 1960's, when I was growing up.   You can still find color by number in paint today.  But what my family loved was the Venus Paradise sets.  They were color pencil color by numbers.  They had sets geared to all ages - from children old enough to color to adults.

The pencils were numbered, and you got the pencils you needed for your set with the set.  My favorite was #7, Peacock Blue. You can even find the list of colors online (except for two "mystery colors").  It would seem that some older artists miss them, too - they were high quality but as a child, I just took them for granted.

My Dad and I would color together.  I would have my child's set and he an adult set.  I remember one in particular, set with famous buildings.  I remember him in particular working on a Taj Mahal picture.  I looked at him color with great concentration.  He put wax paper on top of the part of the picture he had completed so it would not smear.

His picture had so much detail.  You could barely make out some of the numbers in the small portions.  But I would grow up one day and be able to do complicated pictures just like my Dad!

Except I lost interest, until my son was born.

I went to all the stores (when he was old enough to color) and no one had them.  In fact, I couldn't find any kind of color by number pencil art set, period.

Venus Paradise is out of business.  And, I couldn't even find a set on eBay (I did find a couple of auctions for the pencils.)

The good news is that there is a pencil color by number set out there now. Better yet, the people who own the business remember Venus Paradise.  So perhaps a new generation of children will remember pencil by number sets fondly.

In writing this post, I find my spouse remembers the sets too.  He thinks when he retires, it might be fun to buy one.  But sadly, this is something I'm not sure will ever return to favor for the general population.
So....do you remember Venus Paradise?


  1. Meaning of creation: The act of creating. The fact or state of having been created. The act of investing with a new office or title.
    I can read these definitions in every dictionary, but I still can't understand how to do this...
    See this blog, I think you'll like it: Drawings Paintings Prints, this person shows the stages of the painting but I still don't know how to use it so I ca use it at mine...
    Will come back for sure.

  2. Wow! You just posted this -- and my sister and I are just emailing each other this week, asking whatever happened to 'color-by-number' books? I do not remember the Venus Paradise sets. What we remember are bound paperback books, full of line drawings with numbers, and a color/number guide/key inside the back cover. We used to spend hours matching up our Crayola crayons to the color guide. My sister and I spent hours working on these books, and my mother would join in with us sometimes. In fact, my mother did quite a few 'Paint-by-Number' paintings herself!
    I think educators pooh-poohed these -- not creative, just fill-in-the-blank -- but to me they were like puzzles, almost magical, seeing the picture go from gray and white, to a full color drawing. I think I learned about line drawing, color tonality, and following instructions. I know I was kept amused for hours, and that I was not watching television while coloring! We had quite a few of these books -- very detailed drawings of all kinds of things -- animals, landscapes, famous places.
    To me, it was kind of a meditative experience. I would buy them if I could find them again.
    (setting up a new blog soon) --KYensen in NC, born mid-1950's

  3. I was a HUGE fan of Venus Paradise color-by-number sets. It was such an accomplishment to finish one and admire your handiwork. I spent days working on them and was amazed at how beautiful they turned out. I sure do miss them. Thanks for posting this.

  4. Venus Paradise sets were - and still are - a part of my life. My sister bought them in the 60s and I in the 70s. I still color them to this day, having just finished one last week that I had started in 1974. Love the pencils too. In fact, I just acquired, unsharpened, a #23 Cotton White and a #26 Bright Silver.

  5. My nan use to work for them at the factory in Clacton pond London. She use to bring home pencils that was not painted or marked. As a family we had great fun working out the colours. Nan was also able to buy kits at the factory on discount. Use to keep my sister and myself busy and off the streets. I was looking for my own granddaughter so sad it went out of business. But I think I'll try and find her something else. It's something we can together..


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