As some of you may be familiar with, I am a huge fan of jigsaw puzzles. I’ve been putting them together ever since I can remember, and even though it’s been a while since I’ve finished one (I blame the hubby and kid, who never give me any space on the table to do one), I’m still a puzzle lover and still have a minor obsession with collecting them.
I’ve written about puzzles before, but today I want to talk about some of my favorite puzzle art. Basically any picture or painting or drawing can be turned into a puzzle (especially on the computer and in apps, where you can also do puzzles but they’re nowhere near as fun), but certain pictures are more fun to put together than some, at least for me.
I’m actually not a fan of real-life pictures as puzzles. These are mostly nature scenes, like lighthouses or big fields of grass and trees and flowers, which are actually a pain to try put together BECAUSE IT ALL LOOKS THE SAME. And, to be honest, the real-life photos are just kind of…boring. Sorry.
When looking for a puzzle, I usually look for the pictures that contain the words “folk art” or “Americana” and cheesy stuff like that. It’s funny, because if you were to look at the art we have around our home, it’s all cutting-edge pop art. But one look at my “puzzle closet”, you’ll see that I’m as apple pie as can be. I’m the same way with my calendars. It’s kinda weird.
My favorite artists that are most well-known for doing puzzles are Charles Wysocki and his brother Heronim Wysocki. Both are known as Americana folk artists, and both are pretty awesome. Charles’ art has a more realistic look to it, and Heronim’s looks more animated. But they both capture that innocent time around the turn of the century when people sold lemonade on street corners for a penny and grew pumpkins in their front lawns and ate ice cream at 4th of July parades and went on sleigh rides through the woods and OH MY GOD I WANT TO DO A PUZZLE RIGHT NOW.
The one thing I love about Heronim’s puzzles besides the actual artwork is the fact that in every picture he hides a tiny black cat amongst the scene. So the fun is trying to find the black cat, either while you’re actually doing the puzzle or looking at the box. Either way, it’s oddly fun.
Jane Wooster Scott is another Americana artist who struck it big as a puzzle artist, and to me is known for making awesome trees that are easier to put together than Wysocki’s, but she usually puts more of them in her pictures. Just a weird, random observation.
To get even more specific regarding puzzle art, I tend to veer towards fall and winter art, because to me the fall season is the start of Jigsaw Puzzle season. I think I associate puzzles with the fall and winter seasons because growing up in Minnesota, it gets, you know, COLD in during those seasons, and sometimes you needed something else to do inside besides read and watch TV and all that jazz. And because of that, I only wanted to do fall and winter scenes when I did a puzzle.
Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any spring and summer related puzzles, but I think my fall and winter ones generally outweigh the other seasons.
There are some artists out there who I don’t see enough on puzzles, and I think they would be even more successful if they did more puzzle work (I’m of course assuming that I’m not the only one still doing jigsaw puzzles, though sometimes it does feel that I am). For instance, Debbie Mumm is a very successful artist that probably caters to middle-aged white women who have country homes, but I never see any Debbie Mumm puzzles (and trust me, I’ve looked). Again, not someone you’d see on my walls (except in calendar form), but who would totally get along with my other puzzles in the puzzle closet.
And while I’m not a fan of nature scenes due to the abundance of grass and leaves and trees and sky, I will make an exception for birds. Not real birds, but hand-drawn or painted birds. And not just any birds, but cardinals. That’s my only exception. NOTE: Cardinals = winter, so it makes sense.
When was the last time you did a puzzle? Have you ever even done a puzzle? Do people still do puzzles? Am I the only one?