Saturday, October 19, 2013

I love Clementoni puzzles ...

Clementoni Puzzles are a European (Italy I think) company that make very interesting and beautiful puzzles ... as this completed puzzle demonstrates. Very easy in parts and (sky and steps) and quite difficult in others (fountains mainly). Was a lot of fun to put together.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Yellow puzzles

Yellow is probably my favorite color ... so any puzzle that I admire and/or buy quite likely will have at least a little yellow in it. Finding puzzles with yellow as the dominant color wasn't as easy as blue or red ... but here we go ... five yellow puzzles.

*all images and information from Puzzlewarehouse.com

World of Words - 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Finished size: 27" x 20". Released January 2013.
Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh - 1000 Pieces - Finished size: 26.5" x 18.25".
Sunset - 1000 pieces. 68x48cm.
1000 Pieces. Finished size: 26.5" x 17.4".
Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862– February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt's primary subject was the female body. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Yin-Yang

In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin-yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng), which is often called "yin and yang", is used to describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world; and, how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many natural dualities (such as light and dark, high and low, hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, and so on) are thought of as physical manifestations of the yin-yang concept. The concept lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (t'ai chi), and qigong (Chi Kung) and of I Ching.

Yin and yang are actually complementary, not opposing, forces, interacting to form a whole greater than either separate part; in effect, a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation.
In Taoist metaphysics, good-bad distinctions and other dichotomous moral judgments are perceptual, not real; so, yin-yang is an indivisible whole. In the ethics of Confucianism on the other hand, most notably in the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu, (c. 2nd century BCE) a moral dimension is attached to the yin-yang idea.

The concept of yin and yang is often symbolized by various forms of the Taijitu symbol, for which it is probably best known in Western cultures.*

*entire excerpt copied from Wikipedia

this bit above especially resonates with me ... "good-bad distinctions and other dichotomous moral judgments are perceptual, not real; so, yin-yang is an indivisible whole"

this topic hit my radar via the following facebook status picture published by Pagan Musings


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Red/Orange/Pink puzzles ...

blue puzzles were easy, in fact I found a lot more than I needed for one blog post. Since blues come in varying shades ... which are all still 'blue', simply modified with 'light' or dark' ... I've decided that pink, orange, and/or red will be my next category. So here we go ...

*again all images and info comes from puzzlewarehouse

1000 piece jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger. Finished size: 20 x 27. Released May 2013.
Giraffes - Tinga Tinga art from Africa. 1000 piece puzzle. Finished size is approx.. 20" x 27". This series features art of the "Tinga Tinga Arts Co-operative Society," a unique collection of colorful art from Tanzania.

The Brilliance - 1000 Pieces - Finished size: 26.5" x 18.25".
Clementoni's high quality puzzles are imported from Italy. Their landscape and fine art puzzles have made
them one of the most respected jigsaw puzzle manufacturers in the world.
 
1000 pieces. Finished size: 18.75" x 26.6". Artist: Paul Klee. Released 2013.
Candy Galore ... What more can we say?  A mouthwatering image no matter what your age!  A Best Selling 2006 Winter/Spring Collection Puzzle.  1000 piece, Finished size 24" x 30"


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fallingwater and Stamps

in a previous post I was showing pictures of and discussing Frank Lloyd Wright ... I even posted a scan of stamp of the man. I also included a picture of one of his most famous architectural works Fallingwater. What I failed to include was a scan of the stamp commemorating THAT structure ... so here it is:
issued in 1982 Scott #2019; part of se-tenant block of 4 stamps

Blue Puzzles ...

Continuing my summer obsession of jigsaw puzzling, I thought I would construct a series of posts featuring attractive 'color-themed' puzzles. Starting with the color BLUE as the dominant color ...

*all images and info from Puzzlewarehouse.com

POMEGRANATE PUZZLES -- Los Loros by Peruvian Artist Pablo Amaringo (1938-2009),
painted in 2005. 500 piece jigsaw puzzle - Finished size: 24" x 18". Released July 2012.
CLEMENTONI PUZZLES -- Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany - 1000 Pieces - Finished size: 26.5" x 18.25".
BUFFALO GAMES PUZZLES -- Beautiful Italian Riviera in the Liguria region of Italy, town of Vernazza, lit up
against the night's sky. 2000 pieces, measures 38.5" x 26.5" when complete. By Buffalo Games. Released 2012.
HEYE PUZZLES --The Alexander von Humboldt puzzle series inspires both through impressive natural photography
and unique format! The extensive image selection is exciting and thrilling to puzzle. 1000 Pieces. Finished size 37" x 13".
EDUCA PUZZLES -- The Starry Night, Van Gogh - 1000 pieces. 68x48cm.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Harry Wysocki ... Bridges of San Francisco

Beautiful puzzle, the black kitty was much harder to find this time. Again I worked from the inside out, leaving the edge until last. Picture on the box left off about 1/5 of the puzzle on the right ... in the puzzle itself there are two red cars on the bridge while the box only shows one ... I was very 'puzzled' until I looked on the back of the box and found a much smaller picture that solved the mystery.

Anyway here's the box
Bridges of San Francisco by Heronim Wysocki; published by Mega Puzzles Hometown Collection
Here's the completed puzzle (you can see the second red car to the right that is NOT on the front of the box, nor is the boat under the bridge ...) and below that a close-up to see some of the detail

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tinga Tinga Cranes by Mbwana

My first puzzle by Heye publishers ... stunningly beautiful, and was a lot trickier to put together than I thought it would be. Heye is a German puzzlemaker and publishes some very attractive puzzles. Puzzlewarehouse carries quite a few ...

The box:
The puzzle:

and some closeups ...


Friday, June 7, 2013

Outing at the Light by Heronim Wysocki

Outing at the Light by Heronim Wysocki
I recently purchased three puzzles off of eBay ... part of the Hometown Collection which is carried and sold by Mega Brands Mega Puzzles division ... yeah I know ... so far as I can tell, most of the Hometown Collection puzzles are by Heronim Wysocki, brother of Charles Wysocki. See my previous post for more information and discussion.

My first impression of the puzzle was that it was much more cheaply made than the puzzles I'm used to. Much thinner pieces. Since I bought the puzzle off of eBay, I wasn't certain whether it was used or not. Either the company or the previous owner had very considerately baggied the edge pieces ... so I wasn't sure how to proceed ...

I decided to NOT work the edge first as most people do (myself included), instead I thought that it would be interesting and fun to work from the middle out. And it was ...


The final product without edges ... turns out that edges are really easy if you do it this way. About 10 minutes was all it took to put the edges on.
edge pieces in the baggie
and finally, Heronim's trademark ... the black kitty, not really hidden in this puzzle, so it's no giveaway ...


the lower quality pieces didn't detract from the attractiveness of the picture or the enjoyment of the puzzling process. I'm glad since I have two more of them to work (and also because these puzzles are a bit less expensive than many of the other brands I like).

the Wysocki boys ...

Jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts are very familiar with the art of the Wysocki's. Oddly, Charles Wysocki is the only one of the two that gets a Wikipedia entry ... wherein it states:
Charles M. Wysocki, Jr.(November 16, 1928–July 29, 2002) was an American painter, whose works depict a stylized version of American life of yesteryear. While some of his works show horseless carriages, most depict the horse and buggy era. 
His art has been reproduced on hundreds (if not thousands ... I didn't count) of puzzles, many of which can be seen on Puzzlehistory's page devoted to his puzzles. His themes, as mentioned by Wikipedia, generally include nostalgic Americana, horse and buggy, cats, a sort of squarish symmetrical scene with vivid colors often representing a season ... i.e. a fall scene would have lots of yellow and orange, probably with pumpkins somewhere.

Here's an example; the top is from PuzzleWarehouse, the bottom from Puzzlehistory.


"Pumpkin Hollow", ©1983 AMCAL.
Again, according to Wikipedia and also from the Charles Wysocki gallery site (wherein we find a biography written by his son Matt), Charles drew inspiration from his military service. From Matt Wysocki's brief biography, we also see the ONLY reference I've been able to find of the fact that Charles apparently had a brother named Heronim (Harry?).
Charles was drafted in 1950 during the Korean War.  He should have been sent to Korea where he may have met his fate, but right before he was to be sent out, he was granted a leave of absence to visit his brother Harry who was very ill.
As puzzle workers know ... Harry (or Heronim) Wysocki ALSO painted Americana, cats, and scenes that if one didn't know better, are indistinguishable from the scenes that Charles painted. Harry doesn't get a Wikipedia entry ... even though according to HIS gallery website ... he is very well known American artist.  
His work has been exhibited in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles, and the San Francisco de Young Museum. Numbered among his many accolades are nineteen national and local awards from print shows in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Three of his prints are now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as one painting in the United States Air Force Art Collection. He has had one-man and group shows at the Charles Hecht Gallery in Palm Springs and Tarzana, the Nelson Rockefeller Gallery in Palm Springs, the Ester Wells Gallery in Laguna Beach, the Touche Gallery in Laguna Beach, the I.A.C. Gallery in Los Angeles, the Heritage Gallery in Beverly Hills, the Dyansen Gallery in Beverly Hills, and the Conacher Gallery in San Francisco.
And, similar to Charles, he drew inspiration from his military service ... this time the Marines (or Merchant Marines depending on your source).
Shortly after the end of World War II, Harry enlisted in the Merchant Marines and sailed the high seas to exotic ports, which became subject matter for his early works.

Weird. One almost gets the impression that there may have only been ONE Wysocki painter. Here's an example of a Heronim Wysocki puzzle (with a very similar theme as the one above, and also notice that it's only signed as Wysocki ... at least as far as I can see from the photo):


Many of Heronim Wysocki's puzzles were (and are) published by Hometown Collection Puzzles who (so far as I can find) do not have a website. One of Heronim's trademarks was to place a small black cat hidden (sometimes not so hidden) in his art or puzzle.

Anyhow, I DO like a good mystery ... if anybody has more info or any links about the two brothers, I'd be very interested.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was born June 8, 1867 and died on April 9, 1959. He is known as the most famous American architect, and one of the most well-known architects in the world. Fallingwater is his most well known work.
Fallingwater; southeastern Pennsylvania ... this would make a great puzzle!
However, the puzzle I worked (described in the previous post) was actually of one of his lesser known works. Wright was also a talented graphic artist with many works that I find stunningly beautiful. The Saguaro Glass design is an example ...
Stained Glass in the Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix AX
LEFT: This colorful 1973 adaptation of Wright’s design is a backlit art glass mural made for the Arizona Biltmore by Taliesin Architects. ©FLW
RIGHT: Frank Lloyd Wright, Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers. Cover design for Liberty, c. 1927–1928. Presentation drawing (detail). Pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. ©FLW Foundation
I could fill a lot more space with images and information ... here's a couple of links

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/05/04/frank-lloyd-wright-graphic-artist/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Frank_Lloyd_Wright_works
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_lloyd_wright

Of course, I couldn't finish without mentioning and showing the postage stamp ...


In 1966, the United States Postal Service honored Wright
with a Prominent Americans series 2¢ postage stamp

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Saguaro Glass Design by Frank Lloyd Wright

This is a stunning puzzle and an absolute hoot to put together! Opening the box, one is overwhelmed with color ... beyond looking for edge pieces it's impossible to know how or where to start. Puzzlewarehouse claims that this is one of their top sellers every month. After completing the puzzle I can see why!

Box:
Saguaro Glass Design by Frank Lloyd Wright; published by Pomegranate Puzzles


Here's a closer look at the pieces and the colors ...







Mostly completed ...



The puzzle was a little different in that the end had a bunch of random pieces (instead of all sky or grass or sand or whatever) ... I was certain that there were missing pieces as I looked for the piece below for a long time (you can see the hole on the upper left in the picture above, I thought it should have been pretty easy to spot .. but no), and only found it when there were ~30 pieces left. Naturally I saved it for the honor of being last.

the "last piece"
And here's the finished product. This is a puzzle I would be tempted to hang on the wall ... it's a stunning piece of art!
note to self ... get a better camera, the phone's not getting the job done.




 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Something a little different ...

in case anybody might think that I do nothing but put puzzles together all day ... here is another project that is occupying some time this summer of '13.


African Violets, genus Saintpaulia, are native to Africa of course. The genus is comprised of between 6 and 20 species, with many more commercially produced hybrids.

These two plants are offshoots of a plant that a student gave me some 8 years ago. Her grandmother had raised violets for years and was giving away her extras. I've set these plants in a shaded southern window and more or less ignored them ... and they've bloomed beautifully.

I don't know what species or variety these are ... however, the cuttings (leaves) in the bottom picture were purchased from a dealer and I hope to have some small plants by the end of the summer.
any ideas for names?

African violet starts

Memorial Day puzzle ... more information

Inspired by the completion of the actual puzzle, I thought I would share a little information about the planes and nose art ... pictures and information comes from Wikipedia.com unless otherwise cited.

The Memphis Belle: A B-17 bomber, flew 25 missions over France & Germany in 1942-43.

Nose art in the background ...
The Enola Gay: A B-29 Superfortress bomber immortalized by being the plane to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki Japan.

not sure this qualifies as "Nose Art" but it's in the puzzle ...
'Lady Lil': information was a little harder to find on this bomber, but she was a B-25 Mitchell bomber of the 498th Bomber Squadron, 345th Bomber group (also known as the "Air Apaches"). She served in the South Pacific from 1943-45 and flew out of Port Moresby (citation).


"Raid on the China Coast” depicts Lady Lil of the Air Apaches 345th Bomb Group, 498th Bomb Squadron. A B-25 is attacking Japanese shipping off the coast of China, April 1945. Pilot: Lt. Albert J. Beiga. The Raid was between Amoy and Swatow, west of Formosa.
The Goon: pictures of this plane made it into The National Geographic in 1944. She was a B-24 bomber attached to the 308th Bomber group serving in  the CBI (China-Burma-Indochina) theater. (citation).


Lady in the Dark: could not find any information about this bomber ... the only picture I found was of a poster (found on eBay of all places).


A Bit O' Lace: B-17 bomber that saw action in the European theater ...  she flew some 83 missions over France & Germany. The photo and the information comes from the Bit O' Lace website. Interestingly enough, one of the pilots of this bomber, a man named Charlie Brown (seriously), made the news as the pilot of another plane ...


all right, that's enough for now ... if you read this blog and you have any additional information about some of these bombers, please feel free to share. Thanks.