Monday, August 24, 2020

Puzzle Success Again

 It's been weeks since I posted anything to this blog.  Mostly because I had nothing to write about.  We have had a lot of hot weather, high humidity, etc.  Covid has pretty much shut down the art world.  My main concern right now is getting ready for the fall semester, assuming that happens- these days one never knows.  There have been a lot of trainings, and more to come.

However one thing I can do and have done is continue work on the puzzles.  Not making new ones for the moment, but trying out the prototypes and seeing if they work and what we need to do next. Part of my research will involve my brother and his family.  The first puzzle I assembled was of my imagined view (partly from actual photos, partly made up) of one of our favorite miniature golf courses from our youth. The actual miniature golf course was wiped out by a nor'easter decades ago, but I was given a vintage photo of it (70's) several years ago and used that as a starting point for one of my boardwalk prints. The place was on the Belmar boardwalk, although my version could have been anywhere, with many holes based on common miniature golf holes, and I have played in enough places to know how they are designed.  I knew the puzzle was complete but I am gathering opinions from people who are less subjectively involved in the process.  They were away for a while on vacation, but are back now.  So when I was invited over the other day for some pizza, I brought the puzzle in its box and invited them to try it out. Any information they can provide may be helpful, such as opinions on the design, size, number of pieces, etc.  These are all things that Jenny and I need to figure out before we try to produce and market it.

Another design we tried in this first batch is more recent, from my Vesuvio print earlier this year.  Like the miniature golf pieces, bright and colorful with interest to local people.  This one came from a different company, so that is one thing we have to evaluate.  I had no deadlines to meet last night, so I decided to try and finish the thing, which I had been working on off and on since finishing the first one.

A much smaller box than the other boardwalk puzzles, but the puzzle itself is about the same size. This is one of the things we have to consider.  I liked the image when I cut the block, so that hasn't changed. As with the boardwalk prints, the image has reproduced well.  Objects with bold colors and patterns work well in this format, which I believe is how Jenny got the idea. and why I photographed this non-boardwalk image and sent it to her for consideration.  I started assembling this one just after I finished the first one, but power issues and trainings created delays.  

My art skills helped here.  I'm good at matching colors.  In areas with solid colors and patterns, I could use shapes of individual pieces to match the pieces of the same color, as in the ceiling and back wall.  The preponderance of turquoise, so much a part of the decor of the place, became a minor challenge- the problem of finding where in the design a particular piece would go.  And the small box image didn't help with some of those details, but I have the original print to look at.  As I expected, the further I got, the faster it got, as I had fewer options as to where pieces might go. 

So this is done now, and it worked- the right number of pieces and complete.  When my brother finishes the first one, I'll have him try this one (he knows the restaurant well, and his wife was a big fan).  In our brief conversation the other night he and his wife did not favor the idea of very large pieces (as in children's puzzles) but we'll see how they feel after they start to assemble them.  As with the miniature golf course, the place is long gone, now just a memory, and a jigsaw puzzle. 

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Time to Start Another

Made another trip home, got a shower, still no electricity, so I grabbed a few things and got back down to Manasquan. They were officially predicting completion of electrical repairs next week, but I was hoping for better.  Looking for a way to entertain myself without electricity,  I grabbed puzzle #2, one based on Vesuvio. which I had made the subject of a print earlier this year.  

Different company for this one.  The pieces have a dead white backing, and the surface is glossier.  Also they are cut a little differently, slightly more variety in the shapes of the knobs and holes, which makes it more clear if the pieces are meant to be together or not.  Overall size looks to be about the same as the last one.  

Started with the border.  Like last time, I'll gather like colors together, and start filling it in that way. 

Around 2pm today, the power came back on, well ahead of their prediction.  Seems to still be down at my apartment, so I'm starting this one on the dining room table in Manasquan.  But at least I have electric light to work with.  

Puzzle Success

Yesterday morning I finished the first puzzle, my miniature golf piece.  I had been working on it for about a week, around the various other things I have to do, in the dark today, as the tropical storm took away our power for now.  
I have to admit it was more of a challenge than I expected.  Some parts went very fast, such as that brightly colored clown in the right half.  Figures usually worked out- I had a shape to aim for and could see where things came together. The windmill, and the red and white grid by the giant fish were easy colors to put together. The broad colors if the sky were tougher, with few shapes to work with, but I am very good at matching colors.  Negative space helped with the edge, the white around the black border.  Hardest was the red and white picket fence, so I saved it for last.   Sometimes I thought I would have too many pieces. Sometimes I thought I might not have enough.  Sometimes I was afraid they were the wrong pieces, as the shapes and colors seemed wrong.  Then all of a sudden, it was done and I had exactly the right pieces.  Above is what it looked like, at least with natural sunlight, which is all I had to work with.  But it was done.

I like the results. It was a good print, so it made a good puzzle.  The colors reproduced well, almost like an oil painting.Whether or not it's a good product I have no idea.  It was fun and occupied a lot of time, easy to get lost in the process, so if that's your goal, this is something for you.   If you want something to finish quickly, you wouldn't like this. I'll get some more opinions.

Since the power never came back. and we had no idea if it would, I decided to flee to my parents' house and the electricity they had.  Brought my computer. Took care of some email first,  but before I could get to the blogging, we had a new power failure (fallen line, blown transformer- there were a variety of stories out there), so this had to wait for today. Last night was an early night.