he had finished gluing a plate of puzzle pieces onto the art, I went over to
see what he had done. I found in one
small area he had glued these three pieces together. I thought that it was interesting that the
bottom two pieces were actually one piece… that I had cut into two. Considering the randomness of the plate of
pieces I gave to him, I found it interesting that he managed to put two pieces
back together again.
was even more interesting was where he had glued these three pieces
together. To be sure, I got out my
measuring tape and this confirmed that these three pieces had been placed right
smack dab in the middle of the wood canvas!!! What are the chances? This gave me an idea…
asked Devon if he wanted to hide something in the art – something that no one
else would ever know about. I explained
that if we added on to his three pieces, continuing to build on the symmetry
that he had started, and then later on filled in the empty spaces with the same
randomness that we were using on the border, that no one would be able to
notice our design concept and that only we would know what we had done! He thought that this would be a cool thing to
do… and so we did it!!!
we can all see the symmetrical design that we created. Size and shape of the puzzle pieces are
symmetrical! Their colours are symmetrical! And their positioning is symmetrical!!! I love it!!!
It’s interesting events like this, that are the joys of creating
art. Later, when this area is
completely filled in, no one should be able to see the symmetry that we
created… unless people happen to have read this story, discovered our secret
and then when looking for it!
above photo will now lead us into the next significant area…
cloud is now done!!! Yeah! I love it
when an area is completed! I mentioned
early in this story, how I had to divide the original cloud design into two
parts. If I had left the cloud as a
whole, it would have dominated the sky and I didn’t want that to happen. So, I divided the one cloud into two…. and
now the smaller of the two clouds is done!
the third significant area of this latest effort is the completion of the large
tree in the foreground!!! This was a
very intense part of this art work!!!! This
tree filled me with a lot of doubt and I questioned my design over and again,
trying to figure out how to proceed! Let
tree was one of the first components of the art to get started. I found a large selection of forest puzzle
pieces and simply thought, “Perfect!”. I
wouldn’t have to search out other sources of puzzle pieces to blend together to
create this part of the art…. and so, I began the work.
wasn’t until Devon and I got this much done that my doubt set in! If you look back at many of the full art
image photos that I’ve share, you will notice that in the last few, this area
didn’t grow any larger. I spent weeks
contemplating my design concepts, before I moved forward on this area again.
doubt came from the fact that this large triangle – representing a tree
obviously – was going to fill a large area of the completed art in a rather
uniform way. Although there are many
colours in this area, when they are all put together, they blended to become
one colour… a rather dark colour at that!
My concern was that this tree would dominate, in a negative way, the
entire art – like a soar thumb! I didn’t
want that! I wanted a final image that
would all come together in a positive way that all would enjoy!
reflected on the tree that I had completed in the artwork that inspired this
design. Here, you can see that I used
several large colours of Kleenex box cardboard to complete the tree. I began to wonder if I should copy this
concept into the puzzle piece art work.
I wondered and wondered and wondered… for several weeks. I kept thinking that I could get some wood
chisels and remove some of what I had already done and begin to rework this
entire tree. I worried about damaging
what I had already done!
then, one evening, I found peace! I had
been sitting in front of this art, staring at the tree, wondering what I should
do. Joanne walked by me and told me that
I looked really stressed out. I
explained my thoughts and then Joanne spent some time regarding the tree and
then she said, “Well, I think it looks great now and I’m sure it’ll look just
fine when it’s finished!” That was all
it took…. an outsiders observation! I
wish I had shared my concerns earlier!
It would have saved me weeks of wondering!!
there ya go!!!! Even the most skilled
and confident artists find moments of struggle, confusion and doubt while in
the process of creating their art! I
believe that it is these moments that make both the artist and the artwork
going to end this portion of the story with a zoomed in look at the texture
that is this tree…
this texture that helped me to decide (along with my wife’s encouragement) to
continue on with the design concept that became the tree. You see…. I have great demands of my audience
– LOL!!!! Not only do I want viewers to
stand back and enjoy the entire image, I want them to also come in real close,
to forget about the image as a whole and enjoy the many interesting areas of
this art with their noses only inches away from the art.
is how I know that I’ve captured someone’s attention. When this art is done, I should see viewers
looking at it from a distance. Then they
see something in the art and they get closer.
Then they step back again, to view it as a whole, while keeping in their
minds what they just saw up close. This
art, when completed, should have viewers stepping in close, then away, several
what’s next??? Although my mind is still
thinking about all that space that will eventually be the foreground, I’m just
not ready to tackle that portion of this project, quite yet! I think I’ll get Devon and me to focus on the
blues of the sky, for the next few weeks… and maybe a bit more of the sun!
until then…. have a wonderful springtime!
I’ll look forward to sharing more in another week or so…..
of July, 2019
it’s been a bit longer than a couple of weeks since I last shared an update
about this artwork! I’ve been very
busy! This is why I rarely do any art
during the summer months, there’s just so much other stuff to do!!!
This is where we left off...
Today, I have 3 photos to share with you today!
Nothing spectacular! No new revelations!
Just a few photos showing how the art has progressed!
this photo, you can see that a lot of sky got done… in the upper left portion
of the art! This happened on a rainy
day, when I couldn’t work in my garden!
I spent the morning listening to some LPs on my record player and
enjoyed working on this art…. it had been a while since I last did any work!
this photo, you can see that even more blue sky got done! This was the afternoon that I had some
plumbers at my house fixing my bathroom sink.
I couldn’t leave them in my house alone, so I settled down and got to
photo was taken just last week! Again –
another rainy morning that kept me from working outside! I spent the first two hours working on more
of the sky and then I went to work on a
few sun rays. You can see that I got one
of the top ones completed and the next two sunrays – moving counter-clockwise
from the other one almost got completed!!!!
My summer's are always so busy that I rarely have time to work on any art projects. This fall ended up being very busy, as well. Devon and I worked very hard supporting the Green Party during the Federal Election!!!!
It wasn't until the last week of the Christmas holidays when I found time to get back to it. My focus, was to get myself used to doing this style of art, again, and I thought the best way to do this would be to concentrate on just one area. I chose to work on the blues of the sky...
This is a close up of the newly completed portion of the sky....
During this time, our washing machine was giving us problems. For a while, I had to go to a nearby laundromat to wash all the towels that my wife uses at her dog grooming business - Happy Tails! Instead of sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the wash and dry cycles to finish, I took a box full of puzzles and spent my time getting ready to continue my work on the sky!
There were many other people at the laundromat, and when they walked past me, I could see a question forming on their face... wondering what I was doing. I'm actually surprised that no one came up to me and asked!
Today, is January 15th, and I actually found several hours to work in peace and quiet!!! I spent the afternoon listening to a few of my records (Yup! I'm talking vinyl LPs - anyone remember those?) and I finished a rather large portion of the sky.....
And after a few more hours over the next week....
And today - February 6, 2020 at 11:00am - the blue sky is done!!!!
February 21, 2020
If you think about the size of the space that is the border, in this art, you'll notice that it is quite large.... I kinda figure that it's about 1/7 of the entire art! As I move forward, my plan is to work on the main image and complete small portions of it and then work on a bit of the border. That way, I'm not left with a massive area to do at just one time. Working like this keeps the whole project moving forward....
So - since I recently completed the blue portion of the sky, I have been working on a part of the border.....
I'm going to work on a bit of the border, for the next week or so and then I'm gonna have to make a choice.... Do I finish the clouds or work on the sun rays... or maybe even the two small trees??? We'll have to wait and see what happens......
So.... I've been picking away at the border for the last little, while, as I said I was going to... and here are a few small results...
The upper right corner got filled in a little bit more
and, just today...
I filled in this rather large area of the border!!!
Since I'm working on the border, just a bit at a time, I'm now going to work on some other areas of this artwork. Maybe I'll pick away at some clouds or maybe I'll finish another ray of sunshine. I'm excited to see what I do next...
The Covid19 Coronavirus Lockdown Begins - Mid-March 2020
Like everybody else on this planet, the spread of the Covid19 virus and the forthcoming lockdowns affected my family! This puzzle artwork project quickly got put to the side, as we focused on more pressing matters... like changing all aspects of how we live our lives! But this did not stop me from being creative. In fact, I ended up creating many other artworks and some of them were used to help our local food bank. To see my artworks, poems and photos.... and some of Devon's artworks and poems.... follow this link....
After witnessing US President Trump stopping shipments of PPE into Canada (that did eventually come across the border), I became concerned that other 'trade war' scenarios may also be heading our way so I spent a lot of time over in our gardens!! Food security will become the most important aspect of our lives, so in order to grow more food, we had to cut down a few rather useless juniper bushes and two small cedar trees in order to make room for more garden! Here's a photo showing the pathways and rock walls that I've been working on! I got quite a bit done, before the winter snows fell, but I still have a lot of work to get to this coming spring.
From the end of May until the end of July, I found myself in a very negative situation!!! This situation was so oppressing that I decided to demonstrate to Devon and others, how important it is to make a stand against people who treat you poorly by creating a Youtube video to share the story! To date, all of my Youtube videos have been filled with positive and inspiring messages, so it was very different for me to create a video of protest! Devon helped me, quite a bit, and together we were able to share our story with a great many people! Please enjoy this video link.... it is a rather hilarious video....
We had many fun family adventures throughout the summer. I celebrated my 50th birthday. And I ended the summer vacation getting involved in the leadership race election for the Green Party of Canada...
You can see that I keep my 'green' signs pretty busy!!!! Soon enough, school started and our daily routines returned to something resembling 'normal'! Shortly after that, Joanne was able to find a new location for her store. We had been looking for a better location for over two years... and it was actually because of the pandemic that we were able to move the store. Because of capacity restrictions, Gymworld had to redesign their programs for 25 kids instead of 150 and this left them with a lot or room that wasn't being used. The owner started dividing his space to lease out to other business... and Happy Tails was one of them!!!!
So... a lot of time and effort went into getting the new space ready, moving and setting things up at our new location!!!!!
We've recently enjoyed our Christmas holidays and now we are in another provincial lockdown, so we are adapting and changing.... and managing to keep food on our table - just like everybody else!
These are just a few of the things that have been keeping me busy since my last artwork post from March, 2020!!
Like most years, it's not until the snow covers the ground when I find time to get back into my artwork... and I'm pleased to share that I have been working on this puzzle piece artwork for a little over a week now and I imagine that I will be able to make steady progress over the next few months.... so let's take a quick peak at where I left off and then we'll get into some new photos....
This is the last full art photo that I shared, waaaay back in mid-February of 2020...
And this is the photo that I took just a couple of hours ago, on January 06, 2021....
The border is coming along nicely!!!! I've also been working on the clouds... but it's a little hard to see the work in this photo. I'm hoping to have the clouds done soon and when I do, I'll take a closer photo so that I can share that with you!!!
My focus over the next month or so will be to complete everything that I'm presently working on before I continue with the bottom portion of the artwork. So, we should soon see a few more tree triangles appearing and I'm very excited to complete the remaining sun rays!!!!
January 13, 2021
And the clouds are now done!!!!
This is a photo of the entire artwork and you can see that I've been very busy on the border, as well as finishing the clouds. The border actually accounts for a rather large portion of the completed art and although it's not the most exciting aspect of the art, it is bringing me a lot of satisfaction as I witness all the white spaces getting smaller and then getting completely filled in!
For the next while, I'm going to continue with the work needed for the border (maybe it'll be done by my next entry) and I'm going to pick away on the sun rays. Last year, I had set aside a small container with puzzle pieces for the remaining two triangular trees.... and if I can find that container again (wish me luck! LOL!!) I'm going to start working on that, as well!
January 20, 2021
Today was a busy day.... with lots going on! After I got Devon set up to continue with his online schooling because his school is closed due to Covid19 lockdown measures, I got busy completing the border!
The top portion of the border is done!
Two sides of the border are done!
I took a break for a little over an hour to watch the Inauguration of Joe Biden! Let's hope that this change of government and President will see better days for a country that has suffered so much loss over the last four years!
The border is done!!!
As I look back at the photo that was taken just before I started working on this artwork again, a great wave of satisfaction flows over me! There was so much to do and day by day, one little piece at a time, it got done! I'm going to take a break from this art... for just a day or so... as I've focused on it so much that I need to play a little 'catch up' on a few other things I've neglected over the last week or so.
February 04, 2021
When this project began.... oh so long ago.... it was fun to just pick up a piece of puzzle and glue it to the board in the area that needed that particular colour. It was definitely a 'helter skelter' approach! It didn't take me long to realize that this way of doing things was going to end up taking more time, in the end. As an area got more and more filled in, and then totally filled in, I had to take a longer time with each puzzle piece to make sure it was going to fit properly. Sometimes, I would have to cut a six, seven or even eight sided piece so it would fit! As you can see, in the most recent photos that I've posted, the border area of this art is a great example of this. It took a lot of patience to complete!
But now.... all of that 'helter skelter' process has been finished and I'm going to do my best to make sure that I work in a more directional manner, as I complete the rest of this art. By 'directional' I am meaning... starting in one area and working my towards another area.
As you can see from this series of photos that I took while working on the sun's rays, when I'm working in an area and adding pieces in a more systematic way, I only have to concern myself with 2 or 3 edges that must fit with what has already been glued down. This process can be up to 3 times faster than the intricate 'filling in' approach! Since most of the rest of this artwork is a blank area, I will be working in this way, as I continue! I hope to make some speedy advances.....
Some of you may be wondering why I haven't mentioned Devon lately! What started as a 4 month project has turned into a 3 year project and as you can guess, Devon is rather busy with school and other activities, so he has not helped me in quite a long time. Just recently, however, I have asked Devon if he'd like the job of filling in the middle of the sun... an effort that he started over 2 years ago!
For the last week or so, he's been spending about 1/2 an hour every day or so, working on the centre portion of the sun. Here he is sporting his latest quarantine buzz cut that I gave him a few weeks ago!!! LOL!!!!! He got to laugh at my buzz cut, too, just a few days ago, when Mommy shaved my head to stubble!!!! Ontario is about a week away from getting out of our second lockdown. We've had provincial orders to 'stay home' since Boxing Day.... almost 2 months ago!
He's grown quite a bit, eh!!!! Devon is now 9 years old and 1/2 way through Grade 4! I'm glad to have him helping me again....
And this is what the art looks like now!!! Every time I look at it I smile because that border is finally done!!!! LOL!!!! Compared to the last full photo I shared, you can see that 3 more sun rays have been completed!!!!
February 10, 2021
WOOOOHOOOO!!!!! The sun is done!!!!! Well.... almost! Just two small areas need to be completed... but I'm still celebrating now! I'm leaving the center of the sun for Devon to work away on over the next week.... it shouldn't take him too long to finish this area. And, the one sun ray in the center, that's going over the landscape needs to be completed! I can't finish this sun ray until I figure out the landscape of the rest of this image... and I'll be starting that portion of this project within the next week! There are 2 more small triangular trees to be filled in (that shouldn't take me more than two days) and then I'm going full force on the rest of the image. I have many ideas in my head about how I'm going to move forward on the last stage of this image and I'm very excited to get working on this.....
February 20, 2021
Devon and I spent this morning, finishing the sun... Well - almost!!!! Ha! Ha! I think I said the exact same thing in my last entry!!!!
For the sun to be 100% complete, I just have another two inches or so, of the very last sun ray to get done. I've mentioned that I can't do this until the next phase of designing the landscape is complete, so I will know exactly where that last sun ray will end! I would guess that the landscape design will be finished by this week's end and then it'll just take me 1/2 hour to finish that sun ray!
But for now... I'm very excited to share that the middle of the sun is complete! Great job, Devon!!!!
I've yet to talk about the designing factor for the middle of the sun... so here is the reasoning behind what we have done here...
People have a very short attention span! So... when this art is finished and I put it on display I expect that people will spend a moment of two enjoying the lovely image with all the wonderfully bright colours and they will be able to tell, quite easily, that the image was created in a mosaic-like fashion! By having the 'snakes' of yellow in the center of the sun, I hope to grab people's attention for just a bit more time. By leaving the white background exposed, one can more easily see the shapes of all the individual puzzle pieces that were used to create the center of the sun and I believe that this will give viewers reason to take a second look.... a closer look... at how this art was created!
This was one of the earliest design factors that I put into place... so long ago! Waaaaaay back then, when I first shared a few words about the sun, I mentioned how these 'snakes' of yellow puzzle pieces intrigued me. It was at that point when I knew that I would complete the sun using this method - leaving the white background exposed!
The challenge I had created for myself, after making that decision, was figuring out how I would transition from a totally filled in sun ray, into this area where I was leaving the white background exposed.
The solution was discovered after I had completed working on the art, for that day, and I had a chance to sit back and look at it, that evening! I spend a lot of time just looking at my art while it is still being created. I will often see things that I had not thought about and these 'things' will then further the layout process for future work.
What I had noticed that evening, was that I had filled in one sun ray completely, but the sun ray beside the first one had not been filled in completely. When I had ended my work on the art, for that day, my plan was to start in that area the next day and fill it in. While I was sitting and staring at the art, I looked at the incomplete sun ray and I just thought, "I kinda like it like that!" It was about that simple!!!!
So.... as I continued working on the sun, I made deliberate choices to fill in some sun rays and not fill in some of the other sun rays! I spent a bit of time planning which sun rays got filled in! I wanted to make sure that I had created a bit of a balance when this portion of the art was completed!
The white background, that I had left exposed, reminded me of 'loose electricity' and energy, and since the sun is nothing but a huge ball of energy, I feel that this design concept enhanced the overall 'feel' of the sun. Having this 'feel' extend into many of the sunrays, simply strengthened this concept!
I hope that this explanation will give readers a small glimpse into the 'art experience' that all artists go through! You can see how I began with the initial concept, "make the middle of the sun mostly yellow" and how that evolved during the creation of the sun to, "hey look at the 'snakes' we're creating" to, "let's leave the snakes so people will be able to more easily see the individual puzzle pieces" to, "oh look how cool it looks when I extend the white background into a few of the sunrays."
All of these concepts came about by working on an area and then spending time simply looking at the area after the work for the day had been completed. These contemplative moments are where I find evolving inspiration that will direct my next actions! It is these moments that I enjoy the most and it is for these reasons that I continue to be an artist... I love the 'art' of discovery and the magical moments when inspiration evolves in my mind!
So... this is how the artwork looks, now! I can't wait to design the rest of the foreground and get that last sun ray completed!!! I mentioned that I would probably work on the last two remaining trees next, but as you can see, they still need to be done and instead of working on them, I have moved forward with a part of the grassy landscape. I was just so excited, to sink into the landscape, that I had to work on it, to see how it will look! And I'm very pleased!!!!
While I was working on the sun, clouds, sky and borders, I went at it in a very helter skelter manner... gluing down puzzle pieces here and there, to begin the process. I had a lot of puzzles on hand and I could very easily find a handful of the needed colours to work with on any given day!
I have also shared that this manner of work was very time consuming as filling in these areas was so challenging. I would have to cut puzzle pieces into 4, 5, 6 or even 7 sided shapes to make them fit. So, my plan for the rest of this art is to work systematically... starting on one side and work may way in just one direction. This is a lot faster as I only have to cut the puzzle pieces so that only 2 or 3 sides fit into the area that I had just completed!
In order for me to do this, I need to make sure that I have the variety of colours that I will need, ahead of time! Since, I didn't have that many greens to work with, I went of a shopping trip to almost every single second hand shop in London! I had to visit so many stores because each store had a very small selection! Usually, second hand shops are filled with puzzles.... but because of our recent pandemic lockdown, the puzzles were scooped up by people so that they had something to occupy their time with!
This was what my dining room table looked like, just a few days ago!!!! In the foreground, there is a small stack of puzzles that I just bought. The middle of the table was were I worked at sorting out the needed colours and in the background you can see the artwork sitting on a small cabinet.... waiting for me to work on it!
This is my sorting station! In order to get the next phase of this artwork looking great, I need to have all of my resources (puzzle pieces) ready to go. Here, I'm sorting out browns for my sand dunes! You can see that I've got a few tupperware containers on hand for me to put the sorted colours into! I've spent several hours doing this and while I'm working away, I enjoy visiting my vinyl LP collection!!! Yes.... I listen to records! Does anyone remember what a record is??? LOL!!!!
Here's a close up photo of the beginning of my landscape area! As I mentioned just a few paragraphs ago, I like to work on an area and then spend some time just looking at what I've done to see if my imagination will 'see' something that I hadn't thought of before. These inspirational moments help to direct my future actions!
A few hours after I had completed this green patch, I was looking at it what I had done to make sure that I was happy with the effort.... and then I had an inspirational moment!!!! You can see here, that I have filled in this area quite randomly... I spent much time choosing my colours so that I could create an evenly random area to create this texture for the grassy hill! Then an idea came to me. My plan is to continue filling in this part of the grassy area in this way.... BUT... every now and again, I'm going to concentrate some of the lighter greens together and darker greens together, to create small areas within this texture! Yeah - OK - it's not a hugely monumental decision... in fact, it's quite a small change from simply creating a 'uniformed' random grassy area... but it will definitely enhance the overall final product!!!!
So.... that's where I'm at as of today!!!! I've still got a lot of work ahead of me.... and as I'm working on a brand new area of this art, I've very excited to get busy......
March 15, 2021
I mentioned in my last entry that working on this art in a more systematic way should see the work getting done more quickly! And this proves it! Just a few days after my last entry, you can see that quite a bit of the grass area has been completed!
It's a little hard to see... but in the white area there are now many sketch lines as I've been planning out the rest of the landscape! This has made me very excited!! I've been wanting to get this planning done for a long time... but I wanted to focus on getting the rest of the art completed, to this point, first - before I moved ahead with the next phase. As you can imagine, I've been thinking about this for quite a while, so when I finally took pencil to board, the process was rather quick. It took me 20 minutes to plan out the rest of the landscape.... initially!
For the next 3 days, I would sit and look at it.... make a small adjustment.... look some more... make another adjustment. At the end of these 3 days, I was satisfied.. and then it was time to get busy...
Here, we can see that I got the final sunray completed! Now - I can officially say that the sun is done!!! I also started working on the sand dune! Next... two more trees....
The two trees are now done... as well as the third sand dune!
To create the illusion of distance, a simple formula is followed! Things in the foreground have darker colours and more variety of colours. The further in the distance an object is, fewer colours are used and lighter colours are used! It's about that simple!
Now... it's back to work I go.... Let's see how much I can get done before I share another update....
April 23, 2021
It didn't take too long to get into the next bit of grass...
...but after I got this far, I became a little worried that the two light green trees might disappear! I would have to be very careful about the 'random' placements of my grass colours! Although, the puzzle pieces appear to be completely random, a lot of thought goes into selecting which piece goes where!!!
There was a long delay until I got back into this artwork... the weather warmed up and I have been spending a lot of time in my gardens!
Last fall, I cleared away a rather large juniper bush to make way for another berry patch! Because my chainsaw broke half way through the clearing of the juniper, I used a hand saw to cut the rest of the bush away.... and I'm glad my chainsaw broke and made me change the way I finished clearing the bush!!! With the chainsaw, I was able to cut the bush branches right down to soil level. For this portion of the bush, I was left with this! And I fell in love with it and found inspiration!!!
I just loved all the curves and switch-backs of the roots and branches and I figured that I'd clear away most of them to leave behind what I now refer to as the 'root sculpture'!!!! You can see that I've placed some rocks right under the roots (foreground), while using other rocks to create more flower beds around the base of the root sculpture! You can barely see the small 'sticks' that will grow into berry bushes, this summer. It may take a year or so, but this area will fill in. On the upper left side, I've since added some blackcap (thimble berry) canes, as well. To make it easier to get into this area for berry picking, I've started building a small patio that will soon have a short pathway added to it!
Here's a closer look. You can see that I've got some flowers already planted in this area!! Does my patio resemble anything??? LOL!!!! Like my puzzle artwork?? It seems that I'll find any excuse to use different shaped bits to create interesting designs!!
Well... we had some rather freakish April snow storms blow through the area this week... and that forced me to stay inside as it's hard working in a garden covered in snow. So... I was able to get moving on my puzzle art, once again!
And after three afternoons... I got the entire grass area in this portion of my art completed!!!!
I'm pretty happy with these results! My three trees aren't that easy to see... but they didn't disappear entirely!!!! I figure that it's just another one of those things that will make people take another look!!!
The weather has warmed up a bit, this afternoon and I haven't heard of any more snow in the forecast, so I'd suspect that I'll be getting back into my gardening projects for the next few weeks. Will this be the end of this project until next winter???? We'll have to wait and see....
Well... 2021 proved to be a very busy year... with all the stay at home online schooling... garden expansions and everything else that kept me from finding suitable time to get back to my arting! I spent quite a bit of my time making sure that Devon was succeeding with his school work and when we weren't busy with that, we got ourselves involved in a few other art and writing activities.
Nearing the end of March, Devon had completed another writing assignment that I had given to him. It took nearing five months to write, edit and format this book! I've copied a link to this book so you can enjoy his efforts.
Devon and I began filming this video in the fall of 2020... the scene where Devon actually becomes the Minecraft character Steve. We had a lot of fun making this happen! The entire video was completed in May of 2021.
So you can see that Devon and I spent quite a bit of time together... keeping busy and having fun. I found no time to get back into this puzzle art creation.
I spent most of my time in the spring of 2021 building and expanding my flower and vegetable gardens.
A few months later, this garden had filled in quite nicely!
Even though we were spending most of our time at home... we continued to get involved in a few actions to raise awareness about our environmental concerns.
One of my friends, who is a reporter for CBC London, spotted Devon and me at this event and she included a small part of our interview in her story about this event.
We managed to get together for a camping trip with Joanne's side of our family! What a great time we had!! Still... no time for my artwork.
Throughout the summer, I decided to get Devon involved in learning how to paint with acrylic paints on a canvas. We created an artwork for his Grade 4 teacher who really loves soccer. Devon also wrote a book that tells the story of the processes used in this artwork. The link to that story is right below the photo above.
I love Rock'N'Roll! This pandemic made it so all concerts and indoor events were cancelled for nearing two years. Since the majority of people got vaccinated, a few community events started happening again. In September of 2021, I took Devon to his first concert! It was outdoors and we had an absolute blast! He got to meet the local London, Ontario band Bobnoxious and they even autographed a CD that they gave to him!!! The headliner for this concert was a Tragically Hip cover band! They were awesome! Listening to loud, live music really satisfied my cravings having gone so long without being able to go to a concert!
Before we knew it... Christmas was upon us... and the end of 2021!!! Ha! Ha! I cracked up when I saw this handmade vaccine Christmas tree decoration at a local crafters market. Considering all that we were going through... it seemed appropriate to get it as reminder of these crazy times!
This is only a small recap about all the activities that we got involved in throughout 2021. As you can see... we were a very busy family!
We even started 2022 with online schooling! This time, however, I was determined to get back to my puzzle artwork... and I did...
I mentioned before that I'm actually able to get quite a bit more done now... because the areas left to finish are completely empty. This allows me to fill these areas in systematically and it is a lot easier because I only need to get each puzzle piece to fit into the ones behind them... instead of trying to fill in a small hole!
The portion I'm working on here is the middle section of the landscape. I am using a very basic technique to create depth... a technique used in most renderings. The concept is quite simple... when something is very close to the foreground, more colours and darker colours are used. As a landscape recedes into the distance, lighter colours and fewer colours are used. It's that simple!
So... as I've been working on this middle portion of the landscape, I'm using more colours for the sand dunes as well as the grass. I'm using a wider range of colours and the colours are a bit darker than the colours in the background.
This is as far as I was able to get on this artwork nearing mid-March of this year. As always... many other activities took my attention...
I taught Devon a new technique for painting as he worked on his second canvass painting. Click on the link to check out that story... This effort filled a few months of time.
Working with community groups to raise funds for families hurt and displaced because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine filled some more of our time.
And after working as a Para-Transit driver for over 11 years... I found myself to be undervalued! So... I got myself a new job working as a driver for a local retirement residence. I take the seniors to their medical appointments, shopping and lots of fun picnics and theatre outings! I love my new job!!
With all of these things taking place, it was hard to find the will or the time to focus on my puzzle art.
By the time June rolled around, we were quite exhausted from all of the pandemic stuff, wars and dealing with online schooling and lockdowns! So... we took Devon on his first plane ride and we ventured to Nova Scotia to visit the towns that Joanne and I got to know way back in 2003 when we lived there to work on my art project Canada: Glorious To Be
!! In this photo, we've got our feet wet in the Atlantic Ocean!
Since Devon has become quite skilled at playing his ukulele, I thought that he would enjoy doing some busking. Since he's so new at this, I busk with him and we take turns playing songs! We take 1/2 of the money that ends up in my guitar case and we use it to buy baby food for local charities! As you can see... I'm always teaching Devon how to give back to his community by helping others. These adventures are filling our Saturday afternoons... and I'm actually quite glad for it. My puzzle art project can wait, as we continue to fill our time with these kinds of activities.
Most recently, I completed another book. This one is entitled "Understanding the Freedom Trucker Convoy". I felt inspired to capture this moment of history because I'm pretty sure that people in 20 or 30 years from now just won't believe that this actually happened! I created this book using slides that Devon created for a school project on this subject. I added a lot more information to give a more complete understanding of all that went on. I hope to be able to share it on this website, sometime in the future... so keep your eyes open for that post!
Of course, our year was also filled with lots of gardening projects and many family events and visits to the beach. We are now just a few days away from Christmas and I'm hoping that my slightly reduced winter hours at work plus not being involved in my garden or working on any other art projects at the moment will allow me the time to continue working on this puzzle art project. My goal is to finish it before the spring of 2023! Wish me luck......
End of January 2023
I'm glad to say that even with all of life's distractions I've been able to pick away at this project. One of Devon's Christmas gifts was a marble Gravitrax set that I got for him. I had never heard of this game before... but it looked like a lot of fun... and it really is! Devon and I have spent many hours building different courses and since Devon always talks about wanting to be a Youtuber, I've been teaching him how to plan videos... what to say, how to make interesting video angles, etc. Just the other day, we finished the 7th video for his upcoming Gravitrax video series! I'll be posting info about this in another month or so when we're ready to start sharing them on Youtube.
The videos that we've been making are highly entertaining!
Yesterday, I had a small milestone with my puzzle art mosaic project... I completed the second layer of the grassy hills in the landscape! Here are a few of the 'in progress' photos that I've taken over the last few weeks...
I'm going to take a break from the 'greens' and continue on with the two last layers of sand dunes that are on the left side of this art. I'll look forward to sharing photos about that very soon....
First week of February 2023
I share this simply philosophy with Devon, from time to time, when we are on a country drive. I'll have him look out the window and look towards the furthest stand of trees in the distance. I'll have him compare how they look to stands of trees that are closer to us as well as trees that we are driving immediately past. His conclusion is always the same... the trees closest to us have the darkest colours and the most contrast in colours while the distant trees look less bright with fewer contrasts in colours... looking like just one colour.
I use this same philosophy in all of my artworks... it's how the illusion of distance is created. If you look at the furthest sand dunes in this art, you will see that they are made using just one of two similar colours and that the colours are not very bright.
In the second row of sand dunes - there's only one sand dune in this part of the image - you can see that I've used quite a variety of sandy coloured puzzle pieces. Because it's closer to the foreground.
In the sand dune that I've just completed here, you can see that I've added a lot more lighter sand coloured puzzle pieces... because this sand dune is even closer to the foreground!
It's quite the feeling to have after I've been working on this art for around 4 years, to see it almost done! Only one more sand dune and one more grassy hill to do!! Whoot! Whoot!
Because this last sand dune is very near to the one just behind it, the changes in colours are very subtle... but the formula for colour change remains the same.
Here's a closer look at the sand dunes and you can see that I've added a lot more of the light sandy coloured puzzle pieces to this area!