Puzzle Artwork Story

Still Untitled
3'-0" x 3'-0" hardwood canvas
puzzle piece mosaic
London, Ontario
March 09, 2024 6:16pm

If you have checked out my many artwork stories, you will see that the posts begin with me showing the artwork with a short story after that.  Most of the stories are brief... just some basic information... like: What my inspiration was, what medium(s) did I use, where it is now... stuff like that.

Well... this story is completely different than any other story on this website.  Once I got into the art and realized that it was going to take several years to complete, I thought that it would be interesting to share the entire process of it's creation with readers like you!  Yes... I realize that many people will never read the whole story... and that's fine!  If giving this page a quick scroll and seeing a few highlights is all that you want to get out of this... then I thank you for taking that bit of time!  However, if you have the time and want to learn about many of the 'events' that happened along the way during this artwork's creation... then let's get started...

I thought that it would be interesting for people to get to know me!  Not just Mr. Jim the artist from Canada... but the Mr. Jim who loves to go to the beach, work in his garden and live his life with friends and family as this one artwork weaves itself through my day to day life.  After all... I started this art back in 2019... so there's nearing 5 years worth of 'life' adventures to add themselves to this story.

Like any good story... it's always best to start at the beginning....

The Inspiration – Mid-January, 2019

We love working on puzzles during the winter months!  It’s something fun that the whole family can enjoy… although Joanne seems to be the one doing most of the work!!!!  Devon and I will sit down, every now and again and do a bit of work, but Mom seems to really enjoy it, so we let her have her relaxing time!  That’s a little ‘tongue in cheek’ because Mom often times gets mad at the puzzle!!!!  But if yelling at a puzzle helps her to relax, then I say ‘Go for it!’. LOL!!!!

Devon and Mom starting a new puzzle on Christmas morning, 2018

So – we’ve built up a small collection of ‘done’ puzzles and one evening, I remembered that I had once created an artwork using nothing but jigsaw puzzle pieces.  That was way back in 2001, when Joanne and I were living in Nelson, British Columbia as we worked on the art project entitled ‘Canada: Glorious To Be’.  Thinking about this memory got my imagination working and it was a few days later, when I decided to do another puzzle piece artwork!  I figured that I could design the image in a way that would be easy for Devon to understand so that he could participate in the project with me.

I shared the idea with him and he said that he would help with the new project.  So – it was time to get started….

The Wood Canvas – Mid-January

In order for this project to be successful, I knew that our canvas had to be quite large!  I also knew that the canvas had to made of wood in order to keep its shape!  Devon and I went to a local art supply shop and went wood canvas shopping!  While we were there, I had another thought…

Devon and Daddee at the For The Love of Art "Hip To Be Square" exhibit 2018

Since I have been participating in several  ‘Hip To Be Square’ art shows over the last few years, I suggested to Devon that we buy a square canvas so that we could enter this artwork into an upcoming exhibition.  That way, many people could enjoy our creation… and just maybe we could sell it and use the money for his swimming or piano classes.

When we got home, I began prepping the wood canvas with two coatings of gesso!!!!

The Project Begins – End of January

After the gesso had dried, I mixed up a nice dark purple colour to paint the border’s edge.  I wanted a plain and simple edge that would complement the final artwork without distracting the viewer – as I have often times created interesting borders in the past!  This time, I want viewers to only focus on the artwork and not the edge design!!

Then, we had to come up with a design!  For several weeks, my imagination went wild.  I thought up all sorts of interesting things that we could do!  In the end, we decided to copy another artwork that I created a couple of years ago….

I explained to Devon that we would be inspired by the concepts from this artwork, but our new art would end up being different in a few different ways.  I really like how the sun’s rays go through the border (in the above art) and I wanted to copy this concept in our new project… so we started with laying out the border…

An hour later, we were both itching to glue down some puzzle pieces, so I showed Devon how to do that…

 The first peaces to be glued down!

And after one hour, some more border colours are done!

Beginning of February

 It's always good to 'get your feet wet' whenever you begin a new project.  After this first day, it was time to get moving forward!  I spent some time laying out the design for this project.  In the above image (the one that we are using as inspiration for this art) you'll notice that the sun is touching the horizon.  As I was laying out the lines for this art, I showed Devon how I was using a small dinner plate to draw the circle for the sun and I asked him where he thought the sun should go.  He decided to put it more into the centre portion of the sky... and so I did!

Then we started gluing down some more pieces...

When we started, I was showing Devon how to do everything.  How to pick a puzzle piece to use... how to find a spot where it will fit.... how to glue the back side of the puzzle piece... how to hold it in place until the glue dries, etc. 

I knew that there were going to be many places where I'd have to do the work myself - like where colours intersect and small details that would be very hard for Devon to do - but my goal was to find ways for Devon to work on his own, with very little supervision.

So... I got him to work in the large areas of the design.  I'd glue one piece down for him and then tell him to make a 'snake' having his puzzle pieces expanding outward from where he started.  This worked out very well.

When Devon first began working on his own, I was working right beside him - working on another part of the art.  He would ask if he was doing it right - I'd say yes or give him a little guidance - and then he'd continue with his work.  After a while, I told him that he's been doing such a great job and that because he understands what to do, he doesn't need to ask me any more questions!!!!  And he proved me right!!!!  Whenever I'd inspect his work, it was always perfect!!!!  Great job, Devon!!!!

Magic Moment - Mid February

I began this post by saying that life is about the journey and not the destination.  This magic moment is an example of all the fun things that happen during the journey!  

So - Devon was building his 'snakes' using yellow and orange puzzle pieces to fill in the middle of the sun.  At one point, he called out, "Hey Daddee!!!!  Look how well this piece joins my two snakes!"  I looked over and noticed that he was holding a yellow puzzle piece in his hand and then he had me watch him as he put it on the canvas.  True enough, it fit amazingly perfect and now two separate 'snakes' were joined!!!

Some may think that this is rather trivial, but for me, it's quite dynamic!  I actually feel rather 'universal' or full of karma during moments like this.  Just think about all the randomness that is happening during this art process.... and then, suddenly.... a form of unity comes into being!!!!  I love moments like this!!!

Random placements find unity and karma!

And then the work continued....

Interesting Observations - Mid-February

One day, I was sorting out puzzle pieces from a used puzzle I had just bought for $1.00 and I noticed something interesting!  I called Devon over to show him and explain what I was going to work on next...

I showed Devon how some of the puzzle pieces I was sorting out, had two colours on them.  The first ones I found had both yellow and white colours.  I told him that we can glue these pieces to the art just as they are - we didn't need to separate the colours.  So, we found areas where the sun's ray was touching an area where the cloud is and we glued them on!

The first few times we did this we were using yellow and white puzzle pieces... but, a short while later, we found some blue and white pieces, as well!!!  I wonder if viewers of this art will ever notice this very small detail???

First Completed Area – Mid-February
When we first started this project, we had lots of fun tossing a blue puzzle piece over there, a red piece over here and yellow pieces over here and there!  LOL!!!  After a bit of this, I decided to see if there was an area that we could complete so we could get a better sense of what the final image would look like!

That’s when I noticed that the sky had 5 small areas that could be completed in just a few hours.  I gathered together my entire pallet of blue and purple puzzle pieces and went to work!!!
After I finished these small areas, I felt great… but I knew that I had to stop working on the sky for a while…

The Waiting Game - Mid-February 

Just behind my work area, in our dining room, we have also been busy working on completing another puzzle.  ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh is amazingly filled with so many blends of blue that I knew I had to use this in my art…. but Joanne got mad at me every time I suggested that she work on a different puzzle, so I could get my hands on this one!!!!  My bad!!!  So, I had to wait!!!!
Oh well!  There’s a lot of other areas that still need to get done, so we started working on a different area of my art...

Finding Inspiration - Mid-February
The foreground of this artwork is fairly simple – there’s two hills of grass with a few triangular shaped trees.  The grass area is quite large and I’ve always felt that this will be difficult to find enough puzzles with green in them… so I decided that I had to add a new design element!
That’s what I love about creating art.  I get an idea – I plan it out – I begin the work – and then things change!  That’s why I thought many of you would enjoy following along with this adventure, so you could see how things change along the way.
So – I pulled up a chair and sat down and thought about how I could change my foreground.  As I sat in my contemplative mind, a memory from my childhood came to me and I found inspiration!!!

I grew up amongst some of the loveliest landscapes in Southern Ontario.  There was a lot of farming, but because the area is so laden with gravel and sand many large patches of land are left fallow, or used as grazing fields for cows or sheep.  I used to adventure through these rolling hills for hours and hours and the one memory that came to me was of one farm that was filled with rolling hills… and sand! Lots of sand!!  These sand dunes were very susceptible to erosion caused by wind and rain and they looked so beautiful as they were always changing the look of the landscape.  So – sand dunes here we come!!!
Sand dunes added to design

Dreaming of Art – Mid-February
I have a history of talking in my sleep, from time to time.  Several of my artworks and one of my songs had been directly influenced by my dreams, as well…

Dreaming of a Better World is a great example!!  I’ve even woken myself up because I’ve been laughing or talking really loudly, while I was sleeping – the sound of my own voice woke me up.  On several occasions, Joanne has told me that I sounded like I was talking in an alien language, in the middle of the night!!!!  I laugh and tell her that I must have had another visit from my spirit gaurdians!!!

A little while ago, while I was making breakfast and lunch for everyone, Joanne came into the kitchen and told me that I must have been dreaming about my puzzle art, that night.  She said that I sat up a bit and started saying, “Just make sure you cut the pieces first!!” a few times before I rolled over and flopped back to sleep!!!!  This story cracked me up!  This just goes to show how connected and focused I get while working on my art projects!!!!

End of February

Still Waiting - First of March

I mentioned earlier that I'm patiently waiting for this puzzle to get completed!!!!  As soon as it's done I'll be able to get back into the sky part of the puzzle artwork!  Hurry up, you two!!!!! LOL!!!!

Clouds – First of March
I always enjoy putting some kind of cloud into my landscapes.  In this first photo, you’ll see that I’ve added a black line around the outside edge of the cloud, to make it easier for you to see….
As the weeks have gone by, I’ve been looking at this cloud and wondering if maybe it’s just a little too much cloud for this image?  Then, one evening, I decided that it was too much… but what to do??  The cloud just took up too much room and I didn’t want it fighting for attention against the beautiful sun.

So, I turned the one big cloud into two smaller ones.  Because a lot of the sky has already been put into place, I couldn’t make a very drastic change, but I found that this small change made a rather big difference.  In this photo, you can see that I simply erased one small line to divide the cloud into two.  The bottom cloud now looks like it ends behind one of the sun’s rays while the top cloud continues to weave its way between a few of the sun’s rays.

In the end, I’ve decreased the size of cloud by just a little bit, but the ‘weight’ of the cloud has decreased quite dramatically!!

Small Milestones – Mid-March
A couple of weeks ago, I shared the concept for and the creation of the sand dunes in this artwork and the photo I shared showed one of the sand dunes, completed!  That was the first part of this entire project to be completed!!  Since then, I’ve had three other milestones…
Inside border complete!!
Just the other day, I finally completed the thin second border around the entire image.

And, even more recently, I completed the second sand dune and one tree!!!!
I love it when parts of the image are done!  I just don’t have to think about them anymore!  It allows me to focus my thoughts on other aspects of this art…. and this artwork has quite a lot of other aspects!!!

Almost a Milestone – Mid-March
These four milestones of completion are rather small parts of the entire project… there is just so much work to be done!  For the last week or so, I’ve been concentrating my efforts on the top right corner of the artwork so I can get a better understanding of how the final image will look, once completed… and I’m very happy with how it’s all coming together…

I’ve filled in more blue sky triangles (because the puzzle that Joanne has been working on got finished and after a few days of enjoying it, she has allowed me to cut it up for this project!!! Finally! LOL!), a couple of the sun’s rays, quite a bit of cloud and an enormous part of the thick, outside border.  But, this is no time for a pat on the back.... We've got a lot still to go.....
End of March Update

For the last two weeks, Devon and I have been working very diligently on this art project!

So nice!  The entire right side of the sky is done!  Can you see the transition from dark blue at the top to light blue along the horizon???? Although the left side of the sky still needs a lot of work, I have completed the sky surrounding the circle of the sun so it is very clear to see the shape!

End of First Week of April

Over the last week, I've been working on the clouds, the large tree and parts of the border!  This work isn't the most exciting, but I don't want to end this project doing the boring parts, so I pick away at them throughout the entire process!

First Week of May
When Devon and I first started this project, I had calculated that it would take a little over 3 months to complete.  I figured that most of the work would get done by the end of March and the last bits would get put into place over the month of April.  I knew that when April came along, I would be busy in my garden, so I was expecting to do a little work to start each day… but that didn’t happen!
Actually, I haven’t even touched the art in almost two weeks!  Geesh!!!! LOL!!! At this rate, it’ll be September until this art gets done!  April has just been such a busy month!!!
Devon and school friend carrying trees to plant

Devon and I have participated in a couple community tree planting events!
Devon reads a story he wrote about Earthday to his school mates!
We also spent some time organizing a school Earthday presentation!!!

Adding 50 feet of day lilies to the side of a London road!
We’ve also been doing a lot of guerrilla gardening!  Now – to be clear – this doesn’t mean that we dress up in gorilla costumes – LOL!!! – it means that we plant flowers in ditches and parks without anyone’s permission… so SHHHHHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone!  I don’t want to get arrested for illegal flower planting!!!!
And, we’ve also been working in our own gardens!!!!!
But, we have been picking away at our puzzle art… slowly!  I actually have 3 significant areas that are almost completed!  I look forward to sharing those photos some time soon…….

Beginning of May – 3 Significant Areas
Here is the latest full frame photo of this rather ambitious art creation….

I’ve mentioned before that my plan for the border of this art is to work away on it throughout the whole process.  It is a rather large area and I don’t want to be tasked with completing it in one go…. so, I’ve been picking away at it, slowly but surely.  Even though it still has a lot further to go, I feel that my efforts over the last few weeks warrant that what I have got done is a significant area!   What makes it even more significant is an interesting design concept that spontaneously realized itself, a short while ago….

This is what my work station looks like, just before Devon and I sit down to glue the puzzle pieces to the art.  First, we sort out colours and then I cut them into smaller bits and put them on a small plate.  I gave Devon just such a plate of red colours – for the border – and I was surprised by what he had done with them.

When 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.
What 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…
I 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!!!

Here, 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 go looking for it!
The above photo will now lead us into the next significant area…

This 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!

And 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 me explain…

This 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.

It 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.
The 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!

I 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!
And 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!!
So, 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 stronger!
I’m going to end this portion of the story with a zoomed in look at the texture that is this tree…

It’s 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.

This 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 times!!!

So – 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!

So, until then…. have a wonderful springtime!  I’ll look forward to sharing more in another week or so…..

First of July, 2019

Well, 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!  Nothing spectacular! No new revelations!  Just a few photos showing how the art has progressed!

In 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!

In 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 work!!!

This 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!!!!
January 2020
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!!!!
Mr. Jim Supports The Green Party of Canada: Federal Election 2019

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......

Mid-March, 2020

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 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 on 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.... 

January 2022

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.

March 2022

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!

Almost done...

Sand dunes... DONE!!!!

Mid-February 2024

All of the stories that you will find on this website are to the point... and short!  I share the final artwork, a few photos that tell the story behind the inspiration and then the story ends.  When I first started this project, I thought that it would be interesting for readers to take a step by step journey through the entire process of creation... to get a glimpse into my life as this artwork is completed.  So... I hope that all of you have enjoyed this read.

It's been almost a year since I got back to work on this art... and what a year it has been...

Last February, Devon and I started a series of Gravitrax videos... that are a LOT of fun!  We're actually still working on this series.  We hope to begin sharing them on Youtube before the end of March 2024.  Here's a thumbnail for one of the videos...

When these videos are ready for sharing, they will be posted in 'Devon's Gallery' on this website... so be sure to check them out sometime soon...

Of course, my garden took most of my attention throughout the spring, summer and fall...

Devon and I grew a few new vegetables that we had never heard of before... including cucamelons, kohlrabi and bok choy!  We also added two new native perennial flowers to our gardens... and three of my flower gardens were expanded in size.  Most of our growing was a success!!  

In the fall, I spent a lot of time continuing to expand my rock wall gardens and pathways!

We enjoyed some time off in the summer!  I got to meet, sing with and hug Daniel Lanois and give him one of my original artworks that he said will get hung up in his recording studio in New Orleans!!!  We celebrated birthdays!  And we had a great Christmas holiday!

My boss surprised me with a great work assignment! He knew that Devon would enjoy escorting Santa and Mrs Claus to the annual Santa Parade... and we got to be in it!!  So much fun!

Devon and I continue our 'Busking For Baby Food' adventures and to date... over the course of the last 14 months... we raised close to $350 that we spent on baby food for several local charities!  Great job, Devon! 

Devon's back in skating classes and he recently started a diving class!  All of this, on top of school work and fun outings with his friends has kept Devon and me very busy!

AND NOW... we're in February... and this art project continues!  I'm actually hoping to have it completed before the end of March!!! 

You will notice that I'm working on it upside down!  The artwork actually sits on the floor when I am working on it... with me kneeling on the floor as I add the cut up puzzle pieces.  By having the artwork turned so the area I'm working on is at eye level, it's easier to get the work done!  The worst part about this process is my legs and knees.  After 20 minutes my legs start to fall asleep and start tingling and I have to use the nearby dining room table to help me stand up again! Haha!  I'm always joking about being an old man... but I'm sure that these aches and pains would be persistent even if I was doing this art when I was in my 20's!!

Every time I stand up I say, "I will never do another artwork like this... EVER AGAIN!" and then I laugh... but I am serious!!  This artwork has pushed me to many limits... so I am glad it'll soon be done!

Since this last green hill is in the foreground, I really want it to jump out at viewers.  To do this, I continue with the math/art equations used to show distance.  The green hills in the background are almost all one shade of a light green. The next area of green hills sees me adding darker greens to the mix as well as some purple and red flowers to give the area a feel that it's covered in wild flowers and tall grasses.

This last section of green hill has me using more purple, red, pink and even yellow flowers and I'm adding a lot more light green for the grasses.  This simple technique helps the different elements of the landscape – both the sand dune areas and the grassy hills – to stand apart from each other and this then allows viewers to ‘feel’ the distance in the landscape!

OK... I'm so close to the end... let's get this DONE!!!!

Feb 18th

Feb 22nd

March 2024
March 3rd

March 5th

March 7th

The Finale - Well... Almost!

I really pushed myself to get this artwork done before this last weekend for a fun reason!!  Joanne's sister and her family (including Devon's cousins) came to visit... they actually left to travel home just a few hours ago... and I wanted them to be a part of the 'finale' for this artwork.  My parents and my sister live just a five minute drive away, so I called them and invited them to participate as well!!!  After this five year journey, I really wanted to end this in a fun way... so I made a plan...

I have often put together little ceremonies to celebrate the completion of artworks... and they usually involve burning stuff!  Sometimes I'll have sketches that were used to help me in the creation of my art... even photos or poems.  With my paper collage artworks I'll always have left over pieces of paper as well as the magazines that I took them from.  I like to burn these things... it makes me feel good!  As you can imagine... I had A LOT of boxes filled with puzzle pieces left over from this project.

After a quick trip to a local building center... I had enough wood for several bonfires!  This photo just shows one armful of wood... I had several.  I just ask workers in the loading areas if they have any cut-ends or wood scraps that they can give me... and they are always happy to help!

I use my skilsaw to cut these pieces into more manageable sizes.

Then I dumped a box of left over puzzle pieces into my burn bin and continued to build my fire starter on top of them.

The reason for burning stuff is easy to understand.  It's a way of releasing the energy inside of things... that's what burning is!  So... when I burn my sketches or these puzzle pieces, I'm releasing their energy into the universe!  While this is happening, I am thinking thoughts of gratitude for being involved in the creation of this art and all of this energy and gratitude begins a new journey.  It is always my thought that this energy will find ways to re-manifest itself in some way, shape or form either on the Earth or another planet with life in another part of our galaxy!

These are fun and romantic thoughts about how the miracle of life exists... and if you don't know that I'm a crazy, fun and romantic soul... then you haven't been paying attention! LOL!

In the last photo that I shared of the artwork, you can see that it's still not completely done!  After that photo was taken, I did add a few more puzzle pieces to it... but I had left the very last piece blank.  My plan was to wait until my family had arrived and then we'd watch Devon glue the last puzzle piece into place.  THEN... we were going to burn all the left over puzzle pieces!

Well... the weather had other plans that afternoon! It started to lightly rain!  So... we had to change things around a bit and see if we could make something else work.

I really wanted everyone to be here when we lit the bonfire.  When we heard that Jo's sister was still half an hour away... and it had started raining, I decided we should get the fire started right away as it's easier to maintain a fire in slightly rainy conditions than to start one with damp paper and wood!  So while Devon enjoyed a small pop... I got the fire going while enjoying a tall can of beer! Perfect!

Of course, we had to have music at our celebration... so I had to grab an umbrella to keep the small ghettoblaster dry!!!

I kept the final box with unused puzzle pieces nice and dry by putting them under the awning on the side of my garage!  Perfect!  Everything was ready!!! BUT... then it started to pour rain!

I had a feeling that my celebration was going to be a bust! Uh-oh!

Joanne's sister and her family arrived and everyone shot into the house to stay dry.  A few minutes later, my parents and sister got here and the rain began to lighten up a little bit.

Over the next half hour we all stood around the bonfire with umbrellas up... hoping and waiting for a bit of a break from the rain!  Good fortune was with us... soon, the rain had stopped altogether!!!

Without being too rushed... and without wasting any time... the burning of the puzzle pieces began.  I said a few opening words... praising the Gods of Puzzles... to which everyone laughed... and then we got busy!!!!!

Well... that got done!  Then it was time to roast some marshmallows and enjoy some refreshments and snacks!

But wait!!!  The final piece of puzzle still needed to get glued into place.  So... I got busy again, bringing out my art, scissors and the glue bottle...

As it was starting to get a bit darker out, my dad held the light on his phone up so we could see what we were doing.  The puzzle piece got cut to fit and then Devon and I chatted about how to best glue this piece in.


The last piece of puzzle got glued into place!!! Whoot! Whoot!  The artwork was done on Friday, March 8, 2024 at 6:16pm!!!!!

SOOOOOO... I can say that I was very happy with how it all turned out! The rain's stayed away... we got to burn stuff... drink stuff... laugh... and glue stuff!!! Haha! And we had a little bit of light left to take a final few photos....

First, Devon and I had some fun antics as we posed with the completed artwork...

... and then I took a group photo with some of my most favourite people in the world!!!

The next day, I shared a few fun photos on Facebook, and I used two of the photos for my 'cover' and my 'profile' pic!!!!!

So... is this the end???

Ummmm... NO!

Still to do...  I'll spend some time giving the entire artwork a final once over... I'm pretty sure that there are a few pieces that may need another spot of glue... and then it'll be ready for the finishing.  I'm not sure what kind of varnish I'll be using on this art, to protect it, so I'll be spending some time figuring that out... chatting with a few experts on the subject.  I still have to attach screws and wires to the back so it can hang on a wall.  I've got to add the title and sign and date the back.  And finally... I've got to figure out what I'm going to do with it... where will it find a home???

I'll look forward to wrapping up this art adventure some time over the next few months... so until then... be peaceful my friends!!!!


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