Lamplight Village

Lamplight Village
Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 76 cm x 61 cm
Manufacturer: Springbok, Hallmark, PZL6196
Artist: Thomas Kinkade
Original: photograph
Puzzle: Peaceful imagery, challenge added by irregularly-shaped pieces. Good lighting is a bonus, especially for the sky. Good places to start are water, grass, boundaries between them, bright flowers, tree canopies, the bridge and house roofs.

“My art is nothing more than a reflection of who I am as a person — what I value, believe, and experience.” With those words, Thomas Kinkade paints a picture of his life for all to see. His delightful paintings transport us to a gentler time and a lovelier place and give us a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings behind Thomas Kinkade.

Working under the guidance of two mentors — Charles Bell, considered one of America’s best sign painters, and Glenn Wessels, an associate of Hemingway, Picasso, and Ansel Adams — Kinkade began to develop his unique style which would delight his fans for years to come. The radiant light that permeates his work captures the perfection that exists only in places that touch our imaginations and our hearts.

In LAMPLIGHT VILLAGE, the fourth painting in the Lamplight Lane series, the Brooke Windermer gently wanders through this idyllic locale. With his trademark style, Kinkade produces wonderful effects with the interplay of sun and lamplight. The blaze of sunset makes silhouettes of the trees and dapples the village row houses; the twinkle of distant lamps enhances the dance of light and shade. Villagers stroll along the warmly lit paths, while a fisherman and his dog wait for a bite at the river’s edge. The tower and spire of the Gothic church in the distance hints at a fascinating history; this is a town that invites exploration. [Puzzle box, Selected text © 1995 Abbeville Press, from Thomas Kinkade’s Paintings of Radiant Light]

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Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's CoveSize: 1000 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 68 cm x 49 cm
Manufacturer: Dowdle Folk Art, IRM./ART. 981261
Original: painting
Box: photo
Artist: Eric Dowdle – Renowned folk artist Eric Dowdle captivates people of all ages with the wit, charm, and detail which is portrayed in his artwork. His quirky and infectious personality is represented in his collection of hundreds of scenes from the United States, and around the world. These paintings are highly valued by collectors and are distributed as high-quality prints, puzzles, and gifts.

Eric began painting in his early twenties and after just one year of college decided to part ways to “make something happen!” Making things happen is exactly what Eric has done and continues to do. Painting, exploring, and working day and night to expand his collection of distinctive folk art paintings is his passion.

As he has traveled the world to do research for his paintings, Eric has been exposed to numerous peoples and cultures. Since 2012, he has shared these experiences on the radio program “Traveling with Eric Dowdle” which is found weekly on Sirius XM 143. Eric and his team are currently in production for the television series “Painting the Town with Eric Dowdle” which premiered on public television in 2015. [Eric Dowdle site]

Puzzle: Lovely puzzle, brought to me by a friend. Wonderful to do in the early hours of the morning when the less-than-two-week-old baby decides to welcome the sunrise instead of sleeping. Beautiful rendition of Peggy’s Cove.

Lots of possible places to start – the sky with the clouds, the ater, the green, yellow, and blue panels on houses, the orange roofs, the rocks, the lighthouse. Irregularly-shaped pieces add a bit of a challenge to otherwise quite an easy puzzle.

“See the world through the eyes of Eric Dowdle. His unique ability to capture the essence of the cities and places he paints has delighted people of all ages. His quirky, funny and infectious personality is represented in his art and he’s known worldwide for his unique style. When you travel along with Eric, the artist and personality extraordinaire, you feel like you were transported to that location as he shares all that he experienced in that destination through his art. By the time you complete the puzzle, you are left with a warm and friendly view of the city that he portrays in each painting.” [Puzzle box]

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Labistide

Labistide
Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #43210-22
Artist: Ginger Cook – “Ginger Cook is recognized for her exceptional balance of color and light. She intertwines the bold strokes of thick impasto with softly layered translucent washes. The use of natural stucco and the combination of multiple layers of different media present the viewer with a three dimensional work. The G. Cook style of painting is both fresh and innovative.”
Original: painting
Puzzle: “View of Labastide – Our village surrounded by the vibrant fall…this was a late fall for Europe and it was great to see!” [Ginger Cook site]

Bright, cheerful puzzle with vibrant autumn colours. A breeze to put together, with three distinct areas of darker foliage in the top left, bright houses, and more subtle colours at bottom right. Sure-lox pieces snap in well and the resulting picture is lovely.

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Lake District

Lake District
Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #40275-3
Photographer: David Noble
Original: photograph
Puzzle: Great Britain Cumbria Lake District, National park. Lovely easy-to-assemble puzzle with a serene country-side landscape. Good places to start are the boundaries of grass with flowers and sky with mountain and trees. Distinct textures of the house and a brick-coloured roof, smooth green mountain, orange, yellow, and black tree leaves split the picture into clear regions. The flower bed can be assembled by focusing separately on purple, red, green, and black flowers.

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Spring Field

Spring Field
Size:  1000 pieces, 7 missing
Dimensions: 68 cm x 48 cm
Manufacturer: Mega Puzzles, No. 51152 ABN, A 20084 PP
Artist: Rudy Reichardt
Original: painting
Puzzle: A lovely serene scene of a countryside in autumn. Calm blue water reflecting the sky, the covered bridge, the sky and bright tree leaves border, and the boat are distinct regions that make a good start for the assembly. Good lighting is a bonus for the subtler transitions of colour among the trees and grass.

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Puzzle: Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 48.10 cm x 68 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, Windows to the World series, 2008, No.50580, 8006528 FO
Photographer:
John and Debora Scanlan

Puzzle: Beautiful puzzle, lots of small detail adding to the challenge, but larger areas of gradient colours and the manageable size of 750 pieces make the assembly easier. Great places to start are the sky, the dark of the water, and the green hill bordering the sky. Bottom right region of uniform beige, the colourful stripes of the boats, and the ridged area near the water, in the bottom right quarter, as well as the close-up of a green plant at the bottom right, can be tackled next.

Larger buildings such as the orange/red one in the middle of the picture, yellow one next to it, and the white one ending the row of boats can be done next. From that point, it’s a bit more challenging, but vertical guides of completed buildings can help place the rest. Lovely imagery and fun to assemble.

Notes: Riomaggiore is a village in the province of La Spezia, situated in a small valley in the Liguria region of Italy. The village, dating from the early thirteenth century, is known for its historic character and its wine, produced by the town’s vineyards. [Wiki]

Riomaggiore is the most southern village of the Cinque Terre (“The Five Lands”), a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre is comprised of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Provence

Provence, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.10 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2014, No.51420ACN, A12054LP

Puzzle: This puzzle does not have a title or specify where exactly this place is. If you know, please do share.

Another one from the Vibrant series, this is a well-done puzzle with beautiful imagery. It combines bright colours and subtle shades, clear borders and soft transition, as well as a variety of textures to convey the feel of stone of the building, metal of the lantern, sky, bright flowers, sharp branches, prickly succulents, and soft grass. The differences in colour and texture make the assembly simpler.

Good starting points are the sky bordering the trees and the roof, the lantern light, the window shutters, red flowers, darker building wall, yellow grass bordering on green trees, the blue patch in the distance, and the succulents on the left. The trees, succulents, and wall borders provide vertical guides, whereas the balcony floor, grass-tree boundary and grass-pavement boundary act as horizontal guides.

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Havasu Falls/Pool in the Grand Canyon, Havasupai Indian Reservation

Waterfall C4848-22, med
Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 43.81 cm x 58.42 cm
Photographer:
William Neill
Producer
: Hasbro, 1999, C4848-22
Original: photo

Puzzle: This puzzle does not have a title or specify where this place is. If you know, please do share. A big thank-you to Jamie who has commented with the location and the original image.

“Deep below the Grand Canyon’s rim is Havasu Falls. I was still wet from swimming when I photographed this tranquil pool in the shade of evening. The cool colors of the moss and the travertine minerals in the water make a soothing contrast to this red rock canyon.” [Commercial Fine Art site]

Beautiful, zen scene of water flowing and pooling in rock basins. Waterfalls are one of my favourite subjects to assemble. The number of pieces is perfect to unfold the subtle reflections and colour changes. The horizontal guides of the rocks and the vertical guide provided by the large waterfall divide the picture into smaller areas. The vertical streams of water, the green pools, the white water flowing, the green and orange of the rock wall are all distinct enough to keep the assembly flowing.

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Puzzle: Lakeside Porch, by Julian Askins

Julian Asking - Lakeside Porch, med

Size: 300 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer
: The Canadian Group, Sure-Lox, 2008, #70310-7
Artist: Julian Askins has gained renown for his brilliantly-colored works that capture the light, beauty, architecture, and nature of the Mediterranean, Caribbean and coastal North America. His artwork often features peaceful outdoor verandas, harbors, seascapes, and terraces that evoke a mood of joyful solitude. [Park West Gallery site]

Puzzle: A lovely painting, this puzzle was very simple given the size and number of the pieces. With the pieces flowing into place, it made for a zen evening. I have started with the sea, the window and the wall, the sunny blankets and cushions, the tablecloth, and the wicker chairs. The flowers followed and the rest of the picture filled in with little effort.

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Puzzle: Space Station 2 by Ciro Marchetti

Ciro Marchetti - Space Station 2, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 50572ADN, A 23123 LP
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
Original:  Space Station

Puzzle: Lovely vibrant puzzle – a pleasure to do. Easy due to multiple cues – bright colours with distinct borders, multiple distinct colour regions, zodiac signs in a circle, different textures of wood and metal, bright red flags. The pieces are large. I would suggest starting from the flags since they are very distinct. The other good regions are the galaxy in the top left, the planet in the top right, the yellow of the sunlight in the bottom left, and the green and blue landscape in the bottom right. The metal parts of the capsules and the wood of the core of the station can come next, followed by the zodiac sign circle. The rest of the puzzle pieces should be trivial. Great puzzle for relaxation, goes wonderfully with a fantasy audiobook.

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Puzzle: High Sierra Reflections

High Sierra Reflections, medSize: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 48.10cm x 67.95cm
Producer: Mega Brands, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 51420ABN, A28103LP
Photographer: Elizabeth Carmel
Photo: original
Puzzle: A bit on a challenging side, this puzzle benefits from having good lighting and patience. As with most reflection puzzles, it benefits from having the line of the horizon as a horizontal guide, splitting the image into two distinct regions. This line, as well as the borders between the mountain range and the sky, together with its reflection, are good places to start. Another convenient clear border is between the dark evergreen trees and the mountain, again duplicated in the reflection. The bright green patch of the grass on the right, the water, and the sky are the next logical regions to complete, leaving a large are of the grass stalks, which presents the most challenge. Here good lighting, as well as colour and stalk size distinctions are the best helpers.

Notes: As the box does not specify where exactly this photo is taken, I assume that High Sierra refers to a region in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

It is a mountain range in the western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Basin and Range Province. The Sierra Nevada has a significant history. The California Gold Rush occurred in the western foothills from 1848 through 1855. Due to inaccessibility, the range was not fully explored until 1912. Today, some mountain passes, such as Duck Pass with obsidian arrowheads, are artifact locations from historic intertribal trade route trails.

The literal translation of Sierra Nevada is “snowy mountains,” from sierra “a range of hills,” 1610s, from Spanish sierra “jagged mountain range,” lit. “saw,” from Latin serra “a saw”; and from fem. of Spanish nevado “snowy.” [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Golden Light

Golden Light, medSize: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 51420AAN, A 29073 LP
Artist: Adrian Klein
Original:  Golden Light

Puzzle: Not a trivial puzzle, but a calming one to do, listening to some zen music or a good narrative. I would say a good region to get started is the horizon line separating the snow from the water. This line splits the puzzle into two areas, providing a horizontal guide. The darker blue regions in the corners of the puzzle and a dark rounded stone area in the top left, as well as the bright blue patches of snow on the mountain slope and their reflections in the water could be tackled next. For the trees, I found it easiest to start with the reflections in the water, as the ripples assist in determining the orientation of the pieces. The few rocks in the water and darker patches of land on the shore are distinctive as well. For the trees above water, tree trunks can serve as vertical guides. The gradients in the water, from yellow to blue, allow for gradual completion of that region, from light to dark. I have enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit.

Notes: “Larches turned gold in fall along the lakes The Enchantments in Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington while backpacking with my friend Zack Schnepf.” [Adrian Klein site]

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Puzzle: Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 59.69 cm x 39.37 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A beautiful puzzle, a pleasure to do. Might be a little challenging for a beginner, due to the large areas of orange rock. The sky is only 4 pieces deep, with a clearly defined bottom boundary with the rock, the sea area is well-defined with two arc shapes of foam dividing it into easily-managed gradient-coloured regions. The trees at the bottom right and the top of the orange rock are darker than almost anything else in the puzzle. All these regions are good places to start. The bright green trees help split the bottom left region into separate areas. The white gnarled tree in the bottom right quarter is also quite distinct. That leaves the orange rock and the white ground with trees in the lower left quarter, and a few areas of colour fading between already-completed regions.

Notes: I have completed quite a few puzzles depicting the Grand Canyon so far.

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Puzzle: The Emperor’s Dream

The Emperor's Dream, med Size: 300+  pieces
Dimensions: 52 cm x 52 cm
Producer
: Springbok, Hallmark Cards
Artist: Unknown

Puzzle: A relaxing puzzle to do, even though the pieces are very thick and snap in with a bit of effort. The imagery makes up for it though. The best places to start are the flower border, the birds, the large flowers, the water lilies, the small clusters of flowers and leaves, and the butterflies. Tall grass leaves in yellow and green, as wellas the bamboo stalks contrast well with the black of water. The water lily leaves and the gold of the river is also distinct enough, leaving the green leaves of the bamboo and the green and yellow water grass to complete the picture.

Notes: “The Emperor’s Dream

“I had a vision,” the Emperor said –
“Last night, it was as though my soul
Had shed me while I lay abed
And slipped beyond the mortal shoal
Down to the deeps of imagination
Where night-thoughts swirl in painted streams;
Down past the level of contemplation
Through the shadowy realm of dreams;
Into a place I’d never known –
A place where only peace could reign…
My soul would claim it for its own
And there, contented, would remain.
My soul eased down and rested there
And watched the butterflies at play,
Dancing in the scented air
By the lotus’ lush display.
There was more, but suddenly
My soul was coming back again –
My soul was rushing back to me
Returning to the world of men!
I awoke still deep in thrall
My vision would not be denied –
It’s true: what we love most of all
We carry with us deep inside.
We keep it hidden all the time
Securing it with self-made locks,
Yet still it’s there – the dream sublime –
A gem within a jewelry box.”

– Pat Cadigan”
[Puzzle box]

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Puzzle: Buzzard’s Roost, Fall Creek Falls

Buzzard's roost, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 51420ABN, A28103LP
Artist: Very unfortunately, Mega Puzzles prints a copyright for the entire series with several names of the artists (as opposed to the name of a single photographer who owns a particular featured image), and even through searching I was not able to determine which artist took this photo. If you have that information, please let me know.
Original: photo

Puzzle: Not a very trivial, but a pleasant puzzle to do. The pieces fit together well, and that removes quite a bit of ambiguity, despite many regions with similar colours. I have started with the tree trunks in the top right, the boundary between the rocks and the trees in the top left, the black cracks and shadows among the rocks, and the red rock patches. From that point on, brighter green and bluish-grey rocks can be completed with the help of black shadows under the smaller ridges. Blue and green small trees in the top left are distinct enough from the dark green bushes on the right, and the darker grey area in the bottom right corner can easily be distinguished as well.

Notes: Fall Creek Falls, a 256-foot (78 m) plunge waterfall located just west of the creek’s confluence with Cane Creek. A short trail leads from the parking lot atop the plateau down to the base of the gorge, giving access to the waterfall’s plungepool. Buzzard’s Roost is a cliff located near Millikan’s Overlook. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Beach Garden by Marc Adamus

Marc Adamus - Beach Garden, med
Size
: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 34 cm x 50 cm
Producer: Hasbro, MB Puzzle, Deluxe Puzzle series, 2010, #355260000-35528
Photographer: Marc Adamus
Photo: original

Puzzle: A lovely puzzle, not very trivial for a beginner. The flowers at the bottom present the most challenge due to the similarities of the purple-on-green pattern through most of them. Thus it’s simpler to start with the top part of the puzzle. The distinct regions of the sky, the clouds, the sun, the hills, the water, and the sand, followed by the sand border with the green grass can be filled in easily. The flowers can be assembled by starting on the darker regions at the bottom first, and narrowing the remaining area by assembling the top grassy patch with orange and small white flowers. Then the rest of the flowers can be put together.

Notes: “Lupine flowers glow in the last light of sunset overlooking the sea stacks and sandy beaches of the Northern California coast.” [Marc Adamus site]

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Puzzle: Vineyard Terrace by Sung Kim

Sung Kim - Vineyard Terrace, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.9 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, The Art of Sung Kim series
Artist:
Sung Kim – Born in 1940 in Seoul, South Korea, Sung Kim exhibited his artistic talents early in childhood. He entered and won various art contests and decided to pursue his passion for art by attending Seorabol Art College where he graduated with honors. Sung opened his own studio and worked as an illustrator for various magazines and children’s books. He traveled throughout Europe before immigrating to the United States in 1980. For the past 20 years, Sung has worked with various fine art galleries, producing over 400 original landscape paintings, and has sold his paintings to people from all over the world. [Puzzle box]
Painting: original

Puzzle: There is a wonderful book by Gerald Durrell called “My Family and Other Animals”, in which he describes life in Corfu – a Greek island to which his mother and three siblings have moved when he was 10. As a child, he explores the island gathering various animals (he has been an enthusiastic budding zoologist at that age), against the backdrop of the slow-paced life of the adults on the island. The olive trees, the sea, the tranquility of sunny afternoons, and the overall calm of the Mediterranean is what I remember vividly from the book. And this puzzle by Sung Kim carries that same quiet feeling of a light breeze on a vine-shaded terrace, on a lazy sunny afternoon somewhere in the Mediterranean.

This puzzle is not a trivial one to assemble, as uniform patterns such as leaves at the top, trees in the background, and bricks of the terrace take up large regions. It is a very calming scene, however, so I have found it quite relaxing, so I did not mind slightly longer time to find the pieces I needed. There are a few good regions to start: the boundary of the sky and the mountain, as well as the borders of the mountain and the trees, and far away trees and the fields. The table with white tablecloth, and the wine glasses and bottles is also easy to assemble. The window with surrounding bricks, and the chairs are also a different enough shade and pattern to not be difficult. The terrace frame is a little harder to complete, but when done it can serve as horizontal and vertical guides for the res of the puzzle. The lighter bricks of the wall are sufficiently different from the tiles of the floor. The leaves at the top can be fitted in between the horizontal guides of the terrace frame, and the rest of the puzzle comes together afterwards.

The assembly went very well with a glass of wine and the early spring sun coming in through the window, promising warm afternoons, if not in the Mediterranean.

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Puzzle: Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon

Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: There are several puzzles I have done of Havasu falls, and every time I find them breathtaking. This one is colourful and serene. The waterfall with the bright yellow leaves above it, the mountain ridges and their borders with other mountains and with the sky can be put together first and serve as the vertical and horizontal guides. The blue sky and a blue patch of water in the bottom left, the dark of the water under the waterfall, and the outline of the yellow tree leaves in the bottom half of the puzzle can be filled in next. The remaining regions are distinct enough to be completed without much difficulty.

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Puzzle: Sam Park – Barcelona Flower Market

Sam Park - no name, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12cm x 66.52cm
Producer: Big Ben, Artist Series, 11404294BX
Artist: Sam Park
Original: painting

Puzzle: A bright and colourful puzzle, a pleasure for the eye. Easiest places to start would be the striped pavement, the sky and tree leaves bordering it, the buildings, and the uniform colour of the market stall roofs. The yellow lights and the dark flower buckets/vases can be done next. The rest of the puzzle is the jumble of small coloured regions that can slowly be filled in.

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Puzzle: Covered bridge

Covered bridge, med

Size: 500 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: Simple enough to complete due to many differently-coloured regions, this puzzle is a quick one to do. The Sure-Lox pieces fit  together snugly. One can start from the red of the bridge building, the beige and yellow regions of the roof and the roads, the black and brown of the bridge building, the white railings, the river water and the border between the mountains in the background and the sky. From that point on, the small buildings, the trees, and the remaining regions fit together easily.

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