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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Raspberry Tart

Raspberry Tart
Size: 1000 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 68 cm x 48 cm
Manufacturer: Mega Puzzles, No. 50931ABN, A 24024 PP
Photographer: zoryanchik / Shutterstock
Original: photograph
Puzzle: Bright and uplifting, this puzzle is an eye candy. Some challenging areas where similar colours are blended in slightly different ways. Easiest places to start are the green leaves, the pink tin, the bright red berries, the white plate and the chocolate tart. Large areas of uniform pattern and colour would benefit from good lighting.

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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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Apple calendar

Apple calendar
Size: 550 pieces
Dimensions: 51 cm x 51 cm
Manufacturer: Ceaco, #2381-6, 102214-21081-A
Artist: Jacek Yerka
Original: painting
Puzzle: A fun puzzle depicting a landscape with a great tree in four seasons. The puzzle can be turned to assemble each season in turn, or done partially sideways and upside down. Well-fitting pieces, fun imagery, easily-assembled.

There are lots of good places to start: red and white socks and the sky in the centre, white snow, tree leaves and branches in different colours, border between the sky and the outer frame picturing the land. Great to do with other people sitting around the table, since a part of the puzzle will face each of four directions.

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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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Central Park, New York

Central Park, New York
Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #43270-24
Photographer: Sandra Baker
Puzzle: Small bright puzzle easily put together in an evening. The horizontal bands of lilac flowers, green tulips stems, white and pink tulip flowers, darker hedge, lighter leaves above, the fence, and the grass and trees beyond split the puzzle up into easily-assembled regions. The fountain and the statues are distinct enough in texture and colour to be easily put together as well.

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Petrodvorets outside St. Petersburg

Petrodvorets outside St. Petersburg
Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 49 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #40687-3
Photographer: Günter Gräfenhain
Puzzle: A wonderful depiction of the Grand Cascade fountains in the Petrodvorets (Peterhof) Palace in Russia. I’ve visited this beautiful place in the 1990s, and it was a pleasure to assemble this puzzle almost 20 years later.

Good places to start are the border of the pool and the grassy areas, the sky, the pool water, the palace, the evergreen trees, and the statue in the bottom right corner. After that, stairs, fountains, rock walls and arches between the stairs, striped embellishments, and statues can be assembled.

Notes: The Peterhof Palace (Russian: Петерго́ф, Dutch for Peter’s Court) is a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof, Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles”.

The fountains of the Grand Cascade are located below the grotto and on either side of it. There are 64 fountains. Their waters flow into a semicircular pool, the terminus of the fountain-lined Sea Channel. In the 1730s, the large Samson Fountain was placed in this pool. It depicts the moment when Samson tears open the jaws of a lion, representing Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War, and is doubly symbolic. The lion is an element of the Swedish coat of arms, and one of the great victories of the war was won on St Samson’s Day. From the lion’s mouth shoots a 20-metre-high vertical jet of water, the highest in all of Peterhof. This masterpiece by Mikhail Kozlovsky was looted by the invading Germans during the Second World War; see History below. A replica of the statue was installed in 1947.

Perhaps the greatest technological achievement of Peterhof is that all of the fountains operate without the use of pumps. Water is supplied from natural springs and collects in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens. The elevation difference creates the pressure that drives most of the fountains of the Lower Gardens, including the Grand Cascade. The Samson Fountain is supplied by a special aqueduct, over four km in length, drawing water and pressure from a high-elevation source.

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Postcard from the Kremlin

Postcard from the Kremlin
Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 68 cm x 48 cm
Manufacturer: Mega Puzzles, CxC32 ASST DFD13, A 07075 PP, #50941
Photographer: Gorbach Elena (Shutterstock)
Original: photograph
Puzzle: Lovely vibrant puzzle with lots of intricate details. My five-year-old loved it so much, it is now decorating his bedroom wall.

Good places to start are the border with the sky and specific colour patterns, such as dark green and yellow of the forefront tower, dark red and white of the top dome, yellow and red of the spherical embellishments on orange pedestals, flower-adorned arches, and white walls. The smaller details can be filled in afterwards.

Notes: A kremlin (Russian: кремль) is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. [Wiki]

The Kremlin in Izmaylovo is a unique center of culture and entertainment, based at the famous Izmaylovo Vernissage. It is built in a pseudo-Byzantine style, based loosely on what palaces in Russia looked like in pre-Petrine times, but more inspired by drawings of Russian fairy tales. This complex is used for civil weddings as it has a wedding palace, a restaurant and bars. However, it is also used as an amusement park/open-air museum for children on the theme of ‘Old Russia’. There is a reconstruction of a wooden Russian church that used to dot the Russian countryside before the Russian Revolution but it is not used for weddings. There is also a big market that sells souvenirs amongst other things. [Wiki]

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Linderhof Castle, Germany

Linderhof Castle, Germany
Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 68 cm x 48 cm
Manufacturer: RoseArt, No. 21030
Puzzle: Linderhof Palace is in Germany, in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.

The gardens surrounding Linderhof Palace are considered one of the most beautiful creations of historicist garden design, designed by Court Garden Director Carl von Effner. The park combines formal elements of Baroque style or Italian Renaissance gardens with landscaped sections that are similar to the English garden. [Wiki]

Lovely puzzle, the part with green trees and bushes takes a bit of time to assemble and benefits from having good lighting.

Good places to start: red flower bed, green water, pavement, staircases, the sky, and the building, then the fountain statues, flower pots, and the remaining paved areas. Once that’s done, finer distinctions in shade, hue, and texture are needed to complete the large tree in the foreground, the rest of the garden, and the trees in the distance.

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Winter at Neuschwanstein Castle

Winter at Neuschwanstein Castle
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Hans Peter Huber
Puzzle: Another beautiful rendition of Neuschwanstein Castle, this one has a magical feel to it, with the sky in sunset colours and grounds sleeping under the snow.

The easiest place to start is the sky with its many gradients and islands of colour. The castle can come next. The trees and the grounds are a bit more tricky, since there are only shades of blue and black, yet as the puzzle is not big, the challenge is not great.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Egeskov Castle and Gardens

Egeskov Castle and Gardens
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Günter Gräfenhain
Puzzle: Lovely festive puzzle with clusters of bright white, red, yellow flowers, a pond reflecting a bright blue sky, a castle in the background and a wall of green on the right. Fun and bright, pleasure to assemble.

The easiest part to assemble is the top, with the sky, the castle, adn the wall. After that, perhaps the pond border and then – the bright kaleidoscope of flowers.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Thomas Jefferson’s Houses

Thomas Jefferson's Houses
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Alamy
Puzzle: Vibrant, uplifting puzzle with blue skies, green trees, bright flowers, and a stately manor reflecting in a pond. Pleasure to assemble.

I liked starting with the red path around the pond, to separate the building and the grounds from their reflection. Building on that horizontal guide, the lawn and the gardens can be assembled. The sky and its boundary with the building, the building itself, as well as its reflection in the water can come next. The remaining area with trees and their reflection will follow.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Springtime at Chambord

Springtime at Chambord
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Alamy
Puzzle: This puzzle is another view of the beautiful Chambord Château. I have previously assembled another 1000 piece puzzle of this magnificent castle.

I love puzzles where buildings reflect in the water, resulting in a mirror effect and the subtle difference in texture between the actual building and its reflection.

This puzzle is a breeze to assemble. Good places to start are the horizontal guides of the boundaries between the water and the wall, the wall and the grass, the grass and the castle, the castle and the sky, and the border created by the bottom left flowering bush. The castle itself has distinct parts — assembling the building, the grounds, and the river is simple. The sky and the bush are more intricate, but due to the puzzle’s small size not very challenging.

Beautiful, sunny, uplifting picture to get immersed in.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Return of the puzzled

It has been a while since I have posted on the blog, and for a good reason: life has been quite a whirlwind, and it took all of my time to apply the principles of productive zen to ensure my family got adequate rest, good nutrition, quality time together, and still had time to have fun, despite the significantly-increased level of work.

In addition to my day job and overtime, I have also been working on a puzzle database solution, to consolidate and better classify the hundreds of assembled jigsaw puzzles in my collection. The new system will allow me to more effectively share puzzles and group them by number of pieces, topics, manufacturer, and series.

PuzzleDenOttawa
A little while ago, I have opened a Puzzle Den Ottawa Facebook group for people who wish to borrow or purchase used jigsaw puzzles from each other in the Ottawa area. Many a time, we put a puzzle together and do not wish to preserve it, leaving the puzzle sit in a box until that unlikely time it will be assembled again. This group lets us extend these puzzles’ lives and share them.

In the meantime, I have not stopped assembling puzzles, as that is one of my favourite ways to spend winter evenings after the kids go to sleep. Coupled with a good audiobook and a hot cup of tea, these are the quiet moments of contemplation and rest. I’m planning to get back to posting puzzles and productive zen tips again, so stay tuned.

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Portugal Azores Islands

Portugal Azores Islands
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Günter Gräfenhain
Puzzle: Windmills always seem somewhat magical to me – an image from a quiet pastoral fantasy, drowning in luscious flowers, with bottomless blue skies. This puzzle is quite simple due to clear transitions and small number of pieces. I loved letting my mind wander in in its clouds and fields.

There are many good places to start: the bright red of the mills and the white nets of the blades, the boundaries between green and deep blue, the horizon, the mountains and the clouds against the sky. Hydrangeas are probably the most challenging part, but if you’ve filled in everything else, including the black shadows at the bottom, they soon fall into place.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Juniper

Juniper, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.26 cm x 30.02 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2014, No.51410ACN, A27054 LP
Photographer:
Jiinna
Original:
photo

Puzzle: Lovely holiday puzzle, with green juniper branches and blue tree decorations. More tricky than it seems, even with its small size. Good places to start are the tree decorations, the thick purple branches, and the patches of softer pink and blue background. From there, it’s a play of shades and textures of green for which good lighting is essential. Makes for a beautiful picture.

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Puzzle: Booked Flight

Booked flight, med
Size550 pieces, 26 missing
Dimensions: 61 cm x 46 cm
Painting: original
Producer: Ceaco, Glow in the Dark, #2333-13
Artist: Don Maitz

Puzzle: Good puzzle to leisurely put together, even with so many pieces missing (I got it second-hand, and I think this is the most incomplete puzzle I’ve ever assembled). Good places to start are the wizard and dragon’s flame, the boundary of the wings against the background, and the dragon’s head and neck. Wing section borders serve as horizontal guides.

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Puzzle: Sonata by Firelight, by Judy Gibson

Sonata by firelight, v2, medSize550 pieces, In 2013, I’ve put together another copy that was missing 3 pieces
Dimensions: 46 cm x 61 cm
Producer: Master Pieces, #60105
Artist: Judy Gibson
: Animals find their natural habitat in the artwork of Judy Gibson, whether depicted in soulful portraits, snuggled in cozy home settings, perched on snow-laden branches or engaged in spirited competition. Born in Paris, Texas, Gibson draws much of her inspiration from her deep love and respect for animals. In her teens, she painted portraits of prize bulls and horses for area ranchers, and still loves painting symbols of the Southwest. She works in oils, and also enjoys the spontaneity of watercolors. Gibson’s heartwarming art has adorned tapestries, jigsaw puzzles, wallpaper, computer screen-savers and numerous other products. [Art.com]
Painting: http://imgc.artprintimages.com/images/art-print/judy-gibson-sonata-by-firelight_i-G-10-1010-UUYW000Z.jpg

Puzzle: Good regions to start are the white cat, the music sheets, the flower bouquet with the ivy, and the shawl, and the candle holder. The orange separator of the piano lid isolates the top left corner. Flames for the candles and the fireplace are easy to locate, as well as the bust and the wine glass. The keys of the piano, the rug near the fireplace, and the curtain can follow, and the rest of the pieces are trivial to place. Easy and pleasant puzzle to do.

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