JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

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Nan's Painting Makes for a Diabolical Puzzle

Apr 3, 2021

Occasionally we appreciate a difficult jigsaw puzzle. Recently I had two of Nan’s paintings custom made into puzzles, the one above as a 1000 piece thing. This image is a combo of the two little paintings forming a diptych now in RiverView Gallery in town. Little did I know what trauma and fun I was setting us up for – in surprisingly equal portions.

Jigsaw puzzles come in different levels of difficulty. Oddly enough even a solid white puzzle isn’t much more, or at all, difficult than a complex image. My Sudoko app on my iPad mini ranks its puzzles as easy, medium, difficult, hard, evil and diabolical. I try to work one a day from the diabolical level – taking anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. Nan’s flower puzzle would surely qualify as diabolical. Why? Well, as tricky as the image appears at first glance, that’s not the half of it. Nan paints slowly, with multiple layers of varying color. The effect is depth, and it changes according the the light and/or perspective.

At least a dozen times on this one we were convinced that a piece was missing. There were occasions where we both had “tried” a series of pieces twice, only to work around the spot and then have one of them simply slip in. Maybe worse, we would swear that a piece didn’t exist, only to change sides, perspective and lighting, to immediately spot it. There is a diabolical “misleading” nature to the image on this one. Finishing it has been a while coming – and we WILL be sending it along to our oldest, who thought she had us at Christmas by sending us a measly “difficult” puzzle. We who laugh last…

It’s fun, and not all that expensive to have a work of art turned into a puzzle. One tip: they will crop (for bleed) at least as much as a frame would. So, especially if photographing a painting while it is in the frame, put a quarter inch or more black border around the file if it can’t take the cropping.