Jigsaw Puzzle Portfolio
Jigsaw Puzzle Portfolio
Update: August 13, 2020
Everyone who knows me, knows I like mermaids. I am deeply disappointed with this latest puzzle I assembled. The die cuts weren’t completely cut through the wood. The plywood is very cheap and flimsy. Normally, plywood would be a decent, lightweight material to maintain strength and integrity.
Not this plywood. It’s the poorly made with a minimum of pressure and glue. The layers of the plywood are delaminating, forcing me to repair dozens of the pieces with a bit of wood glue. I also had to use a Xacto razor knife to trim the poorly cut edges of debris.
If I could give this product zero stars, I would indeed. Overall, this was the most frustrating puzzle I’ve ever done, and only reinforces my desire to never buy Chinese wood puzzles again.
Update: July 19, 2020
I finished Sparkling Mermaid last weekend, discovering I was missing a piece. I looked high and low for it, and not having kids or people over in the house, I suspect it never made it to the box. I could be wrong, but I even checked the vacuum cleaner for it. Oh, well.
I didn’t find this piece very challenging, though it’s pieces had more shape varieties that other wooden puzzles I’ve gotten from China. The mermaid’s cute, don’t you think?
Update: July 7, 2020
What’s to say about Sitting Mermaid, my latest completed puzzle. It’s simple with simple pieces, though with more variety from my last puzzle. I just liked the photo used to make the puzzle. Time for another.
Update: June 30, 2020
I completed Sexy Mermaid and Sailboat the other day. It wasn’t particularly challenging, but it has the pleasing imagery of the mermaid I enjoy. This is one of several wooden puzzles I have that come from China.
Frankly, I’m getting bored with them. As lovely as the scene is, the pieces are virtually all the same with little variation. It’s almost as if they used a single die to cut the pieces, and just rotated them ninety degrees back and forth. I still have a few of this type of puzzle in my collection to do, but right now, I am vowing not to buy these anymore, and avoid all wooden puzzles made in China.
If anyone knows of alternate sources of adult-themed puzzles featuring mermaids made in the western hemisphere, please drop me a line. Thx.
Update: June 15, 2020
Sleeping Mermaids is my latest completed puzzle. I like the complexity of the colors, and this manufacturer does not use standard jigsaw shaped pieces. For the longest time, I found the shapes challenging. Then one day, I had a moment of inspiration, and things became easier after that.
I’m a bit surprised that it only took a couple of weeks to complete. I’ve had some health issues during the past month, thankfully not the Covid-19 stuff. For much of the time. It’s my chronic headache related to the concussion I suffered four years ago. I could only do a few pieces at a time before my mind and eyes would shut down due to the extra strain of focusing on pieces. I must be getting good at this stuff.
On to my next one. Which one will I choose?
Update: June 1, 2020
The newest entry to my portfolio is called, ‘The Way of Vice.’ It took me an entire month to complete. Solving this was a challenge. I almost didn’t have enough room on my puzzle board, with less than an inch (3 cm) on two sides. I started it by working the border. Over the course of the month, I discovered several sections in the wrong place and had to fix them. As it turned out, I had to do this several times with many of the pieces I thought I had properly placed.
I then tried working the blue field, which I figured would be easy. Wrong! The pieces were so similar, that it was almost impossible to figure out which went where. With fifteen hundred pieces in a pile, I decided to work it elsewhere.
Which took me to the woman’s head gear, jewelry, face, and then right arm. I was also figured solving her hair would be easier. It wasn’t. I moved on to the pillows, which thankfully had unique patterns. It was only then that I could work on her hair and left arm. Trimming the number of unsolved pieces was the key to that. Then, ten days ago, only the blue remained. Yes, it took me almost two weeks to solve the blue, whereas it took two weeks to solve everything else.
Yesterday, I put in the last piece. Whew, it was done. I had so much fun solving it.
This puzzle is not a mermaid. Oh, my! What came over me? I liked the scene, so I bought it. Even then, it was on backorder for several weeks. I had run out of new mermaid puzzles. I even reworked one I had solved before, finding to somewhat easy. I’m finding it difficult to find interesting mermaid puzzles. The ones that I do find, they usually come from China. Coming from overseas during a global pandemic is a challenge. I have zero control on how quickly they ship and tracking is spotty at best. However, since they are my favorite subject, I went ahead and bought them, crossing my fingers. Ever so slowly, they appear unannounced at my door every week or so.
The biggest challenge is finding scenes that aren’t juvenile. Either the subject is cutesy, Disney’s Ariel, or 100 pieces or less. I’m not interested in these. I want ones that are at least 1,000 pieces and adultish. I know, I am asking a lot. If anyone knows of a source, please let me know.
On to the next one.
Update: April 28, 2020
This puzzle is called ‘Mermaid on the SeaFloor.’ I love the detail in this rendering of a mermaid lazily swimming on the seafloor above her collection of skulls of the men she enticed to their deaths. I especially love her tail, which stretches longer than her body, floating about in the darkness. The photo in my gallery doesn’t do justice to her, nor does the box cover, but sitting completed on my table, it’s a joy to study it.
I completed another puzzle, in two days. Crap. I love this piece but I had to slow down in order to take a second day to finish. Seriously, there it sat, on my coffee table, and I had to ignore it. Oh well. Time to start another. Oh, wait! I don’t have any more. The ones on order, are still weeks away. I suppose I could do more writing.
Update: April 25, 2020
I completed a new puzzle, named Mermaid and Fish. It’s a lovely piece, and I enjoyed solving it immensely.
It’s a watercolor image of a Mermaid enjoying her element. The artist used a Lion Fish for inspiration.
I may just have to paint my own version. First, I need to finish the one I started ages ago.
Update: April 14, 2020
I’ve created this Jigsaw Puzzle Portfolio for myself, and for those wishing to follow my jigsaw puzzle adventure.
I don’t know how long this will go on, but for now, I’m enjoying it.
Jigsaw Puzzle Portfolio
Update: April 13, 2020
It’s been a while since I last posted a note about my obsession with solving jigsaw puzzles. I’m not so sure it’s an obsession. Obsessions are compulsions, mania, and preoccupations. I’m not thinking of any of these things.
It also means desire, fascination, enthusiasm, and passion. Those, I definitely am. Overall, I am fascinated by solving these jigsaw puzzles.
Why? I don’t rightly know, but this I do know. I am visually oriented. Being an artist tweaks my visually creative side. I’m also a writer, currently working on my next novel, which also stimulates my creativity, but not in a visual way. That is, if you don’t include my dreams, which gives me lots of plot twists in my novels. For me, writing is both creative and logical, working both sides of my brain.
Solving jigsaw puzzles is similar to my writing, as it exercises my visual creativity and, more so, my logical side. While I don’t create the image, I assemble them from a vast array of parts, that to many is an overwhelming and daunting task.
Using my logical side, I’ve learned to break the massive pile of pieces in the box into smaller collections, so that I can manage them more efficiently. As a software engineer and programmer, I’ve always done that. I take a massive problem and break them down into smaller and smaller components so that at the lowest levels, I can write the code to solve one thing and one thing only. It’s the same thing with jigsaw puzzles.
I tend to start by creating five piles, one of the edge pieces, and the rest organized by basic color patterns. Part of the reason is my puzzle board has four built-in trays to store the pieces. Then, I start assembling the puzzle using the edge pieces.
Then, I look for the more unique colors and patterns. Start small. Simplify. Keep it simple. The ‘KISS’ principle, which means ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid.’ It’s a term I learned in college and apply every day of my life. It works.
Finding the commonalities in the plethora of pieces excites me. I get an endorphin boost whenever I fit one piece into another. Then, I fill in where ever and before I know it, the overwhelming task of assembling the massive number of pieces gets smaller and smaller until, viola, the puzzle is done. Yea!!!!!
Want to see?
I’ve created a image gallery of the puzzles I’ve completed. You can find it in the ‘About Me’ menu on my website, or click this quicky link. https://richardverry.com/about-me/jigsaw_puzzles/
I’ll add more as I finish them.
With all the time I have on my hands, dealing with this global pandemic and staying home and healthy, I’m going through my stash of puzzles quickly. More are on order, but with the slow delays in deliveries, it will be weeks yet before my next one appears at my doorstep. Oh, well.
So that’s how I am spending my time, while forced to stay at home. I write, peruse the internet, read, and solve jigsaw puzzles, not to mention spending time with my girlfriend and partner, with whom I stay home and stay safe. Come to think of it, working on my jigsaw puzzles is helping us from getting on each other’s nerves and killing each other.
What are you doing to stay safe? I’d love to hear from you.
Jigsaw Puzzle Portfolio
Update: January 31, 2019
Well, I had an unexpected day off from work due to weather, so I worked on my jigsaw puzzle.
The arctic vortex is sitting over much of the northern hemisphere dropped outdoor temperatures to well below 0 Fahrenheit (-20c) or worse with the wind chill twenty to -50-60f (-45c) in many areas, keeping me indoors today.
Voila, I finished it. Click on the picture to see the full-sized completed effort. Whoo hoo!
Now what ???????
Oh right. I’ve got a book to finish writing.
Jigsaw Puzzle Portfolio
Update: January 30, 2019
Over the December 2018 holidays, my girlfriend/partner gave me a jigsaw puzzle as a gift. I don’t know whether to be ecstatic over the thoughtfulness of the gift or cringe by the vast time it’s taking to solve the jigsaw puzzle.
But first, let me backup.
Last fall, we went over to a friend’s house for dinner and conversation, catching up since we last saw each other. At that occasion, our friends had a jigsaw puzzle of their own they were working on. Interested, and with their permission, I found and placed a few pieces and thought nothing of it.
Apparently, my girlfriend noticed and got me a jigsaw puzzle of my own which she presented over the holidays. She delighted me with the thoughtfulness of the gift. I hadn’t worked on one in decades, probably since I was a kid.
Plus, it was a puzzle involving one of my favorite subjects, mermaids. Here, a Disney rendering of Ariel, the Little Mermaid, and her family and friends. Not that I am into the Disney character that much, just that it was a mermaid scene. Thoughtful or not, I hadn’t considered that I’d be all that interested in solving the damn thing.
Oh, how I was ever wrong.
For three weeks now, I’ve spent significant time on this complex 750 piece puzzle. Oh sure, I could have been working on a 1000 piece puzzle, but 750 is a good number after such a long time. I’m about 3/5th done with the jigsaw puzzle.
As I place piece after piece, I’m finding it easier to find others and fill them in. I hope I’m not missing one. That would really piss me off. Either way, I’m having fun solving the puzzle. The big question is, when I’m done with it, feeling good about my accomplishment, will it will satisfy me and let me go back to writing? Or, will I be on the hunt for a new one eventually building a collection of dozens of puzzles? It’s a dilemma for sure.
Sometimes I think I’m wasting time by solving the jigsaw puzzle. It’s taking a lot of time to work it, time that may be better spent on more productive things, such as writing, drawing or painting. Then, as I consider that thought, I realize that as I do this jigsaw puzzle; I am having fun, and I am exercising my mind. You may ask, how am I doing that?
That’s a good question. I’ve done the bulk of the puzzle upside down. That’s right, the top of the puzzle is closest to me, and the bottom is furthest away from me.
Why? It’s a technique I learned ages ago in creating a drawing or painting from a photograph. Turn it upside down, and your mind stops trying to fill in the gaps with imagery that does not exist. Did you know your brain will do that? Be it music, images, data, or just about anything, the human mind will fill gaps with what it thinks makes sense. Turning the picture upside down forces the brain to stop doing that. It is forcing me to look at patterns, shapes, and colors to find the missing piece. In short, it’s an alternate way of looking at life.
Application to Everyday Life
When I decided whether it was worthwhile to write about solving my jigsaw puzzle, I realized something. The methods I use, or learning to use, in the solution to this problem are the techniques I use in everyday life and in writing my novels. If you think about it, coming up with a plot that makes sense and plausible, is like solving a jigsaw puzzle.
I create characters that interact with each other to tell a story. The story could be about anything, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is enticing the reader to see enough to keep reading, provide conflict and drama along the way, to reach a believable ending. I try to write my stories as if you, the reader, were living the plot, by escaping death, loving life, solving a problem or enjoy themselves in bed with a favorite partner.
It’s the journey that matters.
So, as I sit in front of my jigsaw puzzle or write my next great novel, remember this. I will relentlessly search every elusive piece that hides from my intense gaze. I will find you and put you into your place in the world. You cannot escape, and I will assimilate you.
And when I do, all will be fine in the world.
For more about my creative talents, check out my online gallery.