Art

Before I returned Sarah’s puzzle, “Matisse’s Studio” (from artwork by Damian Elwes), I wanted to do it again. My strategy on this round was to pull all the pieces easily identified as the paintings on the studio walls and quickly assemble as much as I could of those little gems.

Having only looked at the box lid once, using Seymour’s Rule, I couldn’t recall which paintings went where in the scheme of things. The flat edges of most of them are designed to trick the puzzler into sorting out more edge pieces than are really puzzle edges.

Having wrapped up the paintings and determined that they did include actual puzzle edges and two corners, I then assembled the sea, with its near beach and far city shore, followed by the balcony. These steps were pretty easy, with the distinctive color of the sea and two key whimsy pieces including a mermaid, and the balcony’s definitive railing.

Assembling the remaining components took more time. Colors and shapes are key, but in true Matisse fashion, Elwes splashed mixed up colors all over the place. Then the brilliant puzzle designer created intricate cuts with flimsy connections.

I persevered, soaking up the bright colors on a couple of grey days, delighting in the details that emerged as each little section revealed itself. So many separate little scenes!

And the precious edges, the flat-edged pieces providing only a skeletal framework, sitting in place awaiting the filler pieces which don’t look like edges at all. Then finally, the delight of completion. I like to save a special piece for last; in this case, a special multi-piece.

Naturally, after finishing the puzzle again, I had to explore more Matisse. He was one of my mom’s favorites, along with Cézanne, and I’m just beginning to understand why. It was fun to see where Elwes got his inspiration. And then to ponder how art evolves over time, from one artist finding inspiration in others, and whole trends, movements, schools, developing through time and space. I loved Art History in college. I’m grateful to have grown up with Art as a value and activity in our home; grateful to have lived near and frequently visited the world-class art museums of downtown Washington, DC, including the Smithsonian galleries; grateful to have seen, felt, absorbed in real life the magnificent works of Van Gogh, Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso, Rubens, Rembrandt, Munch–I’m kind of hating in this moment that the names which come readily to mind are all males, and am grateful to be learning recently of equally talented female artists who were shamefully underrepresented in the art lessons of my youth.

But setting aside that can of worms, here are some random paintings chosen from the many Matisse images available online, which may have been among those which influenced Elwes’ delightful rendering of “Matisse’s Studio.”

Then there was this absolutely irresistible cat, which I’d gladly hang on my wall.
Wallowing in all this Matisse reminded me that I have another Matisse puzzle to immerse myself in again, “Red Room.” It’s been a few years since I’ve done it. Perhaps I’ll pull it out on the next rainy day.

3 thoughts on “Art

  1. Oh, wow! I love the Matisse paintings you posted, many of which I’ve never seen before. That cat with the goldfish! Those windows (French doors?) open to the sea!! I’m glad you had a chance to do the M’s Studio puzzle again. It’s such a delight. I’ll pack up & send off your puzzles sometime next week.

  2. Thanks again, Rita (on Thanksgiving)… this gives me ideas. Songs into paintings into puzzles… (I was actually quite skilled with a scroll saw in a past life… bet I could get it back).

    “On the open road when you let ‘er roll / all the brokenness becomes a whole / like puzzle pieces falling into place” (from Turquoise Cadillac) .

    I’ve been reading Joanna Macy (World as Lover, World as Self… 30th anniversary edition) and thinking of you… (the Buddha connection, love of nature, response to a world in crisis).

    Thanks for puttin’ it out there! You do it so beautifully!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s