Monday, 1 October 2012

Channelling van Gogh

I've discovered on-line jigsaws!

Which is probably one of the reasons why my posting rate has dropped. But it's a great way to pass the time between bouts of gardening: "Oh I'll just make a cup of tea and just do a bit more to the puzzle." Then an hour's passed and I'm still struggling to put in the last few pieces.

Someone yesterday said I looked tired - probably the late night, "must just finish this puzzle" syndrome.

People post their own photos and images and then the rest of us can choose to do them - or not.  Some puzzles are very strange.  The most played jigsaw is a cover of a dog magazine showing a dog playing with a kong.  Much as I like dogs, and find kongs to be excellent toys, this is not one I would choose to do and cannot imagine anyone else would. I wonder if all the staff who work for the magazine are required to spend their lunch hours doing this particular puzzle in order to keep it top of the "most played" list.

Some of my favourites are images of paintings that people have found and copied - frustratingly not all are attributed - and among my most favourite are those by van Gogh.  As I painstakingly put the jigsaw together, piece by piece, I begin to understand how the painter has created the image and how rich it is.  That bit of dark green is subtly different from this bit, so no, this piece cannot go there.  These brush strokes are short and strong and dramatic, so no, the smooth texture of the piece I hold on the end of my mouse pointer cannot go here, it must belong somewhere else.

I have always loved van Gogh's work. But only now do I really begin to see just what it entails. His paintings broken up in small pieces and scattered on my screen are just tiny bits of smudgy crude patches of colour.  It is almost impossible to decide "that is sky" when he also uses a light brilliant blue with flecks of white and grey to convey the play of light on a  field.  And is this dashed off bit of brown and black the bark of a tree?  Or a hollow in the hills? Or the shadowy side of an old building?

I've decided the only thing I can do is ask him.  And I let him move my pointer mouse across the screen. He knows just why he placed that colour, that brush stroke there and the final effect is beautiful. I bless the person who is finding and posting van Gogh images onto the puzzle website.  Although it does mean my gardening and blogging are suffering.

Excuse me everyone. I've just got "The Poplars at Saint-Rémy" to finish.

Jigsaw Planet
Van Gogh
The Poplars at Saint-Rémy


  1. It sounded unpromising...not being a jigsaw fan...but then your explanation of how it made you more aware of technique changed my mind.

    Great advantage too...never having any missing pieces.

  2. Oooh, I warn you Fly - it can become very addictive! :)

  3. oh no! How could you Sue? I used to love jigsaws, but stopped because they took up too much space on the table. But online....? Help!!!!!

  4. Perpetua, there's no hope for you! Online, you just click and they're tidied away, ready for you to take up again any time you like! Have fun! :)