Going to pieces

An artist’s life is often quiet and fairly isolated, I suppose it’s quite routine in many ways. You spend so much of your time in the studio, or, in my case out sketching my local landscapes, but sometimes you get asked to do something rather unusual, something that’s a totally new experience and a chance to use your skills for something you’ve never done before. Such as a restoration project.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would help a friend by painting in some blank pieces of a precious handmade wooden jigsaw. The missing pieces had been replaced but were blank white. I had a go at that and really enjoyed the experience, so I was happy to do another one, when I was asked, and this time I took photos.

The jigsaw as it arrived

As you can see, three pieces had been replaced, but they do stand out, so what I needed to do was paint these to match the surrounding image.

Things seemed to progressing well. I made several swatches to blend with the colour of the three replaced pieces and I held the jigsaw tray up to the light to make sure the colours were matching okay.

Then, everything (or almost everything) exploded.

It’s amazing how far jigsaw pieces can travel and the strange places they can manage to insert themselves. But I gathered all the pieces that I could find and realised that there was only one thing for it, I was going to have to reassemble the jigsaw.

It’s a lovely jigsaw with great chunky wooden pieces, but I had no idea how many pieces there were and I couldn’t really remember what the picture looked like as I hadn’t had it for long and I’d been far too focussed on matching the colours. No two pieces were the same and some of the edge pieces weren’t really edge pieces.

Two days in to the reassembly and I was convinced that the jigsaw had been made by a sadist.

However, slowly and systematically, I got there eventually and the jigsaw was done.

Sadly though, despite my best efforts, there was one piece missing (isn’t there always!)

Luckily I know that my friend is able to replace the wooden shape, but still wanted to make a swatch for her to use to be able to complete the jigsaw.

Happily, my friend came to pick up her jigsaw today and she was delighted with the painted pieces and I am really pleased with the fact that I managed to colour match quite effectively. I think the jigsaw looks good, almost back to new and my friend is having a perspex sheet cut to fit so that it all stays together from now on (after that final piece has been fitted that is)

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on some new art and finishing off some older works, getting ready for my upcoming exhibition with Aileen Grant and Steven Proudfoot at Gallery An Talla Dearg (fingers crossed) on October 16th – I’ll keep you posted on that!

Some of my new and updated paintings, getting ready for the exhibition

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