Port of Tripoli: A Long Lost Puzzle Returns

The Port of Tripoli, Flemish School, signed JVO, c. 1650. 12 ¾" x 19 ¾", $460

The Port of Tripoli is one of the first puzzles I made at the very beginning of J. C. Ayer & Co. circa 1986.  The original was painted on wood. My brother Rick had it in his apartment in Paris. We propped it up in indirect sunlight and photographed it.  I had a Rollei and Rick had a 35mm Minolta . We used both slide and color negative film. Very amateurish but somehow we got a good result which made some of my first puzzles.

When we went digital, I lost the original. Recently we found a high quality digital copy while reworking the website. I t is a really good picture and a good puzzle. I think the unknown painter painted the mountain in a dream. The pastel colors of the mountain, sky and sea blend together to add a bit of difficulty for the puzzler.

If you’d like to try it, visit my website to order it here.

Stilll Life with Newspaper

This puzzle is of a marvelous painting by the Haitian painter Jacques-Enguerrand Gourgue. I particularly like the subtile background most noticable at the top. The puzzle is not as difficult as some others because it is easy to segregate the pieces of the blue velvet table cloth and do them first. Gourgue’s picture Eve, below right shows the voodo culture that is just below the surface in Haiti. Note the red apple in Eve’s hand. The colors below are a little muddy. The colors of the puzzles are more vibrant. I will have to learn a little more about blogging with illustrations. I offer both puzzles. Still Life with Newspaper is popular but I have never sold Eve.Eve for web adj

still life with newspaper web

Next week another popular Haitian painting.

The Elephant and the Mouse

This is one of my early puzzles, first made in the late 80s. The original was a poster that my brother picked up in India and had hanging in the guest bath of his apartment.  It is a picture of a Ganesh or Ganesha, which is the patron saint of drummers among other things.

I looked Ganesha up, found it all over Google and got confused. Anyway, here are two sites for anyone who is interested.

The Elephant and the Mouse

The Elephant and the Mouse



The puzzle has been a slow, steady seller since the beginning.  It is relatively easy to make because the border can be made first.

Digitizing the Rooster

Rooster Puzzle, 15 3/4 x 15 3/4, $400.00

Rooster Puzzle, 15 3/4

This puzzle has been my repertoire for a long time. The original, which is about 3 feet square, is in our family. The puzzle had not been popular but recently I made one for a customer. My older puzzle images are kept as film, either negative or positive (slides). Now, when I get a new order, the image is digitized so we work with a file. The file is usually enhanced subtly in Photoshop. In this case the colors were made more vibrant, closer to the original as I remember it. I also made a new, more intricate, puzzle design. Now, if I can say so myself, Rooster is quite smashing.

Two new puzzles

If you, dear reader, will bear with me, I will depart from the historical sequence of these blogs to write about two new puzzles that you can find on our website under Fine Arts.

  1. The House of the Seven Gables is in the New England Artists section. It is a reproduction of a charming watercolor by Racket Shreve. Racket makes it look so easy but in reality watercolor is a very ticklish medium. A smaller version of this puzzle and a puzzle of an old sign are available at the Seven Gables Gift Shop or 978-744-0991, extension 111.

  2. Bicentennial Balloons by Ralph Cahoon is a different take on our Revolutionary War and is not at all to be taken seriously.  It is in the exotic section. 
Bicentennial Balloons

Bicentennial Balloons

The House of the Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables