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A Zickefoose Jigsaw Puzzle?!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

One by one, my dreams come true. 
When I was a kid, we had a beautiful round Springbok jigsaw puzzle covered with songbird vignettes by Don Eckelberry, ca. 1965.

I worked that puzzle again and again with my sister Micky. We'd separate out the yellow pieces, distinguishing the sunny strong eastern meadowlark yellow from the lemony goldfinch yellow from the evening grosbeak's rich mustard. We knew tanager red from cardinal red, oriole orange from redstart orange.

I loved to draw even then, and dreamt as I worked on that puzzle of someday decorating a jigsaw puzzle full of birds. 
And now I have! 

Galison/Mudpuppy has produced a truly beautiful 1,000 piece puzzle of my painting, "Fantasy Flock."
It was first commissioned by my hero, the late and dearly missed Russ Greenberg, founder and director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

I'll never forget what he said. "I need a painting of face-melting beauty that will draw people from across a crowded convention hall."
He wanted it for a decorative banner. He told me I could pick the species I most wanted to paint.
This being the thing every freelance illustrator yearns to hear but almost never does, I nearly fainted from joy. I immediately got to work on a full-sheet watercolor of Neotropical migrants against towering thunderheads. It made a fabbo banner for SMBC's trade show booth.

Years later, I looked at my paintings and wondered which ones would make a good jigsaw puzzle. 
I had a hunch that Galison would select it from the array of art that I offered. Knowing what I do about jigsaw puzzles, it was a no-brainer. 
Well, I should reword that.
Because doing this puzzle takes some serious brains.

The only person in our household disciplined and methodical enough to complete it is Phoebe. She is the reigning Queen of Jigsaws. The rest of us help--Liam more than anyone--but Phoebs is the undisputed Queen.

You can order it using the button in the right sidebar of this blog homepage. It's called "Fantasy Flock." Or click here. 

Small caveat: The puzzle has proven extremely popular right out of the gate. Barnes and Noble made a massive order from Galison and virtually cleaned them out. I have only 50 to sell now--that's all I could get-- but more are being shipped the first week of December. 
Shades of The Bluebird Effect. The first printing was gone--Poof!--just like that. And everybody had to wait a couple of months for the second printing. 
Thanks Oprah! Good problem to have, everybody said.

In my next post, I'll show you what it's like to put "Fantasy Flock" together!

A few sparks be continued.


Great! It will be my open holiday project for friends and family to contribute to completing. Plus I have a matching T-shirt. :)

Posted by Gail Spratley October 20, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Brilliant!! Like Gail, above, I also have the t-shirt... ;-)

Awesome! Looks great!

I always loved the round puzzle by Don Eckelberry, and my father, Arthur Singer, made one too at about the same time for the same company, but your puzzle looks great and also looks much harder to do, Congratulations!

Ordered it immediately. Gorgeous.

Your last post about the Barred Owl kill site was timely for me. Last week a few of us were hiking a remote location. We found a site of scattered feathers, those of a Great Horned Owl. Who kills a GHO? Our leader, Tim, told of once coming upon two Golden Eagles dining upon a GHO carcass on the ground. Then, I'm not kidding, we looked up at a circling bird above us and it was a Golden Eagle. What are the chances? A GREAT book for IDing found feathers is Bird Feathers, by David Scott. Amazingly good.

That is a classic bird puzzle in the round box, and what a pleasure for you to have your painting made in to a puzzle now. Your painting is a beauty.

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