Friday, September 3, 2010

Jigsaw Man

Jigsaw man, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm

"... he began to feel as if he had as much effect on the final outcome of the operation as a single piece of a jumbo jigsaw puzzle has to its predetermined final design. Only the addition of the missing fragments of the puzzle would reveal if the picture was as he guessed it would be.              Stanley Kubrick

puz·zle (pzl)
v. puz·zled, puz·zling, puz·zles
1. To baffle or confuse mentally by presenting or being a difficult problem or matter.
2. To clarify or solve (something confusing) by reasoning or study.

1. To be perplexed.
2. To ponder over a problem in an effort to solve or understand it.

1. Something, such as a game, toy, or problem, that requires ingenuity and often persistence in solving or assembling.
2. Something that baffles or confuses.
3. The condition of being perplexed; bewilderment.
                                                              The Free Dictionary


  1. Another amazing self portrait, one that looks as you suggest incomplete, a puzzle or one that's a tad worn away and yet it's too bright in its inception.

    Thanks, Harry.

  2. Harry,

    Another brilliant work from you. The red is what does it for me! You present yourself tight lipped like you are trying to hold yourself together...excellent!

    Take care,

  3. Did the quote inspire the painting? Or did you paint first; then remember the perfect quote? I agree with Stinson--powerful and amazing.

  4. Incredible self portrait - I am in awe of your use of colour. The quote is so apt!

  5. Rojo fuego, rojo pasiòn,un viaje al centro de uno corazòn.Muy bueno Harry!

  6. I love to play puzzle with your paintings Harry!

  7. the puzzle aspect is what makes life so interesting....You have a look of "knowing" even though the pieces are missing.

  8. Hi Elizabeth, i like the "tad worn away". I had thought of bits of mosaic that had dropped off the wall, but just plain worn off with wear appeals too, lol.

  9. Hi John, welcome to my blog. I've been so struck with your strongly atmospheric landscape monotypes that i'm now busily experimenting with the technique for portraiture.

  10. Hi Kristin, thanks for the comment re texture. Yes, this painting is basically an experiment in mark-making. I wanted to see if short, narrow, thick brush-strokes is me. Interesting and fun to try but nope, won't work this way again. There is so much to learn.

  11. G'day, Brian. Your studio is looking fabulous. I love your reading of the image - trying to hold myself together. As i painted, apart from the idea of a puzzle being constructed, i also had visions of bits unintendedly dropping off.

  12. Hi Hallie, it's always nice to have your thoughts. The painting came first, driven by mental images of incompletion, both because humans are always 'becoming' and never complete, and also because we get damaged as we age and the years leave their scars. And because we are mystery to ourselves that we labor to understand, so i liked the idea of being a puzzle i am trying to piece together.

  13. Hi Skizo, welcome back, my friend.

    Thanks for commenting, Liz. Yes, originally the colour started out as orange gesso, intending to contrast the greys and blue-green, but i liked the effect and beefed it up. So much of painting, for me, seems to be 'making it up as you go along', lol.

  14. Hola, Azucena. Interesting that you mention fire red and the inner centre, because that was another image that ran through my mind - the sense of a mantle-crust floating on a lake of lava. A cool and brittle surface but boiling forces within.

  15. Salut, Olivia. Playing puzzles, yes, but what worries me is that some of pieces might be lost and the puzzle doomed never to finished, lol.

  16. Hi Celeste, yes, trying to sort life's puzzle can keep us busy, lol. Your observation re 'knowing' is interesting since the puzzle remains unsolved, bits are missing. So much of the puzzle is inferred and has to guessed, whatever brave face of knowing we want to put on it.

  17. Your self portrature is so affecting Harry. I feel I can read the emotion etched on your faces. Like your not merely painting the man, but the man within. You have joined fragments of the puzzle here to reveal and to obfuscate - in what is an poignant observation on the complexity of human nature. I love it Harry. It's thought provoking and beautiful. What more can one ask of art?

  18. A valued comment from someone of your perspecacity, Steppenwolf.

    Self-portraiture gives one the huge advantage of having access to the man within but leaves one with the problem of turning that into an intelligible communication to others, a problem a poet of the human condition like yourself is well familiar with.

    And i guess i don't set as high a value on the portrait being a physical likeness, as most people do (almost their definition of portraiture). I'm into psychological portraits - expressive work that may be technically and stylistically flawed but that yet rings true and feels relevant.

    Thanks for encouraging me in the belief i may sometimes be getting close to my aspiration.