Puzzles: This Is a Life Worth Living

This Is a Life Worth Living puzzle

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I began painting “This is a Life Worth Living” in response to Werner Herzog’s film, “The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” Certainly this film enchanted me with its 3D presentation of iterated oxen on the Chauvet cave walls - with the anima presented in those marks. But it was when I heard Herzog’s inimitable voice describe how a particular cave painting had been completed over FIVE THOUSAND YEARS (this person painted the hand, this person did the body – my facts aren’t accurate but you get the idea), that I felt a massive mental jolt.

Why hurry to finish a painting? What liberation! Suddenly, I realized, time was on my side... I began to imagine that one might confine evolution to the pictorial frame, one might actually document the passage of both diachronic and synchronic time. But what would “time” look like?

One steamy New England summer day I found myself splattered on the kitchen floor, listening to the radio as Tom Ashbrook interviewed the paleontologist Richard Fortey. Fortey recalled, ”You’d be walking along the beach and you’d run into these horseshoe crabs. They looked like old war veterans, all cut up and rough, but there they were, trundling along the beach with their eggs as they had done for the last 600 million (years). You don’t live that many years without learning a few tricks or two.” One often feels like a cut-up horseshoe crab. But, if these veteran crustaceans have their armor, what did we have? DBT, for one thing. I found myself studying Marsha Linehan's DBT protocol which offered many tricks for survival ("Pleasant Event Schedule"). In the final flourishes of this long-in-the-making painting, one situated somewhere between the Northwest local rainforests and a kind of mythical, millennial space, I populated the image with critters whose marvelous survival mechanisms I myself envied...each one carrying an imprint of Time itself. In Dr. Linehan's honor (and perhaps Martin Buber's) I titled this break-though painting, "This is a Life Worth Living." I'm equally grateful to Herzog, Ashbrook, Fortey, and, especially, Dr. Marsha Linehan for helping me understand how survive and thrive in time...


Feedback from my puzzle tester Dureen:

After I decided to transform this image into a puzzle, I sent the first sample to Dureen Ruff, mother of my dear friend, the super-brain Anne Marie Ruff Grewal. Dureen, who makes exquisite doll-house interiors, is no stranger to small pieces. As Dureen made her nightly puzzle journey, she wrote to me in stages, providing the kind of travelogue of which artists only dream—a chronicle of the re-creation of one's own imaginal space...what a delight!

"The first view is where I started last night. I was down to all those enigmatic white blobs, so I arranged them in the order of their shapes. I frequently use this method when I am near the end of a puzzle and the pieces are all almost the same color…sky etc. It's a very effective technique, although finding the right piece was challenging even up to the last few pieces."

This Is a Life Worth Living Puzzle

"The view this morning!"

This Is a Life Worth Living Puzzle

"Two of my favorite spots. When I studied the picture and saw this little "scene" and the other critter (below) near the top of the puzzle I wanted to know more about how they found their way into your fabulous 'forest of color and shapes'."

This Is a Life Worth Living Puzzle

This Is a Life Worth Living Puzzle

"This is a puzzle worth doing!"

This Is a Life Worth Living Puzzle

24 piece version

This Is a Life Worth Living, 24 piece puzzle

© Sarah Jane Lapp, 2019