I'm working on several designs for jigsaw puzzles. I've completed two of the designs, Loteria Ukiyo-e Cats.

Here's the thing - each of these puzzles is an homage to an artist whose work I admire, whose identity is hinted at in each puzzle's clue-filled imagery. The art style of each puzzle is itself a hint about the artist while being different from the style of that artist. So I'm calling the series Secret Admirer Puzzles.

They'll be about 24" square and about 800 - 1000 pieces.

The first design I made references Loteria (a bingo-like game like from Mexico) in an homage to a famous painter. Some of the loteria-inspired cards in the puzzle show the short verse (in Spanish and English) which the loteria caller would say for that card. Each card has an interesting relationship to the artist's life and/or work. The patterns throughout are taken directly from objects and clothing the artist owned.

Each puzzle will have a key to all its hints (plus interesting bits about the artform in the design) printed on its insert. You can see the hints to the Loteria puzzle below.

The next design I've completed is an homage to a famous filmmaker and takes inspiration from a period of Japanese woodblock printing often referred to as Ukiyo-e printing.

Eight scenes, presented on fans, depict cats as people (which was a subgenre of Ukiyo-e prints that emerged in the 18th century.) Each fan recreates a scene from one of the artist's films as if it were set in an Edo period Japan, populated by cats. The Japanese text features punny hints to the titles of the films and the central text is a zoomorphic (catmorhphic?) paraphrase from one of the artist's animation lectures. Scenes in semi-circles on each edge depict sources of this artist's inspiration and events from the artist's life. the imagery on the cat's kimonos contain additional clues from the films.

I'm working on a third design now using Bauhaus as its visual inspiration and focused on an artist from the 1400's. It features a few lines the artist wrote which feel right at home with Bauhaus ethos. 

It's only about maybe a third of the way designed in this image. But I'm so excited I wanted to share.

I have plans for more. I'm enjoying coming up with and researching and designing these, so who knows how many there may be...

They have a radial design, elements orient towards each of the four sides so puzzling with friends is more fun for all!

I'm researching a good way to have these puzzles produced. I can't wait to get to share them and to solve them!

Here is the insert text for the Loteria puzzle:

Loteria is a game of chance, using a deck of 54 illustrated cards. A caller, or cantor, draws a card from the deck and announces it by name, reciting its accompanying couplet. 

This puzzle is an homage to a famous painter, with clues throughout the image. I’ve selected 24 cards from the traditional Loteria deck and used each of them to give a clue about her identity. Ten of the cards in the puzzle also show all or some of the short verse traditionally associated with that card. 


El Paraguas (the umbrella) - referencing a fateful accident in 1925, when she got off of one bus to look for the umbrella she’d left behind only to get on the next bus which was then struck by a trolley car.

La Mano (the hand) - the artist's hand from a photo of her from 1926, I’ve added a few of her rings from other, later photos

La Dama (the lady)  “(Improving)...el paso, por toda la calle real / (Improving)...her gait, all along the main street” - From a photo of her in the 1920’s, I've added a depiction of one of her medical corsets

El Diablito (the devil- unlabeled) - From a photo taken in 1931 of her and her husband with one of his collection of effigies (only the effify appears in this image)

La Luna (the moon- unlabeled) “El farol de los enamorados / The street lamp of lovers.” - from the painting “Self Portrait on the Border between Mexico and the United States of America”, 1932

La Rosa (the rose- unlabeled) “Rosita, Rosaura, ven que te quiero ahora. Rosita, Rosaura, come, as I want you here now.” - Image inspired by a wild rose from the painting “Self Portrait on the Border between Mexico and the United States of America”, 1932

La Muerta (death- unlabeled) - reference from the painting “The Four Inhabitants of Mexico City”, 1938

El Corazon (the heart - unlabeled) “No me extrañes corazón, que regreso en el camión. Do not miss me, sweetheart, I'll be back by bus.” - from the painting “The Two Fridas”, 1939

La Sandia (the watermelon) -  image and text reference from the painting “The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened” 1939-1943, (the text translates to “Who is afraid of seeing life opened?”)

El Catrin (the dandy) “(Don Ferruco)...en la alameda, su bastón quería tirar / (Sir Ferruco)...in the poplar grove, wanted to toss away his cane” - Referencing the painting "Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair", 1940

El Pajaro (the bird) - “Tu me traes a puros brincos, como pájaro en la rama. You have me hopping here and there, like a bird on a branch.” A berylline hummingbird, common in Mexico, sits on a thorn branch referencing the painting “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird”, 1940

La Botella (the bottle) - The table in this image is inspired by her painting “The Wounded Table”, 1940. I've added a bottle with a blue agave plant on the label.

El Cotorro (the parrot) - reference from the painting “Me and My Parrots”, 1941

La Rana (the frog) - from the reflecting pool built below her studio window at her Casa Azul in 1941, which was decorated with mosaic frogs, a nod to her nickname for her husband, sapo-rana or toad-frog

La sirena (the siren) - from a photo of her with Chavela Vargas, the famous Mexican singer, taken in 1945

El Venado (the deer) “Saltando va buscando, pero no ve nada. Jumping it goes searching, but it doesn't see anything.” - reference from the painting “The Wounded Deer”, 1946

Las Jaras (the arrows) - reference to the painting “The Wounded Deer”, 1946

El Sol (the sun - unlabeled) “La cobija de los pobres / The blanket of the poor.” - reference from the painting “Sun and Life” 1947

La Estrella (the star) - reference to the red star she painted on her plaster torso cast in 1950

El Mélon & El Nopal (the melon and the prickly pear - unlabeled) - reference from the painting “Still-Life with Parrot and Flag”, 1951

La Bota (the boot) “Una bota igual que la otra/One boot the same as the other.” - the red prosthetic boot, she began wearing in 1953

El árbol (the tree) - referencing a painting of her in a tree (uncertified but signed with her name) 

La Musica (the musician) - from a photo of her playing guitar

Bottle caps are sometimes used as tokens for playing Loteria - the letters on each of the bottle caps can be arranged to spell her last name.

All of the patterns are based on details from her clothes and home.