Friday, September 30, 2022



Do you like to do puzzles? Here's one for you. I found a new way to make puzzles when I took a mark-making class from Sally Penley recently. I layered gesso and acrylic paint and drew with Sharpie markers of various sizes and with a needle-nose applicator to make thin lines of acrylic on pieces of watercolor paper. Two abstract paintings resulted from the exercise. I then cut the results into two-inch squares to be used as designs on greeting cards.

Abstract piece combining 2 different paintings

Before I started on the cards, I decided to put the two paintings together, mixed the squares up, and randomly put them down on black paper. I liked the result, but I realized I hadn't taken photos of the two original works. Luckily, I had used two different weights of watercolor paper, 140 and 300, for the two separate paintings so that I knew which squares belonged to which painting. The hard part came next when I discovered how difficult it was to match the squares' edges to re-make the original. Harder to do than any puzzle I've attempted before because I had no reference guide similar to a commercial puzzle out of a box.

Painting #1

After about an hour of work, I finally succeeded in returning Paintings #1 and #2 to their original design. I intended to make cards with each 2-inch square by gluing them to small pieces of black paper and then to postcard-size card stock. I've now decided to go back to my first idea of putting the two originals together to make an entirely new painting. I plan to do a different version from the first combination. And maybe I won't glue them down at all and leave them as a puzzle to create again and again. 

We'll see what I come up with!

Painting #2 They look alike, don't they? Same colors, similar marks

Check out Sally Penley's calligraphy classes:


  1. Martha, love the final piece. Smiled at the thought of you sorting the pieces of the original pieces. What dedication. I liked hearing about the process. Thank you Christine Brooks

    1. Hi CB: Thanks for writing! Yes, it was surprisingly difficult to put the paintings back together. Persistence is my middle name!


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