The oil paintings by artist, Kevin Walsh have been reproduced on many greetings cards, plates and biscuit tins, and prints as well as jigsaw puzzles. Walsh paints those stone walled, idyllic countryside scenes of people picnicking, walking or playing sports. He depicts British life from an earlier time, childhood days post WWII…and the sun is usually shining … things like the traditional farmyard, seaside towns, the village green, street parties, and he will often include a mechanical/motorized vehicle from the 1950s, sometimes a tram, or a steam engine in its full glory. The historic detailing is expert, as Walsh researches his subject in great depth before he starts a project. The nostalgia in the imagery has earned Walsh wide attraction and appeal for his work and he has established a following of collectors. He has a prestigious list of clients to his name (including Ravensburger) and UK commissions include Harrods and Cadbury.
The Blackpool Theme
This picture is a wonderful depiction of this famous Lancashire seaside town. The Blackpool Tower features of course, and pleasure beach attractions include a DH Dragon Rapide plane flying high. Trams are lining up at street level, and three donkeys are being led to the beach by a man with a walking stick wearing a flat cap. The cigarette smoking, young man dressed as a Teddy Boy and the woman with the headscarf and the Be Bop dress are showing off 50’s fashion. The seagulls and the people ‘promenading’ give a sense of the place. Happy Days, Blackpool includes that fluffy clouded skyscape that appears in many of Walsh’s designs. Skies are always a challenge for the puzzle enthusiast to correctly find and place those subtle shades of blue, grey and white. The image is not quite as sharp and bright as some digitally enhanced/produced artwork we have seen previously when reviewing Ravensburger jigsaws, this is due to the format and composition of the original; yet it is colourful enough and is in keeping with the theme itself.
The Tenby Theme
Tenby is an important place in the minds of many people, situated on the Pembrokeshire coast it evokes childhood memories of long hours playing on the sandy beach and the special character of the place. As you would expect the Tenby scene is more sedate than the Happy Days Blackpool version, but like the latter, the whole picture contains a marvellous mix of bold primary and bright secondary colours and so is an ideal subject for a jigsaw puzzle. Again, Walsh depicts an earlier time; and, again, there’s his signature in the form of a classic car at street level. This is a boating theme, in the main, with lots of small sailing vessels moored and people leaving the harbour going on a boat trip. This would make a lovely gift between people who have a shared experience of this seaside town.
These premium jigsaws consist of 1000 pieces which demonstrate the soft click technology, and, as with all puzzles for 12 years to adult, there are also leaflets with the artist’s biography and an additional picture included in every box. This jigsaw is rectangular on completion. Not suitable for children under 36 months (small pieces). RRP £11.99.
There are other ranges of ‘Happy Days’ themed jigsaws available with artwork by Kevin Walsh and not just the Seaside towns. Other Happy places from the collection include Brighton, Oxford, The Cotswolds, The Lake District, London, York, Weymouth to name a few.
This review will also appear at Ravensburger Puzzle club