Buckles up all the puzzlers. You’re up for a real treat if serene nature landscapes are your thing. The Puzzle has been launched in mid-September, just in time for American Thanksgiving and Christmas! No doubt that the world is filled with hidden gems when it comes to creativity and we have pledged to discover and bring them forward for you.
Jim Babbage, the super talented and passionate creative being is the newest discovery of PuzzQuest. He started his artistic journey with the 35mm camera his father gave him as a high school graduation present. Since then, Jim and his Praktica camera have been inseparable.
His piece of art portrays the sun in all its glory. All the colors that it brings along; the rich pinks of the quartz, rubbed smooth no doubt by glaciers, make the scene magical and soothing to the soul. Let’s learn more about the inspirational artist who made this gorgeous puzzle in this meet and greets session to know the story behind his creative journey, the motivation behind his art, and the challenges he, as an artist has to face.
- What is the biggest motivation behind your creativity?
In all honesty – me. I cannot go more than a day or two without getting the photographic itch. I have to get out and shoot. It may only be in my backyard, but I must fulfill that urge.
- What is unique about you and your artwork? Something that sets you apart from the other artists.
I have a deep appreciation for nature, especially in my two main localities of Toronto and the Kawarthas. My affinity for the natural landscape is fairly evident in my work. While I sometimes include evidence of mankind in my compositions, I often strive to find the image where the scene looks untouched by human beings.
- How did you discover your love for art/ how did it all begin?
I did not discover photography until High School graduation and it was almost by accident. I had decided to go to journalism school. My dad gave me one of his 35mm cameras as a graduation gift, knowing I needed one for college.
That summer, I fell in love with the camera, and the images it helped me create. I could share what I saw! My and my Praktica camera went everywhere together.
- How do you conceive a creative idea and what goes on inside the mind of an artist like yourself?
I occasionally do some location scouting ahead of time, for example, taking several road trips to find suitable areas to capture that perfect fall color. But quite often my process is less formulated and involves just getting to a specific location at a specific time.
The other half of the photographic process is curation and editing. The camera captures what is in front of it. It’s up to me, in the processing stage, to bring out what I saw and felt at the time I pressed the shutter.
- What’s an average day look and feel like in your life?
For me, it typically involves either going out shooting or spending time at my computer, editing and fine-tuning the work I have captured. I spend some time addressing my social media channels as well. I like to generate awareness and hopefully inspire the audience through my writing as being an educator is a big part of my character.
- What’s the most favorite work of yourself to date?
This is a tough one! As I grow older and gain experience, those “favorites” are likely to change, but the series I shot at Catfish Lake (my current puzzle at PuzzQuest is from that series) is definitely on my top list.
- Which artist is your all-time favorite?
Without a doubt, Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson. In many ways, unknowingly, he inspired me to take this path. I read every book he published in my early years as a photographer and through those books, I learned so much about composition, light, and the zen of creating a photograph. I’ve also been influenced by the paintings of Robert Bateman and some of the work of the Group of Seven. And as I mentioned earlier, Ansel Adams is another favorite of mine.
- What’s your biggest achievement regarding art so far, something you’re most proud of?
I think perhaps my greatest achievement has been getting back out there and showing my work in physical exhibitions. The Covid-19 pandemic threw a bit of a wrench in this, but I have had a long-running photo exhibit at Elmhirst Resort on Rice Lake and have sold many prints from this venue, including my recent involvement in the annual Spark Photo Festival. I was fortunate to have the continuing support of Elmhirst Resort as my sponsoring venue for the exhibit.
- What’s your specialty and what is it that you love most about this field?
Landscape photography is my specialty. And as far as my love for this field is concerned, photography opened up a world of opportunity for me, sending me down a career path I would never have imagined as a young man.
- Is there anything you find challenging about art?
It can be challenging to differentiate yourself as a professional or as an artist when technology can boost up everyone’s game. However, the technology has not reached the point where it can recommend the time of day, the viewpoint, a camera angle, or the overall composition of a successful image that YOU want. It actually depends on the photographer’s inner vision; a combination of skill and emotion but sometimes that is forgotten.
- What’s your dream project regarding art?
In some ways, I am living my dream project which is finding beauty in each day. However, I would love to go on a photo journey to Iceland. I love shooting landscapes, but I also love waterfalls and I’ve seen some stunning work come from that country.
- A piece of advice for aspiring self-taught artists?
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Conversely, consider investing in an inexpensive film camera to learn the beauty of film and the creative challenges imposed by a finite number of exposures on a roll of film. Half of my professional life as a photographer was form-based, from 35mm to 8×10 (inch) sheet film, and those years taught me so much. Know your equipment and be comfortable with your gear.
- Any upcoming exciting projects that we should look forward to?
Glad you asked. I’m working on updating my ongoing show at Elmhirst, readying it for the fall and winter. Once my catfish sunrise puzzle becomes available, I plan to approach some local shops to see if they would be interested in selling it.
- Lastly, How was it like working with PuzzQuest?
I was excited by PuzzQuest’s desire to assist the art community. That mandate to give back to the community is so important. I love the fact that PuzzQuest is Canadian and local to the Kawarthas. And I greatly appreciate the efforts made by PuzzQuest to not just promote the artist, both online and in the puzzle packaging, but also giving us a variety of ways to earn an income from the sale of the puzzles. I’m hoping to see more of my work turned into PuzzQuest puzzles over time.
Well, PuzzQuest is thrilled to have Jim as one of its contributing artists. His creativity, imagination, and the way he expresses himself through art are invaluable. We hope this partnership brings a lot of joy and encourages us to keep producing high-quality, unique, beautiful, and challenging jigsaw puzzles for discerning puzzlers.
So how about you grab your own Catfish Sunrise puzzle while we discover some more talented and wonderful artists for you?