Some friends and I have been trading jigsaw puzzles back and forth. I have a pretty good collection, mostly from my mother who shares hers with me. My friends had discovered puzzles based on art by Charley Harper, a renowned illustrator and artist who specialized in nature art.

Charley Harper: Woodland Wonders 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle NEW image 0

I am NUTS for these puzzles! I love the detail, the birds and animals, the saturated colors. Gorgeous!

And while chatting with my mother I mentioned my new discovery. “Oh, he’s from Buckhannon,” she said. That would be the nearest “town” to our farm in West Virginia. Hmmm. Really?

Well, Mom was wrong. He’s not from Buckhannon. He’s from Frenchton, WV, which means he grew up about five miles from where I did! I like to think I enjoy his art so much because we were both originally inspired by the same hills, creeks, trees, and critters!

Harper had this to say about when he became interested in nature: “When I was growing up on a farm in West Virginia, learning that I didn’t want to grow up to be a farmer. I goofed off a lot and roamed the hills. I disliked hoeing corn, hauling hay shocks, cutting filth, and stomping down sheep wool inside those big burlap bags on hot summer days. I tried to disappear on hog butchering and cattle dehorning days because I felt so sorry for the animals. And before I was old enough to use a gun, I learned that I never wanted to. A hunter fired over my head at a rabbit and put a shotgun pellet through my scalp. I’ve been on the side of the rabbits ever since.”

I love discovering such nifty connections. And there are now Charley Harper murals up in Buckhannon. I’ll be sure to check them out next time I go to the farm. Stay tuned for a selfie . . .