CEDARBURG — Local puzzle-lovers may be excited to hear that a new Cedarburg puzzle is for sale.
This 1,000-piece puzzle is 19.25 inches by 26.625 inches and is a watercolor painting by Cedarburg artist Robert Helf. The image depicts a young boy with his dog peering through the front window of the Cedarburg History Museum with Pagoda Fine Jewelry and the Cedarburg Mill in the background.
“Everywhere you turn, Cedarburg emanates an historical vibe. The lad in this painting lives and breathes it — the true essence at the heart of our incredible community,” Helf is quoted saying on the puzzle box.
This is Helf’s third piece of artwork that was turned into a Cedarburg puzzle. This watercolor was originally made to be auctioned off at the Greater Cedarburg Foundation’s annual gala last fall. Helf then decided to make it into a puzzle.
Helf is a history buff and likes to visit the Cedarburg History Museum and look at the exhibits. A few years ago one afternoon, Helf walked into the museum and observed an old gas pump across from a barber chair in a barber shop exhibit.
The way the sunlight shone through the window and the view of the Pagoda and the Cedarburg Mill inspired Helf to take a photo. If Helf sees something interesting, he said he’ll take photos for future artwork.
“Right away I thought to myself this is like Cedarburg, inside and out,” Helf said. “You got history in and you got history out.”
But Helf shelved the photo.
“I knew it wasn’t finished. It needed something,” he said.
When GCF asked for another painting from him to auction off, Helf thought of that photo.
Helf believed adding an individual into the image for the painting would make it better. Eventually he thought of using a kid walking a dog. He got the help from a boy named Blake in his neighborhood - with his parents’ permission - and Helf used his own dog.
Helf planned every detail in the photo shoot, which was done last spring. He took pictures of Blake and his dog separately until he got everything just right.
After that Helf brought together the pictures on his computer of Blake and his dog with the photo he took at the history museum a few years earlier. Then he printed the final image to use it as a reference while he sketched and painted on watercolor paper.
The GCF has asked him to do another painting this year and Helf said he’s thinking how he can top this painting.
“I think I’ve raised the bar pretty high for myself on this one,” he said.
The puzzle is for sale for $26 exclusively at the Cedarburg toy Company in store, W62N583 Washington Ave., or online at www.cedarburgtoyco.com. For more information about Helf and his artwork, visit www.helfstudios.com.
“It was a real pleasure to have this whole thing come together and have it so well received by Cedarburg Toy Store,” Helf said.