Deep Dive: The Skyline Was Beautiful on Fire by Steve Driscoll

Posted by Jasen Robillard on

The Sky Was Beautiful on Fire - telescope constellations astronomy pieces

Artist: Steve Driscoll
Puzzle Designer: Jasen Robillard
Dimensions: 37cm x 30cm
Piece Count: 390
Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Since the dawn of humanity, our species has looked to the heavens as a source of awe, inspiration, and meaning... 

Why does the moon wax and wane? Who put those stars in the night sky? Why do the heavens dance, spark and occasionally rain down rock?

The Sky was Beautiful on Fire - moon, meteor, shooting star puzzle pieces

In time, patterns emerged in the night sky that paralleled our own ability to engender patterns through speech, language and art. Names were given and stories were told about the constellations above, perhaps to bring a sense of predictable order to an otherwise chaotic life of struggle and survival.

The Sky Was Beautiful on Fire - constellations & zodiac puzzle pieces

Our ambitions to conquer the natural world grew, and we sought to make the world our own through exploration, invention and scientific study. Our interest in the cosmos led to the development of instruments of astronomy, navigation and the study of objects both too small or too far for the naked eye to see.

The Sky Was Beautiful on Fire - telescope sextant dipper puzzle pieces

Driven by innate curiosity and boundary shattering tendencies, we would then seek to break free from our earth-shackled observations. Soon our earthbound tools would be sent to space to expand human perspectives and scientific frames of references. As our outward examination into the cosmic universe deepened, so did our inward examination of life on earth.

The Sky Was Beautiful on Fire - rocket satellite hubble puzzle pieces

The cosmos still beckons and challenges us. With life on earth under the expert scrutiny of countless fields of study and humanity's insatiable appetites, our curiosity once again turns outward. Are we the lucky few in an otherwise dark and lifeless universe? Will we ever discover signs of life outside of Earth’s atmosphere? Outside our galaxy? What is humanity's role in an ever-expanding universe?

The Sky was Beautiful on Fire - galaxy ufo tesla roadster puzzle pieces


Lightly watermarked reference image
Note, reference images are watermarked to prevent unauthorized printing of our artist's work, as well as copycat puzzles which have become common since 2020.

Steve Driscoll’s Website

Size Matters exhibit at the McMichael Gallery

Peter Robertson Gallery - River Rising Exhibit

Stellarium Astronomy App

Shop: Steve Driscoll - The Skyline Was Beautiful on Fire

Puzzle Design Notes

Steve Driscoll is known for his grand, plein-air impressionism using a unique combination of materials: oil paints embedded in urethane. His paintings magically transport the audience to the natural world that inspired them, and invites each viewer to bathe in a sense of wonder at the creativity on display.

Jasen had the pleasure of viewing The Skyline Was Beautiful on Fire in its full majestic 10’ x 8’ scale at the Size Matters exhibit at the McMichael Gallery in the summer of 2017. The experience was awe-inducing and very reminiscent of past aurora borealis Jasen had witnessed in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Turns out Steve is a puzzler too and was keen to engage in an artistic collaboration.

The core themes explored through Jasen's design process were focused constellations, astronomy and space objects. Many constellations within the puzzle are laid out as they would be seen looking north on a November 2016 evening in Northern Ontario. In order to achieve this, Jasen consulted a number of star charts and relied heavily on Stellarium, an amazing astronomy app.

Whimsy List

  • 12x Zodiac Signs
  • Constellations
    • Auriga
    • Camelopardalis
    • Cepheus
    • Dolphin
    • Draco
    • Giant Crab (Cancer)
    • Lizard
    • Lyre
    • Swan
    • Unicorn
    • Ursa Minor & Major (The Dippers)
  • Hand scope
  • Hubble Space Telescope
  • Sextant
  • 2x Satellites
  • 2x Galaxies
  • Meteor
  • Shooting Star
  • Rocket
  • UFO
  • SpaceX Starman
  • Walrus Skull

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