My Mother, My Earth, My Child

My Mother, My Earth, My Child

Jim Kogelheide
Pen & Ink on Drawing Board
London, Ontario

My Mother, My Earth, My Child

The processes that I go through before, during and after creating an artwork are always interesting and unique!  Often, after I finish an artwork, I’ll take a break to clear out my head and open myself up to my imagination to feel the inspiration that will lead to my next creation.

Every day… even to this day… many images flit through my mind, that I think would make an excellent artwork.  These are all very personal moments, because there is no possible way that I can create these artworks to share with the world… my artworks take a lot of time to create, so I have to be very selective about how I’m going to focus my time and energy.

Just before I created ‘My Mother, My Earth, My Child’, I was talking with another artist (a gentleman in his early 70’s) who was very impressed with my pen and ink drawings… but, he was very adamant that I should bring colour into my creations and begin expressing myself in new ways.  These thoughts were in my mind, as I spent one morning getting ready to start something new.

I had a yearning to create a colourful artwork filled with dancers – with arms stretched out and legs poised for twirling.  In my mind, I could see a vibrant background filled with colours tumbling out of the sky and descending like music, to the Earth below.  I was yearning to express my love and appreciation for LIFE! and all the beauty of creation… but things had changed by that afternoon!

Because I’m an artist that can’t draw very well (I’ve always felt connected to a song by the Tragically Hip where Gord Downie sings, “I can’t draw, but I can trace”), I often look for images that I can trace onto my drawing board, to begin the process.  So, after my morning of thinking and filling my mind with potential thoughts, I went for a walk to the downtown library to find books on dancing and dancers, to take my inspiration to the next stage of development.  This is when things got interesting…

I found a handful of books and then I sat down at a table to take a look.  The first book that I opened was filled with many photos… and they were all in black and white!!!  The photos really captivated my mind and I thought it was funny that I was intent on creating an artwork in full colour and yet I found myself becoming passionate about these black and white photos!

These were dance and drama photos, but they didn’t show anyone with arms outstretched or legs spinning through the air.  In a way, I felt like I was looking at a graphic comic book novel, as these images progressed, from one to the next, and seemed to tell a story… a story filled with conflict and confusion and a yearning to find peace and understanding.  I could definitely relate!

Then, I turned a page and found the photo that would become the building block for this artwork.  It showed a performer wrapped in a plastic-like material and she was pushing upwards, trying to break free from her constraints.  I found myself staring at this image for a long time… all the while adding to it – from my imagination – to put it into a different context….a landscape of my own design!  I was ready to put pen to paper…

I began by tracing the image of this performer onto my drawing board and she was to represent Mother Earth!  As you can see, she is rather sad and almost in a state of mourning – as my views about humanity’s ability to find respect for life so that we can overcome the oppression of Industrial living were a little bleak at that time (even today, over 20 years later, it’s easy to be overcome with all of the environmental problems still facing our world).  I created a landscape that was meant to give the impression of our Earth, as if we were looking at the top portion of our planet from space, and Mother Earth’s spirit (the performer) was coming out from her home under the surface, so that she could bring us a message about our possible future and our responsibility for future generations!

Then, I started creating a representation of our sun!  You can see how it begins (in the centre of the sun) with very geometric curves – symmetrical and perfectly balanced!  In a way, this shows how humanity thinks – always planning, keeping things neat and perfect.  Then, the four rays (or waves) of the suns energy begins to become natural – fluid, more organic in it’s formation.  A reflection on true reality…honouring Nature.  Then, I began having some fun with dimensional planes!  You can see one wiggly wave of sunlight (just to the left of Mother Nature) as it descends upon the Earth and disappears behind a fold in the landscape.  If you follow that wave of sunlight backwards, you will see two other divisions of that wave and see how I bring these waves to the foreground (on the bottom left side) to become a part of the ‘frame’ of the image.  I thought that it would be cool to make parts of the suns waves become a part of the frame and you can see another example of this on the right side of the drawing, just to the right of Mother Nature.  There are a few more parts of the drawing that do this, but when I was getting this image ready to make prints, I had to crop them off as the photo I took of this drawing was not very square!

You can see that the many, many textures that I added to represent the sky and galaxy are a feast for the imagination!  Always changing… growing…evolving!  I even added the aurora borealis to the background of the sky and you can imagine the strain on my eyes as I deftly used pointillism techniques to create texture in this area!

Someone once asked me to explain why I added such a small but very dramatic triangle pointing inward to the center of the sun.  I laughed and shrugged my shoulders because I couldn’t really remember the thoughts behind that action.  I’ve often said that creating art is like a form of meditation that puts me into an almost hypnotic state of being and this point proves it!!!!  There have been many instances when I thought that I’m not really an artist at all…. I’m a vessel that allows the spirit of art to flow outwards.  Oftentimes, I spend hours trying to understand my artwork, after it’s finished, as many things reveal themselves to me once a creation is complete.  I see many things in my designs that I just was not consciously thinking about during the process.

The title came to me while I was working on this art.  The “My Mother” part comes from the fact that this Earthly spirit is Mother Nature.  The “My Earth” part comes from the fact that Mother Nature is the Earth.  The “My Child” comes from the fact that it is now humanity’s turn to understand our responsibility towards Nature and our Earth and to care for it…. like a child!  I feel that if humanity put as much love and respect into caring for our Earth as we do our children, then we will be able to overcome any adversity that we will face!

Jim Kogelheide
August 2018

Over the years, I have given away – to friends and family – many of my artworks.  Since I stumbled upon this image, a short while ago, I have tried to remember who I gave this artwork to… and I’ve not been able to remember!  I can only guess that I gave it to someone who I felt needed it at that moment in their life… so many years ago!  I hope that it is still alive and bringing joy into someone’s life!!!!

Because of this fact, and the fact that this is the only image (cropped from the original photograph), I will never be able to see the full image again.  And because the photo quality is not the greatest, this image has never become a print for me to share with others.  So enjoy this image, as appears here on this website, as this will be the only way for anyone to see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment