Paper collage on canvas
12" x 12"
January 2019
London, ON
Jim Kogelheide

It was a rather warm spring day!  We were all glad that the sun had come out to say hello!!!  The first thing on Spider-Man’s and Batman’s agenda was face painting at the 2018 Earthday celebration!!!

Soon, they were transformed into Mighty Lion and Fierce Tiger and then they got serious…

…and planted lots of trees!!!!

After a yummy BBQ lunch, we settled ourselves on the grass, getting ready for the raptor (birds of prey) demonstration!  They had small birds, Bald Eagles, baby owls and this gorgeous Harris Hawk!!!!

What???  You can barely see it!  Here – let’s zoom in a bit…

I took several photos during the raptor demonstration, but this particular photo really grabbed my imagination and I thought, “I may paint this…. one day.”

Well, that ‘one day’ happened recently!  It was New Year’s Eve, cold, damp and rainy and Devon and I decided to spend the afternoon doing art.  While he worked diligently on his Pokemon colouring/activity book, I spent my time flipping through lots of National Geographic magazines looking for the perfect colours to bring my newest art creation to life.

It felt great to end 2018 working on my art and it felt equally great to begin my first hours of 2019 with a glue bottle and pair of scissors in my hand!!!!!  Joanne spent the morning working on a new puzzle that she got for Christmas and Devon continued his Pokemon work!!!  Devon and I took turns playing DJ with our records and we all enjoyed some peaceful family time together!!!!

In ‘Uplifting’ I was focused on bringing a few design techniques to life.  First – I focused on colour.  For the most part, my artworks are usually very brightly coloured… but this time I wanted to create a more subtle or subdued colour scheme.  I wanted to recreate the colours and mood of an early spring day, after winter had worn away most of the colours of Nature and the first hints of spring growth were about to erupt!

Next, I wanted to give the impression of the forest in the background so I focused on my 'depth of field' techniques.  To create the illusion of depth, you have to follow some basic and simple rules… things in the foreground are brightly coloured with lots of detail.  As things recede to the background, they lose intensity in colour and lose detail.  In Uplifting you can see that two of the birch trees are rather far back, as I’ve used dulled colour to create them.  The third birch tree has much more detail and the colours are more pronounced... bringing it closer to the foreground.  As you can see, I really focused on bright and strong colours for the hawk, to make him jump off the canvas!!!!

The thing that really attracted me to this photo, instead of other ones, was the positioning of the hawk’s wings.  In this art we can see that the hawk has reached the extent of his downward wing stroke and is just at the cusp of stretching his muscles as he uplifts his wings and moves forward and upward… thus the inspiration for the title ‘Uplifting’.

I placed the hawk along the left side of the canvas for just this reason.  When you are looking at this art, you can almost envision the next few seconds of this hawks life, as he uplifts his wings and travels the length of the remaining canvas.

And, of course, all of this adds to my continued philosophy about humanity’s journey during this most tremulous period of our Earth’s history!!!!  There’s not a soul living that isn’t aware of the destructive nature of humanity as eco-systems are destroyed for resource extraction, pollution levels are on the rise through our needs for manufacturing and our addiction to oils and plastics. The Amazon Rainforest is slowly turning into a desert and coral reefs are in jeopardy of becoming a part of our history as acidity levels rise throughout our oceans!  These and many other factors are creating a world that could be quite hostile for future generations!!!

Throughout this phase of human existence, I can find no comfort in allowing my actions to be inspired by pessimistic thoughts… so I focus my actions, needs and art to create pathways that are designed to inspire others in positive ways.

So, in an interesting way, I feel that ‘Uplifting’ showcases these thoughts!  The hawk has just finished his downstroke in wing movements (symbolizing the lowest point of our Industrial world) and is on the turning point of positive movement as his wings uplift its lifeforce towards a brighter future!!!

Jim Kogelheide
January 2019
An Amazing Conclusion To This Story...

So... it's 2:22pm on July 21st... 2023!  The story of this art just took an amazing turn, two days ago... but let me give you a little background before we get into what happened!

First... this story includes one of Canada's most influential music producers and song writers.  Many know the name Daniel Lanois from the late 80's when he helped to produce albums for U2 and Peter Gabriel.  This is when I first heard his name.  A few years later, Lanois put out his own debut album...

I had this vinyl album for many years.  In the late 90's my wife and I began an epic cross Canada adventure so that I could work on my art project entitled Canada: Glorious To Be and I ended up selling all my wood working tools, my comic book collection and my record collection to help us start our journey.

This is the reason why I had to recently purchase another LP by Daniel Lanois.  He came to London, Ontario, Canada, just two nights ago... and I wanted an autographed album.  It took a while to track one down and when I did... I was bursting with happiness!  Not only did I get my hands on my favourite Lanois album... but it was a limited edition (my album is #1167 of #1500) and it was a re-release (2013) and made on a 'smokey' red vinyl... not the basic black vinyl most records are made with!  Even the sales person was surprised by the VERY cheap price on it... it was only $40.00!!

Joanne and I had gone to see Daniel Lanois in 2008 when he played the Aeolian Music Hall! OMG! We had a great time! A few days later, I wrote a blog story about the event... Daniel Lanois blog story! 

So... back then... I had given him a copy of one of my artworks.  This time... I wanted him to have an original!!!  Do you see where this is going???  That's right... I gave him 'Uplifting'!  I chose this artwork because it is an image of a hawk and on Lanois' debut album he has a song entitled 'Where the Hawkwind Kills'

The doors were to open at 7:00pm... but I had Jo' and Devon drop me off just after 5:00pm.  I figured that the band would be doing a sound check and that I might get to sneak in and meet him before the show!  

There were two security guards at the back entrance when I arrived and with a big smile I shared with them why I was there!  I wanted to get them on my 'team' as they could help me in my quest.  A couple of minutes later, one security guard points to a guy walking towards us and tells me he's with the band helping to set up for the concert.  I shook this guy's hand and showed him the artwork I wanted to give to Daniel... and I showed him the collectors album I wanted to get signed.  He said he'd see what he could do for me.

Ten minutes later, another person comes out the back door and I shared with him the reasons why I was there.  I figured that if I told lots of people that one of them would actually tell Daniel that I was outside hoping to meet him!  AND THEN IT HAPPENED....

Daniel Lanois came out the back door... took a few steps... and turned... and smiled at me! I came over and introduced myself and quickly I took out 'Uplifting' from my bag and gave it to him.  We spent a few moments talking about how it was made... using little bits of magazine ads!  He was impressed!  He held it out at arms length and said, "It almost looks like tiny brush strokes."

I said, "Since this is an artwork of a hawk... and on your first album you have the song Where The Hawkwind Kills... I thought it would be a good choice to give to you."

Daniel smiled and began singing the chorus of the song, "From where the hawk winds kill and the blood runs thin... I'll go now," and then I joined him for the last three words, "Fly I will!"  I could feel my eyes getting moist... not only had I just met one of my favourite musicians...  I had just joined him in singing one of his songs!!!

We continued talking and Daniel turned to head back inside... with me one step behind him!  Seconds later, we were on the stage where he would soon be performing!  The hall was empty except for a few staff members going about their work to get ready.  One of his crew came on stage to do something and Daniel called him over... we shook hands... and Daniel showed him my art!  He gave me a nice compliment, as well! I was so excited to be there!

As we chatted, Daniel took my art and placed it between... I'm not actually sure what he placed my art between! Haha!  BUT... it was left ON STAGE!  My art would be a part of that evenings set up!  Then we talked and walked our way back outside.  He told me that he would find a nice spot for my artwork in his recording studio! I was exploding with excitement!

When we got back outside, I pulled out the limited edition pressing of his second album and I told him how happy I was to get such a rare album.  I talked about my son's love of Rock'N'Roll and I said that he would probably get this album from me sometime soon!  That's why I suggested that he write 'Jim & Devon' on it!!!

As he autographed the album, I took out my phone to take a photo.  I must have been shaking cuz this photo is horrible! Haha! It's sooooo blurry...

There's a song on this album called The Unbreakable Chain and it's about a mother who (maybe) gave her child up for adoption.  "It's thirty years ago and you live with your decision" and during this time her crying and praying won't break this unbreakable chain.  Then she puts an ad in the paper "it's foolish but maybe" and soon after meets her son!

Now... this may sound a bit weird... but I was adopted when I was just three weeks old and just a few years ago (in September of 2019) I got a letter from a government agency in Quebec (where I was born) from my birth mother and we were soon reunited!  So... the journey of the mother and child in this song has a strong reflection from my own life... and it's also a little 'eyebrow' lifting to think that in this year, thirty years have passed since the release of this album.  Breaking the unbreakable chain is also a nice metaphor for humanity breaking free from the destructive lifestyles we've created around ourselves... and how humanity must find new ways to evolve on this Earth in order to survive!

So it was with these thoughts in mind that I asked Daniel Lanois to write...

"Jim & Devon Keep on breaking The Unbreakable Chain D. Lanois"

As you can imagine... I was going crazy with excitement.  Daniel handed the sharpy marker back to me... shook my hand again... and just then I blurted out, "I have to hug you!" And I did!  We both laughed and then he went back inside!

Well... I had over an hour until the doors opened and I had more than accomplished what I had set out to do.  And... I had two beers in my back-pack... so I walked to nearby Victoria Park and enjoyed them in the sun while some geese kept me company...

I walked back to The London Music Hall just before 7:00pm... went inside... and found the perfect seat!  I was amazed that there would be less than 400 people there in total... and glad for this at the same time!  It was a very intimate evening... with the best Rock'N'Roll I have ever heard!

There were only two people who got up to dance during the show.... Me - I never sat down! And another fan came close to where I was and she danced the night away as well!  Even though the rest of the crowd stayed in their seats... they were all stoked to be there and we all had a great time! I just love to dance... what can I say!!! 

My favourite part was looking at the stage and seeing my artwork as a part of the set up!!!

And check this out...

... after the show I hung around for a bit chatting with other fans as I finished my beer, so by the time I did leave most of the crowd was gone.  BUT... there... by the back door... as I was leaving... was Jermaine Holmes (who played drums) and Jim Wilson (who played bass).  How cool was that!?  I chatted with both of them for a few minutes... and then I hugged them. too!!! Haha!!! I was a happy hugging machine that evening!!!!

So... that's how the saga of Uplifting ends... for now...

I'm sure that my art may have other future adventures as it continues its own journey without me!  Safe flight Harris Hawk and Daniel Lanois... be blessed!! 


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