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 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

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