The Square Root of Light

Over the last year and a half, I have been writing a feature called ‘Artist Alley’ for a few of the Villager magazines.  I love meeting new artists and learning how each of us have unique talents and different ways of creating.  One comment that kept coming up during the interviews is the fact that many artists get involved in the Westland Gallery’s annual ‘Square Foot’ exhibition.  Because I’ve heard of this gathering on many occasions, I became interested to learn more and to see if I could get involved.  After a quick email inquiry, I had all the information that I needed.  Now, I just needed to create a peace of art that would be 12” x 12” – a square foot!!!

I prepped 3 canvases – although only 1 got completed – and it was during this time when I sent my imagination on a fishing trip.  I always have a lot of ideas, so it was rather difficult to pin down just one.  Finally, I had made a decision.

I decided to ‘re-create’ an image that I had made in 2001 while living in Nelson, British Columbia (while working on my Canada: Glorious To Be art project).  This was created using needlepoint techniques that I was teaching myself and I always thought that the title “The Square Root of Light” was a lot of fun…. although in this art I had used the mathematical symbol for ‘square root’ instead of words.

I felt a strong urge to take another look at the concepts I was working on in the needlepoint art, for the Westland Gallery’s exhibition.  It was the title of the art and the fact that I was entering a ‘Square Foot’ exhibition that made me feel that people would enjoy my connection of title to the concept of the exhibition.  Now, it was time to get busy…

The Square Root of Light
12” x 12”
Paper Collage on Canvas
London, Ontario
June 2017
Jim Kogelheide

I wanted my art peace to be unique, created in a style that I felt would not be used by many other artists.  In fact – when I saw all the other 550 artworks that were included in the show, I found that mine was the only art that was made using little bits of advertisements from magazines.

When creating the sun, I often times start with yellows in the middle, changing to oranges and then reds as we get further from the heart of the sun.  This is exactly what I did with this art.  I also incorporated the sky into the image, creating a mutual relationship between the sun and our sky.  In the centre of the sun, I used very light blue magazine bits and they get progressively bluer and darker as the sky follows alongside the sun’s pathway… or route… which just happens to be square, in this case.

I added a few clouds for interest and three layers of foreground.  In the landscape, I used a very basic concept for creating ‘depth of field’…  The foreground has the most detail and the most colour.  The next layer of landscape sees the details fading and the amount of colours decreasing in number.  The furthest away layer of the landscape has very little detail and only a few faded colours.  By following these concepts, anyone can create the illusion of distance.

It took me almost two months to complete this art, as I can only find a few hours – here and there – throughout my week, to work on my art.  It seems that the older I get, the busier I get!!

I received my first ‘non-friends-and-family’ compliment on this artwork, when I was taking it to the Westland Gallery, to submit it.  I handed it to the curator and owner of the gallery and after a one second look, her eyes widened and she brought the art closer to take a deeper look.  Several seconds passed by and then she took off her glasses and peered at me, over the top of the artwork.  When she spoke, I felt showered in praise and this made me feel fantastic!

A few weeks later, the exhibition began…

It was the Opening Reception and as fate would have it, I was able to attend with my wife, Joanne and our son, Devon.  I knew that there would be no street parking near the gallery and so, we parked several blocks away and walked through The Wortley Village.

Several years ago, Joanne and I lived in this area, so we thought that a nice walk through our old stomping grounds would be a nice treat.  About a block away from where we parked out car, we could hear music playing.  As we got closer, we saw a nice crowd of people, sitting on lawn chairs outside a church garden, listening to a Blue-Grass band.  I love the energy in this music, so we stopped to listen.  I picked Devon up and held him in my arms and the two of us danced a little gig until the song ended.

We continued our journey, around the corner and down the street – enjoying seeing people enjoying their ice-creams, or sitting on a restaurant patio – and in the distance, we could see a large crowd of people milling about on the sidewalk.  Apparently, the Opening Reception was such a success that the crowd was pouring out onto the street!

Once inside the gallery, we could see why.  It was wall to wall people and all the walls were lined with art!  What a site!

3rd row from the bottom & 4 rows from the left is my art

I asked Joanne, “My goodness, I wonder how long it will take us to find my artwork?” and before I could finish speaking, I noticed it on the wall, just a few feet away.  I also noticed that the label had a small red dot on it.  I had sold my art!!!!!

I wanted to see if other people were enjoying my art, so while Devon took mommy around by the hand – looking at other art – I stayed close to mine to spy on it.  I saw one lady get really close to it and then she got excited, turned to her husband and called him closer. They both pointed at different parts of my art, exchange comments and smiles.  This made me feet great!  I stuck around for just a minute or so and then it was time for me to take a look at all the other talent that was filling the room.  I was not disappointed at all!  All the artworks were wonderful.

I really enjoyed the landscapes that depicted Northern Ontario, with all the rocks, water and White Pine trees.

These are my favourite trees, as it was my adventures to raise awareness about the Temagami Old-Growth Red and WhitePine forestland that led me to become an artist, over 20 years ago!

Soon, I had found Devon and Joanne again, and Devon was very keen to show me what artworks he liked.  We go to galleries, every so often, and Devon is always eager to tell me about all the paintings that he likes.

Soon, we were enjoying a close look at a forest floor, filled with leaves, mushroom and snails.

Then we talked about how clever it was for an artist to be able to show how rocks look while being under the water.

Devon and I talked about how some artists don’t like to make paintings look real – they paint abstract-like images that give people a sense of the energy found in a Canadian goose…

… or a beautiful swan flying through the night sky.

There were many artworks created using several types of mediums, like this painting with added fabric, and needlework.

Some artworks were created using techniques that I could only guess about.  But this mystery only makes the art more appealing.

Some creations were made using very simple forms, shapes and colours.  I find that art creations like this appeal to me because they express so much, using so little.

There was one painting that also incorporated paper collage that really grabbed my attention.  I think it’s because this artist had used both of my favourite techniques in one image.  I thought that I could be looking at something made by another ‘Mr. Jim’ and this made me smile.

Some artworks make me stare at them for a while.  I’m just amazed how images can come to life so magically.

And sometimes, it’s the paintings with the least amount of detail, colour and form that grab my attention.  I find that images like this take my imagination on a journey so that it can discover all that this painting has to offer.

This dog was created using fun letters that spelled out words.  Very colourful!  Very creative!

I’ve been wanting to paint a picture of bee, for many years now.  Until that time happens, I’ll be content with enjoying this painting.

Even though, it’s summer, I found my self staring at this painting for quite a while.  The cool colours helped me to forget how hot it was inside the gallery and the image itself took me on a journey to my childhood.  I grew up in a very rural location and this reminded me of so many of the walks that I took through farm fields and pastures when I was a youth.  The ice slicked roads were real enough for me it imagine being on them smelling the frosted winter air.

When I began this story, I told how I got involved with this art show because many of the artists who I have interviewed were always speaking about the Westland Gallery’s ‘Square Foot’ exhibition.  So, it should come as no surprise to learn that I saw many new and exciting artworks by several of these artists.

To finish this story, I am going to share with you the artworks that they created for this exhibition, plus a link to the story I wrote about them as it appears in the Villager Magazines.  These stories are the un-edited versions (since the printed stories sometimes get edited due to lack of space) and these stories share more artworks than what appear in the magazines.  

So, please, click on the links below and enjoy even more artwork and more stories…

Have a great summer, everyone!!!!
I hope that these stories and artworks have inspired you to be creative in your own, unique way!!!!

Jim Kogelheide
August 2017

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

This was not the first time that I've participated in a 'Square Foot' art show...
To see some more of my art and learn about that show simply follow this link

I wonder how many people noticed that this story was written in August of 2017 and yet the above link to the story about Lois Fuchs has a September 2017 date???
The reason is simple....
I just wrote that article and it has yet to be published.  It will be published in just a couple of more weeks and can be seen in the September issue of the Lambeth Villager magazine.

No comments:

Post a Comment