Thursday, July 31, 2008

August Art Exhibition

A bit of a busy morning for me, today. Moving art work up and down stairs, getting everything in place for my August art exhibition.

The painting that I’m hanging in the photo above is the smallest one in the entire exhibition. It may be small in size but the history behind it makes this painting one of my all time favourites.

In 2006, I had a two week long visit in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. My main purpose was to share my artwork with the community by donating a very special art peace to the local high school. In 1998 I had accidentally designed the world’s first ever National-Interconnected-Animated-Rendering series entitled Canada: Glorious To Be. In a nutshell – each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories will receive one peace of artwork for the project to be completed. Each of the thirteen artworks is also a frame of animation. It may take me twenty more years to finish this art project. More info is available on my website:

While in Rankin Inlet I also conducted another ‘Art For Earth’ class for the youth of the community. What a blast!!!! We all had a great time. This class took place each afternoon for three afternoons. At the end, each student had completed there own painting of the Earth, Moon and Sun.

During the second afternoon the students were a bit more animated cuz they grew to know that I was having just as much fun as they were. One of the students asked me to paint a peace symbol on her face… then another student and another. Soon, all the students had peace symbols or happy faces painted on their cheeks.

At one point during the class, I looked around and noticed that half the students were gone. Then I heard giggling in the back bathroom. I knocked on the door and it suddenly opened and I was attacked by fierce wild animals. These girls were having way tooooo much fun painting their faces. I can’t not smile when I think of these memories.

Late that night I was sitting outside of the hotel I was staying at, thinking about how sad I was that the art classes were now over. But how could I stay in a bad mood when the most spectacular light show was dancing above my head – just for me. For almost one full hour the aurora borealis – or northern lights – danced and swirled in the skies. I’ve seen these lights on several previous occasions in different parts of Canada but nothing like what I saw tonight. It was magical!!!

I wanted to go back to my hotel room to get my camera but I knew that if I did the light show would be gone when I returned… so I lay back and opened my eyes wide to take it all in.

Later, I found myself tossing and turning in bed… I was very tired but I couldn’t sleep. I got dressed and went for a very long walk out of town on the only road. At one point I left the road and began walking through the tundra, where I found a smooth flat rock and I laid down and watched the stars. Then I had an idea!

I had one canvas left in my art supplies and my idea was to have one more class with the same students and this time all the students would take turns painting an image inspired by my experience in Nunavut – with an inukshuk and of course the northern lights. The students would work together and the final painting would be my own personal souvenir.

Thank you to the students of Rankin Inlet for filling my spirit with all the wonderful memories we created together.

One thing that delights me is that to this day I still get emails from three of these young artists.

If you attend my art exhibition be sure to help yourself to a free peace stik-er that I left there – just for you!!!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Only Friend

What a weird start to the day… Usually Joanne is up and getting ready for work before I crawl out of bed (I’m usually awake until 2 am working on something – thus I wake up later), but this morning I was wide awake before 8 am. Koly was in my waking dream and he was upset about something so I went over to him. He became very agitated and was whining and snapping his jaw and I put my hand in his mouth to ease his pain. This event actually happened in real life in 2001 when Koly broke his back leg. In that instance I put my jacket-covered arm into his mouth for him to bite on to ease his pain. I’ve seen this done in movies where someone is in pain and someone else puts a rope or something into the person’s mouth to bite down on. In my dream I felt no pain and Koly began to settle down. Suddenly, Koly gave one last sharp bite and I woke up.

I lay in bed for a minute and I noticed that the sky was reflecting a yellowy-grey colour… usually indicating an approaching storm. And what a storm to behold. Joanne and I stood on our front porch drinking our morning teas and the sky grew very dark. A light rain began to fall and then it stopped. I looked at Jo’ and said, “Not much of a storm.” One second later a bright bolt of lightening struck down and our neighbourhood shook with a monstrous blast of thunder. I felt the thunder, too, and had to take a step back to regain my balance. Jo’ and I looked at each other in surprise and she said, “I guess you spoke too soon!” And then the rains fell. This thunderstorm poured down on us for almost an hour before slowing a bit.

Jo’ had half and hour left before she had to go to work so we relaxed inside with our novels. Joanne is reading a James Michener novel and I’m reading Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy. It is interesting, to me, that many issues confronting our society today remain unchanged from societies that lived over one hundred years ago. Here is a condensed version of page one of this novel:

“Though men in their hundreds and thousands had tried their hardest to disfigure that little corner of the earth where they had crowded themselves together, paving the ground with stones so that nothing could grow, weeding out every blade of vegetation, filling the air with the fumes of coal and gas, cutting down the trees and driving away every beast and every bird – spring, however, was still spring, even in the town. It was not this spring morning which they considered sacred and important, not the beauty of (creation), given to all creatures to enjoy – a beauty which inclines the heart to peace, to harmony and to love. No, what they considered sacred and important were their own devices for wielding power over each other.”

And that’s just a snippet of page one!

If Tolstoy was alive today I’m sure that he would be very saddened to realize that our societies have continued to be fascinated with our ability to dominate the earth. He would be shocked to realize that 80% of all the world’s roads, buildings, factories, etc that exist today have been built in only the last twenty years!!!

After Joanne left for work I decided to surprise her with some yummy treats for when she returned home. I put on my chef’s hat and proceeded to make a mess of our kitchen. Oatmeal and raisin cookies are my specialty. But I didn’t stop there – oh no! I also made a few days worth of deviled eggs, too.

I have a meeting to attend very soon and after that I’ll visit my gym for a good work out and a relaxing swim. I’m hoping to go to another ‘Open Mic Night’ this evening to share one of my new songs.

Our Only Friend

Can you hear my heartbeat
pounding thro’ the strings
of my guitar?
Oh – the joy it brings!

I’m singing simple songs
for the world to hear
about peace and love,
laced with a bit of fear.

You can hug the moon
and kiss a brand new day
cuz you’re young and wild.

Can you feel your spirit
risin' in the air?
While you’re floatin’ above life
you can go anywhere.

You can scale a mountain
or forge the great divide,
dive in with the wales
and now you’re comin’ out the other side.

You can hug the moon
and kiss a brand new day
cuz you’re young and wild.

Can you see the sunshine
thro' the acid rain?
Dark clouds usher in
ten thousand years of pain.

It’s not too late
if we find a peace to lend.
We’ve got to learn
that the Earth is our only friend.

You can hug the moon
and kiss a brand new day
cuz you’re young and wild.

Jim Kogelheide
May 2008

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Socrates Cafe

On the last Monday of every month a diverse group of people gather to share ideas and opinions about a certain topic. This event has been going on for many years and earlier this spring I went to my first one. Last night was the third time I had attended and as always, the discussions became a little animated with lots of smiles in between. London’s well known Bill Paul is the host of these events. He is a very active community player.

Bill also hosts a talk show on the Fanshawe College radio station:
Bill runs a comedy/entertainment business:

And Bill is the only town crier that I have ever known. That was how I first saw him, many years ago, with his big bell clanging in one hand as he was announcing the beginning of a community event. He had the special town crier hat, with gold coloured trim, the shirt, vest, pants, shoes – everything!!! I thought it was great.

It has always been an interesting group – ages from 18 to over 60 - from many ethnic backgrounds and diverse cultures. There seems to be a small core group that has been attending these talks for many years. There is also a sizeable group that has been in fairly regular attendance over the last six months and there is always a fair number of people that are attending for the first time.

Each month a new topic is discussed. Last evening’s discussion asked: Can humanity overcome the divisive elements of religion, race and politics and think globally instead?

To be fair and proper each person is given an initial opportunity to tell the gathering their name and their thoughts on the subject at hand. It’s always so interesting to watch a group of people listening with attention to a person who has a different opinion. Sometimes you see someone suddenly sit up straight and move as to begin to talk before realizing that it would be rude to interrupt, so they sit tense on their seats waiting for the perfect moment to interject. Lots of eyebrows move up and down over the course of the night.

What I like most about these events is that they help me to keep in focus the fact that there are soooooo many different ways of understanding this world. Some ideas that I hear are very informative and educational, so I feel that I always learn something new. Some ideas are very opposite to what I have grown to understand, and these ideas are like tools for me to re-examine my own understanding. Sometimes my beliefs are adjusted slightly and other times my beliefs are strengthened. Sometimes I’m completely baffled by a different perspective.

The perspective that I brought to the discussion expressed that “… once the people of Earth realize that we all belong to one race – the human race – then the dividing issues that have been molded into our politics and religion will be overcome. We all breathe the same air and all our hearts beat in rhythm with the Earth. Our blood flows through our veins and connects us with the oceans and the sky. The fact that we all have different skin colours is a gift from the sun to be celebrated…”

Next month we will be discussing topics about reality: Is it shaped for us or do we actively shape our own realities? Should be interesting.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Wedding Present

Joanne and I had a great time at our friends wedding this weekend. The last time we saw Neal was in 2000 so we were all happy for a reunion. His best man, Jim, was also a friend of ours from our year long stay in Neepawa, Manitoba. The four of us almost completed a reunion of our old bowling team from so many years ago. Neal had named our team ‘The Smackdown’ inspired by his love for wrestling.

Later this week I’ll share some photos from this weekend. Today, I’ll share a peace of artwork that I gave to Neal and his lovely bride Miranda.

It was Sunday morning, the sun was shining and a cool breeze was lightly blowing as many friends and relatives gathered at Miranda’s parent’s house for the gift opening. There was a lot of food left over from the wedding reception, the night before, so we all had another good belly fill and then the wedding cake was cut and passed around. By the time we left a few belts were loosened around people’s waists.

‘Pines Of Temagami’ was a painting that I had created earlier this spring. I was preparing for a children’s art workshop and developing ideas for that class. I was inspired by design styles that artist’s use when working with stained glass – small, individual shapes molded to fit together like a jig-saw puzzle.

Neal and Miranda were delighted to receive a “Kogelheide original”, as Neal had said.

Jo’ and I had been asked to help two friends get to the airport and bus terminal in Toronto, later that afternoon, so we had to leave before all the gifts were opened.

It was a good thing that we were not slowed down by traffic jams or construction or Jim (getting dropped of at the Yorkdale subway station) would have missed his bus. Neal’s other friend, Troy, had about two hours to while away before his flight took him home to Edmonton.

Joanne and I were both happy that we made it back into London just before the kennel closed, so we were able to pick up Koly a day early. Koly was sure happy to see us.

Exhausted and happy Jo’ and I lazed on our couch with Koly snuggled in between us and Guido (our cat) purred around our heads as he lay on the top of the back of the couch. Our happy family was together again.

It’s times like these that make us realize how fortunate we are. Our family was separated because of a joyous celebration for only a few short days. Other families are separated sometimes forever because of war, politics or even environmental disasters. Let it be everyone’s desire to strive to create a world where man made issues do not tear our families apart.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Students Turtle Art

This will be my last blog until next week. I have three art related meetings and a wedding to prepare for this week so I’ll be very, very busy.

This coming weekend Joanne and I will be in Picton, Ontario for our friends wedding. We met Neal while living in Neepawa, Manitoba in 1999-2000 and we’ve been friends ever since. We talk on the phone about twice a year to keep in touch. Jo’ and I are both excited to see our friend and meet the woman he will be marrying. I’m sure we’ll have a blast.


I thought that today I would share some of the artwork that my students created last year.

I always try to make my art classes fun and one way that I do that is by handing out homework. The students always moan and complain when I mention this and then they become excited when they see what the homework is. Sometimes I hand out ‘Search-A-Words’ that I’ve created or poetry assignments related to the topic of that class’ lesson.

During one of my classes I brought in colouring sheets. We were learning about turtles and their different environments – fresh and salt water habitats so I created a page with a simple drawing of a turtle on it. I explain to the students that if they hand in their homework sheets and I see that ONLY the turtle is coloured in, they will not pass the assignment.

“To create an artwork you (the students) must draw a scene with the turtle in it, filling the entire page. I want to see the environment that the turtle lives in. Is your turtle swimming at the top of the ocean with the sky above the waves or is your turtle swimming at the bottom of the ocean so deep that all we see are the other plants and fish that also share this space? What types of plants and fish share the same waters as your turtle?”

I’m always surprised when I’m shown the completed artworks the next day.

These artworks were created by the grade four students at Matthews Hall Private School in the autumn of 2007.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Until next week….


Monday, July 21, 2008

35th Annual Home County Folk Festival

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at Victoria Park just before 3:00 pm to fill my shift as a volunteer. I walked into the Clarence Street entrance and as I headed toward the bandshell I passed by many vendors still in the process of setting up their tents for displays. Soundchecks were taking place and people busily bustled by.

I soon found that my task was to help two others to prepare the signs that would be needed for each of the nine ‘Eco-Stations’. Each station was equipped with large garbage cans that were meant to sort the waste into compostable, recyclable and landfill items. Our job was to create signs showing actual examples of the items that should go into each different can: styrofoam plates and compostable recycled paper fiber plates, compostable french fry containers and landfill plastic cups, etc.

This is only the second time that this type of operation has taken place in a London festival. Two weeks ago – at Sunfest – the first attempts at reducing landfill waste occurred. In my mind, this type of action should have been taking place twenty years ago! But, then again, I think a lot of things should have happened twenty years ago. The fact that this turned out to be a successful initiative makes me realize that it is never too late to put forth a solid effort to make positive change. It may not have been perfect – and now I’m reminded of an expression “It is better to use a good plan today than realize the perfect plan tomorrow.”

As with any initiative – once you begin to put thoughts into action many unforeseen realizations become apparent. My job was a shining example of that statement. At the Sunfest, the signs they had created caused confusion for many people. They had created signs using words to describe the items that were to be separated into different cans. It became apparent that this was an issue because of all the different languages that are spoken in London – many people had difficulty with the English signs. For this weekend’s festival we created signs using actual paper plates and plastic cups – thus solving the issue by using visual examples.

I learned a lot while I was helping to prepare all of these signs. I learned that there is no longer any need for plastic cups to ever exist. This is fantastic news! Cups and other disposable (I hate that word) items can be made of vegetable products such as cornstarch which makes them bio-degradable. My question is “Why are we still creating pollution using crude oil to create plastics when we no longer need to?”

To make this festival even MORE environmentally friendly patrons could avoid using styrofoam plates and plastic forks all together. Waste Free World was renting plates, cutlery, cups, etc for a small deposit and the deposit was returned when all the items rented were returned. The used plates and cups were then washed using an industrial washing machine that had been inspected for sanitary safety.

These efforts – brought to life with the hearts of organizers and many volunteers - cut the total volume of waste by 25% with close to 1/3 of all the waste being separated for composting.



On Saturday, Joanne and I went raspberry picking. Our freezer is slowly filling. When I was talking to my parents that afternoon they told me that they had set aside a bag of red currants and gooseberries for us – from their garden - so now we only need to stock up on blueberries. We arrived home just before a huge thunderstorm hit the area. I wondered how everyone at the County Folk Festival was coping.


By Sunday afternoon the skies had cleared and Jo’ and I decided to check out the County Folk Festival for ourselves. It was a great time! There were a total of four performance areas and we enjoyed all the entertainers. Like most patrons we eventually found ourselves at the bandshell – mainstage – and a performer was just getting ready to take the stage. I loved the many different ways he played his guitar. He had a unique way of hitting the front and sides of his guitar to create unusual beat rhythms. I was blown away when he began playing Breathe by Pink Floyd.

Between each musical guest Alan Neal from the CBC radio show Bandwidth came on stage and gave away small prizes to the audience for answering trivia questions about this festival. When he first came on stage he told us how he had been in London for the last week and he was creating a show about the London music scene to be aired on the radio September ninth. Later he asked the audience – for a prize – if anyone knew when the show would be aired.

The only reason that I remembered the date he had mentioned was because I thought that this information should make it onto my blog. I didn’t realize at the time that this information would win a prize.

The shock on his face when I yelled out “September ninth!” was priceless. Not only could he hear me with absolute clarity but I think half of London could too. “Now that’s a set of pipes” Alan said and looking in the direction of my voice he asked if I was a singer. I gave a hoot and raised my fist into the air and yelled “Rock’nRoll!” I ran up to the front of the stage, got my hat and I turned and gave another loud hoot while I waved my hat in the air and returned to my seat. Joanne was laughing her head off and everyone seated around enjoyed the scene.

I know that I’ll be listening to Alan Neal’s Bandwidth on CBC radio this September 9th… for sure!

For more info on the Home County Folk Fest visit:

For more information on how to reduce landfill waste visit:

For more info about Alan Neal's CBC radio show Bandwidth visit:


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Who

Wow! What a hot couple of days we’ve had. Each late afternoon slightly threatens with a relief of rain… then the mugginess sets in. These storms are just skirting London with most of the action happening near and north of Toronto.

I went to the poem, song and prayer gathering at my friends house and it was a fun evening. My friend is a singer/songwriter and this January I went to Western University to watch her perform. Her family is bilingual in French and this evening she sang a song in that tongue. It was great!

Later, I played one of my songs and when it was finished one of the young girls told me that their pet canary liked my song because he was chirping along the whole time!!!

Everyone said “Yes!” when I asked if they could help me finish a song that I’m working on. I played the first part of the song and then I played it a little slower so everyone could hear the rhythm of the lyrics. Then we spent time working together, sharing ideas and singing a line or two to see how it sounded until we were done.

Here is the evening’s creation – from the top eh!

What the world needs now
is a new kind of breath,
not the sweet kiss of death
but a time to be best.

What the world needs now
is a dream without end.
There’s no thoughts of revenge
when everybody’s a friend.

We’ll have to rely on our instincts.
Our future doesn’t come with a well laid plan.
We’ll find strength when we apply our deeper instincts
and we’ll make our stand against the lie of the land.

----------------------------the newest lyrics (group effort)

What the world needs now
is an army of peace.
A heart pounding the beat
that all war must cease.

Although we had a focus on creating lyrics with meaning we also had lots of fun creating lines that talked about smelly feat – cuz it rhymes with beat!

Several hours later I sat down with my lyric book and wrote the second half of my song… inspired by the creativity from this evening.

What the world needs now
is the will to believe
one heart’s pounding the beat
for our army of peace.

What our army needs now
is the grace to be strong
cuz there’s never a wrong
when your heart is a song.

We’ll have to rely on our instincts,
to break the chains,
the chains that hold us back.
We’ll find strength when we apply our deeper instincts.
Yeah! We’re never down
even when the odds are stacked.

I think part of my influence came from the rock ‘n roll spirit of tonight’s broadcast of the Who tribute on MuchMoreMusic.

I had to go to my neighbours house to check on their cat during their holiday travels and this was great cuz they have cable television. Joanne and I don’t watch a lot of t.v. so we’ve never had cable. Sometimes – like this evening – it would have been nice. The Foo-Fighters absolutely rocked the house with a truly spirited performance. The Flaming Lips act could have been disastrous. The lead singer came on stage inside a huge clear plastic bubble. I imagine that he spent a lot of time practicing cuz it looked like he could lose control quite easily. He almost did – with a few spills that landed him on his back before the audience pushed him back onto the stage.

These musicians and more were performing songs created by the genius of The Who. To top it all off Roger and Pete – well all I can say is that it was a great concert.

I can remember when I was in high school – out in the country – and The Who were coming to Toronto – this was in 1989. The day before the tickets went on sale I packed together a small knapsac of things I would need and hitched rides into the city. There was quite a party goin’ on. I met a friend there and the next afternoon his dad picked us up and took us home – we both slept the whole way. The concert was amazing – I feel closer to my spirit when a guitar takes me away and a drum holds me down… at the same time!

So… after watching the tribute concert I started thinking that the new lyrics we had created were very 60’s in the thoughts of ‘armies and peace’ and that there needed to be more symbolism of this nature surrounding this part of the song – thus the references to chains and stacked odds.

As most of my songs – I know that this one still has a bit more growing and changing before I can finally say that it is done.


In half an hour I have to be at Victoria Park for the 35th annual Home County Folk Festival. I’m volunteering with a group of people to help ‘green’ the festival. We are hoping to cut the amount of garbage that is always created at these festivals by 50% - and that’s huge!!!

The Green Evolution is starting to build momentum…

Until next week – peace!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Like A Song - poem

Last week I bumped into a friend who invited me to a small gathering for this evening. It is an evening of poetry, prayer and song dedicated to sending peaceful thoughts to the healing conscience of the Earth. It should be fun. I’m planning on taking my guitar to play two songs – I’ve been practicing a bit over the last few days.


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing stories, photos, artwork and song lyrics with you, but I haven’t yet shared one of my poems. Here is one that I wrote four years ago.

Like A Song

I don’t like living in a world
ruled by corruption for greed;
enslaving almost all people (in some way)
for those few lifestyles built for speed.

Whatever happened to “Love each other!”?
Did it get buried beneath the money?
How can all of our armies shooting guns for peace
lead to a balance where our riches taste like honey?

I’d like to live in a world
that creates opportunity for the doing of the deed;
where everyone understands the power of peace
and the importance of the planting of the seed.

We will lay down our weapons and LOVE EACH OTHER!
We will clear away pollution to enjoy skies that are sunny,
where everyone’s voice is like a song
and our actions beat with harmony.

Jim Kogelheide
Summer 2004

The Story Behind The Poem

It would be nice to think that it’s possible to enjoy every single day of your life, but as we all know, sometimes negativity arises and you feel not so joyous. The day I wrote this poem I was feeling very week and helpless and a little down.

I had just come home from my job as a waiter and I was upset with how one of my customers had treated me. Later that afternoon I was shocked with many frightening stories about environmental disasters that were reported on the news. I was feeling so small in such a big world full of so much selfishness and my ambitions to share and spread inspiration seemed like such a waste. I became angry and full of frustration.

I took my writing pad and my dog Koly for a walk through the woods that line the banks of the Thames River. I decided to use my pen to unleash my frustration at a world that didn’t seem to care about love. After I had finished the first two stanzas of the poem I had felt a little relief. Koly and I continued on for a little while and I contemplated how I could finish the poem in such a way as to empower the reader to realize that there is a better way to exist as a human race.

The title of the poem was inspired by a song written with the same title by U2, from their album entitled War.

“I won’t let others live in hell
as we divide against each other
and we fight amongst ourselves”

lyrics by Bono

Here is a link for the U2 website:


If you’d like to read another poem that I wrote then click on this link:

Have a great day!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Healing Hands - conclusion

Many a blog ago ( ) I introduced you to an art project that I was involved with this last January. Before I forget – I should finish that tale. Here is a slightly modified version of the ‘thank you’ email that I sent out soon after the completion of the art project.

would like to…
THANK YOU!!!! London, Ontario!

“Healing Hands: A Community Art Project” was successfully completed at 5:27pm, Friday, January 18, 2008! This week long art project was designed to initiate participation by the London community, by having individuals trace their handprint onto a canvas and then paint their handprint to add a small bit to a rather large image. With over 200 participants London showed overwhelming support to artist Jim Kogelheide; project co-ordinator.
“It’s been an exhilarating and exhausting week,” says Kogelheide. “The support by the community has been a truly great experience that I have been fortunate enough to share.”

A handprint by a 6 month old baby is clearly seen amongst the array of colours. Friends celebrating an 84th birthday included a handprint painting session among their plans, that day. 2 classes of students from a local school included their contributions as their art lesson for a day.
Other individuals participated because of their desire to support the London Health Science Centre.
Annele J. Robertson wrote “You provided me with a wonderful experience in the Covent Garden Market this morning! Thank you for sharing your artwork. I found the techniques you use, both of colour and textural nature most fascinating.
I followed my instinct and inner desire to help contribute to our environment in a positive way, and ended up with you for a brief moment in time at the Market.
This particular project has significant meaning for me, as I have been in and out of hospital care, and continue to be, since 2001. I was diagnosed with a brain tumour (pituitary) and have had 3 subsequent surgeries. I am still trying to recover from all of this trauma, as I live with pain daily.
HOWEVER, my reports are good, and I am able to do a lot of things for myself, and hopefully others, as best I can. The project Healing Hands is most unique. Thanks for letting me become a part of its construction."

Many children added their painted handprint because they simply love to paint. The greatest stories were of the people who had never painted until this project – they were inspired to be involved in a great idea and I am grateful for their efforts!

If inspiration “moves us brightly” then London, Ontario is a shining example for the world.

The fundraising auction will be held sometime this coming fall – rumour has it placed in November. For information about this event and the London Health Sciences Foundation check out these links:

A couple of weeks after the event the artwork was installed in the main lobby of the Foundation's office – right behind the receptionist’s desk. The office is near the intersection of Wellington and Base Line Road. The painting will hang there until the auction. Anyone is welcome to drop by for a visit.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Strawberry Picking

After the thunderstorm, on Saturday, the air became very muggy and hot but when Sunday arrived a fresh breeze cleared the sky of clouds while cooling us from the heat of the sun. It was a perfect day!

The morning teas with in the backyard found me on my knees – keeping all the weeds in my garden beds in check… for a little while. I then, cooked up a light storm for our breakfast and yes – we finally made it to the strawberry fields.

They say (who are ‘they’) that one way to save the world is to simply buy locally produced food. If you think about all the pollution caused by transporting mass amounts of produce around the globe then it is easy to see that by supporting local farmers we are cutting down on this type of pollution. I like to take this idea to the next level by participating in the growing or harvesting of the fruits and vegetables I enjoy eating.

To prepare the strawberries for our freezer – so that we can enjoy them until next spring – we simply remove the green stem and leaves and place the strawberry onto a cookie sheet. Once the cookie sheet is full of strawberries we put it into our freezer for about forty minutes. Then the berries are put into large freezer bags and that’s it!

This simple procedure is called ‘flash freezing’. If we had just placed the berries into a bag and then frozen them there would be a great chance that the berries would freeze together as one big block. Imagine how hard it would be to get out a handful of berries for a batch of pancakes if they were all frozen together.

A friend shared this information with me many years ago and now I’m sharing it with you.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Youtube video

With a little help from a friend I have finally been able to post my first ever Youtube video.

It tells the story about 26 young artists and their love for the 'EARTH & MOON & SUN'.

Here is the link



Camping Photos Are Here

Joanne and I had big plans to go strawberry picking on Saturday – that didn’t happen. About half and hour before we were going to leave a huge, black and noisy thunderstorm came to visit for the afternoon. Throughout all of our travels across Canada, Joanne and I both agree that Southern Ontario produces the best thunderstorms! The sky can be clear one minute and then the next it can be as black as night with giant forks of lightning and the loudest thunderclaps imaginable. Very impressive.


Last weekend Jo’ and I went camping at the Pinery Campground (here’s the link to their website -, but I had to wait for my photos to be developed before I could share them with you. I’ve shared stories from our first night ( ) and here’s how the rest of the weekend went by for us.

After a nice campfire cooked breakfast with tea, we hit the beach to do nothing but swim and relax.

The beach went on for miles – you can easily walk along the beach to Grand Bend, which is at least five kilometers further north. Travelling inland from the beach is a slight rise in elevation with forests surrounding all the sand dunes. I took this photo of a white pine tree cuz it reminds me of Temagami ( ).

The sun was very hot and we had to make sure that we occasionally covered up so we didn’t burn. Even Koly was smart enough to wear his hat!

Koly and I went exploring and we discovered these strange markings on the beach. From previous experience I knew that these marks were made by aliens during the night.

The last time I saw aliens was during the autumn of 2003 in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Every autumn – in the ‘valley’ of Nova Scotia – the pumpkin people emerge from the surrounding farm fields. They are a busy folk with a lot on their minds. One day I was walking home from work and I heard an awful noise that sounded very distressed. I came around the corner and I saw many pumpkin people being chased and herded into alien spacecrafts. I would have liked to help them fight the aliens but I was too busy running in the opposite direction!


After the day of swimming and more swimming Jo’ and I headed back to our campsite for an amazing meal. I always love the food that we prepare over and under the flames of the fire. It makes me feel like a cave man and I think this connection with my history helps me keep today’s world in perspective.

In the evening we ventured through the forest with our chairs and a few beers so we could watch the sunset.

We had the best seats in the house – front row!

We enjoyed the cold beers and waited and waited…

… and then it was all over in a blink of an eye.

The next day was pretty much the same – swimming, eating, laughing and having a short little break from all the responsibilities from work. We had a great time and Koly showed us how tired he was by promptly falling asleep in the back seat of the car about three minutes into the drive home.
For more information on Nova Scotia and the Pumpkin People visit:


Saturday, July 12, 2008

July Exhibition

I had a number of wonderful chance meetings throughout my day yesterday. One of them was with a staff member of the Central Library. She had explained that the artist who was scheduled to display for the month of July had cancelled at the last minute. I was asked to cover the wall on the second floor with my artwork. This made me very happy.

Next month is the beginning of my year long art tour and now it is beginning a month early. I spent a few hours yesterday hanging some paintings and today I finished the job. There is a small table beside the display with FREE peace stik-ers for anyone who comes to visit my artwork. Enjoy the show!

To find out more about my art tour check out this previous blog entry -

Some of the artwork dates back to 1996 when I first became an artist and there also are some new paintings that I have created during the spring of this year. ‘Window of Opportunity’ is one of my most recent paintings.

Window Of Opportunity

During the late summer of 2006, I visited a small community in Canada’s newest territory to find inspiration from a people with an ancient history. Although Rankin Inlet, Nunavut is a relatively new community, many of the people are descendants of the indigenous Inuit natives who have lived throughout this region for many millennia.

I met a young Inuit artist who took me to see the landscapes surrounding the town. He pointed to a high lookout that is used by hunters to track the migrating herds before we continued past an ancient burial sight. We traveled on to a place where the Inuit used to live before “Everyone started showing up here.” We walked to the mouth of a shallow river that was just about to join the Arctic Ocean and my companion told me that many generations of his people had fished here. I touched the water and suddenly I could see in the calm reflection, a day of bounty and abundance that may have occurred during a time not so long ago.

Our journey took us to an example of Inuit architecture. This structure has a dug out floor six inches below the ground with thick walls constructed with many layers of moss. Caribou bones were used as rafters and the leather hides were stretched over the roof and the gable ends. These structures used to dot our northern landscapes. This example that I sat inside of was the only one in the entire area. My friend told me that he is concerned because there are fewer and fewer memories of these ancient ways remaining.

The afternoon sun shone brightly onto the caribou hides and I marveled at all the contrasting textures that I saw. While I snapped a couple of photographs I made the comment that these could be the oldest windows in the world. They kept the rain, wind and snow out, while allowing the light to come in and add warmth to the dwelling. This painting was inspired by the textures that I saw that afternoon. The opportunity that I refer to in the title speaks of our ability to realize that the ancient wisdom of our elders will help us to create a brighter future for our world.

Before fast food drive thru, clear cut forestlands, styrofoam packaging, nuclear bombs, subdivisions with green painted rocks for lawns and expanding deserts, another kind of people inhabited this Earth. With lives filled with science, architecture, art, fashion, medicine, sport and entertainment, indigenous natives have thrived by respecting the heartbeat of life, enabling them to live in harmony for the benefit of their environment.

Our ability to shape a peaceful future is still possible if we continue to recognize all the windows of opportunity the surround us throughout our lives.


I hope to pick up my camping photos today and I imagine I’ll write a story or two to share with you in my blogs next week. Joanne and I also hope to do a bit of strawberry picking this weekend. Three years ago we bought a small freezer and we fill it, during the summer, with lots and lots of berries and vegetables. Our freezer lets us enjoy all these wonderful foods throughout the entire winter. There’s nothing better to warm the winter belly than blueberry pancakes in January with three feet of snow outside your door.

Until next week,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Alarm

The Alarm

I should have my camping photos developed soon… I imagine I’ll spend a bit of time this weekend writing stories from that great weekend.

I will share one story now…

Joanne was very tired by the time we had finished eating a campfire dinner and soon after had disappeared off to bed. I still had a couple more beers that I wanted to enjoy while the stars shone thro’ the cracks in the pines above. Their were still a lot of noises coming from many other campsites but over the next twenty minutes things quieted down and I decided that a guitar being played quietly in the background would make a nice environment for everyone… I didn’t know how far my music would travel so I certainly didn’t bang away like I usually do.

I was enjoying being able to actually play songs. Now that I have written a few I practice them all the time. Before I only knew how to play short patterns simply repeating over and over again… but now I had songs to play with three or four different chord structures and everything! It’s a lot more fun now.

I spent a bit of time trying to work on a new song that I started writing just two days before. The lyrics first came to me at the same time as a driving guitar lick. I was sitting on my front porch – having a little break from some art related project I was working on – and I couldn’t get this old 60’s tune out of my head. I don’t know why but “What the World Needs Now” was annoying the back of my brain. I was thinking that it would be a funny thing to write a song with the same title and the same first three notes (played by the same horn instrument as the original) and then to bom-blast into a punkish style rock rhythm. The same opening lyrics would begin the song and then change to new lyrics to show how the world and vibration of music has changed over the last forty years.

I finished my patio sitting and went back up the stairs to my apartment and my guitar. I picked it up and started singing the lyrics and imagining the chords to play. After half and hour I realized that I don’t know how to play punk – yet – so I had the beginnings of another folkish style song. By the next afternoon I had finalized – for now! – some lyrics for the beginning of the song. At this point the song only had four chords and I had only created a simple looping dittie again. Sometimes I find that if I just practice one little bit of a song over and over that after a day or two the next part of the song comes to my imagination.

So… there I was, with Koly, keeping the campfire company and singing my new song:

What the world needs now
is a new kind of breath,
not the sweet kiss of death
but a time to be best.

What the world needs now
is a dream without end.
There’s no thoughts of revenge
when everybody’s a friend.

Over and over I played these lines, singing softly sometimes and other times just focussing on my strum patterns and timing. It was a great surprise when the next part of the song came to my fingertips. It took me over half an hour to figure it all out and it sounded great. After this hour long session it was time to take a little break from playing.

I listened to the crackling fire and the near quiet campground as more people drifted off to sleep. I laughed at my folk song because it was supposed to be my punk song and I started to think of the energy of other songs I knew that had the raw sound I was hoping to achieve. The Alarm’s self title debut mini EP started playing in my head.

I first heard of the Alarm when I was in elementary school and I loved their rugged beats and electric guitar riffs. Mike Peters is the lead singer and he has a very passionate and edged voice and he blasts on his harmonica from time to time! To this day their sound is still ahead of it’s time and the content of their lyrics still challenge us with thoughts of finding strength to unite and find peace in this world.

Here are some of the lyrics from one song off of their debut album:

Lie of the Land

Today – don’t wait – don’t hesitate,
get out there and join the march.
Join hands – make plans and take a stand
on the right hand side of the road.

Let’s keep the blaze of hope alive
and never let the fires die.

A note about the album cover artwork: How long did it take you to discover that the photo on the cover is their reflection in the puddle from the back of the album – just upside down!? I thought that was pretty clever.

I put my guitar on my lap and began to play my new song with the chords I had just put together. On my third run thro’, a whole bunch of lyrics came to my mind and my song was a little bit longer. The new lyrics were inspired by the Alarms debut album:

What the world needs now
is a strong and clean breath,
not the sweet kiss of death
but a time to be best.

What the world needs now
is a dream without end.
There’s no thoughts of revenge
when everybody’s a friend.

We’ll have to rely on our instinct.
Our future doesn’t come with a well laid plan
We’ll find strength when we apply our deeper instincts
to make our stand to hear the lie of the land.

It’ll be interesting to see how this song progresses over the next few weeks.

If you would like to learn more about the Alarm - visit their website


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Radio Entry

Radio Entry

Two days ago I mentioned something about London’s FM96 radio station asking the listeners to put song lists together for a new segment in their programming. I went to their website - - and checked it out.

I thought the winners might go to the radio station and sit through the one hour spots to talk live between songs, but I was wrong. Simply, they want you to send in a list of ten songs and a few words about your selections. If they liked the tunes you chose then they will call you and you’ll talk on the phone with the DJ and then bits and peaces of that conversation will find their ways onto the show. Sounded pretty cool to me – so I entered. I could have spent hours going through my collection but I decided to make this a quick and spontaneous exercise and six minutes later I had my choices.

Here is my selection of ten songs:

Born In The Water – The Tragically Hip
But, Anyway (Live) – Blues Traveler
Starseed – Our Lady Peace
Malignant Narcissism – Rush
Silver and Gold (Suncity) – Bono and Keith Richards
Upside Down – Barstool Prophets
The First – Tegan and Sara
Radio Fly – Joel Plaskett
You Don’t Know What Love Is
(You Just Do As You’re Told) – The White Stripes
Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Here is my blurp about the choices:

Since this is my first time on FM96 I have to start my show “Jimbo’s Jams” with a tune ‘bout being born by one of Canada’s greatest rock bands. This is a Saturday night rock ‘n roll party so let’s pretend we’re at a great live rock ‘n roll show. Continuing to celebrate the thundering rock of Canada is a band that came from humble beginnings. Jeremy Taggart grew up in potato farmland north of Toronto… about two doors down from me. I hung out with his older brother – who was my age. I just had to play this really amazing instrumental from Rush’s last album. I couldn’t decide if I should choose a song by the Rolling Stones or a song by U2. I wanted to share some other cool tunes that people may not have heard before. I remember when I told my wife about a great Canadian musical discovery I made and she told me that I had heard of Tegan and Sara before – “You know – the song you hate about someone walking with a ghost!” Sure… they may have written a boring song but The First just blew me away!!! The Joel Plaskett tune has a line in it about listening to the radio with “…this music sucks…” and I thought I would play that to make all the listeners who hate my selections happy! Most of my selections are not on the recent top 40 so I thought I’d chose a tune that is only a year old. The last selection simply shares my need to want to play more tunes for you all.

I’ll let you know if the radio station contacts me about my music selections.

If anyone is interested in learning more – this is the link to FM96:

One of the bands that is in my list of ten is the Barstool Prophets. I first heard of them many years ago while I was rummaging thro’ the “5 CDs For $5” bin at a local music shop. I spend most of my music shopping searching thro’ bins like this cuz they are usually filled with not-hugely-known bands and it gives me an opportunity to discover new music. Out of a selection of five cd's I will like three or four of the bands and the ones I don’t particularly enjoy I donate to the local Goodwill Industries so that someone else can discover them. Since each of us has different tastes in music I figure that someone is bound to enjoy the music that I don’t like.

Here are the lyrics for the Barstool Prophets ‘Upside Down’:

Upside Down

Your search for truth was all in vain,
a rude cerebral hurricane.
All you know is all you knew
has been turned around
upside down.

Experimenting with your mind
will only leave you flacid; fragmented inside
And the things you think are so profound
are upside down.
Upside down.

Youth is squandered climbing trees
and scrapping skin off of our knees.
But the one thing we learn
from falling down
is that it’s no disgrace
so won’t you turn that frown
upside down.

If you’d like to know more about this band then check out their website:

Enjoy the rest of your day!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Angry Trees

Angry Trees

I was hoping to spend time today sharing stories and photos from my camping weekend – which just passed – but the photos won’t be ready until this Friday. I could have paid almost $20 to have one-hour photo developing but I decided to spend less than half of that and wait for the photos. Once I’m hooked up with a digital camera this won’t be a problem – soon…

So… I’ve decided to share photos and stories from the previous weekend – June 27-28.

A local art gallery called The Arts Project (TAP) was having a fundraising art-a-thon. Many artists, playwrights and musicians from London were gathered by 8:30pm on the Friday evening. Announcements were made and then we all awaited the topic for the event. I thought that this was going to be interesting and challenging to not know what our subject was to be until that evening.

The whole idea was to announce the subject for the event and then the artists had the next twelve hours to complete a painting. Artists from the theatre were participating, as well. There were 5 groups preparing scripts throughout this night. Each group had a writer, director and 4 performers. The next morning the directors and performers met with the writer and then the rehearsals began until the stage was to come alive that evening. The artists’ paintings were displayed the next afternoon until the time of the performances. The public had that day to place bids on the completed art peaces with the money from the sale of the items going to TAP. It was a totally amazing experience for me and like life, it had a few ups and downs but the downs got turned upside down – on my face! Did I tell you that I had a great time?!!

The topic was “Angry Trees” and it was presented to us with a short video clip of a guy pretending to be an angry tree who was about to make a march on city hall. The laughter was deafening.

Many people from the community came to watch the painters, talk, dance and laugh while the music played until about 3am.

I had several wonderful moments when I was able to share my guitar with a more experienced player and in return I shared a few of my own songs. I have never learned how to play someone else’s songs. In the last year and half of my playing I’ve created a few nice ‘ditties’ and three songs. Just within this last month I’ve written four new songs so my performances this evening were a bit rough, but everyone complemented my lyrics and told me that my playing was very good. My energy is there – now my skill needs to catch up!

My favourite moment of guitar playing was not when I was hooked up to a mic and amplifier – it was in a quiet room with seven other people. When I began to play only three people were present and everytime I blinked someone new appeared. I began my “Turtle Song” (link to previous blog - ).
I hadn’t even finished the first lines before everyone started laughing. I’ve never shared the lyrics without that response… people love it when I look all serious and then I begin to bellow:

“I think turtles are great
they’re big and round just like a plate”

Now this was a group of artists and they immediately picked up on my one line of repetition in the lyrics, which is “They live in the water….most of the time” and every time I came back to that line they all sang it out. The last time we sang that line it was so loud that many other people came to see what was going on and we all burst out laughing. Like I said we all had a great time!

The evening – for me – began with a little hesitation, though. After the announcement of the topic for the art works there were minutes of hasty movement throughout the gallery while I and many others ventured out to the street to cool off a bit. I went to a nearby parking lot and found a quiet place to sit and let my mind wander. Luckily, I found myself staring at a huge brick wall – the side of a store – that had no graffiti so that it became my blank canvas of imagination.

Images from a scene from Lord of the Rings played in my head as I recalled “The March of the Ents”… yet how could I capture that much movement? I let my mind relax a bit more but the blank canvas of a brick wall remained blank.

I wandered back to where the action was happening and people had begun to dance! I was soaking in the scene and trying to realize that I had no need to fear for my failure. An idea would come to my head when the time was right and the mood fit. For now I could enjoy the music and all the other people that were enjoying themselves.

After a few songs I continued to the back of the room where it opened up to downstairs studio spaces and I stopped short when I saw what I saw. I couldn’t believe it.
There were four artists standing in front of large canvases and the canvases where already half covered in paint. I felt a gulp in my throat. My paintings usually take over two weeks to complete and I knew that a 12 hour painting session was going to be a challenge, but suddenly I felt very out of place. I put aside my worried thoughts and instead went around and complemented the other artists and introduced myself.

I sat in front of my blank canvas for twenty minutes and the only thing I had drawn was a box. This was the only idea to come to me so far. I always paint a nice texture around the edges of a canvas and my idea was to make the border texture extend onto the surface of the canvas… basically making my actual painting space a little smaller. The idea is not to create a smaller painting but to have some elements of the painting reaching into our world from inside the image. I thought it would be a fun idea to have my angry tree reaching out from inside of the painting to try to grab the viewer of the painting. During this time I became know as the painter with the box. People would come into the room I was in with other artists and wander around watching what we were doing. When someone approached me I would ask them if they liked my box and they would look at my blank canvas with only a box drawn on it and say “Yes, that is a lovely box you have drawn!” At least I was still laughing.

It was now almost 10pm and my ideas were not gaining any focus. I walked down the street until I found a payphone and I called my wife. I can’t believe that it costs 50 cents to make a local call. Joanne could understand my building frustration and she calmed me by showing me that it’s okay to feel that way, “after all” she said, “you have never done anything like this and you knew it would be a challenge to work with lots of people around you, in such a short time.” We talked about the silly things Koly did that evening and then we parted with a laugh. She knew I’d be okay.

I went back to my canvas and my pencil began to move very slowly. Suddenly an angry tree hand had appeared and it was wrapping around the side of the canvas. A few trees appeared in the distance. The angry tree spoke to me then, as his mouth was simply formed, “Arghhhh!!!” – with four h’s and three exclamation marks. Then the reason for his anger became clear to me and I could see all the cut down trees and the factories in the distance. The pollution from the factories escaped the painting and drifted away. I stepped back and began to laugh… it looked like I had drawn a Far Side comic image.

I’ve never painted anything that looked like that before. I guess that the art show needed a sense of humour with my silly angry tree being surrounded by all the other paintings of intensity and grace.

One artist that I got to meet is a pretty happy guy. He works as a cake artist at a renowned specialty cake shop during the day and works on his own paintings at night. He showed us some of his cake artwork… not just decorating but also layering the cake with certain fruits and creams and other yummy things. It was now 2:30am and all the artists gathered for cake and coffee. Then things got out of control.

We all started sharing stories about our ‘Angry Tree’ topic and one artist began singing a song – sung like the munchkins – from the Wizard of Oz but had changed all the lyrics to tell a story of an angry tree and all the shrubbery. I had tears rolling down my cheeks when that happened. We were all tired and getting a little delirious. Lots of people liked the idea of painting an angry tree sitting in the back seat of a New York cab with his head and arm out the window and the tree is shaking his arm at the city in anger. This went on for a while until someone pointed out that many artists still had a lot of work ahead of them. The painting continued.

Earlier that evening I had felt a little out of place with my way of looking at things and painting ability and style, but by the time I left I knew that the other artists had learned just as much from me as I did from them.

I thought it was typical that once I got home – at 10am – and had a chance to relax with Koly in the backyard that my brain suddenly filled with all sorts of ideas for really cool paintings I could have done. My imagination was really going wild now… but like I said – it was a typical situation. A little while later I decided that I wanted to write a poem about the experience…


Angry trees are
to the Earth bound.
Angry trees are
weak without a sound.
Angry trees are
disappearing with great speed.
Angry trees are
in a time of need.

Artists timely congregate
with visions of tones to be structured.
Brushes deftly instigate
their actions in a moment captured.
Bringing to life a voice reflected by light
raising an eye or brow
the trees have friends willing to fight:
Artists of the here and now!

Jim Kogelheide
June 28, 2008

Upon departing many of us shared ideas about finding excuses to do something like this again. I hope we do. I had a great time! Did I already say that?

To find out more about London's TAP use this link