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Checking in from us route 62 – Old Washington, KY to Niagara Falls, NY

Greetings from US Route 62! I’m trying to explore and get to know the entire highway. Yesterday, I was inspired to try to make it to the highways furthest east/north point: Niagara Falls.

I DID make it past Columbus (my previous furthest distance) and stopped at ye old mill in Utica, Ohio. It is the home of Velvet Ice Cream. Their headquarters is located in a historic old mill. I was tempted to make a painting, but wanted to cover more distance, so I settled on a few sketches

sketch of ye old mill in utica ohio
Ye Old Mill-Utica, Ohio

After driving through picture perfect Amish Country (I am going to stop on my way home) I arrived at lanterman’s mill in Youngstown, Ohio.

lanterman’s mill in Youngstown ohio

Lanterman’s Mill is a beautifully restored mill, located by a waterfall in a beautiful gorge. (it’s gorgeous!)

I had a feeling my theme for the trip was going to be mills.

The next day, I arrived at Niagara Falls. I was prepared for a big and beautiful waterfall, but STILL was unprepared for the majesty of the falls…especially the iconic horseshoe falls.

I was too intimidated to try to capture the horseshoe falls. I don’t think a photo even get’s close to giving you an idea of what it is like.

horseshoe falls-niagara falls

It was also very busy, and i didn’t want to try to push through a crowd of people to try to setup my easel and paint.

Instead, I chose to paint the bridge between the USA and Canada. It is actually the very beginning of US 62, which I thought was appropriate. I also love the symbolism of bridges, because they bring people together!

Falls of the Americas – Niagara Falls

The overlook where I stood has so much mist from the Niagara Falls, that the painting was covered with water from the falls. Good thing I was painting in oils!

Now that I have surveyed the entire East of Old Washington section of US Route 62, I am taking my time, stopping to study, or get to know places that got my interest on the way up. I won’t lie to you…it’s not always easy for me to travel. I’ve seen so much on this trip, i’m visually and creatively overwhelmed. I’m stopping to make sketches on my drive home, but I’m also feeling a little tired, and I miss my studio. I’d like to dive deeper and start some big studio paintings. Stay tuned, I’ll have more to share soon!

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Print day at the log cabin print shop 13 july 2019

Its saturday, which means, its print day at the log cabin print shop. The studio will be open to the public, with free tours and studio use from noon-5pm

Folk art style linocut of a family of pigs in the mud
My goal is to print this linocut today: a family of pigs in mud. Because when im in the printshop, im as happy as a pig in mud (also about as messy too!) This print is bigger: 8×10″ .

I have 2 new linocuts to print, and 2 groups of artists are scheduled to print, so there will be lots of activity today!

Folk art style printmaking linocut of 2 bunnies sharing a carrot
4 1/2 x 6″ (notecard size) linocut of one of my favorite themes: sharing is caring.

12:10 Dustin Cecil just got back from a week long printmaking workshop at the John C. Campbell folk school.

Dustin showing new monotypes and drypoint etchings
An experiment…gluing paper to our clothespin hangers
This *should* keep us from denting our paper when hanging
The “sharing is caring” inked and ready to print
Ken using the little cast iron press
Sharing is caring – bunnies 5×7″ notecard on acid free recycled card stock
Color 1 of Dustin’s reduction linocut
Going through the press!
The new hangers doing their thing!
Inking the pig family blocks
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Playing in Clay

I like switching between different media from time to time. Each media has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, and the change in perspective keeps it interesting for me.

greenware little sheep
my first piece-a little sheep, of course!

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked in clay, so I thought I would try to create some painting/tile type characters in clay. My idea is to paint them once they are fired, so the finished piece will be a hybrid painting/sculpture.

greenware red clay bird and pig
followed by a bird and pig

One thing I love about clay is the textures…of my tools, my fingers, of the clay itself. It should be a really intersting surface to paint!

clay pig greenware folk art sculpture
another pig. i am working on a whole family!

It’s also fun to ‘build’ something, vs, draw/paint. I find myself using both hands when I work in clay.

clay chicken sculpture folk art
chicken

If you are in a creative rut, maybe it’s time to try something different?!? Works for me every time!

clay sheep greenware sculpture folk art
another sheep and bird. i’m starting a farm!

stay tuned for updates!

2 pigs 2 birds a sheep and chicken redware greenware clay sculpture art
2d/3d critters by Ken Swinson
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Guest artist at the Log Cabin Print Shop

I love it when new printmakers visit Old Washington and discover the Log Cabin Print Shop! Yesterday, Andrew Cohen (and family) came from Lexington, KY to print with us!

andrew and assistant inking his linocut

They came at a perfect time, because I was doing some repairs/maintenance on the press, and needed someone to test it out.

andrew cohen and assistant testing the press
Testing the press – it worked!

After some adjustments, we got the press working, and printed an edition of Andrew’s linocut

Success! Press is printing with no slipping!

Thanks again, Andrew, for printing at the Log Cabin Print Shop, and sharing your artwork! I hope you and your crew will be able to visit again soon.

Linocut by Andrew Cohen 8″x15″
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A Special Delivery – M’s Canvashouse

My friend, Meredith owns a business in Lexington, KY, called M’s Canvashouse, which supplies hand painted canvas designs and anything else you could need for needlepoint.

She works with all kinds of artists; including Charlie Harper (one of my favorites!) and …..Ken Swinson!

M’s Canvashouse has a wonderful new space…a beautiful store and showroom (not pictured) and great workroom

She recently moved to a new building, and needed a painting for her new office! The walls in her office are pink. What better place for ” Here, Birdy birdy”!

I love it when I get to deliver a painting in person (especially big art). It’s very exciting to see my painting in it’s new home.

painting of a yellow cat with birdhouse in pink office

Thank you Meredith, for supporting my art; bringing it into your home and workplace, collaborating with me, and inspiring me with the possibilities of builidng a successful creative business.

ken swinson and meredith willett
Ken and Meredith

Stitchers! if you haven’t already visited her new shop, pay her a visit the next time you are in Lexington.

M’s Canvashouse new building!

Or visit online: www.mscanvashouse.com

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Reduction Printmaking With John Painter

My friend John came to visit. We are both artists, and spent most of the visit making prints. We made reduction linocuts: a technique where we use the same block for more than one color. We start with the lightest color, print it, then cut the block to design the second color. If all goes well, and we line the blocks correct, we have a beautiful 2 color design. These are particularly unique because; once we switch colors, it’s impossible to print that color’s design ever again. Limited edition!

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Upcoming printmaking exhibit at Appalshop

artists Ken Swinson and Lacy Hale at Appalshop

Printmaker, painter and muralist, Lacy Hale invited me to ehibit some of my printmaking work and artZines at the Appalshop gallery in Whitesburg, KY. I have been a fan of her work ever since meeting her online. Not only is her art beautiful and magical, it also has social conscious, and is closely tied to her community. She recently finished a mural for the 2nd Mountain Mural fest in Harlan, KY.

Lacy Hale Interview on wymt

She is interviewed as part of the news coverage of the event, and the story tells is a great example of why it’s so important to have art and artists in rural spaces. You can watch the MYMT segment here

mural in Whitesburg, KY
mural in Whitesburg, KY

As a rural artist, I’m interested in how we can help make a positive impact on our small towns. Whitesburg is an inspiring example of what is possible when creative people stay and make a positive change in their small towns.

Roundabout records whitesburg ky
Whitesburg has a record store and multiple live music venues
downtown whitesburg ky
busy downtown Whitesburg

For a small mountain town with only 2000 people, there’s a lot of creative type businesses, music venues, cafes and public art.

public art beside creek in whitesburg ky
public art beside creek

Most of the main street buildings were occupied, and my first impression was that it has a good energy, and is the kind of place I would want to visit again.

I had never visited Appalshop, but over my last 19 years as a Kentuckian, their documentaries have helped shape my understanding of our region.

analog film editing machine
analog film editing machine at Appalshop

I consider Appalshop to be a national treasure. For 50 years, they have used the power of arts and culture to create meaningful social and economic change in our region. It was a thrill to see their studio and to meet some of the people who make it happen.

Appalshop - Whitesburg, KY
Appalshop

Not only does Appalshop create documentaries — they also create filmmakers.

Across the street from their studio is another one of their programs: The Appalachian Media Institute (AMI).

Appalachian Media Institute- Whitesburg KY
Appalachian Media Institute

AMI is a community-based arts and education center offering training and resources for young creatives and filmmakers.

One of AMI’s editing rooms

The program has been helping young artists and filmmakers for over 30 years. The current program coordinator, Willa Johnson is an alumni of the program.

an artist/activist who i admire (Wendell Berry) painted by another artist/activist i admire (Misty Skaggs) hangs between 2 of AMI’s editing rooms

My printmaking exhibit will be at the Appalshop gallery from July 9 until August 22nd. I’m excited to announce that, at the closing of the exhibit (August 22), we are going to kick off our next artZine season by making one at AMI!

A great space to work and collaborate at AMI

This will be an opportunity for YOU to visit Whitesburg, and get to know some of it’s people–while making art together!

Our theme for Summer’s ArtZine is:


Art Makes the World Better by…


so go ahead and start working on your entries! See you in Whitesburg!

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New Gallery – River Scenes

I’m hard at work with the website’s update/refresh, and wanted to give you all a heads up that I my new gallery featuring river scenes is live on the website. You can find the gallery by using the ‘Gallery’ menu on the website.

I’ll be out of the studio for the next couple of days. Enjoy the river art, and stay tuned for some travel posts, and more website updates once i get home.