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2012 in Review

Without a doubt, my biggest accomplishment of 2012 was the Makensie Hay-Youngman memorial at the Brooksville, KY library.  Shortly after her death, Makensie’s parents asked me to do something for her memorial.  I had a strong feeling that Makensie’s family and friends should have an active part in creating the artwork.

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Making art has helped me feel better during difficult times, and I felt it might help them in a small way with their grief.   With my direction, over 20 people helped create the 4 large paintings.  Each panel represents a different season of the year, it is loaded with tidbits from Makensie’s life.  I am very proud of the finished artwork.  It was inspirational to see how I could share my talent to help others.

thanks Susan Naylor for the photo!
thanks Susan Naylor for the photo!

Speaking of sharing artwork, in 2012, i did a lot of teaching…A LOT!  I did quite a few workshops with adults(and children) at the Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center In Covington.  I did a lot of volunteering with different summer camps, schools and community programs.  Here is a link to a video I made about one of my favorite activities:


If it doesn’t show up, here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/embed/J52_tYVaaH8

2012 was a big year for video and animation projects.  I went to school for information technology, and have really enjoyed mixing art and technology.  I have been working on a few different projects, but for the close of the year, I would like to share the first project of 2012…an animation collaboration with artist/singer, Leah Frederick:

If it doesn’t show up, here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/embed/QBE1Zpk7DEU

the cookbook
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this year, I collaborated with my neighbor, Claudia Moose.  Claudia is a gourmet cook, and we have worked together to combine some of her recipes with my photographs to make “Cooking With Bourbon”  100% of the proceeds from the book sales have been given toward art programs for the youth in our community.  The first edition has sold out…stay tuned, we hope to have more available soon!

the van
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in 2012, I started to paint my van.  The idea was to add something new every time I take a trip, and it would become a moving, living work of art.   It is a work in progress.  My long term goal for the van is to make it an art studio on wheels.  I have been taking lots of small trips, learning how to make art while ‘out in the wild’.  The more I travel, the more excited I get about discovering this wonderful world.  My goal for 2013 is to master life on the road, and spend a good amount of time exploring and making art.

The Tiger Lily Press Calendar

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I was honored to be one of the artists chosen for the Tiger Lily Press’s 2013 calendar…i was July since that is my birth month!

 

I have enjoyed a great year of shows including:

Augusta Art Guild
City of Bellevue
Bluegrass Art Center
EAT Gallery
Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea
Leslie H. Spetz Custom Framing and Gallery
Hyde Park Square
Pendleton Art Center

thanks to the great hosts, and great collectors who let me make my living doing work I love.

So the final big event of 2012 (other than the flu) was a stroke of good fortune.  The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote an article encouraging people to buy local art for the holidays.  They visited Indigenous: a handcrafted gallery, and saw my latest painting.  They liked it so much, it was prominantly featured on the front page of the newspaper, AND on the front of the home and style section!  I ended the year with lots of business…enough to pay for a new transmission on my van!  Here is the now famous painting.  You can click the painting to buy a print from my website, or visit Indigenous in O’bryonville to get one in person.

 

Thanks again everybody for a great 2012…I’m going to keep working hard to make 2013 even bigger and better!  If you want occasional updates through the year, fill out the email subscription form at the top of this page OR friend me on the facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/kenSwinson

 

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Waterfalls Block Print

If you have been following my blog, you know I spent the last week exploring West Virginia.  I decided to make a block print from one of my sketches.  It’s a waterfall scene outside Charleston.

I carved the design in reverse in a block of linoleum
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Then inked the block…revealing the first glimpse of what the print will look like…

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Here’s the first print.  I decided to carve a little more to give some white foamy space to the water.

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The finished print. 

Come see me print this live at my studio tonight, Friday 26 from 6-10pm at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati, Oh. 

I am having a special guest, Rob Weingartner.  He is a master silversmith, and stone cutter, and does all his work by hand…from cutting the stone, to setting it in silver.  He is also a good friend and very nice guy. come see us both at studio 400A.

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West Virginia!

After a great time in Eastern KY, I crossed the river for some painting.  This part of the river is busy with tug boats transporting coal and gas products.  If you enjoy electricity or gasoline, there’s a good chance it was on the river.  I took some videos while working, and edited them into this short video.

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After spending most of the day painting, I took a hike up a mountain.  I don’t think my photo captures the awesome feeling of being on the mountain top (or the sweating and panting), but it was a great view.

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I had dinner beside the upper falls of a smaller river.

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and made this little sketch while sitting on the river bank

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…and enjoyed a sunset listening to the falls.

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Sketching In Eliott County, KY

After spending a day at home, I decided to continue my outdoor-traveling-artist training, and head toward the mountains.  My goal was West Virginia, but I stopped in Eliott county to visit a good friend.

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Eliott County is interesting because it is the home of many of Kentucky’s famous folk artists.  It is not unusual to see a painted barn by Jo Ann Butts when driving around. 

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While driving around the county, I realized why so many artists live in this area…it is beautiful.  I did not have time to do a full painting, but I made a few sketches with my ipad while traveling.

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I really liked this barn on the curve of the road on HWY 7.

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I tried to capture the feeling of the house by the creek in this sketch…I think I will add a few elements to the drawing…maybe a dog, maybe a deer…maybe both! IMG_7912

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Running water always inspires me.  This is the little Sandy river.  You can follow a nature trail that exposes some beautiful cliffs. 

These sketches don’t scratch the surface of how fun you can have in Eliott county.  I highly recommend seeing it for yourself!

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Show opening at Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery–Louisville, KY

Friday night I had a great time at the Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery.  

She is featuring my artwork this month, and for the show’s opening, I carved and printed a special block print to benefit the Arrow Fund:  a special group that takes care of severely abused animals, and works towards changing animal abuse laws in Kentucky.  Please visit their site, and support them if you can:http://shamrockpets.com/arrowfund.html

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You can read more about the print here: http://www.kenswinson.com/wordpress/?p=2921

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I met some amazing people, printed lots of prints, raised money for a great cause, enjoyed delicious cupcakes from The Drunken Oven, and sold artwork…it was a perfect evening.

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This is loosely related, but before the show, i sat by the river in Louisville and made this little ‘sketch’..when I got home, I added a few interactive elements to it….  Touch the boat and train to see.

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Special Block Print For the Arrow Fund

I am an animal lover, and enjoy the chance to use my art to help animals in need.  This Friday, I am having a show at the Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery in Louisville.  As part of the show, I am bringing my press and will print a special linocut.  100% of the proceeds from the print will be given to the Arrow Fund; which goes toward care for severely abused animals.

I made this sketch for the print.
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then transferred the design to a block of linoleum
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then, fun part!  carving the design
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When the carving is done… 
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It gets rolled with ink, then put through the press.IMG_7869

To see the finished print and support a great cause (and see my new work too!), join us at the Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery this friday (october 19) from 5:30-7:30.

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ipad sketching in Madison, IN

After a few days of traditional art making, I switched gears, and enjoyed a day of sketching with my ipad while in Madison, IN.   IMG_7828
I love traditional arts, but also welcome the new technologies.IMG_0570
Regardless of whether you are using pencil, paintbrush, charcoal or an ipad, drawing skills are an important part of art making.IMG_7806
Drawing from real life gives me a chance to capture more than just the information in front of me…I get a chance to edit the scene and capture the ‘feeling’ of being in a place.IMG_0571
I usually don’t work from photos…all these sketches are drawn from life.  I took the photos afterwards so you can see the scene and compare it with my interpretation.IMG_7810
For me, working from a photo hurts more than helps.  The photo becomes a kind of ‘crutch’, and I depend on it for reference, instead of following my instincts.IMG_0572
It’s interesting using an ipad…you can draw, or use the tools and approach the work more like a painting.IMG_7832
…and I haven’t even started drawing with color!  The possibilities are endless.

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Thanks Madison for a great visit!  You are a great river town