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Beaufort, SC

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I spent the day in Beaufort, SC,  sketching with my ipad.   It isn’t quite paper, but I like the portability of drawing with a tablet.

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed when visiting a new exciting place.  Ipad sketches let me work without having to carry a lot of supplies.

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I don’t work from photos, but I will work from sketches.  For me, drawing is the most important part of the creative process.  I try my best to copy the feeling of a place without

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Now that I have figured out the composition, I can use these designs for prints, paintings, or drawings.marsh
I do take photos, but I consider them an art of their own.  I wouldn’t ever try to paint one of my photos.IMG_0194
Beaufort is in part of the lowcountry region of the coastal US.IMG_0154
The first freed slaves of the south lived in this region, this area was relatively isolated, and over time, they created their own distinct culture.
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Gullah is a uniquely American culture based on lowcountry and African traditions.
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The Gullah culture no longer enjoys the isolation it experienced 100 years ago, and struggles to keep it’s identity in a region that is rapidly being developed into a resort destination.

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I have heard that many families are losing their land because they can’t afford the skyrocketing property taxes due to gentrification.IMG_0247
It’s easy to see why Beaufort would be such an attractive place for resort development.

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It South Carolina’s second oldest city (1711)

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and has many beautiful, historic homes.

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There are so many, I’ll only show two, but much of the city is big old houses with columns and porches.
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I had an interesting experience while visiting an ancient cemetary:

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There were confederate flags at the graves of the Civil War Veterans, and it made me pause and think about history.  Standing here where it happened is very different from reading a book.

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Charcoal Drawing In Dodge County Georgia

I didn’t get far after leaving my parents house.  I did a quick U-turn after seeing an interesting shaped barn.


3 People stopped to talk to me, they all knew my grandfather, and I learned a lot about Chauncey, the small town (population 300) where I was drawing.  I also learned about the founding of the county, and received some insight on the South’s relationship with the North.


I also learned that the funny looking barn I was drawing was a cotton gin.  It was no longer being used…the new and modern cotton gin was just a little ways down the street.  Cotton is still a big part of the economy in Dodge County.

 


behind it was the town’s jail.  The jail was over 100 years old, and very low frills.  It is no longer being used, but people still remember inmates hollering while they were prisoner.

You can see a few more photos from the trip here:

http://www.kenswinson.com/image/photos/south-feb-2013/

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Family Portraits

While visiting my parents, they let me practice my photograph skills.  I’m trying to learn how to use light to make nice portraits.

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Mom and Granny.  Mom is sunburned from riding her bike  (over 1200 miles so far this year)

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I thought this one was sweet because it reminds me of daughter taking care of mother.

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Dad showing off his fancy bike wheel
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Along with his custom (Mom made it) cycling uniform

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Florida or bust

I have a dream (with a 5 year plan) of creating a group of artists who travel the country in a group, sort of like the circus, but art.   Part of the group’s purpose would be to bring art experiences to schools and communities that don’t have strong art programs.

In 2012, I did a lot of teaching, and I learned more about how to explain the process of making art.  I am still developing my teaching skills, but THIS YEAR, my goal is to get more comfortable on the road.

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I have been on quite a few art trips, but one common problem I run into is an overwhelming homesickness after 2 weeks.

This year, I am going to break the 2 week barrier, by practice.  My first test is going to be a road trip to Florida.  The van is packed with art and camping supplies, and I am leaving my home tomorrow.

I’ll be at my studio in Cincinnati, Friday and Saturday for Final Friday/Second Look Saturday at the Pendleton Art Center.  Saturday afternoon, I will join the flock of snowbird artists.  Stay tuned to my blog and website.  Another goal for the trip is to make and share all kinds of art while on the road.

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New Business Card

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A good friend of mine used to criticize my business card.  He thought an artist’s card should have art on it.

Since a lot of the information on my old card is out of date, I did a redesign.  Here is the front of the card:
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Here’s the back of the card:

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While in graphic design mode, I used a lot of the elements from the business card for a banner on my main home page:Print
I hope you all like it…i think it reflects my personality and art more than the old card.

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Printmaking at Mason County High School

Mason County (where I live) has an outstanding art teacher.  Stephanie Martinez is a working artist as well as educator, which is a great resource for the school and students. IMG_8414
One resource the school does not have is a press.  Using a press is an important part of the printmaking experience, so I offered to loan my press to the art class during their printmaking unit.dsc00004
photo by Stephanie Martinez

While delivering the press, I stayed long enough to talk to one of the classes, and share some of my work and techniques.

Here are a few of the finished prints from high school artists.  I really love the use of layers, collage elements and creativity in their work.

You can see more of their prints and photography at an exhibit of their work at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center from January 19-until the end of February.

Watch out art world:  There are some amazing artists coming your way!

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Nick Hunt

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Carmen Morales
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Savannah Bothman

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Tara McNamara

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Abby Merchant

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Trey Davis

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Hayley Roberts

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Brianna Bacsi

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Savannah Bothman

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Holly Hesler

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Kevin Gibbs

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Leah Padgett

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Kelli Lee

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Kiersten Ruark

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Printmaking Meet Up At The Bluegrass Art Center

My neighbor at the Pendleton Art Center, Gabrielle Lundy, makes cool folk art using found objects.


One day, we were talking about printmaking, and I told her that I thought her work would make great collagraphs.

I invited her to visit anytime, and I would show her how it works.

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Once we set the date, I thought it would be fun to invite any artist to join us, so I made an ‘event’ on facebook.  Here is what it said:

ARTISTS! I am inviting a few artist friends to meet up for some printmaking fun. We are going to put a pot of soup on the wood stove, and I have 2 presses. We can spend the afternoon sharing a meal, getting to know each other and making stuff.

You don’t need a printmaking background, I have plenty of printmaking stuff I am happy to share (paper, knives, ink, linoleum, plates etc) You can prepare something and bring it or make it there…this is a casual, printmaking meet up, nothing formal, no cost to participate, just making art with a press.

Space and materials are limited, we will meet at the Bluegrass Art Center, which is a rustic and beautiful location…but if there is too big a response, we might have to find a bigger space…so only say you are coming if you REALLY can make it.

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Photo by Becky Ebert

I didn’t know what to expect, but we had a amazing group of artists visit.
Everybody brought some food, and we shared a delicious ‘pot luck’.

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photo by Pamela Lee Yeager

Many of the artists had never worked in printmaking, so it was a very new experience for them.


Some good friends I have known for years came along with some other artists I have only met on facebook.


My neighbors on the 4th floor at the Pendleton Art Center:  Gabrielle Lundy and Pamela Hackim


Betsy Baltzer


Cheryl Beardslee


Cole and Victor Imperi


Penny Gates and Pamela Yaeger


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Sue Gorman

It was a great time!  A big THANK YOU to Mike Cowden and the Bluegrass Art Center in Old Washington, KY for letting us use his beautiful space.
I hope to do something similar again soon…maybe a paint party next time?!

PS. if this is the kind of thing you might have enjoyed, and you use facebook,  you can add me as a friend, or subscribe to my posts here:
www.facebook.com/kenSwinson

 

 

 

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Old Washington, KY


I love old houses. The United States is a relatively young country, so there aren’t many old buildings to start with.

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Old houses are not always easy to live in, and many old houses have been destroyed to make room for more modern, convenient buildings.


I am very lucky to live in a house from the 1790s. It is one of the oldest standing homes in Kentucky, and one of Kentucky’s first settlements, Old Washington.

Old Washington is a unique community

because the little village has a large concentration of 1790’s and early 1800’s building still standing.
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Over the years, generations of historians have worked hard to preserve the buildings and integrity of the neighborhood.

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There is a constant battle with people who want to modernize.

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I love progress, but I also love history, and I hate to see one replace the other.

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Photographs are a great way to see how things used to be,

but nothing compares to walking down a street,


and seeing these incredible buildings

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These photos only scratch the surface of all the beautiful historical things you will see in old Washington, Click here to see a photo album from a recent walk in the snow

 

 

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how I learned to photograph food


Maysville, KY is famous for being the birthplace of KY bourbon.  You can read about it here.  My neighbor, Claudia Moose is a gourmet cook, and she had the idea to create a cookbook featuring bourbon based recipes.  Even though I have no experience photographing food.

She would make incredible meals, and invite me to enjoy (and photograph) the food.  I quickly learned there is an art to photographing food, and over time, I got pretty good at it (for someone who is a painter, not a photographer)

You can see a whole album of photos from the book here:
http://kenswinson.com/image/index.php?album=photos/cooking-with-bourbon

and you can get a cookbook here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/claudia-moose/cooking-with-bourbon/paperback/product-20423191.html
or buy them at local stores in our area.

We both did this for fun, and are not making any money from this project.  100% of the proceeds from the cookbook are going to be used to sponsor art activities for children in our community.
So you can enjoy a the cookbook, and feel good knowing you are helping support our future artists.

Thanks Claudia, for encouraging me to try an art (food photography) that was outside my comfort zone…i learned a lot and had a delicious time!