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Framing the Blues with Grey

I’ve been getting ready for Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center, and I wanted to have some of the work from my trip down south on display.

I have some unique colored linocuts, and I wanted to frame them in a way that makes them stand out.  I decided to use a grey matt.
I am really happy with the way the grey brings out the blue in the print.

Framed linocut artwork from Ken Swinson's art trip to florida.

Saturday, I am going to continue working on my goal of being “on the road” 6 months out of the year.  I am going to follow the Ohio River down to the Mississippi Delta area while making art.

If you want to follow me on the trip, be sure and stay tuned to this blog, and also sign up for my email newsletter.  I am going send an email once or twice a month with exclusive art and notes from the trip.

You can sign up here:



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Tuning Up The ArtMobile

I”m getting the artMobile ready for it’s next trip.
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My super awesome mechanic, Joe Manley has checked her out, and says we’re ready to roll!

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My friend, Gail sent the perfect bumper stickers for it.

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one for the van…one for my laptop.

My plan is to follow the Ohio river, down to Mississippi and the Louisiana bayous.  If anyone wants to come along, I’m leaving Saturday afternoon and plan to be exploring for 3 weeks.  My goal is to create an Art Circus, if you can’t come this time, i’ll be doing this all year, so be sure to keep watching my blog…and make sure you are on my mailing list.  you can sign up here:


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Florida Linocuts

Earlier this month, I spent two weeks wandering around in the south.  The goal was to learn to make art while on the road.  I was successful at making 3 videos, 4 charcoal drawings, and lots of sketches.  I thought the sketches would make great linocuts.

Carving a linocut

So I carved them, and took them to the Tiger Lily Press for printing.

Tiger Lily Press studio manager, Susan Naylor, helping me with a rainbow roll

I usually use one color with my prints, but I wanted to do something special, so I asked master printmaker, Susan Naylor for help.

rainbow roll printmaking

She showed me how to do a ‘rainbow roll’ a technique where multiple colors are on the roller at the same time, creating a beautiful gradient.

linocut of the drawbridge at New Smyrna Beach, Florida
I used blue and white,

linocut of marina with a boat in Florida
These photos were with my phone, and aren’t the best, but you should see a darker blue on the edges of the print

lighthouse, boats and river at new smyrna beach in florida
I will have these new prints along with some of the other work from my trip on display at the Pendleton Art Center this Friday and Saturday.
Florida Linocuts
Come see the new art (and me) I will be leaving Saturday afternoon for a 3 week trip following the Ohio River to the Louisiana Bayous, where I plan to explore the Dixie South.

I have been trying to do a better job at keeping in touch with my friends and people interested in my art.  I am going to start sending a special email once or twice a month (i promise not to spam your email box every day) with exclusive updates about my art projects.  So if this is something you might be interested in, follow this link and sign up:

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iPad drawing in New Smyrna Beach

small boat

I have been drawing with the ipad for awhile.

some people misunderstand the idea of digital art, and only associate it with photo manipulation.

new smyrna beach drawbridge with sailboats
this is a photo i took while sketching the drawbridge at New Smyrna Beach

ipad sketch of New Smyrna Beach Drawbridge with sailboats
this is the sketch.  it is my interpretation of the scene through drawing techniques, no photography used.


ipad sketch of marina at new smyrna beach
i love drawing on location.  it gives you a richer experience than working from a photograph
ipad sketch of river in new smyrna beach.  docks, sailboats and lighthouses are in the view
one benefit of working digitally is that i don’t have to carry as many art supplies
ipad drawing of marina with sailboats at new smyrna beach
i can also explore an idea differently than using traditional pencil and paper

River at new smyrna beach including sailboats docked and condos in the distance
it’s a great addition to my artist’s toolbox

Houses on the river in New Smyrna Beach
What kinds of digital tools are you using with your artwork?

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New Smyrna – drawing in the dunes

I wanted to visit my friend, Samuel Ruder, in New Smyrna Beach.


He is a great artist, and taught me a lot about how to make a living as an artist.

We visited a 1 1/2 mile boardwalk where you can walk through a natural dune area.

A lot of these natural areas are being destroyed to make room for resorts.

One reason the dunes are so important, they are a natural habitat for the sea turtle.  Samuel’s watercolor painting (above) illustrates the importance of the dunes.  Visit his site here to see more of his work:

We visited the dunes 2 separate times

Each visit, we took our art supplies and made work inspired by the dunes.

We were rewarded for our hard work by a gorgeous sunset!

of course, the dunes are beside a beach which is another separate place for inspiration…maybe next time.

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Athens Theater / Mt. Dora Art Show

I love the coast, but Florida’s interior is more familiar to me.

A lot of Kentucky racehorses are raised in central Florida.  Much of the state is on a similar limestone that gets in the grass and makes strong horse bones.

And cows…

This bull with horns ran up to me…he wanted a treat.

I discovered a treat while driving through Deland, FL – The Athens Theatre


There aren’t a lot of old things in Florida, so this beautiful theater from the 1920’s got my attention.

I was lucky to meet Alan Ware, one of the creative forces behind the theater.
Alan gave me a tour of the restored theater.

It was originally built for vaudeville performances.

And was visited by many famous performers

This panel was a surprise that was uncovered during the restoration.

The ‘Green Room’ under the stage

The building had a great creative energy, and I hope to return to the Athens Theater soon to catch a show, and explore more of Deland.
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From Deland, I drove to Mt. Dora to visit my friend Samuel Ruder  (more about him later)

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While enjoying the art, I tried a new food called Aripas.  It is a Mexico/Central American Corn pancake stuffed with mozzarella cheese.  I have never heard of them, but they are a common fair food at Florida art shows.

A great zydeco band, the Porchdogs, performed during the show.

Mt. Dora created a great cultural experience with their art show.  It was a feast for the eyes, ears and mouth.
I also

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Jim + Jennifer


In St. Augustine, I met two of my best friends.  Jim Lally and Jennifer Gleason.

Jennifer is a local farmer, and an artist with food.  Visit her website at to see what I mean. We shared a campsite, and she cooked an amazing gourmet meal over the fire.

That night, we watched the moonrise over the ocean, then woke up early for a sunrise walk on the beach.


Jim collected shells, and started to create a ‘mosaic’ art piece with shells at the point where the ocean meets the land.

Fascinated with his project, I used my camera to film the process.

Here is the finished video:

We combined our talents to create this video.  Jim wrote and narrated the poem, Jennifer edited the footage.

The Cox Gallery in Maysville was having an opening for their latest exhibit ‘Visual Poetry’ where artists were challenged to combine art and literature.  We were able to edit and upload our video in time for the opening.  The video was special because it was created on Olivia’s birthday, it is dedicated to her.

This is the first time I have collaborated with other artists while on the road.   The creative energy was incredible, and now I am confident that my idea of an “Art Circus” will be something special.  I am going to be on the road for another week.  If any artists are interested in coming down to Florida to make some art, let’s meet up!  I’ll be in the Ocala National Forest from Thursday-Sunday if anybody wants to escape the cold and do some camping.