For the month of November, I have been exploring, sketching, zine-making and printmaking around Lewis county. I am interested in teachers and our education system, and was excited to learn about and sketch this old schoolhouse in Clarksburg, a small community outside of Vanceburg, KY.
I moved things around a little bit, the schoolhouse is now a residence, but I feel like the print still captures the feeling of the place.
Before you get to Vanceburg, the highway goes over a mountain. When you turn the corner, there is a great view of the road and the mountains. To me, this is when the Kentucky hills have grown into mountains.
These prints are a little bit different from my work in the past, because I have printed them on Mulberry paper. It comes from the inside fibers of the tree’s bark, and is harvested without hurting the tree. The paper is extremely thin, almost transparent…but it’s also very strong. The paper requires a little bit different handling from the cotton rag paper I am used to. However, the paper does a great job of picking up all the details of the carving.
These prints are in a limited edition of 16. They are signed and numbered. They are also for sale, for $60 unframed, or $120 framed. You can click on either of the prints, or visit the printmaking section of my gallery for more information.
One of my big projects last year was a series of paintings for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I never got a chance to see the paintings framed and in their new home. I was excited to see one of my friends share photos of the paintings on facebook. (and gave me permission to share the photos here – thanks Emily!). The paintings are oil on canvas, and bigger than you might think (3ft x 4ft each). She had to take 2 photos, because all 3 were too wide to fit in one photo. Thanks again for sharing!
A few people have asked me for more information about how I am framing my latest prints. Here’s some more information with photos.
My latest prints are in a panoramic profile: the carving is 4 1/2″ x 12″. I print on a 10″ x 16″ acid-free, cotton paper.
I make one kind of frame. It’s made from wood, and I use a 100% rag matt to keep the paper from the glass.
The frames have a simple, flat profile. I cover them with 3 coats of paint, and then give them a distressed effect, which brings out some of the natural aspects (like grain and occasional knots) of the wood.
I take a lot of pride in my frames, and sign them: handmade frame by Ken Swinson, just like I would the actual artwork.
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Ken is a self-taught artist from rural Kentucky, whose work includes painting, printmaking, and pottery. He considers himself to be a 'lifetime learner' and he uses art as the vehicle to explore and learn more about the world around him. Much of his work reflect his optimistic views on rural folk culture, river life and simple pleasures.
You can visit Ken every Final Friday of the month at studio 400 at the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati. He can also be found picnicking near his home in the Historic Village of Old Washington, KY.