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How Artcroft Helped Me As A Young Emerging Artist

About 10 years ago, I was given a month-long artist residency at Artcroft. My memories get a little bit fuzzy with the passing of time, but fortunately, I wrote a blog post every day of the experience. Looking back, that month was one of the defining moments of my art career.

Some of you might not have known me back then (or would like to refresh their memory), so here’s a link to my blog’s archive for the month of February 2008: https://www.kenswinson.com/site/?m=200802

Having a solid month to focus on my artwork, allowed me to create over 40 new works of art. I have probably never been so productive. I think this photo is from day 7.

I made friends with fellow artists from all over the world. Sharing a space, and getting to know, so many creative people from different walks of life, opened my mind to more possibilities of what it means to be an artist.

I helped deliver and care for baby goats (Triplets)

After the residency, I didn’t return to my part time job, and have been a full time artist ever since.

Artcroft’s program has shifted a little bit over the years. They (Artcroft’s Founders-Robert and Maureen Barker) are helping to revitalize the small town of Millersburg, KY by replacing abandoned buildings in it’s town square with gallery/studio/arts education spaces as well as a cafe.


This saturday, they are sponsoring an art & antique show in Millersburg. I will be there, and hope you will come support this wonderful project: www.Artcroft.org

 

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Jeff Hensley

I made it home in time for Jeff Hensley’s exhibit, "black barns" at Artcroft.
Jeff’s awesome show featured paintings, sketches, sculptures and photos inspired by Kentucky’s classic black barns. Artrcoft is off the beaten track, but the crowd came out and the gallery was packed the entire show.
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I was able to get this pic of Jeff with Artcroft founders, Robert and Maureen Barker.

During the show, I walked with friends to the barn to visit Shirley and her newborn babies.  The brown and white baby goat burrowed deep in the hay bales, got stuck, and was missing for days.  We were all afraid that we lost the baby until it was rescued.  I took a little video of the hungry baby being reunited with it’s mama.  If you don’t see the video above, you can see it on youtube using this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ70Gq2_518

Thanks Jeff, Artcroft and Shirley for such a great day!!

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When You Live In Kentucky, You Don’t Have To Go Far For An Adventure

I had a chance to hop on my bicycle and follow the river on Route 8

I did a lot of sketching along the way

Hopped on the Augusta Ferry, and returned to Maysville via Rt 52

The next day, I hopped in my van and drove to the Fraley’s farm on Rt. 11

Bought some home grown onions, peppers, sweet potatoes and tomato juice.

Then stopped by the Doodles Gallery in Flemingsburg to leave them with some prints.

Went to the Purple Gypsy Studio to get a look at Pam Wiseman’s brand new wood fired pots.  (took 2 home with me!)

Visited my friends at Artcroft for dinner, and met Jeff Hensley, their current resident.  A talented and thoughtful plein air painter.  The picture below is Jeff discussing a work in progress with founder, Robert Barker.

On my way home, I stopped at Toby Fried’s house to get a look at her latest wood fired pots.  (took 2 more home!)

What a great couple of days!  I love Kentucky!

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I wish I were A writer…it’s hard to describe such a great day with words

goddard
Saturday, I visited the covered bridge festival at Goddard, Kentucky, where I enjoyed the picturesque covered bridge, live bluegrass music, and local arts and crafts. I am replacing my manufactured kitchen dishes with artwork by local potters, so I left with a few BEAUTIFUL pots. I won’t show the pictures, but if you come over to my studio for something to eat, I will show them to you!

tobyAndPam
Toby Fried and Pam Wiseman

danaSorrell
Dana Sorrell

RobertAndResidentDog
Robert Barker With Resident Dog

I did not have as much time as I would have liked to stay at the festival. Artcroft was having an opening of their recently built gallery. It is a special treat for Artcroft to be open to the public, and I was looking forward to seeing the series of paintings that resident artist Rebecca Meredith.

RebeccaMeredith
Rebecca Meredith

It was her last day at Artcroft. My personal favorite painting from her residency was a small portrait of Maureen Barker. It has a beautiful quality, and captures the spirit of one of my favorite people.
NOTE TO Rebecca: I would like to show your portrait of Maureen on this post, if you can send me a copy sometime?

performance

Akirash did a drum performance, and showed his artwork…an amazing body of work after only a week at Artcroft! I can’t wait to see what he does for the rest of his residency.

Clip of Akirash’s Friday Drum Performance At Banana Tree Studios

Sabine Heinlein read a chapter of the book she is working on. It was a privilege to get a sneak peek of a writer’s work in progress. After only hearing one chapter, I can’t wait for her to finish so that I can read the rest of her work. Sabine is a socially conscious journalist from NYC. You can see/read/hear some of her work at her website.

SabineHeinlein
Sabine Heinlein

Jim Lalley and Maureen Barker recited their poetry. I always enjoy watching/listening to writers performing their written work. It adds a whole dimension to the work.

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Maureen Barker

jimAndRobert
Jim Lalley and Robert Barker

At the end of the evening, I was invited to join Jim and Jennifer Gleason at their farm, where we sat under the stars and had a great finish to a beautiful day

I don’t have the talent to use words and describe the great things happening here in our little patch of Kentucky. But I think there is something special about the people and things happening down here. Of course I am biased, since I am hopelessly in love with this part of the country!

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In Case You Haven’t Already Made Plans For the Weekend…


This Friday , Flemingsburg, KY is the place to be! From 5-8pm, Banana Tree Studios is having a closing reception for their current show featuring my work, Barb Clarke, Brent Michaels, Rita Kent, Toby Fried, Dana Sorrell, and Pam Wiseman. This is your last chance to see this awesome show…and there will be some new, never-before seen work! The city will have live music that evening, with DANCING IN THE STREET!!! For information contact Kathy Macht 660-845-7408/606-356-1357

Saturday, is the Covered Bridge Festival!!! It takes place at the Picture-Perfect Goddard bridge, and will have art, crafts, and live music.

Saturday, from 5-8:30, Artcroft is having an open house to showcase their new GALLERY! Work by their resident artists, Akirash and Rebecca Meredith, will be displayed, and Akirash will give a drum performance. Writer Sabine Heinlien will give a reading and talk about her new work, and Maureen Barker will do a poetry reading. If you are familiar with Artcroft, you know that it is a very special place for artists of all diciplines, and is USUALLY not open to the public, so do not miss this opportunity! For more information, contact Robert Barker 859.473.0552

So there are 3 great reasons for art lovers to go over to the Fleming/Nichols counties!

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Never A Dull Moment In The Company Of Artists

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Yesterday, I woke early to pick up one of Artcroft’s new residents, Akirash, at the train station. Akirash is visiting from Ghana, and is a brilliant artist. This was not planned, but my friend Susan, an artist involved in missionary work in Ghana had also planned to pay me a visit at the same time. My housemates Mike and Debbie are also artists, and with 5 artists in the same house having breakfast together…there was a lot of energy in the room! Akirash’s work is much deeper than art for art’s sake. His work offers beautiful ideas about politics, world affairs, education, etc. After looking at Akirash’s portfolio, we headed south towards Artcroft.

The Woodland Art Show was this same weekend, so we thought it would be a fun activity for everyone. We called Artcroft, and invited their other resident, Rebecca Meredith to come along. The weather was perfect, and there were great artists…I wish there was more 2D work, my favorites were were Shannon Godby and W. Michael Meyer both from the southern Ohio/Cinci area.

Roanake
There were some great bluegrass bands at the show. I took a little time and did some quick sketches of the musicians. I listened/drew the bands Bluegrass Collective and Roanoke. For some reason, I remembered my sketchbook, but did not have a pencil, so I was forced to draw with a pen.

Rebecca Merideth
After the show, we returned to Artcroft. Robert Barker arrived from the airport with another resident, Sabine Heinlein a writer from Brooklyn. Every time I visit, it is a different/awesome experience. Rebecca let us take a look at her studio, where she is working on a new series of work. We had an outstanding dinner made primarily from the vegetables grown at the farm. I am not good with words, but at the dinner table packed with creative people…there was an incredible energy.
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It’s amazing the work Robert and Maureen are doing at Artcroft. Since I saw them last in April, they have done major work on the pottery/gallery/woodworking barn, layed a parking lot, and built a 2 story house for residents! …and I thought I had accomplished a lot by cleaning off the desk in my studio!!!!!!
Susan at Artcroft
They are also moving/building log cabins and starting a fine art printing press! I was invited back to give the new press a spin…I will certainly take them up on the offer

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Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival

Midway

This was my first time at The Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival. I have heard good things about the festival, and it did not disappoint. The festival is located on the beautiful campus of Midway College in Lexington. Midway is a charming little town located on the railroad tracks…mid-way between Lexington and Frankfort.  The folks in that neck of the woods very nice, they love art, and support artists.

After arriving, the volunteers were unbelievably helpful. They helped unload my van and carry my things to my setup. They cooked a delicious dinner for all the artists, and kept us fed through the day.  The college offered its dorm rooms for the artists to stay during the festival. I have never felt so welcome at an art show, and I understand why the festival has been ranked in the top 10 shows in American Style magazine.  It was so easy setting up, I had time to wander the town and paint the oil painting at the top of the page!

I saw many old friends, and made some new friends at the show.


A long-time friend/collector gifted me with this charming little bird who lives in an acorn. It sits at my desk, and reminds me of the great time I had at Midway. Thanks Paula!

There were many great artists at the show. My booth was next door to Barb Clarke, one of my best friends, and a great watercolor painter. On the other side, was John Sellberg, a Smithville potter.

If you don’t know, I love potters and pottery, and I am trying to replace all my dishes with hand crafted, American pottery. I bought a this set of John’s porcelain tumblers…they feel great in your hand. Visit my studio sometime, and i’ll fix you a drink in one!

The show was loaded with great art and artists…I’m sorry I didn’t get to take more pictures, but I did manage to get a snapshot of what I thought was one of the most impressive displays at the show. Photographer, Joan Schulte squeezed her entire display into her tiny little Volvo! Her space management was nothing short of magic. Hopefully, she will send a photo of her display at the festival, and you can see for yourself!

BTW, Maysville folk, you really should see her work…she did a great series of photos in our town. I am the proud owner of one!

Thanks to the hard working people at Francisco’s Farm for such a great weekend.

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Artcroft Day 30

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Today is my last at Artcroft.

I spent a few hours cleaning up my studio and packing everything in my car.

goodbye.jpg

Then, I took some photos of Mia Capodilupo working in her studio. She is working on an assemblage using fibers and cast rubber on stretched canvas. I am sorry that I am leaving so soon, because it looks like it will be an awesome piece when it is finished.

I spent some time turning compost, when an idea came to mind (it’s amazing how creative thinking works!). Since both Joe and Mia are artisits who work in multi-media, wouldn’t it be interesting to make a panoramic photo of their entire studio with the artist exposed multiple times so that you could see them working in the different media?

They both graciously allowed me into their studio for a second time, and here are the results of the shoot:

Here is Mia in her studio:

Mia Panorama

Here is Joe in his studio:

Joe Panorama

I made a fire in the fireplace, and then looked through some of the books I had wanted to curl up with the entire month at Artcroft. Right before dinner, Joe came into the kitchen with a startled look on his face.

His mother just called to wish him a happy birthday…he forgot his own birthday! I can understand how it happened. At Artcroft, time slows down a bit…in a good way.

Maureen brought some Belgian creampuffs for dessert. And then I traded Artist Trading Cards With Joe and Mia.

After rattling on a bit…making plans to see each other soon, Robert finally asked with a big smile on his face, “so when are you going to leave?”

I didn’t want to, but it was time to go. After having such a wonderful month at Artcroft, I was afraid that I would be very sad to leave. While driving home, I was suprised that I did not feel sad at all. I will certainly miss being at Artcroft, but the feeling at Artcroft has always been joy and happiness, and I am going to take that with me to my new home. I made some very good friends, and Artcroft is only a short drive away. Robert and I have already planned to work together on some future projects.

Robert and Maureen have created a very special place for artists and writers. Thank you so much for the opportunity to work as artist-in-residence at Artcroft.

meAtStudio.jpg

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Artcroft Day 29

hikingAlongRidge
What a day! It was warm outside with blue skies and hurricane strength winds. Determined to make a plein air painting, I took my gear, and hiked to one of my favorite views at the farm where you can see for miles and miles. The wind was very strong, and I was not prepared to work plein air, so it was awkward at first. I found a rock to sit on, and devised a way to keep my paper from blowing away…and created this beautiful plein air painting!
ArtcroftVista

I did some hiking on the farm,
ArtcroftViewFromHayField
then had the opportunity to visit Joe Netta’s studio and take a photo of his work in progress.
joeNettaWorkingInStudio
Only being here for 3 days, he is just getting started, but he is working on a few super cool projects. He is a great artist…with ideas that will change the way you think about things. I cannot describe his work nearly as well as he does, so take a look at the work on his website, and be sure and check out the blog on the site…I am eager to see and hear what he does at Artcroft!

After dinner, I invited Robert and Maureen to my studio to choose a painting to leave with Artcroft. Today is my last full day at Artcroft. Tomorrow, I am going to pack things up. Which one do you think they chose??? You will have to come to my show in April to find out! It will have a big red sticker with their name on it!

garlic
Spring is right around the corner. You can see it in the garden beds…new life is already sprouting. At the end of this residency, I feel like a new life is starting for me too. I have learned so much during this month…I will return home a new person/artist. Thank you Robert and Maureen for creating and sharing such a special place.

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Artcroft Day 28

I’m running a little late with today’s post, yesterday was action packed.

The Writer’s At Artcroft meet the first Sunday of each month. I am not a writer, but enjoy reading, and particularly enjoy hearing writers reciting their own work. Everyone (not me) read a poem that they had written during the month, and after a discussion about epilogues, they were given some time to write something that began with an epilogue. Then everyone (not me) took turns reading what they wrote. I was impressed with the quality of work they were able to come up with on the spot.

Robert With Black Baby In Lap
Little Black baby even came to the writer’s meeting. She still hasn’t received a name, but I suspect she may deserve the name of one of the great writers…because I could tell that she diggs poetry!

I had agreed to help the group with their website, and after the meeting, was asked to explain my ideas to the group. I am a very weak public speaker, and after a very awkward presentation, I think the group was still interested in my idea. I need to work on my public speaking.

writers Group
My photography skills were not so sharp that day either…I am sorry for such a poor photo of the group…especially to Joe who is blocked out of the picture. But pictured in the photo right to left are Jude Lalley, Jennifer Gleason, Mary-Louise Dean, Mia Capodilupo, Joe Netta(behind Robert), Ed Taylor, and Jennifer Baldwin.

After the meeting, I went with Robert to load a truckload of firewood. The weather has been unusually warm, and I had a strong urge to create a plein air painting. By the time the wood was unloaded, the sky was dark gray, and some rain was falling. I decided to work on a web design project. After a few hours, I looked out the window, and the sun was back out, and I wondered what I was doing inside doing computer work? It is true what they say about Kentucky weather. If you don’t like it…wait 15 minutes!
me Plein Air
So I stomped outside with my oil pastels and made a painting of my studio. I have had a great time there, and I wanted to capture it’s image.
studio At Artcroft

full Moon Studio

After dinner, I returned to the studio, and made a painting of the studio under the full moon. It is a diptych. I think it will be interesting to frame