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A portrait by Robbie Mueller

Happy New Year everyone! I wanted to share a wonderful New Year gift that I just received from one of my favorite Kentucky folk artists, Robbie Mueller

Painting by Robbie Mueller- of Ken Swinson delivering art to the EAT gallery in Maysville KY

Click the painting to see a larger version.

I am used to making art, and it’s been a lot of fun being the subject for someone else’s artwork. I am on facebook, and for the last couple of years, I try to take a ‘selfie’ every day, and use it as my profile picture. It’s a fun exercise to try and express myself, and journal life events. I am friends with Robbie on facebook, and he likes to paint small townscapes. He thought my profile picture would make a painting. I agree! It has so many of my favorite things! I love Robbie’s work, bicycles, Maysville, and especially the EAT Gallery and Eleanor Miller (the awesome gallery manager also in the painting). I really love delivering artwork with a bicycle. I wish I could do that more often.

Thanks Robbie for such a wonderful gift!

Visit Robbie’s website at: http://www.folkartkentucky.com/

The next time you are in Maysville, visit the EAT gallery and see the artwork that I delivered in the painting: https://www.facebook.com/EATGallery

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lemonade from lemons, and trying to think positive

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I depend on my car. I use it to travel and explore, it carries my paintings and art supplies along with other stuff.

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It’s also my ‘home away from home’ and gives me a safe place to sleep while i’m on the road.

The van is having problems, and my mechanic says he can’t fix it.

 

I can’t get a new van right now, so I have been thinking of alternative ways to get to the places I need to go.

I am lucky to live in a small town that has some public transportation, but it only serves Old Washington/Maysville.
Getting to my studio in Cincinnati (one hour’s drive away) is another challenge.
I got a little bit depressed thinking about my situation, because I convinced myself that my world has just become very small and limited without a car.

Then I started thinking about how my life might be different without a car…and it wasn’t that bad…it’s just a different way to exist.   I can still travel and have adventure.  It would definitely be more healthy.

In 2007, I rode my bicycle all the way around the coast of lower Michigan. It took 2 weeks, and was an amazing trip.

In 2010, I rode my bicycle from Washington, KY to Washington, DC … another great experience.

I know it’s possible to explore and travel long distances without a motor vehicle.  It isn’t the fastest or most convenient way to travel, but it will be more meaningful, because you have more time to experience the people and landscape you are traveling through.

So, I’m going to see how long I can get by without a reliable car. Artists in particular are good at ‘thinking different‘.

 

Since my mobility is different, I need to adjust the way I do business. Online sales will be a bigger part of my plan. If you like any of the artwork featured in this blog post, please click any of the images  for details on how you can buy prints…and thanks!

 

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Days 4 and 5

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Day 4
It rained most of the day. I was lucky to spend it in my studio at the Pendleton Art Center. I repacked my gear, and did some studio work…walked downtown for a hot meal and read some of my book.

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Day 5

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A beautiful sunny day. I rode my bike across the rive back to Kentucky, where I sketched the Baker Hunt.

Click here for more information.

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I stopped by the river and did a little sketch of the skyline. It has some flaws to work out, but it will make a great block print. 20120418-152710.jpg

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I love public art, and the floodwall in Covington, is painted with beautiful murals depicting the city’s rich history.

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This is one of my favorite murals. I can relate to the pioneer spirit of the folks traveling in the covered wagon.

After leaving the city, I followed the river for awhile. The river valley is beautiful, but it is a challenge climbing out (especially with a bike loaded with gear) climbed out, rode by the airport, then camped beside a little creek outside Burlington, KY.

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Day 3

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I spent half the day in Augusta. It’s no secret, but Augusta is one of my favorite places. 12 years ago, the sleepy river town charmed me when I was visiting from Virginia. I fell in love, and the rest is history!

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I have painted many of Augusta’s scenes, and wanted to try something different. Standing by the ferry, I sketched an unusual view spanning from the ferry to the Beehive tavern. My plan is to make a tryptic with this design.

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I also stopped to sketch one of my favorite historic homes. It was built in the 1830’s and is currently “Jackie’s Place”. Not only is the house beautiful, but it is also open to the public…a rare treat for a visitor to the city.

I stopped by the Augusta Art Guild with a DVD player, so I could display the ‘digital’ portion of my show (which runs until the end of the month) Click here for more details.

I was told that tomorrow’s weather included 90% rain, so I spent the rest of the day on my bike, determined to reach my studio in Cincinnati.

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I was doing EXACTLY what i did NOT want to do during this trip. I was only 3 days in, and already rushing to reach a destination. My goal is to travel slow, so I have time to enjoy the different things I encounter along the way…but staying dry isn’t bad either!

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Day 2 – April 12,2012

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I had a lovely cup of tea with my artist friends in Ripley, and they showed me a nice place outside town where I could camp (Thanks Mick and Jeanne!)

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After a cold night sleeping with the sounds of wildlife and waterfalls, I woke in a beautiful forrest filled with wildflowers.

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I tried to make a movie with instructions on making a cup of tea in the woods. I am using an ipad, and wasn’t prepared for the technical limitations…I have been spoiled with full video editing software. But stay tuned, I hope to have movies to share soon.

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I was having some problems with my bike, so after breakfast, I headed toward Georgetown to meet Mycle’s Cycles.

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Michael built my bike 2 years ago for my bike trip to Washington DC. (Read about that trip here) While he worked on the bike, I sketched him with Roxanne, the wonderdog.

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From Georgetown, I stopped at a park in Higginsport, where I met a fellow named Clyde Abercrombie. While spending 5 years in prison, he used old cigarette packs and parts from lighters to make artwork. He built this motorcycle, with working parts.

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He also made this tractor, complete with a plow to pull, and a tool box with tools. (notice the spark plugs). Here’s Clyde’s phone number for those interested in his prison/folk art: 513.405.2124

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After leaving Higginsport, i ran over a small piece of glass, and got a flat tire. It was no problem fixing the tire…i figure it’s good to run into the technical difficulties while still close to home.

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After fixing the tire, I hopped on the Augusta ferry and crossed the river. Ohio is a great state with super people, but it is good to be back in the bluegrass state!

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Kentucky Wonderland

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I just finished a big and important project, and am ready for another art adventure. It starts today, and here are the details.

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I am going to ride my bicycle along the Ohio River from Maysville, KY until I reach Paducah. From Paducah, I plan to follow the TN/KY border across the state until I reach the Daniel Boone National Forest. I will cycle north through the forest, making a giant loop through most of the great state of Kentucky.

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While on this trip, my goal is to travel slow. I plan to stop often and make a lot of art while on the trip. I have been on a few long distance bike trips, and it’s easy to get obsessed with miles-traveled-per-day and miss out on the reason for taking the trip in the first place!

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I’m in Ripley, OH today, it’s been chilly. I’m going to camp somewhere between here and Georgetown, OH so I can hit Mycle’s Cycles (the only place I take my bike) tomorrow, followed by a day in Augusta, KY.

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Fast And FURRY-ous

Last Thursday, I was at my favorite shop in O’bryonville (Indigenous) for a benefit/activity.  I made block prints, and we shared the proceeds from sales with Cincinnati’s United Coalition for ANimals

Here’s a short video about the event:

Follow this link if the video doesn’t appear:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MTiGl_6vJU

Sorry the audio wasn’t the best…there was a lot of background noise.

If you missed the chance to add a print to your collection, AND support a great cause; prints are still available for a limited time at my website:
http://www.kenswinson.com

Signed print, titled “Fast and Furry-ous”

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beats traffic…

I am trying to save money and get myself in better shape. The bicycle is a perfect solution. I’m not wasting my money on gas…or the gym!

Monday, I had a  meeting in Augusta (20 miles away), and the weather was in the high 40’s, so I packed my bags, and hit the road with a thermos of hot herbal tea and plenty of time to make the meeting…

While rolling up a hill, I made a mistake with my gears, and broke my chain.  I have a repair kit, but never had to fix a chain.  I wasn’t sure it went around the derailer, so I called my dad (a cycling maniac) who talked me through the process.

I ended up 5 minutes late for the meeting, but it was better than being stuck in traffic.

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Cycling Serigraph

I’ve been working on a few designs from april’s bike trip from Washington, Ky to Washington, DC. You can read about the trip here:
http://www.kenswinson.com/wordpress/?m=201004

I thought it would be fun to do a reduction screen print!

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Here’s the first layer

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the second layer…

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I’ve blocked out the screen, and it is ready for the third layer.  I’ll print it tomorrow after the block has plenty of time to dry.