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The Cure For Creative Block might seem obvious, but I’m a slow learner

2 months ago, I had creative block. I did some research about the creative process, and the experts suggested being creative every day without getting hung up on the process.

I started taking my paints outside into the open air, and making a little 4 1/2×6″ painting–on a semi-regular schedule (almost every day). It’s been less than 2 months, and I have made over 40 new oil paintings!!!

This project has been a little bit like therapy for me. If you are creative (*everyone is creative) and feel a little bit ‘blocked’; seeing all these paintings together might help get your ideas flowing.

I have them on display at my website. It’s interesting to see the progression as i keep painting over time.
Here’s a link:

This is a work in progress…i’m continuing to paint outdoors, from life, as much as possible. If you like looking at/supporting/collecting art, keep an eye on that page, i’m updating it regularly.

Thanks everyone for your support! I couldn’t do it without you!

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Shoe Repair in Soledad, Etla

n Mexico, the simple things in life are big adventures. I spent the morning looking for the village cobbler (shoe repair). the first one I visited, could only sew tennis shoes, so he told me to go to the next street, where there is another cobbler, who can sew leather shoes…i was a little disoriented because I didn’t consider the dusty alley he was talking about a street, but eventually found the other cobbler–even though there was no sign.

I had to ask people in the street. it turns out, you go through a gate, into what looks like a residence and there is a window where you can tell a woman what you want done, and leave your shoes.

she is going to restitch the seams in my shoes, give them a fresh stain, and new insole. they will be ready on Friday and will cost approx. $3 USD. the last time I went to a shoe repair in cincinnati, the repair was twice as expensive as the shoes!!! one of the many things I admire about Mexican culture is the way they repair and reuse things… in the USA, consumerism rules, and it’s designed to be easier to buy another than repair when something is broken.

FYI. Here in Mexico, they also have people who do TV repair

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learning is a long road, whether looking forward or back

I have been learning 3D modelling for a few years now, and the more I learn, the less I realize I know. Recently, I was frustrated because I was having a hard time understanding some new concepts in the program, Blender 3D.

He ido aprendido como hacer arte durante unos años , y el mas aprendo, di cuenta que supe muy poco. Recientamente, estuve frustrado porque tuve un reto comprendido algo conceptos nuevos de 3D

I was looking through some of my old work, comparing old models to newer, and it reminded me that (even though I don’t realize it) I am making progress.
For example. Here is a paddle boat that I made a year ago:

Estuve mirando entre algo de mis obras viejas, comparando viejas a nuevas, recuerde que (aunque no di cuenta) estoy hecho progreso.

I remember that this boat took a long time to model, and in spite of it’s many flaws, I was happy with the end results.

Recuerdo que este barco me tomo mucho tiempo para construir, no obstante, con sus mucho errores, estuve feliz con los resultos ultimos.

Now look at this model I made today:
Ya mires a este obro he hecho hoy:

Even though it feels like I’m not making any progress, and it feels like an impossible thing to learn. I can look back, and remind myself that I am getting better…and if I continue to practice, I will keep improving.

Aunque lo parece que no estoy hecho progresso, y lo siente como un cosa imposible para aprender: puedo mirar atras y recuerdo que estoy mejarando…y si continuo practicar, voy a mejorar

Here is another example of an animation project. 3 years ago:
Aqui, hay otro ejemplo de animacion. hace 3 años:

and more recently:
y mas recien:

I recently (3 years ago) started learning Spanish, and it could be one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do…it is constantly frustrating, and I wonder if I am wasting my time. I continue with with the hope, that, like my 3D modelling, I am getting better, even though I don’t realize it.
Recientamente, comenze aprender español, es posible unos de mis retos mas dificil…constantamente dificil, y me pregunto si es un gasto de mi tiempo. Continuo con esperanza que (como mis proyectos de 3D) estoy mejorando, aunque no lo doy cuenta.

I know these models still have a lot of flaws, and I have a long way to go, but hopefully these examples give you all some inspiration, if you are struggling to learn something new.

Yo se que estes modelos todavia tienen muchos errores y necesito mejorar mucho, pero espero que estes ejemplos te dan algo inspiracion, si estas luchando aprender algo nuevo.


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New painting- Ohio River in orange

One of my biggest challenges as a creative person is focus. In a world filled with infinite wonders, I easliy get overwhelmed trying to explore every possibile direction i can go with my creativity. In some ways, my desire to learn and explore EVERYTHING has been a strength. I have developed a unique set of skills, which help me stand out as an artist. The downside is the choas that ‘chasing squirrels’ has caused in my creative, professional and personal life. It had gotten so bad at times in my life; I considered talking to a doctor about taking medicine to help me focus. I like to avoid medicine whenever possible, so many years ago, I bought this book with good intentions:

I finally got around to reading it, and one of its big ideas that I want to share with you all is this:

 Before starting another new project, ask yourself if there is an old project you can finish instead.

This idea was revolutionary for me, which leads me to my latest painting. Do you all remember WAY back in June: when I started painting the Cincinnati skyline from the Ohio River?

well, I FINALLY finished it, and the book was right. instead of feeling bad and ashamed because of so many incomplete projects, I feel a lot better having finished something…and I am thrilled with the new painting. 

This is the first time I have shown it, so if you are interested in adding it to your art collection: it is a 16×20″ oil on canvas. It’s for sale at the EAT Gallery in Maysville, KY., where you can see it in person.

You could also support my work by buying a print. They come indifferent sizes and, if you live in the USA, I will ship for free. Click the painting, or follow this link for more details:

I am trying to read a little bit more of my book every day. I’m also trying to apply the book’s ideas to my studio. lists, calenders, planning, etc. Hopefully, I’ll have lots of FINISHED projects to show off soon!

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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:

The next time you are in Maysville, visit the EAT gallery and see the artwork that I delivered in the painting:

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The Eco Village in Berea


Yesterday, I was taking care of some business in Berea, KY. The town is centered around a progressive college where students receive a free education in exchange for making and selling crafts like pottery, woodwork, weaving and jewelry. Many graduates stay in Berea, and open shops, creating a vibrant community of artisans.


The college created a small community called the eco village. It is a series of buildings where students develop environmental and self sustaining techniques for living.


They have a system called aquaponics, where plants are grown in water with fish. The plants and fish give nutrients to each other, and produce good food to eat!


One building in the village is completely self sustaining. It produces it’s own energy, food, and water.


Another building is made from mud, straw and recycled materials. As an artist, I was inspired by the straw house. The building materials remind me of a clay sculpture.


Wouldn’t it be fun to sculpt your own house?


This is a window where you can see the interior of the wall…yes, it’s STRAW!!


Here is an interesting take on a log structure.

Every time I visit Berea, I leave inspired. The Eco village makes me want to try and bump my garden up a notch, maybe I will try and do something innovative with my spring peas.

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Spring garden

I’m really happy with my spring garden so far!


Sweet peas, lettuce, spinach


Garlic and onions






Asparagus (will be ready to eat 2013)


My neighbor Holly stops by every day to help!


You know, tap water is bad for plants, so we are harvesting our rainwater.


Here’s our water storage system…anyone know where I can get a cheap 50 gallon plastic barrel?


I didn’t get a chance to photo the 64 tomato plants. They are puny right now.

This blog post was written and transmitted with my cell phone (while in the garden!)