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2 Weeks Of Bullet Journaling

Organization is not easy for me. I’ll have a broad range of different thoughts at once. It can be a beautiful thing, but quickly tailspin into chaos and dysfunction. I don’t think this is a unique struggle. Since our adoption of so much technology into our daily lives, we have been immersed in an massive amount of information…Not to mention tech companies constantly competing for our attention.  It’s becoming a norm for the people I meet to be overwhelmed, easily distracted and unorganized.

Two weeks ago, a friend gave me a quick glimpse at their Bullet Journal. It was filled with colorful drawings and doodles; enough to spark my interest and to want to learn more. You can do a quick web search to learn more about the Bullet Journal. I have been using one for the last two weeks, and here are some of my thoughts:

Paper Is A Refreshing Change

There have been studies that show a hand written note on paper is easier to remember than a note typed into a computer or cell phone.

Working in a paper notebook has less distractions. The apps on my phone have been designed to constantly try to get my attention. A notebook has no apps and getting away from the phone helps me to focus.

Its nice to be able to flip through my notebook. I’ll get a glimpse of an ongoing project, and it reminds me to think about it. Often, my digital notes disappear into a void; never to be seen again.

I Feel Like I Am Staying On Track

I keep my Bullet Journal open on my desk. The constant visual reminder helps me to stay focused on the day’s goals. Even when I don’t get something done, the unfinished goals follow me to the next day. Now that I have a place to store my random thoughts, I can see the different pieces come togething into something useful.

Less Frills == Better For Me

The colorful drawings and charts that are possible are what got me interested in Bullet Journaling. I have since learned that a minimal style notebook is a better fit for my personality (for now). I get to draw and use colors all day in my studio, I don’t need a journal for a creative outlet: I need to quickly store and retrieve information. The plain black pen works for me.


Two weeks might not be enough time to determine whether or not this will be a useful tool or not, but my first impressions are good. Certainly good enough to continue using this system. If you are looking for a system to keep yourself organized, you might consider the Bullet Journal.

*Fun Fact: I wrote this blog post on paper before typing it on the computer.

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New Maysville Panoramic Woodcut

Last week, I did some sketching around Maysville, KY, and asked my friends on social media…which sketch should I make into a woodcut. The feedback was divided, so I chose #1 of the 3 sketches.

Here’s my progress so far:

I reversed and transferred the sketch onto a block of wood
Then carved away all the parts I want to be WHITE
I printed my lightest color: a light, light brown. Then carved the brown areas, and inked again with the second lightest color: light grey

We are having good porch weather, so on the 3rd day, I sat on the porch, and carved my 3rd color: a light blue
My 4th and 5th colors  (light green and light purple) were far enough from each other, I was able to print them at the same time


Stay tuned, I’m carving and printing every day. I’ll have another progress report soon.

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Frontier Christmas Open Studio Printmaking -through the lens of my friends

This weekend, we celebrated Frontier Christmas in Old Washington. As always, I open my home/studio to the public, and give a printmaking activity. Both days were filled with friends (long – time and new) the whole weekend. I was so busy covered in ink and making prints, i didn’t get a chance to take any  photos (ok, i did take this selfie!)

Lucky for me, a lot of my friends who visited are ALSO artists, and THEY took photos, and gave me permission to share. You can click any of the photos to visit their websites/social media/email for more information about them and their work.

photo by Stan Briede


photo by Stan Briede


photo by Patricia Timm




photo by Stan Briede


photo by Patricia Timm
photo by Sharon Teegarden


photo by Sara Pearce (Paper With A Past)


photo by Sara Pearce (Paper With A Past)


photo by Brandy Riegle


photo by Brandy Riegle


photo by Sara Pearce (Paper With A Past)


photo by Sara Pearce (Paper With A Past)


photo by Stan Briede



photo provided by Suzanne Whitaker

Thanks everyone for making this year’s Frontier Christmas a special one. I love it when other artists visit and enjoy our historic little village. It’s especially wonderful when we get the chance to see our neighborhood through the lens of their cameras. Thanks again everyone for sharing your photos…and folks, don’t forget to click the photos to learn more about the people who took them.



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Here’s how I have been framing my latest prints


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.


If you haven’t visited my online printmaking gallery lately, I have a series of new panoramic linocuts. Here are a few examples:

The Walcott Covered Bridge – Bracken County, KY (limited edition of 16)

2 Bridges Over The Ohio River (limited edition of 16)

Covered Bridge – Goddard, KY (limited edition of 16)

Rev. John Rankin House – Ripley, OH (limited editon of 16)

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Happy Eclipse Day

I’m watching the eclipse from my studio. The view looks like this:

Yes, it’s finished (even framed), Oil on Canvas – 20×24″ –I wasn’t going to show it off until this Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center, BUT in honor of the eclipse, i’m showing it off today.

As of this moment, the original is available, prints too. Click the image below for more details. Enjoy the eclipse, everyone!


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Maysville Ky – One of the best Small Towns in America

The hotel website,, recently published an article titled, “The Best Small Towns in America“, and guess who was number 4? Maysville, KY!!!


I’m really not that surprised. It is beautiful out here. We are on the Ohio river and there are a lot of our downtown’s old time architecture is still in place. The neighborhood where I live, Old Washington, is one of Kentucky’s first settlements.



The community is VERY supportive of the arts. Our local government,  groups and private individuals have all created and supported programs, organizations and incentives to make our area a vibrant place to live for everyone.

I don’t have family connections (like many of the residents) in Maysville, but I chose to live in this small town for the above reasons.


A small town fits my personality, and is a great place to work. There is inspiration direction I look.  To celebrate our recent acknowledgement, for a limited time, I created a gallery on my website featuring some of the paintings I created with Maysville as the subject. So until you can make a trip out to visit Maysville in person, click the image above for a virtual visit through paintings.

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Printmaking at Cave Run Lake With Bonita Parsons and Misty Skaggs

The other day, I met my friends, Bonita Parsons and Misty Skaggs in Morehead, KY to do some printmaking.  They are both talented artists and writers, and from the mountainy part of Kentucky. They didn’t have any experience with block printmaking, so I packed my press, we met at a park, and did some carving.

For my subject, I thought it would be cool to make a print about artists making prints.

I’m still learning how to pack my art art studio for the road. Everything went well, until it was time to put ink on our paper/shirts.


I forgot to bring a brayer! I’m pretty good at improvising, but I don’t have any idea how to do printmaking without a brayer.

I feel bad that my friends didn’t get to print their carvings, but I hate to waste the ink that was already out of the can…so when I got home, I went ahead and made my print.

I’m actually glad that I forgot the brayer, because artist, Corbin Fouts (from Prestonburg, KY) wasn’t able to join us, and she is interested in learning block printing.  We are going to meet again, this Wednesday (August 16 at 11am–weather permitting) at Archer Park in Prestonburg. You all are welcome to join us and watch…or make a print! I’m going to have enough ink, THE BRAYER, press, and some linoleum to share, i have paper–bring a blank shirt if you want to print on t – shirts.


Here is my finished block print. It’s 4 1/2″x6″ on an 8×10 sheet of paper. If you would like to have one for your collection, you can click the artwork to visit my website’s printmaking gallery. I’m selling them for $20 (and ship free to USA).  I don’t charge anyone to participate in the kind of activity we did in Morehead or Prestonburg. When you collect my art, not only do you get a beautiful work of art to enjoy, but you are helping keep ink on my palette, and gas in my car, so I can continue projects like this. Thank you all for your support!