I have been on the computer less, while experimenting with a new way to stay in touch, express myself and keep you all up to date with my art projects, without using social media.
I started a monthly ZINE! It’s words, art and ink on paper that you can hold in your hands, and it doesn’t need a battery, username or password. Print media is different from digital, and I’m learning a lot about how to tell stories this way.
My goal is to make one once a month. They are free. You can pick one up at either of my studios at the Log Cabin Print Shop in Old Washington, or the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati. I’ll also include one with any online sales through my website. If you want me to mail you one, all you have to do is mail me a $1 bill (to cover the cost of stamp and envelope) to: Ken Swinson Po box 84 Old Washington, KY 41096
Greetings from US Route 62! I’m trying to explore and get to know the entire highway. Yesterday, I was inspired to try to make it to the highways furthest east/north point: Niagara Falls.
I DID make it past Columbus (my previous furthest distance) and stopped at ye old mill in Utica, Ohio. It is the home of Velvet Ice Cream. Their headquarters is located in a historic old mill. I was tempted to make a painting, but wanted to cover more distance, so I settled on a few sketches
After driving through picture perfect Amish Country (I am going to stop on my way home) I arrived at lanterman’s mill in Youngstown, Ohio.
Lanterman’s Mill is a beautifully restored mill, located by a waterfall in a beautiful gorge. (it’s gorgeous!)
I had a feeling my theme for the trip was going to be mills.
The next day, I arrived at Niagara Falls. I was prepared for a big and beautiful waterfall, but STILL was unprepared for the majesty of the falls…especially the iconic horseshoe falls.
I was too intimidated to try to capture the horseshoe falls. I don’t think a photo even get’s close to giving you an idea of what it is like.
It was also very busy, and i didn’t want to try to push through a crowd of people to try to setup my easel and paint.
Instead, I chose to paint the bridge between the USA and Canada. It is actually the very beginning of US 62, which I thought was appropriate. I also love the symbolism of bridges, because they bring people together!
The overlook where I stood has so much mist from the Niagara Falls, that the painting was covered with water from the falls. Good thing I was painting in oils!
Now that I have surveyed the entire East of Old Washington section of US Route 62, I am taking my time, stopping to study, or get to know places that got my interest on the way up. I won’t lie to you…it’s not always easy for me to travel. I’ve seen so much on this trip, i’m visually and creatively overwhelmed. I’m stopping to make sketches on my drive home, but I’m also feeling a little tired, and I miss my studio. I’d like to dive deeper and start some big studio paintings. Stay tuned, I’ll have more to share soon!
I really love Arkansas! Once I crossed the Mississippi river and Missouri, there was a southern vibe I have never experienced. Armadillos, Cotton Fields, and miles and miles of wheat! Much of the landscape is flat, so I can see for miles and miles.
For my first plein air painting, I chose a giant grain silo. Agriculture is such a big part of this area, and with the land being so flat, the grain silos tower over the towns. I decided to stop in in the town of Corning to paint their grain silo because of the muted primary colors: red, yellow and blue.
I wanted to make a painting to capture the flat landscape of the Mississippi floodplains. Coming from the hills of Kentucky; flat earth takes a little getting used to. Once again, i tried to zoom in, and paint the little farm, far off in the distance
It was a whirlwind trip, but my first time that far west on Us Route 62-I’m looking forward to returning soon to get to know it better and make more art!
Im doing a mini road trip along us route 62. I stopped in mt olivet to paint the intersection of town, and its no surprise, that people there were super friendly. I met the mayor, a young lady brought me a cold bottle of water, and another bought me a delicious sandwich from the corner store! … And i got a beautiful painting! Small town southern hospitality is alive and well in robertson. Always a pleasure to visit!
I’m working on a project about US Route 62. It’s one of the early US Highways. The road runs from Niagiara Falls, NY to El Paso, TX.
Versailles, KY has a special place in my heart, not only because it on on US 62, but it is the home of Laura Lee Cundiff, the artist who blessed us with her press (which now lives at the Log Cabin Print Shop)
If you follow me on the Instagram, you might remember this video I shared of the live sketches I made while visiting Versailles.
Whenever I visit a small town for the first time, the town square is one of the places I always stop. Each courthouse has its own personality–and I find it to usually represent the ‘heart’ of the community.
Versailles has a charming little church beside/behind their courthouse. US Route 62 is lined with small businesses. A few, with an impressive dome or steeple. I’m always looking for architecture that breaks up the empty space in the sky. This scene in Versailles had all my favorite things, so I squeezed them together in this woodcut.
I am working on a project about US Route 62, and wanted to make greeting cards that I can mail to friends while traveling the historic highway (1930)
Once I traced the design onto the block it was time to start carving
I’m not sure what I was thinking with all the details in the words…careful cutting.
Got those tedious little letters carved…now to cut all the way around the USA
everything is cut, except one importand detail…
US Route 62 – from Niagara Falls, NY to El Paso, TX!!
Will carve later this evening and update with photos of the finished print.
GREETINGS FROM HISTORIC US ROUTE 62
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Ken is a self-taught artist from rural Kentucky, whose work includes painting, printmaking, animation and ipad art. 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.