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Plein Air Painting at the Stone House in May’s Lick, KY – 19 September 2020

The weather is cooling down, so I have the outdoor painting bug!

I decided to visit my friends, Mike Averdick and John Gerwe. Two friends that live nearby, who have been restoring an old stone house from the 1700’s.

Photo of historic stone house in May's Lick Kentucky from the late 1700s

Most of the trees still have their leaves, which makes it a little tricky to get certain views of architecture. Behind the house are some apple trees, and a clear view of the house, so I decided to paint there.

Here’s a 1 1/2 hour long LIVE video with a walk around the house, and the first hour of painting

Hey everybody! It's a beautiful day for plein air painting. I'm visiting my friends Mike Averdick and John Gerwe, in May's Lick, my, who have restored a beAutiful stone house from the 1700s. It's not the right light to paint the front of the house, but I'm going to paint the view from the back, and try to squeeze in the apple trees too!

Posted by Ken Tucky Swinson on Saturday, September 19, 2020
Artist painting the stone house in May's Lick Kentucky
here I am getting started on the underpainting
close up of artist painting stone house in May's Lick, Kentucky
a close up–working on the colors in the painting
plein air oil painting with stone house in the background
the painting…almost finished-with the stone house in the background
photo of the stone house in May's Lick, Kentucky oil paint
…just needs a few finishing touches!

Thanks Mike and John for the hospitality! I had a great time painting at the house! I want to come back later, when the leaves aren’t in front of the house 🙂

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Plein Air Wednesday – 16 September 2020 – Aberdeen, Ohio

The weather is finally cooling down. That means it’s time to get the paints out and do some plein air painting!

Some artist friends and I (8 of us) decided to meet at the river park in Aberdeen, Ohio, to paint from life. Since we’ve had a sudden drop in temperature, the cool air hitting the warm river water caused a lot of fog.

foggy river view of Maysville Kentucky from Aberdeen park in Ohio
photo of fog lifting–after an hour of painting!

I’m used to using the directional light from the sun to make colors and shapes look good in a painting. Fog diffuses all that light, and mutes the colors of the landscape…making painting from life a bigger challenge for me.

photo of artist painting landscape from the ohio river

Every now and then, I have been broadcasting LIVE videos on facebook, while i make art. With this scene being such a challenge, i thought i’d try to tackle it with an audience watching the struggle. If you are interested, you can see a replay of the video here:

Good morning! Plein air painting at the river today. Some friends who are beginning artists and have never painted plein air before are joining me today. I want this to be a safe space so they feel free to ask questions or make mistakes, so I'm not going to broadcast all the painting, but we can hang out while I setup, and Ill talk a little about plein air painting. I'll also share some process videos in instagram and Facebook stories. It's a pretty day to paint outdoors!!

Posted by Ken Tucky Swinson on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

During the live demo, I decided to challenge myself, and use a limited palette. A palette that does not include the color BLUE. My goal was to demonstrate that the color choices aren’t as important as values (dark and light). To my eye, a foggy morning scene has LOTS of blue in nature, so painting from life without using blue would be tricky…but if i am careful about my values, it should still look ‘right’

palette with titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone violet, viridian and grey
palette with titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone violet, viridian and grey – no blue

Another challenge of painting ‘plein air’ (from life) is that the sun moves, and the scene is always changing. Towards the end of the painting, all the beautiful fog has disappeared!

plein air painting of maysville kentucky by the ohio river from aberdeen park ohio

In addition to the challenges of the limited palette, fog, and a changing landscape; it was the first time I had ever seen many of my artist friends in person since the pandemic started in March…so there was some long overdue socializing as well.

plein air oil painting on canvas of maysville kentucky in the fog
Maysville, KY in fog – oil on canvas 8″x18″

In spite of all that, i’m happy with the finished painting. I learned a lot about fog and color theory…and captured a memory of a really fun day!

3 happy artists holding their paintings and waving

We had so much fun, we are going to try to meet (weather permitting) again in 2 weeks (september 30, 2020). If you live close to the Maysville area and want to join us, send me a message for more details.

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I’m trying a few new things

I’m trying to find the perfect social media/life balance. For the month of September, I’m trying something new- I’m limiting my social media: only posting on facebook on Mondays, Instagram on Wednesdays and twitter on Fridays. My goal is to stop spending too much time on social media, while continuing to share and stay in touch on a regular basis.

So far, the experience has been good. I’ve been a lot more productive. For Monday’s facebook post, I made a LIVE video, where I showed off a series of new linocuts.

You can watch a replay of the video here:

I also talk about the changes I have been making to my website. I’m making some big drastic changes that will make the site more up to date with modern technology. It’s going to take awhile, so please be patient while working on it.

If you are interested in supporting my work, and adding some of the linocut cards to you collection, below are some links to help you do it. Thanks again for your support and patience during this move.

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Thank You USPS

greeting card in mailbox

I’m an artist in a rural town. Even though my town is very supportive of the arts, there just aren’t enough people in the region to support a full time artist. A majority of my sales are through my website, and shipped from my local post office. During the pandemic, when all my in-person sales opportunities vanished overnight, my online sales and USPS have been my saving grace. I’ve been able to work from home and keep my head above water during this difficult time. Thanks to my wonderful patrons and the US Postal Service

While spending time in Mexico, i fell in love with the land, people and culture. I seriously considered moving there. The big reason I decided not to was; they did not have a postal infrastructure anything like ours in the United States. My business would not have the access to the rest of the world it does right now with the USPS.

Now that things are being slowed down, and the service is being scaled back to save money (or whatever), i’m starting to look at private delivery services. Since this is a small town, they don’t have an incentive to serve this community. The UPS store is open only 5 days a week; from 11-2pm — that is only a 3 hour window of time. There is always a wait, and the price is about twice as much as the USPS.

The disruption in postal service is adding stress to an already difficult time for my business. I know I’m not alone. I don’t like getting on a soapbox on this website, i’m not trying to make some politicial statement, or start any arguements (thats not why I’m here—i’m not in a political party—don’t want to be in one–please don’t go waving your policital party flag in my comments… i will delete them. I just want to share my support and appreciation for a non-political service of the US Government. Thank you postal workers for everything you do!

if you like this notecard, and want to support your favorite artist AND the USPS, by having it shipped…and again by mailing it to a friend(win-win-win), you can order it from the Printmaking section of my gallery, there is a selection of notecards, order some hand printed woodcut and linocut cards, then go to the USPS and get some stamps!
thank you for coming to my TED talk

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kiln opening – 7/28/2020

I recently had a kiln opening, with new porcelain! you can see a photo gallery with all of them by clicking the link here: http://www.kenswinson.com/art/index.php?/category/22 or click the photo below

photos of porcelain sgraffito pottery

I believe that pots need to be seen in person, so I don’t sell them online. They are on my front porch, if you live nearby, or want to take a scenic drive in the country, come visit my house in historic Old Washington, where you can pick them up and hold them.

Here’s another idea, maybe it’s too crazy, or too much work, but i’ll just put it out there:

I’m serious about the safety of myself, my community, and my friends and neighbors during the pandemic. I have not been showing in big groups or indoors. I AM comfortable with showing artwork outside (like on my front porch), to small groups, on a porch, driveway, park or garden, with a mask, hand sanitizer, etc. I am thinking about taking my pots on the road. if there is enough interest, you live relatively closeby, and can commit to buying a few pots, I will come to you (kind of like the old fashioned door to door salesmen).

What do you think? Is that crazy? maybe it’s easier to just visit old washington and come to my front porch? Anyway, hope you like the new pots! I

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Squirrel Butter dish – 26 July 2020

I don’t always show work in progress, because I don’t want to get people excited, only to be disappointed if it doesn’t make it through the kiln firing.

porcelain butter dish with squirrel oak leaf and acorn design

But this squirrel themed butter dish is too stinking cute to keep to myself!

Keep your fingers crossed that this makes it through the firing. I’m excited about it because i don’t do a lot of handbuilding. Most of my functional pots are thrown on a wheel. This dish was made by a different technique. More like sculpting than throwing. Stay tuned to see how it comes out!

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I have been painting – 24 July 2020

So far, this has been the summer of porcelain, but I am still making paintings.

I just finished this group of charming little 6″x4 1/2″ oil paintings (below) . My originals have been popular, but sometimes tricky for collectors to get…especially online. Since they are one-of-a-kind, i struggled to figure out how to display them on the website and keep everything up-to-date.

UPDATE: All paintings have been sold. Signed reproductions on watercolor paper are available for $20

The pandemic is forcing me to try new ways of doing things. I prefer to show originals in person, but I’m trying something different; my website’s gallery has a new “originals for sale” category. Click here to visit.

Hope you enjoy, and this holds you over until we get to see each other (and our art) in person again!

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Check in video – 21 July 2020

I haven’t been on Facebook or Instagram for the month of July, as part of the #stopHateForProfit boycott. I thought I’d check in and let everyone know that I’m doing ok. i miss my ‘friends’ but life is actually nicer in some ways without facebook. I’m getting a lot more done: staying productive, learning to work with porcelain..and today, i carved a mug with a horse!

Feel free to comment and let me know how you are doing…i do miss hearing from you all!

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kiln opening 7/18/2020

collection of porcelain pottery displayed on a porch

My first kiln load using only porcelain. Porcelain is a beautiful clay, with a rich history. It does take some extra care, and there is a learning curve. Still—over half this load are beautiful. Some are going to need some touch ups, and a few are going to end up in the garden. They are on my front porch, if you want to see them in person.

Click any of the photos below (or right here) to see the gallery with photos of all the pots from the firing

snapshot of porcelain pottery gallery