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

log cabin background frontier christmas old washington

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 Bird

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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Old Washington – the view from 62

My latest print of Old Washington. It’s the view from hwy 62-where you can see the village through the trees. Also, today and tomorrow Dec 2+3, the village is celebrating Frontier Christmas. You can visit my studio, and use my press to make a Christmas card. This is a limited edition (only 16) print-if you would like to purchase one, and support my work, click the image above for more details.

mi grabado mas reciente de Old Washington. Es la vista de carraterra 62, como puedes ver el pueblo entre los arboles. Tambien, hoy y manana, nuestro pueblito va a celebrar Navidad en la frontera. Puedes visitar a mi taller y hacer un grabado con mi prensa. Este grabado es un edicion limitado (solo hay 16) – si quieres comprar (y dar apoyo a mis proyectos) hacer un CLICK de la foto.

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Christmas Card 2017 – A new star

Hot off the press! the design for my FREE printmaking activity during Frontier Christmas in Old Washington. (this weekend) you can visit my house from noon-5pm on Saturday and Sunday, and make one for yourself. no art experience required. I’ll show you how it works.

caliente de de la prensa. el desiño de me actividad de grabado Gratis durante el fiesta en mi pueblo. (este fin de semana) vistes a mi casa entre mediodía y 5 en la tarde para hacerlo. no necesitas experiencia. puede mostrarte como.

folk art style linocut of barnyard animals by a barn and under a star: horse, cow, sheep, goat, pig and 2 chickens
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New Linocuts-Scenes from Lewis County, KY

For the month of November, I have been exploring, sketching, zine-making and printmaking around Lewis county. I am interested in teachers and our education system, and was excited to learn about and sketch this old schoolhouse in Clarksburg, a small community outside of Vanceburg, KY.

photo of a sketch of the old schoolhouse in vanceburg kentucky

I moved things around a little bit, the schoolhouse is now a residence, but I feel like the print still captures the feeling of the place.

Before you get to Vanceburg, the highway goes over a mountain. When you turn the corner, there is a great view of the road and the mountains. To me, this is when the Kentucky hills have grown into mountains.

artist ken swinson sketching in lewis county kentucky

These prints are a little bit different from my work in the past, because I have printed them on Mulberry paper. It comes from the inside fibers of the tree’s bark, and is harvested without hurting the tree. The paper is extremely thin, almost transparent…but it’s also very strong. The paper requires a little bit different handling from the cotton rag paper I am used to. However, the paper does a great job of picking up all the details of the carving.

These prints are in a limited edition of 16. They are signed and numbered. They are also for sale, for $60 unframed, or $120 framed. You can click on either of the prints, or visit the printmaking section of my gallery for more information.

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ART IN THE WILD – Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Art In the wild Cincinnati Children's Hospital
painting by ken swinson Cincinnati Childrens hospital
painting by artist ken swinson Cincinnati childrens hospital

One of my big projects last year was a series of paintings for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  I never got a chance to see the paintings framed and in their new home. I was excited to see one of my friends share photos of the paintings on facebook. (and gave me permission to share the photos here – thanks Emily!). The paintings are oil on canvas, and bigger than you might think (3ft x 4ft each). She had to take 2 photos, because all 3 were too wide to fit in one photo. Thanks again for sharing!

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Art Zine Meet Up and Collaboration – Lewis County, KY

art zine meet up in lewis county - gratitude

For November’s Art Zine Meet up, a group of artists and writers from Kentucky and Ohio met at the Lewis County Public Library in Vanceburg, Ky. Our Theme for November was GRATITUDE.

If you’d like to print and make your own paper copy of the zine, you can download a print ready pdf of our zine here: click here to download printable PDF

colating art zine at the lewis county public library

We painted 17 different covers. Many are featured above. If you want to view or download a high resolution copy of any of the covers, you can visit this album: click here to view/download the covers.

Or view the zine below- click on any of the images to view/download a full size copy of the page-Click on the artist’s name for more information about the artist (when available)

artzine first page with photo of group
artwork by rosemary topie

Rosemary Topie

artwork by ken swinson


Ken Swinson

artwork by melissa barker


Melissa Barker

artwork by kelley hartley


Kelly Hartley

artwork by sue ellen gorman


Sue Gorman

artwork by courtney spear


Courtney Spear

artwork by gayle d massie


Gayle D. Massie

artwork by vicki tichenor


Vicki Tichenor

artwork by jamey kraeger


Jamey Kreger


Patty S. Toller

artwork by mari russell


Mari Russell

artzine contributors
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sketching/painting Lewis County Farm Scene

Next week, I am meeting a group of artists in Vanceburg, Ky for an art project; so I recently took a few sketching trips throughout Lewis County.

photo of a sketch of lewis county farm

Lewis county is where the Kentucky hills along the Ohio River start to grow into mountains. Beautiful country!  I stopped by this farm scene to do a little bit of sketching.

I like this scene so much, I decided to carve it into a linoleum block print. I decided to replace the haybales with cows, but feel like I captured the feeling of the scene.

I’m offering it as a limited edition (only 16), if you are interested, click the image for more information.

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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.

linocut print on a framing table

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.

linocut print in a handmade frame walcott covered bridge bracken county kentucky

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.

close up photo of a handmade frame by artist ken swinson

I take a lot of pride in my frames, and sign them: handmade frame by Ken Swinson, just like I would the actual artwork.

ken Swinson signature on back of handmade frame
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How Artcroft Helped Me As A Young Emerging Artist

How artcroft helped me as a young emerging artist

About 10 years ago, I was given a month-long artist residency at Artcroft. My memories get a little bit fuzzy with the passing of time, but fortunately, I wrote a blog post every day of the experience. Looking back, that month was one of the defining moments of my art career.

Some of you might not have known me back then (or would like to refresh their memory), so here’s a link to my blog’s archive for the month of February 2008: https://www.kenswinson.com/store/?m=200802

ken swinson at artcroft

Having a solid month to focus on my artwork, allowed me to create over 40 new works of art. I have probably never been so productive. I think this photo is from day 7.

I made friends with fellow artists from all over the world. Sharing a space, and getting to know, so many creative people from different walks of life, opened my mind to more possibilities of what it means to be an artist.

happy goats on a hill

I helped deliver and care for baby goats (Triplets)

ken swinson painting at artcroft

After the residency, I didn’t return to my part time job, and have been a full time artist ever since.

Artcroft’s program has shifted a little bit over the years. They (Artcroft’s Founders-Robert and Maureen Barker) are helping to revitalize the small town of Millersburg, KY by replacing abandoned buildings in it’s town square with gallery/studio/arts education spaces as well as a cafe.

Robert and Maureen barker artcroft millersburg kentucky


This Saturday, they are sponsoring an art & antique show in Millersburg. I will be there, and hope you will come support this wonderful project: www.Artcroft.org