Posted on Leave a comment

2 color printing

desktop of printmaking project work in progress bunny rabbits

One of my goals in artmaking is to continually improve my craftsmanship. So far this year, I have put a lot of focus on printmaking. Until now, all my prints have used only one color.

busy printmaking table with green ink brayer and linocut

I’m starting a series of Multi-Color prints. The process is similar to single color, except more factors to consider:

Color harmony, registration (alignment), drying times, etc.

first of two colors for a bunny rabbit linocut print
brown bunny 2 color linocut by kentucky artist ken swinson

I won’t say that every day has been fun or easy, but I love to challenge myself, the bunny below is one of my first multi-color test prints.

Posted on Leave a comment

Make A Zine meet Up – Morehead, KY – Passages

passages morehead kentucky artzine

The Zine you are reading is a collaborative work by Artists from different small towns in Kentucky. We met on January 12, 2018 at the Rowan County Public Library in Morehead, KY, and created work around the theme:

Because of winter weather advisory and warnings, our turn out was smaller than normal. However, A brave group-most who lived close to Morehead-Were able to come. One of the best things about smaller groups, is that we had more time to get to know each other, and to hear everyone’s remarkable stories.. We all felt like it was well worth venturing out into the winter weather.

I met Alice Reynolds for the first time at this zine meet up. She is a music teacher from Morehead. At 91 years old (she gave me permission to share her age) she is still enjoying life and playing music. Many years ago, before the Morehead State University existed, Rowan County had what was called the “moonlight school’ It taught adults how to read and write at night. Alice’s father was a postman, and she remembers part of his job (in addition to delivering mail) was to read the mail to some of the people he delivered to, because everyone did not know how to read and write back then.

Kay Schafer, is an artist from Morehead, KY. Her poem about becoming a senior citizen captures her bright and positive personality. Kay was also a big help in organizing the ArtZine in Morehead. Thanks, Kay.

Melany Workman was the youngest of 11 children, and grew up in this 5 room house in Rowan county. She now owns and operates the Cave Run Manor in Morehead, and is a great caretaker for her residents.

Melissa Barker is an artist and teacher from Grahn, Ky. Her drawing is the first art she has made since the recent loss of her father. Because she has participtaed many times, we are going to visit Melissa’s neighborhood for February’s ArtZine. More details soon.

I have known Helen Chadwell for many years, the first time we met was while she was a volunteer for the Morhead Art Guild Art Show. More recently, she has visited my studio, and we have made prints together. Her drawing/poem is about the passages of life.

Ken Swinson wanted to illustrate the idea that we can overcome the obstacles we encounter in life…with a little help from our friends. Thanks everyone for being a part of my journey!

Posted on Leave a comment

ArtZine December 2017-Mt. Olivet, KY – MIRACLES

artzine cover banner

I am working on an art project where I visit a different small town each month. The idea of this project is to encourage artists, writers and people of all walks of life to know each other, through visiting each others’ communities and making art together.

Last tuesday, we met for our FOURTH Art Zine, and met in Robertson County, KY at their Public Library. Here is what we made together:

You can click any of the images for more details and a full album of all the zine’s hand painted covers.

Ken Swinson

Mari Leet

Velda Smiley

Jennifer Wert

Lauri Aultman

Jennifer Gleason

Barbara Morgan

Jim Lally

Carol Mitchell

Genda Highfield

credit page

you can download and print your own copy of this zine through this link:!AtHTtTOFjtUToQaL6vXQp_Cq6ce8

You can also view share and download our album (including the 15 handpainted covers) here: December ArtZine – Mt. Olivet- MIRACLES

You can also follow our Art Zine facebook page for more information about future projects. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Squirrel Power! – New Linocuts

banner with squirrels playing banjo fiddle and guitar

As an artist, I find wonder in almost everything around me. This can be both good and bad. Inspiration is easy. Focus and concentration, a bit more of a challenge. Especially in the age of always being connected to the internet.

Linocut printmaking is extremely low-tech, and has been my escape from the constantly distracting world of technology.

I have been working on a series of squirrels (there are 9 so far!) and they are FINALLY dry enough to offer on my website’s gallery. (I used oil based inks, which dry slow)

Here are a few examples from the series:

If you’d like to support my work and projects, consider giving one of these prints as a gift, or adding one to your art collection.

Posted on Leave a comment

New Block Prints – and Gallery update

linocut printmaking scene of deer drinking from creek and cows beside barn

New Block Prints – and Gallery update

I have been doing a lot of experimenting in my printmaking studio over the last couple of months. In the past, I have used thick, cotton rag papers, but I am now experimenting with a thin (but remarkably strong) mulberry paper. It is made from the inner bark of the Mulberry tree, and it does not hurt the tree to remove the bark. The handling is a little bit different from heavy paper, but I really enjoy the crisp details it gives.

work in progress linocut ink table

i have also been experimenting with different colored inks. The linocut above is made with a a light blue/grey ink. The grey really changes the art. Instead of a strong, graphic black and white-this color feels a little softer, and I love the mood it gives this scene of the Johnson Creek in Robertson County.

I’m not doing any more shows between now and Christmas, but you can still support my projects and give my work as a gift (or add one to your collection!).  I just updated my website’s printmaking gallery to include many of these new prints, so please give my website a visit.

I am shipping quick (within a few days), and for free in the USA!

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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
Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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!