Posted on Leave a comment

Plein Air Painting in Fleming County, KY

I’m visiting some good friends in fleming county, ky. Their home has one of the prettiest views i have ever seen…i seriously could just paint from here for the rest of my life. Watch this album for progress as I paint

I’m visiting my friends Rick Cain Sharon Cain and Rachel S. Wirrig in fleming county, ky. Every time I visit, i tell them their home is like being in a painting…today, I’m going to try to paint this part of their view. Stay tuned for work in progress.
Thumbnail sketch of my view…I’m interested in the winding road crossing the creek, and the yellow field, and the mountains, and the barns…ok, I’m interested in all of it!!! Time to start painting!
I had a little bit of a setback….left my jar of solvent at home!!!!! Fortunately, Rick Cain made a trip to the hardware store, and Sharon Cain had a mason jar i could usthank you both! Now i have some of my darks and lights in muddy paint,. This painting will be a challenge, because it’s partly cloudy with wind…meaning the darks and lights change every few minutes as the clouds move!!! Stay tuned!
Starting to add colors….
More clouds have moved in, so the scene is a little flat….no wait!!!! The sun is back!!!! ….no there it goes again!!!! Well, i keep painting…it’s beautiful no matter the weather!
Its finished!!!! Plein air painting- rick and sharon’s view. Oil on panel.
What a wonderful day!!!! I had a great time painting and catching up with good friends. Thank you again for all your support, friendship and giving my art such a beautiful home!!! Stay tuned, Rick is going to make the frame for their new ken swinson painting (it’s going to look great!)
Posted on Leave a comment

Plein Air Painting – cherry tree in my backyard 13 April 2021

I’m going to make a Plein air oil painting of this cherry tree. In true Plein air tradition, i wont use photos…but observe from life. This photo is just to show you all what I’m working on. Stay tuned for work in progress photos!
There’s a lot of pretty blooms in this view, but the cherry tree will be the center of attention for this painting. I have a very rough thumbnail sketch to work out the basic composition. Time to start painting!!!
I used the leftover paint from yesterday’s session to make a muddy color, and rough out the shape of the tree. Next I will add a few more details.
Starting with COLOR!!! First the colors in the background…will start on the tree and cherry blossoms next
Flowers flowers everywhere!!!! And i just saw my first butterfly!!! Life is good! Hopefully I can capture the joy of this moment in the painting!
So close….i wrestled a little bit with this one, but now I’m happy with it again. Going to take a step back, then just a few details left
Posted on Leave a comment

Plein Purple hyacinths 12 April 2021

Plein air painting at my friend Joyce’s garden. Going to try these grape hyacinth flowers. I love the color, but they are are very small with lots of parts. It will be a challenge. The painting will be bigger than the flowers. Stay tuned for progress photos.
I want an eye level painting, so I’m laying on the ground while making my sketch…hope my elbows will hold out long enough for a painting.
Let’s get this painting started!
Blocking out the basic shapes in a muddy color (See how the flowers are smaller than the painting?)
Do you see the bumble bee?!?! I wanted him to stay and pose for my painting, but he said he was too busy to slouch around with artists.
I’ve worked out the values (dark and light) also some more details. Next it’s time for color!
Up to this point, i have only used a #10 flat bristle brush. The brush is almost as wide as the flowers. I have learned that using a wide flat keeps me from getting sucked into the details too early in the painting. I will continue using this brush for the color.
No details, but some color finally in the painting. (Still using that #10 flat)
Finally using smaller brushes: an #8 and #4 flat
Ok boys and girls, this one is done!!! The sun came out at the last minute, and changed everything. That one out was of my comfort zone and a challenge, but I enjoyed the day in the garden, and am happy with the finished painting!!! I promised the hostess she could have first refusal, so don’t fall in love with this painting. Thanks for watching!
what i nice day to spend painting!?!? in a beautiful garden, visiting a friend (without masks even–we are both vaccinated!!!) Thank you Joyce for the hospitality, inspiring (and giving a home to) my latest painting!!!
Posted on Leave a comment

Tulip Plein Air Painting – 10 April 2021

I’m going to try to paint these beautiful pink tulips that popped up in my yard.
I have toned the panel and worked out the composition with a muddy color
working out the values (dark and light) some more details
time to start adding color!!!
blocking in the color…need to add some details
almost finished!
Its been awhile! I forgot how much i LOVE painting directly from life–outside!

the original painting has sold, but you can order archival reproductions on cotton rag by clicking above.

thank you

Posted on Leave a comment

plein air crocus flowers – 3-9-21

kentucky artist ken swinson smiling by car trunk filled with art supplies
car loaded with art supplies…let’s go paint!
photo of purple and yellow crocus flowers
these crocus flowers are such a welcome burst of life and color after a long winter. I’m going to use them as a model for a painting!

sketch of crocus flowers
I used my sketchbook to work out the composition, now it’s time to setup and paint!
a blank plein air canvas in front of a bed of crocus flowers
I was not a good scout, and showed up unprepared. I forgot to pack my tripod mount, so my paint box will just rest on the floor. Good thing I picked a subject so low to the ground! Time to get to work!
plein air artist working in downtown maysville ky near the bridge over the ohio river
artist, Betsy Adams is here from Ripley, Ohio painting in pastel
concord ky artist, sue ellen gorman painting in downtown maysville
Concord, Kentucky artist, Sue Ellen Gorman joined us-painting in acrylics
plein air underpainting of spring crocus flowers
underpainting for the crocus flower painting
work in progress plein air oil painting by kentucky artist ken swinson
starting to add color to the painting!
plein air oil painting of purple crocus flowers by kentucky artist ken swinson
the finished painting! Spring Crocus flowers 8×10″ oil on hardboard – SOLD!
Posted on Leave a comment

View of Maysville from Aberdeen – Plein air 27 April 2021

I have been painting with an artist friend who is visiting Maysville and just getting started plein air painting.

Today, we picked the view of Maysville from Aberdeen. My ‘demo’ painting is on the easel. This was painted with the same limited palette as last time: burnt sienna, yellow ochre and ultramarine blue.

Here’s a close up of the ‘demo’ painting.
Maysville View from Aberdeen, OH 8×10″ oil on panel

Posted on 4 Comments

Plein Air Painting – downtown Maysville, Kentucky 31 October 2020

An old warehouse in Maysville, Ky was recently demolished, giving us a new view of downtown.

plein air easel setup in front of panoramic view of downtown maysville kentucky

October 31st weather was sunny and cool, so I loaded my paints in my car, to try to capture the view. 

It is a big, wide view, and I wanted to capture it all!  I used 2 9×12 panels to create a diptych of the panoramic view. 

plein air underpainting by ken swinson of downtown maysville

The closer we get to the winter months, we don’t have nearly as much light in the sky, so I had to race against the setting sun to capture the view.  I am inspired by the impressionist tradition of painting directly from life, without the aid of photography.  It forces me to use loose brush strokes to capture the essence of the moment. 

kentucky artist, Ken swinson, plein air painting view of downtown maysville and the ohio river

Another one of my favorite things about working from life, is being outdoors, and a visible part of my community. It can get lonely when I spend a lot of time alone in my studio. My friend, the photographer, Lorraine Marcella stopped by to chat while I worked, and I had her take this snapshot with my camera to document the painting.

work in progress plein air painting by kentucky artist, ken swinson subject maysvile kentucky

This view is so new and interesting, I could paint at least 10 more paintings from this spot. Hopefully, they don’t start building soon.

The church steeple on the right was just a little too big, so when I got back to the studio, I fixed it!