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Plein air painting in Aberdeen and Ripley, Ohio- March 18th

I have been struggling with some of my studio work, and these little pleinairexcursions have been a great exercise in capturing a moment, color, light…and knowing when to stop…plus an added bonus of fresh air, and making art in public.

sketch of st michaels church in ripley ohio
photo of artist ken swinson with friends ron and betsy in Ripley ohio

 i love visiting ripley. Such a friendly little river village. Ripley artists Betsy Adams and Ron Ralston stopped by to see what i was working on (st michaels church)
plein air painting of ripley ohio by artist ken swinson
The finished painting- St. Michaels Church-Ripley, Ohio
photo of artist ken swinson painting from the rankin house in ripley ohio
Painting at the Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio
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A chilly day of painting in Old Washington, KY 31 March 2019

sketch of taylors corner in old washington kentucky by artist ken swinson

I have thawed out from this mornings painting (you can see it in my instagram or fb stories) . Now that its warmed up to 37 degrees, i thought id take my paints down the street for a second plein air painting. Todays a great day to be here because Robbin Lee Weingartner is hsving an open house in his studio–with Nicholas Denham performing live music.

underpainting of old washingtons taylor corner by kentucky artist, ken swinson
working out the composition and values. I love my alpaca fingerless glove/mittens…its chilly out here!
close up photo of oil colors on a palette
im ready to start mixing color!!! Trying to only use red yellow blue and white…to improve my mixing skills
artist ken swinson painting with artist/singer leah frederick admining and smiling
Our super talented Leah Frederick, stopped by!!!
plein air painting of taylors corner in old washington by artist ken swinson
some color on the panel…
plein air painting of taylors corner in old washinton kentucky by artist ken swinson
taylors corner. Old washington, ky
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painting in the countryside

sketch of a barn and house in rural mason county kentucky
Yesterday was city painting, so today is countryside. I like the way the road winds up the hill and the contrast between the black barn and white house
plein air underpainting by ken swinson of a barn and house in mason county kentucky
This painting and i have different ideas about whether it will be a landscape or vertical. It keeps telling me it wants to be landscape. I say, no, you are vertical. I think im going to win. Heres the composition worked out. Now time for color!
painting of a plein air painting outdoors on an easel
im using some new colors… Having fun with the greens… Trying not to get too wild with the violet. Detail time
plein air painting of barn and house near the AA highway near maysville, Kentucky
I love the smell of oil paint and cows while im painting outside in the springtime!
sketch of churches in minerva kentucky with photo of actual buildings in the background
next stop, minerva, ky. If you love old country churches they have a lot in this little town. The church in the background is from yhe 1830s, the church in the foreground is important because it was an early african american church. Sorry i dont know all the history about it, but hopefully, someone will chime in.
plein air underpainting of 2 churches in minerva kentucky by artist ken swinson
i wasnt happy with my original composition, so i moved to a different spot, and came up with this vertical composition and value study. Its color time!!!
plein air painting of two churches in minerva Kentucky by artist ken swinson
i love this time of the day. The light is so beautiful, this painting is shining!
plein air painting of churches in minerva kentucky by artist ken swinson
Thats a wrap! Im having such a good paint day, id love to try the dover covered bridge, but the light is changing fast, and im hungry… Forgot to pack snacks! 
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Arts Of All Sorts – Old Washington, KY

banner photo with person printmaking and pottery

I made a short video of Old Washington’s recent: Arts of all sorts. The video was LIVE, so it’s a little bit shaky and I did do any editing, but it takes you into the moment of visiting our little village during an art activity. I’m so lucky to be a part of such a creative community. Thanks everyone for making it possible!

If you don’t have the time to watch the whole video, here are a few photos of the video’s highlights.

basket weavers in old washington kentucky
woman making a clay whistle in old washington kentucky
father michael henderson spinning wool in old washington kentucky
barb clarke and ginny b butler volunteering in old washington kentucky
children painting a mural in old washington kentucky
theresa barns leading a felting activity in old washington kentucky
artists painting in old washington kentucky
artists doing body painting in old washington kentucky
woodcarving in old washington Kentucky
tents at washington hall in old washington kentucky
pottery making pottery in old washington kentucky
printmaking at old washington kentucky
linocut of the old washington courthouse being struck by lightning in old washington kentucky
pottery in old washington kentucky
marie kelsch in old washington kentucky
aromatherapy in old washington kentucky
acrylic pour painting in old washington Kentucky
maysville mayor david cartmel buying pottery in old washington kentucky

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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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Happy Eclipse Day

I’m watching the eclipse from my studio. The view looks like this:

Yes, it’s finished (even framed), Oil on Canvas – 20×24″ –I wasn’t going to show it off until this Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center, BUT in honor of the eclipse, i’m showing it off today.

As of this moment, the original is available, prints too. Click the image below for more details. Enjoy the eclipse, everyone!

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Maysville Ky – One of the best Small Towns in America

The hotel website,, recently published an article titled, “The Best Small Towns in America“, and guess who was number 4? Maysville, KY!!!

I’m really not that surprised. It is beautiful out here. We are on the Ohio river and there are a lot of our downtown’s old time architecture is still in place. The neighborhood where I live, Old Washington, is one of Kentucky’s first settlements.

The community is VERY supportive of the arts. Our local government,  groups and private individuals have all created and supported programs, organizations and incentives to make our area a vibrant place to live for everyone.

I don’t have family connections (like many of the residents) in Maysville, but I chose to live in this small town for the above reasons.

A small town fits my personality, and is a great place to work. There is inspiration direction I look.  To celebrate our recent acknowledgement, for a limited time, I created a gallery on my website featuring some of the paintings I created with Maysville as the subject. So until you can make a trip out to visit Maysville in person, click the image above for a virtual visit through paintings.

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Tootin’ my own horn – winning awards at Duveneck Art Show 2017

I don’t participate in a lot of outdoor art shows, but whenever I can, I go to Covington’s sculpture park along the Ohio river for the Duveneck Art Show. It’s usually the day before Mother’s Day.  The people who organize the show are community minded, and love artists. They even treat the artists to a garden party after the show!  How can I resist?

This year, I tried something different: I used Facebook’s ‘Live Video’, to let my friends see what was going on at the show. Because it was live, the video is completely unedited, and un scripted. I had stage fright at first, but it was fun, and it has given me some ideas for future live projects that I can do in my studio. A copy of the video is still on my  facebook profile, so you can click the link below to see how it went.

video no longer available

I won the Duveneck Award! I was really excited about that because the art becomes a part of the Kenton County Public Library’s collection, and is exhibited in one of their libraries. This show and award is in it’s 48th year.  The Duveneck show art collection has never been displayed as a group…until June 4th. The Behringer-Crawford museum is going to have an exhibit of all 48 Duveneck Art Award winners. I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

The winning piece was an ipad drawing of the view from my studio at the Pendleton Art Center. I think it’s interesting because it contrasts downtown Cincinnati’s old historic architecture, with it’s newer towers in the background.

I also won ‘Best in Show’ for my overall body of work. I was embarassed, because it isn’t common for the same artist to win two big awards at the same show. My work isn’t easy to catagorize, and that can be an advantage or penalty, depending on how traditional the judge is. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the recognition (and prize/rent money!)

It was the ‘day of Ken’, because in addition to the two awards, I also won the ‘People’s Choice’ award. Guests at the show were invited to vote for their favorite artist…and it was me and my work! I am thrilled to know that my work is reaching and inspiring others.

Outdoor shows are a lot of work, but it feels more like a day of hanging out with friends-in contrast to a ‘day in the office’…especially when it’s the Duveneck Art Show. Thanks again to everyone who worked hard to make it happen!

I am only doing one more outdoor show this season… it’s Art In The Garden, in Augusta, KY on June 3rd. Don’t miss the fun, I hope to see you then!