While on a painting trip out in the country, i watched a sheep dog, herding a group of horses into the barn. The farmer, cussed at the dog, and told it to quit, but I think the little pup, couldn’t resist it’s instinct. When the horses ventured outside of the barn, it would herd them back inside.
I knew that I wanted to make a print about the spectacle. When I returned to my studio, i started carving the image into a block of wood. I quickly realized that the wood wasn’t the right material for the image I had in mind…i have learned with art, that it’s ok to fail and start over…that’s how we learn and get better.
I started over, this time cutting into linoleum
I was a lot happier with my second carving of the scene. Linoleum was a better material to carve the thin blades of grass and fur of the dog and horses
I AM watching the news, and I don’t want you all to think that I have my head buried in the sand, and am just happily in my own little world, making art. I see what’s happening to us, and it hurts me deeply. I don’t know what I can do to make it better, so I share things that help me and others feel good, and encourage them to work on their own creative projects. Art is a great way to deal with feelings. For me, art is a therapy, and there are a lot of studies that show it really does cause positive things to happen in the brain. There are also studies that show that social media is causing psychological and social problems…
i don’t use social media for politics. In my perspective, it’s a terrible way to try and have dialogue about divisive issues. I’ve watched friendships end and families grow further apart because of the way social media brings out, and magnifies the worst in some people. (i guess it’s profitable, or the tech companies just like to destroy people’s lives) I have friends from a wide range of perspectives, who I know in real life, and I can tell you, we have more in common than social media would have us believe.
I believe that religion is personal, and I don’t talk about it on social media (for the same reasons). Since it’s Sunday, and I think it is important, I will share with you that I believe that we are ALL children of God, we are ALL brothers and sisters. EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity. I believe (and I’m trying to be better at) following Christ’s teaching to love thy neighbor as thyself. I know this is a crazy time, and everyone is scared and angry a suffering loss and going through a million other feelings right now. I hope that all of these challenges we are going through has some kind of meaning, and, in the end, we use this experience to lift each other up, and become better neighbors.
I’m scared, and feel helpless and angry, but I also feel more connected, and a feeling of togetherness with you all (even if we have to stay 6 feet apart). You have gotten me through, what is possibly the biggest trial of my lifetime. Since social media isn’t going away, let’s use it to keep the good vibes going, and try to have a little more understanding and empathy toward each other…this is HARD, but we will get through this together.
Tomorrow is the #homeSickArtFair!!! My original idea was to have a display on the front porch, but since the weather has its own ideas, I’m improvising a gallery inside the house. It feels really good hanging an exhibit. It’s been awhile, but this makes me feel closer to normal…even it it is still a virtual show. Hope you’ll come visit via Facebook and instagram. There are 16 participating artists. Tomorrow, use the #homesickArtFair to see everything happening at the fair!
Printmaker, painter and muralist, Lacy Hale invited me to ehibit some of my printmaking work and artZines at the Appalshop gallery in Whitesburg, KY. I have been a fan of her work ever since meeting her online. Not only is her art beautiful and magical, it also has social conscious, and is closely tied to her community. She recently finished a mural for the 2nd Mountain Mural fest in Harlan, KY.
She is interviewed as part of the news coverage of the event, and the story tells is a great example of why it’s so important to have art and artists in rural spaces. You can watch the MYMT segment here
As a rural artist, I’m interested in how we can help make a positive impact on our small towns. Whitesburg is an inspiring example of what is possible when creative people stay and make a positive change in their small towns.
For a small mountain town with only 2000 people, there’s a lot of creative type businesses, music venues, cafes and public art.
Most of the main street buildings were occupied, and my first impression was that it has a good energy, and is the kind of place I would want to visit again.
I had never visited Appalshop, but over my last 19 years as a Kentuckian, their documentaries have helped shape my understanding of our region.
I consider Appalshop to be a national treasure. For 50 years, they have used the power of arts and culture to create meaningful social and economic change in our region. It was a thrill to see their studio and to meet some of the people who make it happen.
Not only does Appalshop create documentaries — they also create filmmakers.
AMI is a community-based arts and education center offering training and resources for young creatives and filmmakers.
The program has been helping young artists and filmmakers for over 30 years. The current program coordinator, Willa Johnson is an alumni of the program.
My printmaking exhibit will be at the Appalshop gallery from July 9 until August 22nd. I’m excited to announce that, at the closing of the exhibit (August 22), we are going to kick off our next artZine season by making one at AMI!
This will be an opportunity for YOU to visit Whitesburg, and get to know some of it’s people–while making art together!
Our theme for Summer’s ArtZine is:
Art Makes the World Better by…
so go ahead and start working on your entries! See you in Whitesburg!
If you are in the Cincinnati East area, give their office a visit, to see the art and office in person. They are happy to help any size business, small or very large, with coverage options including business insurance, employee benefits and bonds.
they serve customers all across the country, so even if the office isn’t close, you can visit their website: www.energyinsagency.com for more information.
My studio is in an interesting part of Cincinnati. It overlooks the business district and the historic neighborhood, Over-The-Rhine. If I ever need inspiration I just look out the window
There is so much in one view, i can’t fit it all into one sketch.
Here’s my sketch of downtown. I like the contrast between the old church in the foreground and the modern towers in the background.
Over-The-Rhine is unique because of the concentration of old buildings in an urban space. Recently, filmmakers have started coming to OTR to use as a set for New York City in the early 1900s.
The crown jewel of the neighborhood is the newly renovated, Music Hall: featured in the middle of this sketch.
I’ll probably use these sketches as a study for a woodcut(s). There is so much interesting geometry (and all the windows!!!) it would be awesome to print.
If you would like to visit my studio, it will be open to the public this Friday from 6-10pm. The 8 story warehouse is filled with over 200 art studios to explore. This opportunity only comes once a month. More info here: Pendleton Art Center-Cincinnati.
Organization is not easy for me. I’ll have a broad range of different thoughts at once. It can be a beautiful thing, but quickly tailspin into chaos and dysfunction. I don’t think this is a unique struggle. Since our adoption of so much technology into our daily lives, we have been immersed in an massive amount of information…Not to mention tech companies constantly competing for our attention. It’s becoming a norm for the people I meet to be overwhelmed, easily distracted and unorganized.
Two weeks ago, a friend gave me a quick glimpse at their Bullet Journal. It was filled with colorful drawings and doodles; enough to spark my interest and to want to learn more. You can do a quick web search to learn more about the Bullet Journal. I have been using one for the last two weeks, and here are some of my thoughts:
Paper Is A Refreshing Change
There have been studies that show a hand written note on paper is easier to remember than a note typed into a computer or cell phone.
Working in a paper notebook has less distractions. The apps on my phone have been designed to constantly try to get my attention. A notebook has no apps and getting away from the phone helps me to focus.
Its nice to be able to flip through my notebook. I’ll get a glimpse of an ongoing project, and it reminds me to think about it. Often, my digital notes disappear into a void; never to be seen again.
I Feel Like I Am Staying On Track
I keep my Bullet Journal open on my desk. The constant visual reminder helps me to stay focused on the day’s goals. Even when I don’t get something done, the unfinished goals follow me to the next day. Now that I have a place to store my random thoughts, I can see the different pieces come togething into something useful.
Less Frills == Better For Me
The colorful drawings and charts that are possible are what got me interested in Bullet Journaling. I have since learned that a minimal style notebook is a better fit for my personality (for now). I get to draw and use colors all day in my studio, I don’t need a journal for a creative outlet: I need to quickly store and retrieve information. The plain black pen works for me.
Two weeks might not be enough time to determine whether or not this will be a useful tool or not, but my first impressions are good. Certainly good enough to continue using this system. If you are looking for a system to keep yourself organized, you might consider the Bullet Journal.
*Fun Fact: I wrote this blog post on paper before typing it on the computer.
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Ken is a self-taught artist from rural Kentucky, whose work includes painting, printmaking, and pottery. He considers himself to be a 'lifetime learner' and he uses art as the vehicle to explore and learn more about the world around him. Much of his work reflect his optimistic views on rural folk culture, river life and simple pleasures.
Before the pandemic, You could visit Ken every Final Friday of the month at studio 400 at the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati. Now, he's mostly sitting on his front porch ,keeping a social distance, in the Historic Village of Old Washington, KY.