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Plein Air Painting at the Stone House in May’s Lick, KY – 19 September 2020

The weather is cooling down, so I have the outdoor painting bug!

I decided to visit my friends, Mike Averdick and John Gerwe. Two friends that live nearby, who have been restoring an old stone house from the 1700’s.

Photo of historic stone house in May's Lick Kentucky from the late 1700s

Most of the trees still have their leaves, which makes it a little tricky to get certain views of architecture. Behind the house are some apple trees, and a clear view of the house, so I decided to paint there.

Here’s a 1 1/2 hour long LIVE video with a walk around the house, and the first hour of painting

Hey everybody! It's a beautiful day for plein air painting. I'm visiting my friends Mike Averdick and John Gerwe, in May's Lick, my, who have restored a beAutiful stone house from the 1700s. It's not the right light to paint the front of the house, but I'm going to paint the view from the back, and try to squeeze in the apple trees too!

Posted by Ken Tucky Swinson on Saturday, September 19, 2020
Artist painting the stone house in May's Lick Kentucky
here I am getting started on the underpainting
close up of artist painting stone house in May's Lick, Kentucky
a close up–working on the colors in the painting
plein air oil painting with stone house in the background
the painting…almost finished-with the stone house in the background
photo of the stone house in May's Lick, Kentucky oil paint
…just needs a few finishing touches!

Thanks Mike and John for the hospitality! I had a great time painting at the house! I want to come back later, when the leaves aren’t in front of the house 🙂

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Plein Air Wednesday – 16 September 2020 – Aberdeen, Ohio

The weather is finally cooling down. That means it’s time to get the paints out and do some plein air painting!

Some artist friends and I (8 of us) decided to meet at the river park in Aberdeen, Ohio, to paint from life. Since we’ve had a sudden drop in temperature, the cool air hitting the warm river water caused a lot of fog.

foggy river view of Maysville Kentucky from Aberdeen park in Ohio
photo of fog lifting–after an hour of painting!

I’m used to using the directional light from the sun to make colors and shapes look good in a painting. Fog diffuses all that light, and mutes the colors of the landscape…making painting from life a bigger challenge for me.

photo of artist painting landscape from the ohio river

Every now and then, I have been broadcasting LIVE videos on facebook, while i make art. With this scene being such a challenge, i thought i’d try to tackle it with an audience watching the struggle. If you are interested, you can see a replay of the video here:

Good morning! Plein air painting at the river today. Some friends who are beginning artists and have never painted plein air before are joining me today. I want this to be a safe space so they feel free to ask questions or make mistakes, so I'm not going to broadcast all the painting, but we can hang out while I setup, and Ill talk a little about plein air painting. I'll also share some process videos in instagram and Facebook stories. It's a pretty day to paint outdoors!!

Posted by Ken Tucky Swinson on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

During the live demo, I decided to challenge myself, and use a limited palette. A palette that does not include the color BLUE. My goal was to demonstrate that the color choices aren’t as important as values (dark and light). To my eye, a foggy morning scene has LOTS of blue in nature, so painting from life without using blue would be tricky…but if i am careful about my values, it should still look ‘right’

palette with titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone violet, viridian and grey
palette with titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone violet, viridian and grey – no blue

Another challenge of painting ‘plein air’ (from life) is that the sun moves, and the scene is always changing. Towards the end of the painting, all the beautiful fog has disappeared!

plein air painting of maysville kentucky by the ohio river from aberdeen park ohio

In addition to the challenges of the limited palette, fog, and a changing landscape; it was the first time I had ever seen many of my artist friends in person since the pandemic started in March…so there was some long overdue socializing as well.

plein air oil painting on canvas of maysville kentucky in the fog
Maysville, KY in fog – oil on canvas 8″x18″

In spite of all that, i’m happy with the finished painting. I learned a lot about fog and color theory…and captured a memory of a really fun day!

3 happy artists holding their paintings and waving

We had so much fun, we are going to try to meet (weather permitting) again in 2 weeks (september 30, 2020). If you live close to the Maysville area and want to join us, send me a message for more details.

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I’m trying a few new things

I’m trying to find the perfect social media/life balance. For the month of September, I’m trying something new- I’m limiting my social media: only posting on facebook on Mondays, Instagram on Wednesdays and twitter on Fridays. My goal is to stop spending too much time on social media, while continuing to share and stay in touch on a regular basis.

So far, the experience has been good. I’ve been a lot more productive. For Monday’s facebook post, I made a LIVE video, where I showed off a series of new linocuts.

You can watch a replay of the video here:

I also talk about the changes I have been making to my website. I’m making some big drastic changes that will make the site more up to date with modern technology. It’s going to take awhile, so please be patient while working on it.

If you are interested in supporting my work, and adding some of the linocut cards to you collection, below are some links to help you do it. Thanks again for your support and patience during this move.

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The Potter – by Tania Horne

You never know where it will take you when you put your creativity out there:
Late friday night, i made a live stream while throwing pots…no words, or instruction, just an hour of making pots.
I don’t know who all watched, but poet, Tania Anderson Horne , saw it, and it inspired a poem! I liked the poem so much, we made this short video together. Thank you Tania! I’m honored!!!

Tania is participating in Lexington Poetry Month. A project, where every June, poets are challenged to write a poem every day. You can learn more at https://lexpomo.com
#lexpomo

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Plein Air Painting – Ripley, Ohio 16 June 2020

It’s been awhile since I have been Plein air painting. All my recenty projects have been in the studio. When an artist friend invited me to meet up somewhere to paint outside, I said ‘sure! Where do you want to go? ‘ It didn’t matter to her, so I got to pick.

I picked the Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio. It’s a historic site that was once the home of John Rankin, an abolitionist who helped many people escape slavery. Perched on a hill, overlooking the village and ohio river, the rankins were able to give signals from their home to Kentucky.

Not only is the rankin house an important part of the underground railroad, it offers artists a magnificant view!

I wasn’t fully prepared to capture the view. I *should* have brought a panoramic canvas to capture everything. To improvise, I used 2 8×10″ wood panels, and set them beside each other to make a dyptich.

plein air painting of the Rankin house in ripley ohio

I have been experimenting with live videos and I tried live streaming the entire painting. It put a little bit of pressure on me…having a live live audience brought out some of the best of my talent, and I am happy with the finished painting!

Ins addition to my ‘virtual’ audience online, some friends (1 a fellow artist) came up the hill to watch me work.

artist standing outside painting with friends at the John Rankin house in Ripley Ohio

Thanks again for a great day!

Here is the full length stream of the painting…originally live streamed on Facebook.

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Pig Mug – Sgraffito video

I’m back in the clay studio, working with a decoration technique, called sgraffito. The word comes from Italian and means; to scratch away.

The way the technique works, a pot is covered with colored clay, then I scratch the top layer, reavealing the design.

Since i have a printmaking background, this technique feels familiar. It’s the same way I would make a woodcut.

The idea for the mug i’m working on is tow pigs enjoying a field of clover, and they both found a four leaf clover at the same time. What a lucky pair of pigs!

If you are interested in seeing how these pots turn out, stay tuned, i’ll show them off once they are fired in the kiln.

UPDATE: i forgot to mention…i don’t sell pots online. I believe a pot has to be experienced in person, so the owner can hold it before deciding to take it to it’s ‘forever home’. Hopefully a drive in the country to Old Washington, ky isn’t impossible for you. Thanks again everyone for the great response!

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We will get through this together-linocut

My latest linocut!

This will be a greeting card to share with friends and family who might feel alone right now.

i assume all kentuckians know where this phrase comes from. for those who don’t, every day, our governor addresses the state for an update re: covid 19. He always starts saying this, then encourages us to say it together. his demeanor and team spirit has calmed me down on more than a few moments during this anxious time.

I know that a lot of people are experiencing economic insecurity right now, and would enjoy this image, but can’t buy a card right now. I would NEVER encourage digital printing of a hand printed work of art, but these are serious times. If you would like to download a high resolution copy of this art to print and share (for personal use only) follow this link.

https://www.kenswinson.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/GetThroughThisTogether.jpg

Below is the step by step process:
A rough sketch for today’s linocut. This will be a greeting card to share with friends and family who might feel alone right now.

sketch of birds and text: we will get through this together

 I used my iPad to do some fine tuning on my design. Now I’m ready to transfer it to a block for carving.

ipad layout of birds with text: we will get through this together
design on linoleum block-ready to carve
design transferred, and ready to carve!
starting to carve a linoleum block print

Carving. I included my finger in the photo to give you a sense of details and scale. I’ve been carving a lot of wood lately, compared to it, the limo cuts lite butter!

half carved linoleum block print with hand in beside it
a little bit over 1/3 done
linoleum block print work in progress with governors speech being played on a cell phone
YOU ALL KNOW NOT TO TRY CALLING ME BETWEEN 5 AND 6 PM. carving during the governors update
carved block of linoleum- birds with text: we will get through this together
Carving Done! Time To Print!

multi colored woodcut with text: we will get through this together