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pottery update 23 August 2021

Good morning!

Wanted to check in with you all to let you know I’ve been working hard in the studio.

It’s KILLING ME to have a group of new oil paintings and not be able to show them off (I’ll unveil them All Sept 24th). Here’s a little update on my side project: porcelain. Have a great day!

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Old Washington Block Print Recarve

There’s nothing more agonizing for a printmaker than to carve a detailed block only to discover a TYPO.

I recently did this, and had to re-carve the whole block a second time. The good news is that it looks even better after the second time around AND you can support my work by visiting my website to add one of these note cards to your collection (or send to a friend–it includes an envelope if you want to surprise someone with snail mail)

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Carving porcelain – cardinals

Hi Everybody! I have been carving my first batch of porcelain cups; using RED colored slip. To honor Kentucky’s state bird, the cardinal. This video shows how the process works.

Stay tuned to see how they look after going through the kiln. Thanks for everyone for watching, your encouragement and support! I’m so happy to be back in the clay studio!

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Throwing pots on a Rainy Day

An exciting thing about live video is that you never know what will happen, and there’s no way to edit out the warts and bloopers that are part of real life.

I haven’t been in my pottery studio for a while, and thought it would be fun to broadcast live while throwing pots and listening to cincinnati’s classical music station, WGUC. After listening to a beautiful piece by composer, Robert Schumann, DJ Elaine Diehl talked about how the composer struggled with mental health, and how music was an important part of his life. Reminding US that during this pandemic, we can think about Schuman and his struggles and music, when we have OUR mood swings and challenges.

After a few minutes, while still broadcasting, facebook sent me an alert, threatening to stop my broadcast because I was playing copyrighted music. Almost as if on cue, my mood went from happy to rage, and I almost said a few cuss words, while ranting about facebook’s lack of a social conscious.

I took the video down, because that vibe is not the kind of thing I want to spread among my friends (or to anyone), but I think the story is worth sharing, because, like everyone, I am dealing with maintaining mental health during the uncertainty of the pandemic….lately, art (and listening to WGUC public radio) have been a saving grace, just like music was for Robert Schuman. I hope you are finding and embracing the thing that keeps you healthy and happy right now.

Another moral to the story, you never know what you are going to get when you watch those live videos, lol! My apologies to anyone who saw me acting like that.

And here’s a sped up and muted version of what you missed…the pots actually came out pretty good!

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Blue Cat In The Tree – Work In Progress Video

Hi Everybody, it’s ken from the log cabin print shop, and today i’m going to start a new linocut.

Right now, I’m going to start carving my tree, and let’s see how it turns out! I’m working in a size that’s a little bit new to me. It’s 6×8″ which is a little bit bigger than a notecard, but it’s not so big that it would take me days to do all the carving. I like that it’s big enough, i can get some details that I can’t get in a notecard.

I’ve already worked all the composition out, so it’s a meditative process to just follow the lines and to cut the design into a block of linoleum. I’m working on a theme of a tree with birds and cats. I’d like to have 4 new linocut prints that all relate to each other.

Keep checking this post for updates. I’m printing the blocks right now, and will be able to share them real soon!

UPDATE: here they are in their bright blue glory!

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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

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:

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.

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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Last night I did a LIVE video while making an oil pastel painting on my home made cotton rag paper. The broadcast shows my process from start to finish, and is almost 2 hours long. I sped the playback up for those who want to see the process in less than a minute. Thanks again everyone who hung out with me in the studio last night, that was a lot of fun!!!