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Plein Air Paintinting in Augusta, KY – March 2019

Augusta, KY will always have a special place in my heart. During my formative years as an artist (my 20s), I met many amazing people, who nurtured, encouraged and supported me…their friendship and kindness played a major role in the artist I have become. Looking back, it was a magic time and place for me.

Time has passed…and we have lost too many of those wonderful people. I haven’t been visiting Augusta like I should, and today, I decided to fix that. I paid a visit and set my paints up to make a little oil painting of the heart of Augusta — it’s library.

Afer painting the library, i also visited Augusta Ky’s namesake church “st. augustine” and painted it too…the sky was so blue today…almost surreal. I love how the white steeple contrasted with the blue sky.

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Barns, Bridges and buds

Im trying to paint outside more often. Its a great way to challenge myself and grow as an artist. I *almost* didnt paint today, because its a cloudy, grey day. Then i realized that grey is one of my favorite colors…it looks great with everything! Hope you are having a great, grey day!

sketch of suspension bridge in aberdeen ohio by artist ken swinson
sketch and view for today’s painting #2
plein air painting of suspension bridge across the ohio river by artist ken swinson
Bridge over the ohio 6″x4 1/2
plein air underpainting of yellow house in old washington kentucky by artist ken swinson
the buds on this tree are just about ready to POP!
plein air painting of a yellow house in old washington kentucky
Old Washington, KY

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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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Sketching With The Ipad – on Old US ROUTE 62 -Old Washington, KY

sketch of old washington, kentucky

Everyone has their own artmaking technique. Before I start a project, I draw with whatever tool I have available:

  • I like pencils and paper, for it’s tactile quality, the ablility to shade, and correct mistakes.
  • pens and markers for their lines, and no erasing keeps me from fiddling around
  • the ipad for the flexibility of digital…easy changes, video timelapse of workflow

One tool i try to avoid is the camera. Regardless of what I am using, I want to draw from life. Years ago, I read a study about using a camera to look at art which suggested that we don’t fully experience a moment when we photograph it.Regardless of what I am using, I want to draw from life whenever possible. Years ago, I read a study about using a camera to look at art which suggested that we don’t fully experience a moment when we photograph it. I read another study that found drawing something helps us remember.

For this drawing, I used an app, called procreate: THE best ipad app for drawing. It has a bonus feature of recording a step by step video…giving us a peek into my thought process while drawing.

The finished artwork is going to be a woodcut–for my series about US Route 62.

I love living in Old Washington. If I ever need inspiration, all I have to do is walk a few blocks from home. This row of buildings sit on the ORIGINAL US Route 62.

The finished artwork is going to be a woodcut–for my series about US Route 62.

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Carving-Squirrels Getting Ready For Winter

Today, I carved my latest woodcut; Squirrels getting ready for winter.

Over the last year, I have been learning to print larger. (one secret is to use bigger knives) I want to make original, hand printed art that can fill a large space (while still being affordable). I’m thinking of younger people, just starting to put a house and art collection together. 16×20″ is a big size for me, but I really love working in this scale. Compared to working in smaller formats, these really make a great presentation

It took the whole day (and cramped hands) to carve the print, so I squeezed the whole process into 30 seconds. My plan is to print it tomorrow at the studio. Keep visiting this website for updates to see progress on this print (and my other projects)! 

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UPDATE:Bear Under A New Star

Update: Here’s a video of the carving/inking/printing of my latest woodcut…i think it came out great!!!  One thing I love about big prints is that their presence changes the entire room. This one really cheers the place up.  It’ll probably take a week to dry. Once it is, i’ll offer it to you all in the online gallery

If you would like to have one for your art collection, use the button below, and I’ll mail you one!

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2 color sheep woodcut – VIDEO

This video walks you through the process while I make a 2 color/2 plate woodcut from an existing 1 color woodcut design. The original layer is used as a key block, to guide the cutting of the gray, background layer. Instead of using a complex system to line up the 2 layers, I just eyeballed it and registered the plates by hand.

If interested, i’ll update this post with purchase information once the prints are dry (1,2,3 days from now)

UPDATE 1 : i don’t want to give you the wrong impression that my tests are always successful…i just don’t always include them in the videos. Here’s a look at the REAL first try through the press:

animation of sheep printmaking woodcut being revealed