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Plein air painting near the elliott/carter county lines

I’m close to the elliott/carter county lines, and am going to try to get a painting from this view

Here is my sketch

The cell phone reception is not super, but I’ll try to post updates as I work, check back later ..

Setup and ready to start painting!!!

I more or less have the values and composition worked out…I’m painting on a board slightly wider than a traditional landscape proportion, so my center of attention keeps falling into the center…supposedly a no no in art, but I think I can make it work…time for color!!!

This scene is backlit (I’m facing the sun) so I’m having a lot of fun, experimenting with some new color combinations in the shadows

It’s backlit ( we are facing the sun), so I didn’t get the best photo of the painting with the landscape. When I get back to the studio, i’ll take a better photo to share with you all.

What an enjoyable experience: painting from life out in the country! I don’t consider myself a representational painter, but I REALLY enjoy the exercise of working from life, learning about light and color. I did some things with color that I never would have tried on my own.

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Road trip Update

Some of my friends and family make fun of me. They think I’m becoming agoraphobic during the pandemic. It might be true. I was camping and doing my best to avoid people and indoors while on my recent road trip, but there is a problem of using public bathrooms. I don’t want to use them while Kentucky and Indiana are having record breaking highs in COVID infections.

selfie style photo of ken the artist with a car loaded with paper

I skipped over some of my original plan, to arrive at my destination (The French Paper Company), where I stocked up with more paper than I could ever use in a lifetime! Now I’m going home, where I plan to make a lot of woodcuts and never leave the house again!

UPDATE: 10/8/2020
I might have a paper problem…not sure where to put all of this. I came up with this idea of a shelf to stack the paper over a set of drawers. I used the 3d Modelling software, Blender (normally for animation and 3d graphics), to plan the design

it WORKED!!! The lumber was a little bit longer than I thought it would be, so I’ve extended the height…there’s room for one more shelf

home made shelf for oversized paper
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Plein Air Road Trip

I’ve pretty much stayed put since march during the pandemic, so today is a big deal.  I’m going to leave my house and the 5 miles radius in which I live..maybe for a few days. I’m off to madison, indiana to do some painting…then. Brown county indiana (see the awesome guidebook my friend Diane sent me?). After that:  michigan! 

Artist with car packed with art supplies, holding a book of brown county artists

I take the pandemic serious, so I’m bringing lots of sanitizer and masks…doing to sleep in a tent. No indoor spaces, or close proximity to other people for me.  Wish me well, and check this website from time to time. I’m going to share trip updates here. 

4:30 pm UPDATE

I have been nervous thinking about painting in a public place. Normally I welcome people to look over my shoulder, but not during a pandemic.

Photo of a farm house near Carrollton, kentucky
Farmhouse near Carrollton, ky

I decided to stop and paint a country scene before getting to madison. There was a classic looking farmhouse on a hill by the highway.

Sketch of the farmhouse scene

A nice thing about the country, there aren’t a lot of people around, which gives me the opportunity to focus on the painting

Easel setup ready to paint

There was no cellphone signal at this spot, which disconnected me from any distractions. It’s been a long time since I’ve painted plein air with no company…in person or virtual.

Just getting started with the painting

I tried some experimental things with color that I never would have tried if people were watching. Halfway through the painting, I was really frustrated, and thought I was going to lose the painting

Plein air painting. Farmhouse near Carrollton, ky

As luck would have it, I didn’t give up, and the painting came together. I’m happy with how it came out. It’s possibly one of my favorite plein air paintings.

Plein air painting in the light

The first photo was with the painting in the shade…here’s another in the light!

Now I’m in madison, indiana. Instead of put myself in a situation where someone can stop and breathe all over me, (setting an easel and paint up) I’m going to walk around with my sketchbook, and do some pen sketches of the river and old houses. Stay tuned!

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Herding the Horses – new Linocut

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.

unfinsihed woodcut depicting a sheep dog herding a group of horses

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.

photo of linocut work in progress depicting a sheep dog in a kentucky scene herding horses

I started over, this time cutting into linoleum

linocut work in progress almost finished

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

animated gif of a linocut being printed with a traditional press
At the Log Cabin Print Shop, revealing the first print
Herding the Horses – 6×8″ linocut on 8×10″ paper
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Plein Air Painting – Goldenrod and Ironweed

Going to try something different today…I’m WALKING to a location to paint. Since I’m carrying all the video and painting gear, it’s forced me to get down to basics. Will try to live stream, provided I didn’t forget my cellphone or brushes.

Going to try something different today…I’m WALKING to a location to paint. Since I’m carrying all the video and painting gear, it’s forced me to get down to basics. I really want to paint this goldenrod (kentucky’s state flower) and ironweed…but not sure how close I want to get to the ticks?!

the finished painting!

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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!!!

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Hi everybody! It’s been awhile since I’ve.made a live video, so I thought I’d dust my oil pastels off, and see what I can make with them. This process can go quick, especially when I work small, so maybe you’ll get to see the whole process from start to finish. I don’t know what will happen…especially with art! My energy is usually spent by the end of the day, but The a live audience adds a little pressure, so maybe ill make something amazing. Lets see!?