colouring

Interview with Owen Swain, Creator of the #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book

Owen Swain, a Windsor-based artist, is the creator and artist behind #tourdesketch Windsor, an adult colouring book featuring the sights of Windsor, Ontario. I’ve invited Owen to answer some questions for us, so we can get to know him and his seeing/drawing process.
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M|W: Other than drawing, what do you do in your spare time?
Time is flow. I enjoy: bicycling (really, really dislike driving a car), reading (fiction, nonfiction), listening to music, volunteering in my community and parish, meditation, hanging out with the Love of my life and our dogs. And when I am not drawing I am often to be found drawing or painting or, well, you get the idea.
M|W: What was your biggest obstacle in getting where you are today with your art?
Not fully believing in myself or say, not listening to my own narrative for my life. Everything belongs though and it all is a part of “now”.
M|W: What made you choose to feature Windsor in particular?
I’ve lived in Windsor since 1999 but only more recently have come alive to being alive “here” and discovered our city by bicycling and drawing on-location.
M|W: How long does a typical drawing, like the ones in the book, take you?
Roughly 57 years and 8 or 10 hours. It’s a largely different process from my usual on-location sketching in that I took my own photos, make sketch notes on site and then returned to the studio to work. They are less immediate than my usual methods for on-location drawing and more particular in trying to make them suitable for colouring in.
M|W: What’s your favorite part about drawing?
Seeing. I feel the most alive to myself and my environment when I am drawing. Getting to know a person, place, animal, tree, thing, etcetera by trying to truly observe the essence of the subject not merely rendering what I think I know about them/it.
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Owen Swain is a Windsor, Ontario illustrator and painter who works in a variety of media and styles and is interested in all manner of subjects while specializing in on location, observational drawing, sketching, mentoring and portraiture. He is never without a sketchbook.

Owen’s creative impetus is daily observational drawing that moves beyond looking to seeing, from thinking to being, and from mere drawing to discovering and developing one’s own mark. Owen believes that the Zen of what Frederick Franck coined as ‘seeing/drawing’ has transferable life skills for all.

He is the creator of #tourdesketch, an art-for-all monthly event that includes in-season slow-bicycling Sketchouts with a focus on local culture and heritage and during autumn and winter months, sketch meet-ups with instruction on ‘seeing/drawing’ as meditation as well as good fun drawing, tips, and sketchbook skills for the artist within each of us.

Owen moved to Windsor with his family in 1999 for what seemed a clear path and purpose. Things changed, life morphed, the path clouded and it wasn’t long before he felt discouraged, as though he was living someone else’s narrative for his life. He persisted in trying to make the detour make sense. However, at a critical point, Owen determined the best thing was to simply be more fully who he’d always been, to rediscover his first love and vocation as a person who makes art. To re-learn how to be, rather than to do. He got back on his bike and rode and rode and drew and drew and gradually he came to love Windsor, its people and his ‘new’ way of being.

It’s Launch Day for Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor!

I know I just talked about this earlier this week, but today is the big day, and it warrants an announcement! As of today, December 1st, 2016, you can now order Owen Swain’s adult colouring book #tourdesketch Windsor from the major retailer of your choice, OR you can visit any number of local book and gift shops in Windsor and pick one up there! List of local shops currently carrying #tourdesketch:

Juniper Books (on Ottawa St.)
From the Heart (Ottawa St)
Story Tellers Books (Ottawa St)
City Cyclery (Lincoln St)
Levigator Press (Wyandotte Ave)
PB Books (Tecumseh Rd)
Artspeak Gallery (limited time for their Mistletoe and Snow Show, Wyandotte Ave.)

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Of course, you can always order it from our online store and get free delivery with the promo code: WEDELIVER. Only, if you do that, please be aware that due to an overwhelming number of pre-orders and requests, we are currently out of stock and awaiting a large shipment, so any orders place through our website now will be delivered after the official launch party on December 15th.

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Speaking of the official launch party… if you’re local, you should join us! More information can be found here and you can RSVP here.

And, in case you missed it, #tourdesketch Windsor and Owen Swain were featured on CTV News just a few days ago, and you can catch that feature here: http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1004939

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I don’t have too much more to add right now, but I’ll leave you with this teaser: We’re almost done selecting our 2017 line up. We’ve got one more selection to make (and some contracts to send out) and we’ll be making some exciting announcements soon!  So subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already to be kept up to date!

Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book Launch!

December 1st marks the date when Owen Swain’s colouring book #tourdesketch Windsor becomes available worldwide and also when it will be available for purchase in stores all around Windsor. In addition to our online store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, and ect, it will also be at Juniper Books, Story Tellers Books, PB Books, City Cyclery, Mudpuppy Gallery, and Levigator Press, just to name a few…

Following that, on December 15th, Owen Swain and I, along with our friends at Sho: Art, Spirit and Performance, will be hosting an open house colouring party/book launch from 1 pm to – 9 pm at 628 Monmouth Rd, in Windsor.  Owen will be on site throughout the day signing copies of his colouring book and there will be a mound of crayons for you to colour some oversized prints with! Including a massive Christmas card dedicated to the City of Windsor. So some out and join us any time between 1 pm and 9 pm or for the formal book launch/reception at 7 pm.  Light refreshments will also be available.

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending Owen Swain’s first indoor #tourdesketch class and it was an experience I will never forget. I’ve mentioned before the importance of going on ‘artist dates’ and experimenting with new artistic mediums, like drawing, painting, writing, ect. Well, I got the chance to really put this theory to the test and came away with a newfound understanding of a very deep connection between the seeing/drawing philosophy Owen Swain teaches and the way that I write.

First, Owen taught us all the importance of seeing what we’re about to draw in our minds’ eye and really connect with what we’re looking at. We learned various techniques, such as drawing quickly to get the overall shape of something, and then drawing more slowly to fill in the details. But what we spent the most amount of time learning was the ability, or the style, I should say, of drawing what we are seeing without looking down at the page to see how the art is progressing.

This, for me, had a valuable connection to writing in that when I write I visualize the scene in my minds’ eye and really try to place myself in it so I can see/hear/sense/taste/smell the situation. Usually I do this from my character’s perspective, so I see the world through their eyes and through the lens of their experience. Then I write, letting the words flow directly from that place, instead of looking at the screen and thinking about the sentences or the art of writing. And from there, I try desperately to get to the end of the scene, the chapter, or even the whole draft of the novel, without feeling like I have to go back and read it or make edits to what I’ve already written.

I’ve only just begun to learn Owen Swain’s method of seeing/drawing, but I fully intend to continue learning from him to see how else I can apply this discipline to my other artistic endeavors and to see if getting better at seeing/drawing will also help improve my writing.

That being said, I urge you to check out Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book. It’s a lot more than just something to colour, or an ode to Windsor. It’s a window into the mind of the artist, and a window into the soul of our city, which I believe Owen has managed to capture vividly. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/adventure/products/tourdesketch-windsor-colouring-book

And don’t forget to use promo code: WEDELIVER for free delivery within Windsor-Essex!

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