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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.

Excerpt: Black Lightning by K.S. Jones

Just a reminder, in celebration of Black Lightning’s launch this month, the Ebook is ON SALE in our store until May 31st! Use the promo code: LIGHTNING to bring it to $0.99!

Black Lightning Cover Final

After his mother’s car accident, Mrs. Abel had driven Samuel to the hospital and stayed until Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack arrived. “Don’t worry,” is all she would say to him. “You must have faith.”

But when Samuel saw the doctors and nurses rush to the Critical Care unit where they had hidden his mother, he worried anyway. He had paced the long hospital hall from end to end while Mrs. Abel read one magazine after another.

At nightfall, Dr. Reed, a frail middle-aged man wearing blue medical garb, emerged through the double doors marked Authorized Personnel Only. With a determined gait, he walked straight to Samuel. Reeking of antiseptic, he asked, “Are your aunt and uncle here yet?” When Samuel shook his head, the doctor stiffened then announced, “Your mother is still in serious condition. We’re doing what we can.” Then, without waiting, he turned and walked back through the double doors as if his job were done.

“What did he mean?” Samuel asked Mrs. Abel.

But instead of explaining, she said his mother was in God’s hands. Then she promised Uncle Jack and Aunt Janis would be with him soon.

Samuel hoped, prayed, and paced. He put all his trust in God to heal his mother.

As the full moon rose high into the night sky, Mrs. Abel fell asleep on the waiting room couch. She was still sleeping when the doctor returned.

“I’m sorry,” Dr. Reed announced. “Your mother passed away.”

With one shove, Samuel slammed the wire magazine stand to the floor, sending the bound pages sliding across the linoleum like racing sleds. “NO!

He hated the drunk driver who had slammed into his mother’s car and he hated the doctors and nurses who couldn’t heal her. He was especially angry with God for taking her, but the fury that burned most seared straight through his own heart. Why hadn’t his prayers been strong enough to save her?

A fiery pain burned deep inside him, so clear and sharp it almost drove out his sorrow. Raging against faith, Samuel looked up and shouted, “You can’t take my mom!” But when no reply came, he slammed one foot and then the other against the floor. He envisioned cities and people beneath his soles. Bad people. Monsters. He would murder them all as payment for taking his mother. But as he stomped, the truth slowly settled. He was powerless to do anything at all that mattered. Feeling his strength drain, Samuel dropped to his knees, sobbing. His mother was dead.

KS Jones

Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.