Featured Artist: James Swanson!

A Flock Together by James Swanson

James Swanson. Fabulous paintings. The light in his paintings is incredible as is his innate ability to simplify the scene (even though it may not look like it). I love this incredibly clear painting – it’s crisp and vibrant, full of fabulous light, flight, waves, good times, happy memories, movement, shadows – ahhh, it has it all!

James is in a gallery on an island in a place that I adore – with scenes so beautiful – and he captures them perfectly. James shows some of his work at Mackinac’s Little Gallery on Mackinac Island, Michigan. I haven’t been to Mackinac Island in quite some time, but when we do get back there I look forward to checking out his paintings in person.

I love his Instagram page – James teaches, and he often does demos, which are astounding. He posts videos of many of his paintings so you can see the progression – they’re so fast and incredible. He’s done with the entire painting before I would decide what to do next. I highly encourage you to check out his work!

For those of you who may be interested, he also offers online classes!

Here’s a blip about James, from his website:

I’m originally from Beloit, Wisconsin and when to college to be a Forest Ranger, but found I was better at painting trees than identifying them. So, I transferred to The Columbus College of Art and Design, where my brother taught, and found what I identified with in illustration.

My time at CCAD was a whirlwind of new ideas and design. One of the things that I learned there was Work Hard, Play Hard, and after for four years I received my BFA and meet the love of my life. After graduation we moved to Chicago, Illinois to look for work.

In Chicago I worked as an Art Director for Ad Agencies for a few years and found my way into the illustration world, where I created and illustrated posters, ads, books, magazine covers. and animations. I did work for – Budweiser and Bud Light, ESPN where I did the first ESPY Awards Poster, US Tennis Open, The USA Olympic Volleyball Team, The Belmont Stakes, McDonalds, Kraft, and Soap Box Derby. Illustrating is interesting and a lot of fun but comes with a ton of stress. To relive my stress, I started Plein Air painting with friends. That’s when I found my new passion.

             I still do some illustration but have made the transitioned to the Fine Art side and have found representation in galleries around the United States.

My latest news is, I hit the oil painter’s trifecta. I am now named a Signature Artist member of The National Oil & Acrylic Society, The American Impressionists Society, and The Oil Painters of America. I was awarded these honors by having paintings repeatedly accepted into their highly competitive National Juried exhibitions.

I’ve won quite a few painting awards now, but one of my biggest was for my “Loaded Down Woman” which won the Quinquagenary Grand Prize in Painting at the 73rd Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition at the Swope Art Museum, and was later bought by the Art Museum for their collection. 

My eclectic oil painting project “The Artist and the Traveler” has been a nice idea project of mine. I’m in awe of this world, and I want to paint every part of it, so I’ve traveled the world from my studio through networking. I’ve met and made new friends around the world because of it and sold some paintings along the way. The project is about meeting new people and sharing a story. The Traveler tells me about their far-off journey and in my part, I make an oil painting from traveler’s story. The project has kept me inspired and surprised through the low years in starting off.  Many of my oil paintings from the project have received Best of Shows and other awards from exhibitions they have been in from around the country.

            I am also an Educator and hold oil painting classes and workshops. With the Covid Pandemic I’ve stretched my Oil Painting classes Internationally Online through Zoom. I kind of feel like Bob Ross up there, but without the hair.” – read the bio in its entirety, HERE

Visit James Swanson’s website to see more of his work – also check out his Instagram (@jamesswansonart) – beautiful work, and be sure to check out those videos!

IMAGE AND BIO VIA jamesswansonpainting.com, USED WITH PERMISSION…

✍️ Until next time!


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