California artist Todd Swart presents a compelling selection of landscape paintings of urban and rural vistas. Visit his website to see more of his art.
My art is deeply informed by encounters with nature that I experienced as a child in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Those early experiences instilled in me an intense love of beauty which I now endeavor to express through my paintings.
Whether I am painting a dramatic mountain vista or an everyday scene on a city street, my objective is always to convey to the viewer the beauty that I observe in the scene in front of me.
Painting for me is both tremendously rewarding and a never-ending challenge. No matter what milestones I reach as an artist, there will always be room for more growth. I am constantly pushing myself to develop my artistic technique, and to deepen my understanding of artistic principles.
I try to look at each painting as a fresh learning experience. Each new scene offers an opportunity to either trying something new, or to improve on something I have done before.
I paint with a limited pallet of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow medium, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and titanium white.
Occasionally I will add a secondary color such as cadmium orange or viridian depending on the needs of the painting. I paint on oil-primed hardboard panel and use either flat or round hog bristle brushes.
When I begin a new painting, I will usually spend 20 to 30 minutes just observing the scene before I put a single mark on the canvas. I try to take in all the various elements of the scene, and I especially try to take in the “big picture”—observing the scene “as a whole” instead of a collection of details.
Often, I will mentally rehearse how I am going to depict the scene on the canvas. I make careful note of various elements such as the relationship of tones, the big shapes of color, the mood of the scene and how the light interacts with all of the elements in the scene.
Painting for me is a labor of love.
I love the process, and the body of work that I have created. I love the feeling of easy mastery I experience on those rare occasions when everything “clicks” and a painting comes together perfectly and effortlessly. And I love the struggle of figuring out how in the world I am going to tackle a difficult subject.
I love the craftsmanship involved in good painting and the surprise of finding great subject matter in the most unexpected places. I love the joy of discovering a new technique, or a new way of approaching a subject. Most of all, I love the ability to share a little bit of beauty with my fellow humans.
Artist Todd Swart invites you to follow him on Instagram.