Miss Lillie Morris and myself are settling ourselves here in Lovely Listowell. I in my theater seat and Miss Lillie in the studio toiling away.
However, surprises are coming. We have it on good authority that the easter rabbit himself will be making an appearance around town. While you may not see his fuzzy behind he is sure to be leaving goodies about our fair village.
Until next-Staci and Lillie
Miss Lillie Morris and myself are settling ourselves here in Lovely Listowell. I in my theater seat and Miss Lillie in the studio toiling away.
Hello my lovelies. I haven’t painted in a couple of weeks for one reason or another. This downtime has me thinking about my next works and the works I may (or may not?) produce during my residency. Cruising thru my thoughts is a euro-style mini zipping around country roads with two ladies at the helm. While I doubt that I will literally illustrate these pictures I do think that my next works will contain a more narrative aspect.
I was asked once about the titles of my paintings and why they don’t necessarily relate completely to the image. In my mind I’m thinking that the plant life is the silent bystander to life going on around them. We live our lives inside of our houses, having conversations, while the flowers are outside our windows and doors. They overhear everything yet say nothing. So in my titles I like to give a snippet of something that may be happening in the parts of the painting that you can NOT see. This allows you to create your own narrative. These new paintings will still be primarily plant life but I’m considering adding some sort of visual subtext. A glimpse into the story that the garden has witnessed. We’ll see. I’m also drawn to vases of flowers right now so who knows:-)
Next time From Listowell XOXO -Staci
You would think my Virgo brain would be doing somersaults over the logistics of packing for a month. It’s not like I haven’t spent the last 6 researching the perfect capsule wardrobe for rainy sunny sleeting Irish spring weather. By the way, The Vivienne Files has everything you need to plan. Talk about Virgo planning happiness!
And then I started planning my art supplies. And the work I’m taking for the gallery to have something to show while I’m working, and books and videos to sell, and supplies for students. And on and on. Somehow I had it in my mind that I’d fit all of that into a carry on. Insert laughing crying face emoji here.
After careful editing I got that sucker just under 50lbs. Today I pack the clothing bag and see how much 16 pieces plus boots weighs. Glad I decided to tackle this a week early.
Sigh. And I thought I was packing light.
Frazzled. -Staci XOXO
Last year when I was working on the pieces for the Miru exhibit I became interested in textile patterns that mimicked pattern found in nature. That led me down a mixed media rabbit hole where I found 3 beetle paintings that are still some of my favorite pieces I’ve ever created. Here’s a look at how one of them came into being.
Hello my lovelies! Seems I missed last week’s post. Waylaid by the mundane and my general apathy towards anything that starts to resemble the routine. But it’s lent and I promised myself I’d give up the words “should” and “not enough”from my vocabulary so I’m cutting myself a break and offering no apologies.
Meanwhile back at The Hutch:
(Glimpse into my real life moment. As I’m writing this on my phone, because im laptop illiterate but a damned whiz on this here contraption, squirrel! Wait. What?! Oh. Real life. I go to sit down on the leather chair in the family room the dog often frequents and there is a leaf so I go to move it and it is a dog slobber snot wet thing of grossness that clings to my fingers. I try to wipe it on my black spandex workout pants which I’m wearing specifically to piss off Kelly Ann Conway and it just spreads all over the place. I am horrified so greatly by the dog snot that I feel the need to share. Thus is my sexy life. Ireland can’t get here soon enough.)
But about that color range. Recently I decided to change the color palette I suggest for my workshops. I found this nice neat and tidy group of seven in the Golden website and was intrigued by its high intensity. Thinking this would resonate with the folks I get in my workshops I started recommending it. I’m fairly pleased so far but there are a couple of observations I’m noticing and I’m working out solutions. First, here’s the list:
Hansa Yellow lt, Hansa yellow med, naphthal crimson, quinacridone magenta, pthaylo blue (gr), pthaylo green (bl), anthroquinone glue, white.
My problem is with the two pthaylo colors. They are ridiculous stainers and can taint your palette very quickly overpowering any and all subsequent mixing. I’ve tried putting my green mixing colors into their own palette but it’s still giving me trouble. I’m noticing that my students are turning out paintings with a very strong teal overcast and I think it’s from contamination. I know that I personally am not achieving the range of greens that I was hoping for so what to do.
I’m also instructing folks to use two rinse water containers, always using one to wash and one to rinse but those damned pthaylo colors still end up in the white. Technically speaking we should be able to mix a wider range of color with this set and I’m determined to figure out a solution. I’ll keep you posted. Maybe a third rinse bucket? Maybe separate brushes for the greens? Suggestions?
Well hey there gang! Guess what?!
Super excited to share that I will be soon joining Ciel Gallery in Charlotte, NC. I became acquainted with this talented bunch of creatives through my involvement with Olive Stack Gallery in Listowell Kerry Ireland.
I’m humbled to be able to hang my work with this talented group. One look at Pam Goode’s mosaic installation on the side of their building and you will know what I’m talking about.
Except I have nothing yet to hang. I ordered a butt load of canvas and I’m still waiting for it to get here so I can spend the next several weeks toiling away. In the meanwhile I’m painting in water color rag to make what I’m going to use as collage paper. Because idle hands…
Wish me luck on my new venture. I’m finally going to try pushing several smaller canvases together to start them out as one large gardenscape and then finish them as individuals. Blind faith.
Tah! Staci XOXO
Good morning my darlings!
Recently my son, Declan Konesky, also a painter, has been coming for play dates at The Hutch once a week. I really enjoy the company and the creative conversation. There’s a scene in an Art21 episode about Elizabeth Murray in which her daughters visit her in her studio and they talk design and composition. I loved that interaction of parent/child and it tickles me that my own life plays out like that.
One of the topics Declan and I have been pursuing are new workshop ideas. He’s formulating his own workshop plan centered around basic principles of color theory and expressive modern painting. Here’s an example of his style.I’ve been wanting to do another mixed media painting workshop myself and focus more on composition. Personally I can fall into the trap of ‘more color’ when a painting isn’t going well rather than looking at better use of light vs dark and honing in a composition that way.
So my idea for a workshop is to eliminate color and only use ‘black’ and ‘white’. Still play with all of the sexy supplies and art making materials but limit the use of color and force the use darks vs lights. I started experimenting on my own piece and haven’t gotten too far. I’d like to work on this piece further but have been out of town for a few days. I’ll revisit this idea next week when I return to work. Meanwhile, what do you think of working solely in black and white to hone your skills? Are you game?
Let me know! -staci XOXO
Ok my darlings. Time for true confessions. There are two things that cause me anxiety every time I get in the car to drive to a workshop. My gravest concern is that someone will leave unhappy with their painting and I will feel like I failed them. The second fear is that I will be the one who paints a disaster and will look like a fraud.
Well damn if I didn’t paint a hot mess on Saturday at my workshop at Mac in Main. All the way home I beat myself up about it. Then it occurred to me on Sunday morning that I had an opportunity to see what it was like for someone in a workshop who isn’t happy with their outcome and what would I do to fix it. Let me walk you thru the workshop process and then show you what I did to rescue my painting.
After applying texture paste and allowing it to dry we covered up all of the white. This was where my painting already started to derail but I went with it. Some of those colors were too muddy already. I should have added another layer of better color.
While the texture was drying we did a few minutes of sketching leaves from observation and to create a little muscle memory for later. After the underpainting was dry we dropped red paint in two directions to give us some cues for composition later on. I forgot to take a photo there.
We practiced making green and added large dabs of color to our underpaintings. While all of that was drying we went back to our sketchbooks to create compositions based on our initial sketches. After drawing the composition onto our canvas it was time to start simplifying. First step we painted out the negative space. Ok. So far so good.
Then I started adding color into the leaves and those pots. This is when that dull underpainting came back to haunt me. It completely killed everything I tried to paint on top of it. More mud. Pressed for time I soldiered on but to no avail. This is where I left it at the end of the class.
Those muddy tones in the pots brought down the whole tone of the painting. I could have left the leaf colors alone but something was seriously off. The addition of a cleaner white and the black in the background helped to make the colors shine but at the end of the day I still felt like I’d failed.
When I got home I reconfigured the pots as well as changed up their coloration. I also tweaked the green leaf colors. The yellow pot is too high key and overshadows the leaves but I’ve had to sit this puppy aside for now. Sometimes you just gotta walk away. It’s not the worst painting I’ve ever created but I don’t think the Morris Museum is going to be calling me anytime soon. Below are the results from several of the participants. They far outshine the instructor on this day!!! Thank you to all who attended this workshop and trusted me to take them outside of their normal painting process. You all taught me today as well. XO
Probably time to wrap up all of the news that’s fit to print and make space for whatever comes up in the next few weeks so here goes!
Workshops! Saturday February 4 at Mac on Main in Thomson, GA and then March 4 at the Gertrude Herbert in Augusta, GA. Both of those are an all day affair exploring painting. Click on the workshop tab above to learn more. I think we still have 1 or 2 seats.
Then in April I’m off to Olive Stack Gallery in Listowell Ireland for a month! A month!! I’m a wee bit o’excited. I’m offering two workshops while I’m there so if you happen to find yourself in County Kerry or the like feel free to drop in!
Let’s see. What else… Working on a gig in Florida sometime in the late Fall but no dates or details yet. I’ll keep you posted. Then November 10 I’m going to be in Lubbock TX for a few days of workshops. Those will be centered around a holiday theme and if I know those gals it should prove to be a riot of a good time. You’re not going to want to miss that one if you can make it. I’ll post contact info for registration as soon as we finalize the specifics.
I’m still working on creating an online workshop and as per usual I ran into technical difficulties. I’ve put that project aside for a few weeks whilst I work on a new body of work for my galleries to freshen things up a bit. If you are Traveling in and around the Southeast be sure to look them up and grab a piece of Swider goodness to take home to adorn your space. I have a feeling we are all going to need a little beauty while we ride out the next few years no matter what your political persuasion. Remember, art will heal your soul. True story. ❤️
Other useless information. The geese are driving the dogs crazy which in turn is driving me crazy. So I’ve decided to buy a pair of ducklings come spring to add to the chaos around here. And naturally I’m thinking about some kind of Hungarian or Polish inspired little Hutch for them. Because I’ve got nothing else to fill up my time. LOL
And THAT my darlings is all the news from The Hutch Art Studio. See below for this week’s art giveaway of sorts. Tah! XO
This week’s painting up for grabs for the cost of shipping and whatever you feel like paying for it. Because it’s fun to share and I like it when my art flys out of the studio and finds a new home. So yes, in fact if all you can afford or are willing to pay is $1.00, then it’s yours. Don’t be shy! All I ask is that you pay for shipping in addition to your sale price. Last week’s painting found its way to a lucky young man who just redecorated his living space. This week’s shipping will probably run around $30. Note: you are buying the orange painting in the photo below. Email me
It’s time to tackle a few canvases I’ve put off for most of the winter and what better motivation for this Virgo soul than the anticipation of a fresh garden.
PS I’m teaching at City Art in Columbia next week and I think we still have room for 1 or 2 more. More info is on my workshop page up top.
PPS. Starting something new. Once a week I’m going to offer a “pay what you like” offer of one artwork. You pay me what you wish. $1? $50? I will accept the highest offer and mail you your artwork. You pay shipping. Today’s offer is below. “Into the gulf stream of winter” 20×20 on stretched canvas. Ready to hang. Shipping is estimated to be $30 and I will let you know more specifically once the piece is packaged and I have your address. XOXO
Seems the two days of cold frigid winter are now over. It’s 74 degrees in my studio garden so it stands to reason I’m still thinking about these new flowers.
I admit I’m in a bit of a snit today. So I went out to my happy place and created these two little collages with reckless abandon. It felt kind of good to just slap paint around, cut fabric like a beast, and glue it together without stopping to think too much about what I was doing. I could really get carried away with combining all of these colors and textures. To me they are now like quilt squares and every time I move the in progress works around on my table they make a new composition. It’s all I can do to keep from assembling them into something larger.
Focus Swider. Focus.
Sure hope this great weather continues. I’ll be wishing for cold again come April, just in time for my month in Ireland. What can I say. I’m fickle:-)
ps. Here’s a link to my new etsy shop where you can find my smaller more pocket friendly artworks. Large paintings are still available thru their respective galleries.
Since last October I’ve been playing around with the notion of working smaller. Like less than 16″ smaller. And I hate to admit this but there are plenty of my large work out there in galleries to keep them busy for the next several months with a sufficient supply squirreled away in my studio for back up. (So if you’re in the market for a large Swider piece call me! Kidding.) (Not kidding:-)
Anyway back to my thought. Working smaller. I find it difficult to make my style fit onto a small canvas. Most of this is because of the way I lay down paint. I paint the entire piece at the same time and there is a certain rhythm to those brush strokes. It’s just not that easy to get that mindless arm motion confined onto a 12″ square. Below is a piece of water color rag in progress on which you can see what I mean by this.
I’ve gone round and round in my head and with my artist bud @jayjacobsart for ideas. His thought is to clip a bunch of small canvases together and work them as a whole, then break apart and tweak them into a finished product. I like this idea and I’m definitely going to pursue it. Later. Because this happened:
I created a small series of paintings for the Seeds Show at Westobou Gallery. Which got me thinking how can I combine this idea with how I usually paint. And then Eureka!! It hit me. Paint large on paper or canvas and use that as collage materials for smaller works. It’s giving me fits sorting out the aesthetic and mechanics. But I’m like a dog with a bone with this kind of problem solving so I won’t be deterred. Below are a few of my fits and starts. I’ll keep you posted with my progress.
Meanwhile please keep buying my book and videos on Amazon or Northlight. My sincerest appreciation for all of your support and positive feedback. Haven’t left feedback yet? Could you? Pretty please? Thanks gang. Love you bunches. Until later, XO -staci
In one of my videos, Acrylic Painting Studio, “Working in a Series”, I talk about working in a series to sort out art making dilemmas or to try new ideas on a familiar subject.
I recently completed this painting of my lab, Waldo and had so much fun creating him that I’ve decided to try him out in a few different variations. I’m creating two more Waldo paintings using a different colored dog, diff flowers, and a different duck. Now that I’ve worked out the shapes and light/dark patterns these others should come together rather quickly. Above is how the original turned out for those of you who are not on my reg fb page.
Below are some interesting ducks I’ve found online. The mallards on our pond are not nearly this extravagant so I’m allowing myself artistic liscence to stray out of my own back yard for a bit. Thinking I’ll do one golden lab and one black lab. I’ll try to remember to post updates as they come together.
Until next time, check out all four of my videos at Northlight’s Shop and Keep those brushes wet!! -Staci xo
The live auction for our yearly painting event “Artzilla” is this Friday. Every year about 10 of us get together at the Arts in the Heart festival in Augusta, GA and paint live. It’s fun to interact with the public and watch the creative process in action.
This year we had the opportunity to add some new blood and it was my pleasure to get to know Ellie Benson of Cargo Collective. Her abstract encaustic work is expressive and fun. Here’s a shot of the large piece she created during the event. It reminds me very much of this Givenchy slip dress I’ve been obsessing over from the SS2017 ready to wear collection. I’ve got rusty puddles on the brain this fall:-) -Staci
I’m still waiting for photos of everyone’s finished paintings from Artzilla so I thought I’d post some process pics I took over the weekend.
Another Artzilla live painting weekend has come and gone. I sincerely love getting to hang out with like minded creatives and paint outdoors for an entire weekend.
The event takes place at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta art festival in Augusta,GA. This was my 6th year participating in this event and every year I use it as an excuse to try something different with regards to my art making. This year’s goal was to use less color and more light vs dark.
At the eleventh hour I decided to include my bulldog Ruby who is black and white. I think by adding her in the extreme foreground it helped to force a little perspective to the house shape and make the overall composition a little more engaging.
I used as many lightest lights as I could garner from the paint I took with me and pushed the darks to include navy, brown, and dark violet. All in all I’m pleased with the result.
“Ruby Do”, 30×30, is currently up for auction to benefit the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. I’ll post photos and links for the other participants later this week. Let me know if you’d like to jump into the bidding! Support the kiddos and their art programs.
*update. Four days later my son came to visit and I had him Che k under the canvas. The monster was still alive. Until he wasn’t any longer. I plead the 5th.
I came out to the studio late last night to work and was greeted by a rather large and sinister palmetto bug. I captured him with a small canvas. Wondering how long it will take for him to perish. My work flow today may be severely compromised.
I recently had the pleasure to write a guest spot on Cloth Paper Scissors Blog. I addressed the age old issue of “fat over lean” vs “lean over fat”. Check it out at Cloth Paper Scissors.com
How do you incorporate seemingly disparate art materials in your own work?
Still fooling around with a concept I shared as extra content for my book “Acrylic Expressions”. If you own the book there is a link on the last page that takes you to the basic directions for this idea. These little samples are further exploration to that end. Simply using old paint chips incorporated into these tiny collages. I’m finally getting into a groove.
How do you use old supplies laying around your workspace?
I’ve had a thought about new tiny works swirling inside the noggin ever since I found out I’m doing an artist in residency at Olive Stack Gallery in Listowell, Ireland. (More on that later.) Plus the holidays are right around the corner and that always means tiny works for the gift buyers. This concept is completely in its infancy and will probably change dramatically before I ever get to the point of glueing something together. I’m picturing shadow boxes.
Still all remains to be seen.
I admit it. I can be a slob. I like to blame it on the fact that I’m part Taurus. And we all know that they can be a little, shall we say, messy? This is in direct contrast to my Virgo part that simply abhors disorganization. I’m constantly at odds with myself.
So imagine this disaster that has become my current studio. Three boxes shipped from my publisher that contain all of the stuff and supplies that we used to photograph the book, a stack of paintings from the Pollination show that are waiting to go to their respective galleries next week, inventory from a gallery in Atlanta that closed (also waiting to go to their new gallery), and the fact that I’m just too impatient waiting for the new studio to be delivered. I mean, why unpack all of those boxes, put it away, only to have to box it all back up again in a few weeks to move. Am I right?!
And since I can’t bring myself to clean up this disaster so that I have clean work space, the business of Staci Swider the artist has now started taking over the dining room, the living room, and the family room. My apologies to the people who live here:~)
And we’ve not had sun in almost 2 weeks. TWO! UGH xoxo~staci
I love painted barns and when I decided to add a studio building to our property I had every intention of painting the back side reminiscent of one of these charming buildings. Originally I was going to have the barn painted black and add white ‘swiderfied’ floral designs.
I am just totally in love with the contrast of this color combination. I thought that a black building with a red metal roof would be just the ticket to have my own charming polish barn. The shade from the trees would nestle the studio into it’s surroundings and in no time rabbits would be greeting me on the porch and gnomes would be leaving me acorns on the doorstep. sigh.
And then the lot was cleared.
And the close shade from the trees was eliminated. There are still trees surrounding the perimeter, but there is no nestled tree canopy up close and that black building was going to look like a giant dark spot right next to the main house. So I had to come up with another plan. Crud.
Since our house is a warm coppery brick and all of the trim is painted greenish grey, I wanted the studio painted that same grey. However I only had two choices from the manufacturer: gap grey and clay. The samples at the Old Hickory sales office were 3″x3″ and trying to find an accurate photo of those two colors was like trying to find the elusive holy grail. Who can pick an entire house from a 9sq”??!! (I suggested kindly that they upgrade to something larger:~) From what I could tell the grey was my best option so I placed my order. And then, worried that the grey could skew too cool, I had buyers remorse about 24 hours later and changed to the clay. And then I had buyers remorse again and called and almost changed it back to grey but chickened out. I mean, I work with color every day and I simply could NOT make a decision! And the cost of a custom color was financially out of the question.
After actually losing sleep over this (yes, I’m a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to these types of things) I decided to leave well enough alone and keep the clay paint. The sweetest man on the planet assured me that if I hate it we can always paint over it. It’s going to be a loooong month before it gets here!
About a month ago I decided it was time to trust in the universe and FINALLY move my studio out of my spare bedroom. I went round and round with myself and the sweetest man on the planet about building a separate building in our woods or renting a space in downtown Aiken. We decided to build on our property, mainly because we have this great view, and I just love the convenience of walking out my front door, turning left, and being at the office. We also considered adding onto the house and building a room on our upstairs deck overlooking the water, but that turned out to be impractical.
We spent weeks researching pole barns, traditional construction, and portable buildings. It was the purchase of a portable barn by my friend Lillie Morris that pushed me over the edge. You can see her fabulous artworks here.
First we had to clear the land to the right of our house. The sweetest man on the planet found Aiken Brush & Bobcat online. What a great guy and extremely reasonable! We plan to have him back after the holidays to clear the underbrush from another acre or so.
I ordered the style building above from Old Hickory Buildings and Sheds. So far they’ve been really agreeable in spite of my constant self doubt regarding style, color, details like doors and windows etc. (More on that next week:~) Mine is due to be delivered end of November, first of December. I’m so excited I could explode!
Next week I’ll tell you all about my inability to make creative decisions. Turns out this artist brain is not always a blessing:~)
i recently got a copy of the latest Anthropologie catalog in the mail. As usual I drooled all over the pages of white washed barn wood, baskets and natural elements punctuated with pops of color and styled with their usual flair. And once again I couldn’t help but think that marketing my paintings in a real room setting could really have some merit. After all, if you’re buying a painting as part of your room’s decor, doesn’t it help to see the scale and overall feel of it up against some fab sofa and nifty accessories?
Thinking I will try to devote a couple of blog posts to just such a thing. Below is my first attempt. The lighting in my family room isn’t what it should be and I’m no photographer so that’s something I need to address. These two paintings are 30×48 each and were directly inspired by the cold days we’ve had this winter. But I love love love the simplicity of the compositions so all in all those winter days gave birth to something I plan to revisit on canvas again in the near future. Tell me what you think.
I don’t know about you but I am not sorry to see 2014 come to a close. Lawdy! It seems like every time I turned there was a crisis of some kind or the other. Sheesh. Us sensitive artsy types just aren’t made for all of that turmoil. We prefer to create our own drama, thank you very much:~)
But seriously, 2014 had it high points and for that I am always thankful. I made friends with some wonderful people, joined Watson Gallery in Atlanta, sold my fair share of paintings, and even saw the publication of my first reproduction with CAP Winn Devon.
I’m not going to bore you with a trip down memory lane. I just wanted to stop in and say Thank You to all of the folks who believed in me this year. You know who you are. I promise I’m working hard to live up to your expectations because 2015 is going to be fab!! I can feel it.
Meanwhile I’m trying to get warm out here in the freezing South. I need my fleece blanket and a hot coffee.
until soon…hugs. ~staci
I think I freak some people out sometimes when they see one of my paintings evolve. The pieces start out with these crazy expressive swatches of color and then get edited down to what I hope are quiet renderings of what I’m seeing around me or just inside my mind’s eye.
I do this because I like to preserve what’s underneath and tease out images from it, working dark to light I keep editing out the chaos. Because I do this it gives my paintings a sense of depth that I couldn’t achieve if I was painting in a direct manner.
Happy Monday All!
I know what you’re thinking. “What? Two posts in one month?!” Can you stand it?
I’m still working thru my artist block and haven’t really slept soundly in ages. No different than my husband when he stays up at night worrying about our kids or a problem at the plant. I worry about what to paint. And how to paint it.
So far I’ve decided to go back to house shapes and trees. I’m taking my love for siberian architecture and channeling it into the houses and thinking about combining that with the tree element. Maybe the trees are against the backdrop of the architecture. These windows at Nalichniki are what have me all a dither lately.
The man who writes this blog published a book of his photographs. If I can figure out to to read Cyrillic I’m going to buy a copy. I figure it will arrive in about 6 months in time for my block to have sufficiently worked itself out:-)
Time to paint early this morning.
As I sit here at the dentist’s office reading an article about the building of the stone monuments at Orkney Island in Scotland (a Neolithic site predating Stonehenge built without modern tools), listening to the news in the background covering the senseless destruction of property in Ferguson, it strikes me–people today have everything. All of their needs are met. They have food, clothing, shelter, and so much more. Young people today are not spending their energy hunting and gathering in the wild. They aren’t building anything. Their minds have too much idle time. From what I am witnessing from my quiet little corner of the world it seems to me that what we need is to stop making life so easy for people. Let’s teach them to garden instead of handing them an EBT card. Let’s teach them construction rather than handing over the keys to subsidized housing. Let’s give them a plot of land and teach them how to be productive self sufficient members of society.
It all makes me too sad.