Why A Swing?
Updated: Jun 22
I opened up a new studio/gallery space, allowing me the chance to interact with the public and to hopefully get some paintings out into the world at large. I've never been one to shy away from discussing the work I've created; nor have I hesitated to let fly my ideas on where I thought the art world might be headed. I know it takes a sense of adventure and at least a pinch of curiosity to veer off the normal well-worn gallery paths of Santa Fe's historic Canyon Road to see for yourself why some guy would open up a fine art gallery in an old historic mining village.
I painted my very first painting of a Swing at least 15 years ago. It was a fluke really; borne out of my painting process during a few frustrating weeks on one canvas. The Swing was simply three lines drawn in haste to try and divide up a much larger space. I wanted to give myself something to look at. I wanted to sleep with something definitive; just three simple lines, instead of the blasphemous mess I'd made during the previous weeks.
Over the next three years or so, I probably painted 20 Swings, give or take. Once they started to sell, they moved out into the world about as fast as I could go. They were beautiful, peaceful and serene. After a couple years though, I needed a rest. In artist speak, this means, I needed to grow.
After opening my new studio/gallery, I heard many comments about some old postcards I'd placed out on my table near the front door. These were old postcards. Images of Swings painted 15 years earlier. I decided to go back to this motif or idea to see what I could find there. Could there be any depth or emotion, different from the previous Swing paintings? I've always held onto the belief that the subject matter of a painting, or the image, is irrelevant to the importance or the magnitude of the piece. It's been said that Cezanne oranges are everything an orange can be or will be. That's powerful stuff.
So, the question I hear now most often is, "Why a Swing". I have many other pieces in the gallery with images ranging from a burning oil drum in a field laced here and there with people, to a beautiful inviting painting of a mysterious interior with crimson-colored drapes and a rabbit hovering over a top hat. I should not be asked "Why", when it comes to things like that. I heard that question more than enough times when my parents were still alive and breathing and worried about their #4 son.
The Swing, though innocuous as it may seem, I'm learning holds many symbolic ideas for myself. It's iconic and probably came about as soon as rope was created. It's really just a simple image I can use to learn how to paint everything a simple Swing can or will be. I've always felt that I paint to learn how to paint. Ultimately, I create things to help me feel better about my world, my world here inside my small little studio/gallery in an old historic mining village.