About James

James Swanson

Signature Member of

American Impressionists Society

Oil Painters of America

National Oil & Acrylic Society​

 

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.

 

 

Recent Fine Exhibitions James has had work juried in:

 

2021 Oil Painters of America National Salon Exhibition at Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Gainesville, GA

 

2021 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition at California Center for the Arts Museum Escondido CA

 

2021 Yosemite Renaissance 36 at the Yosemite Museum Gallery in Yosemite, CA

 

2021 American Impressionists Society, Small Works National Exhibition at Reinert Gallery Charleston, SC

 

2021 National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, America’s Best Small Works National Exhibition at Principle Gallery, Charleston, SC

 

2020 The 75th Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition at the Swope Art Museum in Terra Haute, IN

 

2020 Water Show at the McCord Gallery in Palos IL

 

2020 Mackinac Island Art Exhibition at The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum in Mackinac Island MI

 

2020 Oil Painters of America, National Salon Show held online

 

2020 National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, America’s Best Small Works National Exhibition at the McBride Gallery in Annapolis MD

 

2020 Yosemite Renaissance 35 at the Yosemite Museum Gallery in Yosemite, CA

 

2019 American Impressionists Society, Small Works National Exhibition at the Crooked Tree Art Gallery in Petoskey, Michigan

 

2019 Arkansas Territory Bicentennial Art Exhibition

 

2019 The Emerald Isle Show at the McCord Gallery Palos IL - Won Best of Show

 

2019 National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, America’s Best Small Works National Exhibition at the RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX

 

2019 The 74th Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition at the Swope Art Museum in Terra Haute, IN

 

2019 Virtuosos of the Oil Painters of America at the Cutter & Cutter Fine Art in St. Augustine, FL

 

2019 Yosemite Renaissance 34 at the Yosemite Museum Gallery in Yosemite, CA

 

2018 Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition at the McBride Gallery in Annapolis MD

 

2018 Mackinac Island Art Exhibition at The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum in Mackinac Island MI

 

 

2018 National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, America’s Best National Exhibition at the Richland Art Gallery in Nashville TN

 

2019 American Impressionists Society, National Exhibition at the Peninsula School of Art - Guenzel Gallery in Fish Creek, WI

 

 2018 The 73rd Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition at the Swope Art Museum Terra Haute, IN

 

2018 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition at the Steamboat Springs Art Museum in Steamboat Springs, CO.

 

Gallery Representation:

 

The Wilde Meyer Art Galleries in Scottsdale and Tucson, AZ

 

The Dutch Art Gallery Dallas, TX

 

The Little Mackinac Gallery Mackinac Island, MI

 

The Lagrange Fine Art Gallery, Lagrange IL

 

The Arrow Gallery Fort Collins, CO