Kathleen Swaydan was born in Los Angeles, raised in South Pasadena and resides in Altadena, CA. Her interest in drawing and painting started at an early age and was influenced by her grandmother, a talented, self-taught painter. In 1994 Kathleen returned to school and earned two BA degrees one in Fine Art with an emphasis in painting and drawing, the other in Art History both from the University of Southern California. She also earned a MA degree in Italian Renaissance Art History from Syracuse University, NY and Florence, Italy. Since completing her MA in 2003, she has focused on making art. Kathleen published a monthly newsletter, View From the Edge, which highlights exhibits at Los Angeles County based museums.
Affiliations: She is a member of the California Art Club, College Arts Association, Pasadena Society of Artists , and Verdugo Hills Art Association.
Exhibits: Solo exhibits: MorYork Gallery, Highland Park, CA, and the Jamison Gallery, Sierra Madre, CA. Group exhibits: The Brand Library, Glendale, CA, McGinty Gallery at the End of the World, Altadena, CA, Jamison Gallery, Sierra Madre, CA, Towns-Burr Gallery, Burbank, CA, Segil Fine Art Gallery, Monrovia, CA, Saga Fine Art Gallery, Monrovia, CA and Silver Grain Gallery at the Skagit Annual Tulip Festival, Mt. Vernon, WA.
In addition she participates in a variety of local art fairs including Art On Palm, Alta-Pasa-Dena Studio Tour, Altadena, CA, Creative Arts Group Fall Art Festival, Sierra Madre, CA, Sierra Madre Annual Art Fair, Sierra Madre, CA, Wisteria Festival, Sierra Madre, CA, and her own Annual Open Studio and Artist’s Marketplace in Altadena, CA.
A longstanding appreciation of Renaissance and Baroque art has influenced my study and creation of art. My initial focus was on the still-life genre not only because of its long history, but also because it provided an unlimited supply of subject matter that could be “set-up” and drawn to tell a story. I have since added landscape to my portfolio.
My still-life compositions combine a variety of organic and non-organic objects , most of which contain a vessel or container the contents of which span the cycle of life and death. Most of these compositions have been executed in graphite on paper. The tactile quality of graphite allowed me to build on the nuances of each surface represented by the objects that comprise my compositions. The transition to watercolor and pastel and a recent return to oil paint, not only allows me to continue “drawing”, but also to incorporate color and ever changing vistas; vistas not unlike the variety presented in still-life compositions.
My art, whether watercolor, pastel, oil or graphite, is influenced by the ancient Greek and Roman tradition of landscape and still life paintings frequently found on the walls of guest quarters in private domiciles such as those found in Pompeii. These images provided a private devotional area and visual banquet for the guests and evoked an impression of hospitality and generosity. This ancient tradition is the undertone of my artwork.