John Swincinski

Inner Solitude
54 x 84 in
My work reflects my time spent in the wilderness each year. Normally, I contemplate a specific event, aspect of landscape, or sometimes a more esoteric concept related to the complexities of the natural world. Often, I’m experiencing solitude. I’m alone fly fishing in a river, hiking alone in the backcountry, or taking in the warmth of the evening campfire…alone. Solitude is a repeating theme. That solitude has healing powers. When I first come out of the woods and into the studio, the experiences are fresh. I can clearly remember specific scenes and events. But my paintings can take as long as a year to complete in some cases. And during that time, my perception of and my memory of those events change and begin somewhat fade until they are stripped down to only the most important and critical components of what they originally were. The consequence of which is that the painting becomes as much about the memory of those events and experiences as they are about the original happening. Reaching into that mind’s eye requires a certain amount of mental discipline and meditation. In my studio, I have a pair of vintage mid-century modern chairs with paint-stained crushed blue velvet fabric. I spend hours in those chairs contemplating the stories being expressed in the applications of colors, marks, and forms. That process also requires solitude. It requires the quieting down of noise from everyday stressors and the constant media bombardment. It requires the setting aside of personal problems and other distractions. All of this is necessary to create an abstract painting that isn’t just about decorative quality and is instead rooted in an authentic experience.