C.J. Swanson was born in Tacoma, Washington. She always knew that being an artist was part of who she was and who she would become. She was from a working class background where being an artist came as somewhat of a surprise to her mother. Even so she was encouraged and brought joy to her family with her natural drawing abilities. She studied painting and drawing as well as theater and drama and earned a 2-year degree. She was advised after she moved to Seattle to pursue more serious avenues as an artist so she took classes in life painting and life drawing at The Factory School of Art, which was taught by Susan Gofstein from Chicago. Wanting to pursue a more practical side of art, she went back to school to study graphic arts and then interior design, but painting was what she liked the most. That led her to begin painting on her own. Her guidance toward fulfilling a life as an artist came when she met her mentor, who was teaching a Still Life painting class in 1991. This was the beginning of her life as a true practicing artist. C.J. has made art for public projects and commercial murals. With her husband, they operated an art gallery where they offered art classes and gave monthly exhibitions to artists from around the Puget Sound. She has shown her work in many different venues and has sold several paintings. Her work is in Microsoft and Pierce County collections, as well as many private collections. She currently lives and paints in Tumwater near Olympia, Washington.

More recently she is enrolled in an Interior Design Degree Program with the intention of transferring her talent and skill to home interiors.

From the beginning of starting a new painting, I usually am actually not beginning, but continuing from what I’ve done previously. The avenues I take are like the alternate routes to get to the same place.

Sometimes I arrive in an unexpected place that I may never go back to or I’ll just take the parts I like and forget the rest. This all pertains to painting, design and composition. My work is done primarily for myself, because there is the problem of being alone with your vision.

One can look and not see. I, like most artists, use a personal vision that surrounds me like a thick protective shield. We are in our own worlds but very much in your world. What I am communicating, using paint, is the shear joy of living and feeling alive. 

This group of work is related to my most recent ideas of connection and interconnection within our daily life. A work of art says more than one can glean by a mere walk-by. I’m saying, take in the visual, don’t fight it, relax and see without seeing. Don’t make distinctions don’t try to analyze or judge too quickly. Like a dear person in my life once said about one of my paintings “ I like it, but I don’t know what to think”, I said, “that’s perfectly fine, because you don’t need to know what the artist was thinking.”

The new work I made this year is connecting into the super fast pace of change within our city and digital world. The blurry scraped and dragged paint create the feeling motion. The floating straight lines are like modes of transportation going to and fro. Still there are blobs growing out of them. They can’t contain the changing environment.

We are in such a hurry that I should say thank you for reading this! 

Two Artists-One Site

Artist's Statement