Sunday, June 6, 2010

ARTIST CLOSEUP • Ardella Swanberg

Gallery at Marina Square Presents a “Close Up” of Artist:
Ardella Swanberg

Ardella Swanberg
Italian Laundry (oil) © Ardella Swanberg

Ardella Swanberg earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, at University of Minnesota. While still in high school, she was awarded a figure drawing class scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute.

Ardella has been an award winning artist since 1962 and has had 20 art exhibits and one person shows. Her work is in national and international corporate collections.

One of her works was published in Watercolor Magazine, Winter 2002 issue, in an article titled An Artistic Journey Through Spain. She illustrated The Centennial Collection, published by Bechtel Wives of the Bay Area, 1998 and the dedication portrait of Robert Lyon in My Heart Belongs to Cayucos.

Ardella declares, “Of all the media I have studied, I love watercolor best. I started using watercolor when I was a freshman in high school and the art teacher told the class, Well, it takes twenty years to become proficient with watercolor.” I thought at that moment, “I better get started!” Watercolor intrigues me because of the brightness of the colors and the way they mix on the paper which is an entirely different effect from any other medium. In the time since I graduated from college, I have experimented with print making, oil painting, and weaving but I always come back to watercolor. I was astounded when I took my first watercolor workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had been painting all my life but never knew anything about quality paper and paint. It is amazing how much better you paint when you buy fine quality supplies. Now, I am careful to select the most permanent paints, the most stable paper and archival matting and framing.

Composition is important to Ardella and so is skillful drawing so she has taken many life drawing and design classes. She tries every interesting technique that comes along but prefers a straight-forward approach to painting. She usually makes a small practice composition and then begins the painting with a free hand drawing, often in pencil, sometimes in pen and ink or charcoal. It all depends on the effect she wants. She was a watercolor purist for many years which meant that she used light pencil marks and only transparent watercolor. She still enjoys that method but sometimes it is too restrictive.

Recently, Ardella has expanded her media to include oils and acrylics. They are wonderful-she loves  not having to “save her lights.” She also love the viscosity of oil paint and the immediate gratification of acrylics. To her, painting is painting, and the medium doesn’t matter as long as she can put paint on a surface in an interesting design.

Ardella says, “I paint because I have to. Some people have to write, build things, repair cars, surf, run or garden. I have to create paintings. So as long as I am doing it, I try to do it well.”

Gallery at Marina Square, is proud to present the artwork of Ardella Swanberg.

Wine Country © Ardella Swanberg
Ardella Swanberg and Jack McNeal hanging Ardella’s
featured artist exhibit at Gallery at Marina Square.