John Swan is active/lives in Maine. John Swan is known for sporting art painting-hunting and fishing.
Biography from Stephen B. O'Brien Jr. Fine Arts, LLC
The competition that artist John Swan seeks out doesn't require a panel
of judges. Although he has won prestigious prizes such as the
Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year award in 1987 and the
Atlantic Salmon Federation Artist of the Year three times, Swan has
entered his work in few judged exhibitions. He prefers contests
on streams or sea as an avid fly fisherman. He then paints his
experience with the passion of a true sportsman.
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One of America's prominent sporting and wildlife artists, Swan is
equally adept in watercolor and oils. His paintings bring to life
fishing and hunting trips to places as far afield as the bonefishing
mecca of The Bahamas and Canada's Gaspe Peninsula, also a favorite
sporting haunt of renowned impressionist Frank W. Benson
(1862-1951). "I paint wherever I can fish," he admits. The
result is spectacularly immediate works set in the world's premier
Based on firsthand experience, and often created en plein air, Swan's
paintings are imbued with freshness: the energy of a tarpon struggling
against the line or the quietude of a hunter's early dawn preparations.
Even while singularly expressive, his style is reminiscent of some of
America's most beloved past masters. In the tradition of Benson,
John Whorf and Winslow Homer, each of whom painted sporting scenes
between the 1880s and 1940s, Swan's close observations of nature are
executed with fluid brushwork and a palette of highly contrasting
lights and darks. Like Homer, he employs a full spectrum of blues
representing reflected and refracted light on horizontal planes.
Although much of his work is made on location, Swan is often at work in
his hometown of Portland, Maine. His home and barn-studio are
tucked away in a section of the city that he describes as a "colonial
village at the edge of the sea."
Situated on a tidal river dense with lily pads or ice chunks each
season, his shingled home was once owned by impressionist Walter
Griffin (1861-1935). He bought the property in 1995 and filled it
with Griffin's work. Amazingly, Swan's own ancestors lived in the
house over two hundred years ago.
After studying art at the University of New Hampshire, Swan began his
career painting his two sons and rural Down East landscapes.
About twenty years ago, one of his fly fishing scenes landed on the
cover of Gray's Sporting Journal, catapulting him to national
recognition as a sporting artist. Since then, Swan's work has
appeared regularly in publications such as Esquire Sportsman and Wildlife Art. He has also illustrated numerous books including Joseph Bate's classic Atlantic Salmon Fishing and Thomas McGuane's anthology Live Water.
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