Bogdan Świder – Professor of Art at Colorado College


  • Skowhegan School of Art, June-August 1968
  • B.F.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1969
  • M.F.A. University of Florida, 1971

Thoughts on Teaching:

The purpose of my drawing and painting classes is to introduce students to the concepts and techniques basic to these disciplines. After initial explanations, students are given specific assignments that give them working knowledge of these fundamentals. Although a disciplined approach is required, to begin to understand these ideas and develop the skills necessary to utilize the techniques, students cannot rely solely on a tightly programed method of working. The fundamentals are evident in the works of all painters and draughtsman and can be said to transcend personality; paradoxically, an individual approach is necessary to put them into practice. I try to generate an atmosphere that encourages the balancing act of premeditated intention and extemporaneous decision-making, I believe central to the making of art.

Artist’s Statement:

For the past thirty years the focus of my artwork has been landscape. My subject matter derives from sites throughout the American Southwest as well as from Mexico, Central America, Spain and Poland. I dedicated myself to this pursuit after studying the works of master painters and draftsman in museums. I am most influenced by European art from the period that begins in the Renaissance and ends in the late nineteenth century. The paintings of Titian, Theodore Rousseau and Caspar David Friedrich are of particular interest as are the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci, Peter Paul Rubens and Paul Cezanne.

My drawings are done outdoors directly from nature; my paintings are done in the studio using drawings as reference. I don’t work from photos. The paintings are done in oil. The early layers are opaque paint the latter transparent glazes. Drawings intended primarily as reference for paintings are usually worked on in pencil; drawings that stand alone have been done in charcoal, conte and Japanese ink–separately or in unison. The fact that I derive my income from teaching allows me to work slowly and deliberately. Larger paintings often take a year to complete; I may devote two or three months to the preparatory studies alone.

I like to think of myself as part of a long line of artists whose main task is translating, in a coherent way, what they perceive visually onto a two dimensional plane. The images in the Chauvet caves are probably the earliest extant examples of this vocation. They are still of great interest to us today. I hope my efforts are also of interest to others.