Artist Spotlight :: Staci Swider


Welcome! Every Tuesday and Thursday Tonia Jenny, the 21 SECRETS Creative Director & Course Manager, interviews one of the talented teachers in our 21 SECRETS program for an Artist Spotlight.

To never miss an interview be sure to sign up for blog notifications located at the bottom of this page and CLICK HERE to check out past interviews. Enjoy!

Hi There Creative Friend!

21 SECRETS Face Time opens April 1, 27 days from today! I’ll be counting down the days with you in these Spotlight-Artist Interviews between now and then because I know we’re all anxious to begin learning so much about creating faces.

Today, I want to introduce you to an artist who for me, always paints bravely—Staci Swider!

ShapeI took an in-person workshop with Staci several years ago (the painting I created in class remains my husband’s favorite to this day!), shortly before encouraging her to publish a book (which she did!) and not an Instagram post of hers goes by without a little drool from me. You can see more of Staci’s beautiful work in her inspiring book, Acrylic Expressions but I can also assure you, you don’t want to miss her workshop in 21 SECRETS Face Time because she will make a brave painter out of you, too!

How have your creative pursuits morphed or changed over the years?

I’ve been making art forever, from doll clothing and furniture when I was a child to fabric design in my early professional years, to now enjoying a full-time painting career. Even that has seen changes over the years. Early on, I painted with watercolor then slowly changed to acrylic and now the textiles are back as mixed-media additions into my paintings. My art life it would seem has come almost full circle.

Is there a certain new-to-you material that you just can’t get enough of?

I recently started using GOLDEN OPEN Acrylic. I love that it stays workable longer and blends similarly to oil paint but is easily cleaned up with water.

Is there a “secret message” you often want your work to convey?

I have a story in my mind about all of the animals, both real and imaginary, that live on my property. There is usually some part of that narrative that takes place in my paintings whether it is obvious to the viewer or not.

If we were lucky enough to see your workshop’s “outtakes” or “bloopers” video, what would be the scene?

While I was making this workshop, I knocked over my water container and while cleaning up the mess in my panic, I got my fingers into the wet black paint which resulted in black fingerprints that just expanded exponentially. It was quite the comedy of errors.

What is your life mantra?

In life, I am always saying “thank you.” Even when something doesn’t go according to plan or some disaster seems to have befallen, I stop to find the positive and recognize that there is a lesson to be learned from everything. Remaining positive is the key.

“Thank YOU,” Staci, for sharing yourself with us.

I’m a big fan of seeing the blessings in chaos myself and I love that Staci actually demonstrates this somewhat in her workshop. (Join us in Face Time and you’ll see evidence of the above “outtake” and how Staci made it work, anyway!)


About Staci Swider

Producing exceptional fine art inspired by craft, Aiken, SC painter Staci Swider’s work reinterprets the patterns and textures found in function-driven objects such as quilts and baskets as dreamscape imagery that straddles the line between figurative and abstract. She is a certified GOLDEN Artist Educator with 20+ years’ experience facilitating creativity in her students. Her visual history includes stints as both a corporate and freelance textile designer, professional painter, and author. Her work has been exhibited at the Morris Museum of Art as well as many galleries across the Southeast. Her book, Acrylic Expressions, and four instructional painting videos published by North Light Books are available at major retailers and online.


Staci teaches Beauty within the Beast in 21 SECRETS Face Time

In this workshop I will teach you the advantage of using high contrast to create dynamic portrait compositions by building layers over a black and white underpainting. This dark and light ground will become the lights and shadows of our figures. Color will finish the layers leading to a stylized facial likeness.

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