Swanson began painting The Storm after the Covid-19 pandemic began. He was inspired by a passage in Pope Francis’ Urbi Et Orbi, referencing the Gospel of Mark. The Pope’s words address the sickness, sorrow, and danger of the disease, and they reaffirm our need to help each other.
“We were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying ‘We are perishing,’ so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.”
The Storm began as many small watercolor sketches, each one trying to convey the rowers’ struggle against a raging storm. Swanson chose one 9″ x 11″ watercolor sketch, which he initially called, We are All Rowers on the Ship. He kept painting, trying new ideas on the sketch, and began to work on a larger 15.25″ x 21″ painting, which became The Storm. The larger size allowed him to add many more details to the sky and figures, as well as a colorful border. This painting was scanned on June 19th for use in a Giclee edition. Swanson continued to work on the painting, while proofing the Giclee. With every proof printed, the artist added more colors and details to the artwork, completing THE STORM painting on July 6th. The Giclee image expanded to 19.75″ x 29″. After eleven proofs created over more than three months, Swanson approved the Giclee edition on July 14th. The first five edition prints were inspected, signed, and numbered by the artist on July 27, 2020.
Swanson’s signature is printed on the lower right margin of the paper and the prints are individually numbered by the Studio.