About Mary Beth Swicord 

Mary Beth Swicord is a certified K-12 art educator who taught art in Fairfax County Public Schools for 15 years.  She has a BA in education from George Mason University.  Prior to teaching art in Fairfax County Public Schools Mary Beth worked in the field of graphic arts.  She brings the knowledge of both the private and public sectors to her business.  Mary Beth has owned First Marks since 1989. She has a deep passion for teaching all ages.  Mary Beth's success with First Marks has created many returning students, some have since studied art education in college and became professional artists.

Mary Beth moved to Reston as a child in 1967 and went to Lake Anne Elementary, Herndon Middle School and Herndon High School. She feels growing up in Reston gave her an innate understanding of aesthetics and the beauty of Reston .  She lives with her husband, two daughters and her Portuguese water dog.  She teaches from her home studio located in Reston.

Teaching Philosophy 


First Marks Art Studio LLC focuses on nurturing and broadening students' knowledge and techniques.  Students that are passionate about art are able to pursue their artistic talents with First Marks.  Mary Beth has devoted considerable resources, time, and energy into establishing First Marks as a licensed, insured and first-class art studio. It is widely recognized that art education and expression are closely linked to academic achievement, social and emotional development, as well as civic engagement.  Arts education infuses a sense of fulfillment that comes from working and creating art. The ability to use the language of art effectively has a profound value that enriches life’s purpose. 

Mary Beth believes that we all are creative beings. Creativity may need encouragement or rediscovery, but is always present.  When a student enters her classroom/studio and they do not believe that he or she is a "good artist," she explains that there are opportunities to discover, build skills, improve understanding and have fun.


My Process 

My paintings start with a leap of faith and then my creative journey begins. I approach the creative process similarly to that of a new artist. First, I open my heart and start to fill the void of the canvas with layers of textures, shapes, and colors. I get lost in the energetic playfulness of the artistic process and welcome unexpected outcomes. I have worked in all different mediums, yet I find painting to be the most satisfying to express my creative voice. I am always enthusiastic to explore other mediums that will stimulate my creative expression. Art carries the message of our inner feelings, dreams, fears, hopes, passion and sadness.


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