Specialty Workshops & Presentations

Exploring the Microworld

In this fun and informative program, Mark shares the story of how the gift of a microscope began his lifelong exploration of the microworld. Mark shares interesting pictures, videos, and information regarding many of his favorite microscopic subjects. This presentation can be done in person or virtually. 

Kaleidoscopes—The Science and the Art

This workshop evolved from a class Mark first taught at the University of Utah. Participants will learn about how David Brewster, the Scottish inventor, created the first kaleidoscope and discover how they operate. The best part of this workshop is that each participant will get to experience the process of creation by building and keeping their own kaleidoscope from a kit that Mark Swain created. This workshop is only delivered in person.

Learn to Paint with Watercolors!

Mark has been painting with watercolors since he was introduced to them in high school. Over the years, he has won many awards including “Best of Show.” Mark has sold his paintings through various galleries and now sells them from this website (See “Artwork for Sale” in the menu bar). In this fun workshop, Mark will demonstrate basic techniques while creating a painting. Participants will create their own paintings by watching Mark one step at a time. Many participants have left Mark’s workshops with a painting to hang on their wall and a big smile! This workshop is only delivered in person.

Managing Your Mental Landscape—Foundation of a Successful and Happy Life

In this inspiring and powerful program, Mark shares the story of how he healed himself of both clinical depression and OCD. He shares the insights he gained, the lessons he learned, and the skills he employed to raise himself above years of struggles with mental illness. He now uses the tools he employed and the wisdom he gained through that challenging journey to manage his mental landscape on a daily basis. Mark believes that practicing good mental skills is crucial to achieving success and happiness in life. He also believes that all people can use the same distinctions and tools he uses to better their lives. Mark tells people, “If I can heal, so can you, because I am no more special than any other person who has lived on his planet.” Many people have told Mark that his inspiring story lifted them up and gave them the courage to transform their lives. This presentation can be delivered in person or virtually.

My Lifelong Love Affair with the Starry Sky

This program came about when Mark was invited to speak to the membership of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society (SLAS) about his lifelong passion for astronomy. It was very well received—some called it the best presentation the club had ever had. Over the years, Mark has enjoyed sharing his passion for the cosmos with a wide variety of groups through presentations and “star parties”—some hosted at his backyard observatory. In fact, it was years ago at a presentation he was invited to deliver to students at the University of Utah that he met his future wife. “She was one of the students—the one with all the good questions.” Mark explains. Mark enjoys sharing his love of the starry sky with various groups through this presentation. This presentation can be delivered in person or virtually.  

The Marvels and Mysteries of Our Universe

These presentations grew out of a semester-long class Mark was invited to teach at the University of Utah. The presentations present fascinating and mysterious facts about our universe. Depending on the presentation, Mark takes people on journeys though our Solar System, through our home galaxy—the Milky Way, and/or through vast clusters of galaxies millions of light years away towards the very beginning of time. During these journeys, Mark points out interesting facts and mysteries regarding many interesting objects that inhabit our universe—and the universe itself. These presentations can be delivered in person or virtually.

Spin Art—Exploring the Wonderful World of Color!

Mark has been fascinated with spin art ever since he was drawn toward a spin art booth at an amusement park by the smell of paint. Mark has built his own machines, participated in arts festivals, and even written a book on the subject! This presentation had its genesis in a class Mark was invited to teach to medical students at the university on color theory. This was part of a course they were required to take in public communication—how to communicate important medical information to society. Mark taught the students about color theory and then he set up a spin art machine and let them experiment with the concepts they had learned. Some of them had so much fun they kept wanting to do “just one more.” This presentation brings out both the inner child and the inner artist in any person! This workshop is only available in person.

Wonders of the Mineral Kingdom

When Mark was in grade school, he often stopped to admire a beautiful rock garden on his way to and from school. One day the owner, an avid rock collector, noticed Mark and gave him a beautiful piece of Utah wonderstone from the famous location in the Vernon Hills. Mark ran all the way home to show his mother his new treasure. That experience was the beginning of Mark’s lifelong interest in the geology and mineralogy of this world. He has been an avid field collector for decades and has enjoyed collecting underground in many notable mines. He was elected by his peers to serve as President of the Mineral Collectors of Utah a few years ago. Over the years, Mark has shared his love of the mineral kingdom with many groups through his presentations. He enjoys using specimens from his own collection to illustrate the many fascinating and beautiful properties of minerals. This presentation can be delivered in person or virtually.

Pricing and Logistics

Customized workshops and presentations (30 minutes to half a day) are delivered in person, and some can be delivered virtually—via Zoom. Check individual offerings for details. Pricing varies depending on the particular workshop/presentation and the particular needs of the client. Contact Mark with any questions you may have and/or to discuss your particular needs.