Bee Keeper’s Shed
Emerging Artist Robert Ross has an art opening at the Winter Park City Hall Chamber presented by the Winter Park Public Art Advisory Board this coming June 12th, 2013. The opening reception will be Wednesday, June 12th 5:30pm to 7:00pm and the artwork will be on display through September 12th, 2013.
Robert Ross brings a unique perspective to his paintings. His style is surprisingly fresh and very accessible, while still maintaining an edge. Making a significant impact as a Florida artist, his subjects also capture his perspective worldwide.
In his own words: “I grew up in Flint and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In college, I majored in English and minored in Art. Even though I loved art, at the time, I figured it would be easier to earn a living
slinging words than paint.
I used to write fiction and poetry and even got some of it published. I’ve been a magazine editor and media relations specialist for three universities, but every once in a while a little voice deep inside kept saying ‘Hey, remember me?’
Pink House ( Istanbul, Turkey)
What started me listening to that voice seriously was an exhibition of paintings by Winter Park artist Rima Jabbur at Rollins’ Cornell Museum. It blew me away, and I decided to return to art.
Rima taught classes at Crealde’ School of Art, so I signed up for her figure drawing class. From there I took many more classes from Crealde’s talented teaching artists. From figure drawing, I moved to landscapes. For a while, I really missed Michigan and several years ago planned to return. But when I started painting the rural and urban landscape of Florida, that changed.
I used to hate my daily drive on Interstate 4 between Altamonte Springs and Daytona Beach. But I became inspired by what I saw every day—the morning or evening sun casting light and shadows through the trees, the dramatic clouds that are Florida’s Mountains, even the way rain and fog changes everything. When you learn to open your eyes, you see extra ordinary beauty in ordinary places.
It’s all about light.
My favorite time to paint is early morning. Trying to capture the light, shadows, and colors before the rising sun changes the scene is almost like an athletic contest. It’s taught me how to make quick decisions and paint fast ‘out there’. ‘Out there can be Kraft Azalea Gardens, Lake Virginia or the top of a parking garage in downtown Orlando.
I’m attracted to ordinary scenes, the kind of things that most of us overlook because we’ve seen them so often—a quiet view of an empty lot, a patch of blue sky between two houses, commuters driving in the rain on Interstate 4. I like the interplay between natural and man-made environments. Lately, I’ve been fascinated by some weathered, old, pastel-painted, wood-frame houses in Daytona Beach, FL, near the ocean.
In my paintings I like to balance something broad or expansive –a street, a field, the side of a building, for example—with smaller spaces filled with details. When I look for something to paint, I always look at shapes and forms. The subject matter is irrelevant to me. A trash can is as beautiful as a sailboat. When something catches my eye, I try to figure out what excites me about it, and then strive to capture it. I’m a perceptual painter, not a copy machine. I don’t always succeed, but every attempt teaches me something new.
I paint the large shapes and colors first, working quickly with a large brush or even a beat-up water color brush loaded with paint, and then I move in to paint details. As much as I admire the impressionist style of painting with broken colors, I tend to favor a more expressionist way of handling paint. When I was young, I did a lot of house painting, so I guess old habits die hard.
I have begun the new chapter in my life, currently as a Studio Artist and McRae Art Studios. There I am busy with the work of looking and making, learning and unlearning, trusting the unknown, following the muse.
Robert Ross received First Prize in the Crealde Student Show in 2010.
His paintings have also been exhibited at City Arts Factory in Downtown Orlando, FL and the Gallery at Avalon Island in Orlando, FL, Art Affair Gallery in Sanford, FL, Crealde’s Heritage Festival in Winter Park, FL, Florida Hospital and featured in both Winter Park Magazine and Orlando Magazine.