Mike Ross’ first interest in art started when he was very young on the farm in rural Iowa where he grew up. Mike grew up loving nature, particularly, the indigenous wildlife of the immediate area and the bird life which migrated through the flyway. After living in several different locations across the west while moving up the corporate ladder, he settled down in Denver, Colorado. Through this process, beginning with adolescence, Mike graduated from pencil and paper to oils in the early years of his education where he experimented in different applications and presentations of subject matter. Photography, which he is world renown, has provided a valuable tool in the development of the painting and his growth as an artist. Hunting, fishing, nature photography and painting are his main hobbies and these interests have provided an excellent foundation for the understanding of wildlife interaction and transformation of inspiration to canvas.
Mike’s paintings lean toward the presentation of the subject animal interfacing with the surroundings through interactions with its neighbors. The colors tend to be soft tones of browns, ochre and whites with the presentation of the animal up close. Most of his subjects tend to be big animals with accompanying indigenous birds or rodents interacting with each other. Most of his works are large canvas presentations to give the full effect of the transformation.
His work has received exceptional reviews from those who have experienced it. His work has been displayed in National Geographic, Ducks Unlimited, U. S. Forest Service, Internet Bird Collection books and several text books used in Universities in Russia, Germany, Canada and UK.
My interest in painting started while I was very young… as in my early child hood. It was in my early years in high school where my ability to put a vision on canvas was promoted by my friends and family. I received scholarships to three institutions but I turned them down because I didn’t want to do my art on demand basis. I cultivated my interest into oil painting for an extended period through high school and college until I entered the corporate world which took over the majority of my time and made it difficult to paint on a regular basis. During these years, painting was a luxury which I delved into on an occasional basis. Fast forward to present day and now, I am not under the extreme time constraints and am dedicating a large portion of my time to my art.
Being self taught, I was very cognizant of the growing steps that I was going through and the evolution of the process. Each time I had a chance to paint for an extended period, I found that was making strides in transference of my visions to the canvas. Also I was evolving from pencil drawings of constituents of my paintings to taking photos and using the bits and pieces of many photos to create a vision to transfer to the canvas.
My emphasis is on wildlife, both in the realism and impressionism formats. Through my hobbies, which include hunting, fishing and photography, I have found myself, expressing on canvas, significant experiences of recent trips and forays which I have recently been on.
I typically have two or three paintings going on at any given time and all are large canvas presentations. Prominent color schemes tend to be browns, yellows, sienna’s and ochre’s. I also trend toward painting with sponges, towels as well as brushes. Sometimes I feel like I am beating the canvas to death. Through these tools and incorporation of layers, my canvases tend to be heavy with paint.
My favorite artists are Michael Coleman, Robert Peterson, Charles M. Russell, Tom Noble and Howard Terpning. I know this tends to be all over the spectrum but, that is the way it is. I am continually fascinated by their new works and am very envious of their talent.
I continually am amazed what comes out of the effort that I see from people who see my work. The work that I really am impressed with are over looked by viewers of my work and the ones that I am little impressed with are the most popular. Imagine that! It keeps the interest boiling and keeps me painting, I guess.