Title - Living Dreams - 2017
Medium - mixed media on 17 linked box canvases
Size - 82 x 44 inches (208 x 112 cm)
Art is about personal expression....it is an expression of "SELF"
Self can also be selfish..........or at the very least, self-absorbed!
Ross believes that the creative urge takes creative people in many different directions. Personal circumstances at the moment of decision to create an artwork influence the final outcome. This is why so many differing international experiences and influences, make his own creative work so diverse.
Ross has absolutely no interest in finding a "marketable formula" of painting and then adhering to the same production formula for painting-after-painting. His desire for creative diversity and new challenges, is the reason he stopped producing his popular pen and watercolour paintings which he believed were becoming formulaic.
This "Living Dreams" painting is unique. Ross has never produced anything quite like it before. So the explanation above may give a clue to Ross's mental state at the time he made a decision to produce this artwork. His mindset at the time, was to produce a large multi-canvas work with elements of three dimensional profile. One panel is set back and small rectangular blocks of differing sizes are set forward. A form of panel sculpture with an interesting juxtaposition of shape and light effects even when unpainted.
During assembly of the components a final image began to formulate in Ross's mind. The influence of his architectural past is obvious, with a reference to Mondrian in the rectangular elements. The rectangular element then became "City" enclosed within a thick painted line. The outer irregular shaped forms then became "Satellite Towns" and the wavy lines painted from the "City Walls" to the artwork perimeter became "Highways of Communication".
The artwork is meant to be displayed in a public or commercial, rather than a domestic space. The viewer becomes the final arbiter of "Title" and "Meaning" to them!
Title - Cape Town - Table Bay Harbour,
Medium - Acrylic on roll canvas
Size - 180 x 100cm (71 x 39 inches)
This 2015 commission painting was painted on roll canvas, mainly outdoors, using Liquitex Acrylics. The working image size is 180 x 100cm.
I've never visited Cape Town, but internet images and videos plus written information available, certainly stirs my imagination!..... And I do need a mental understanding of the subject to create a painting expressive of passion!
I have already painted several views of the Victoria and Alfred Harbour, with Table Mountain in the background and I assumed that a photo image received, was taken from Robben Island with all it's historical connections.
But my research of Google "Images and Street" made me realize that the photo had been taken from Bloubergstrand across Table Bay Harbour and not from Robben Island. Further research revealed more detail - Devils Peak, Signal Hill, Lions Head, Black Table Mountain - all explained and the images stored in visual memory!
I started the painting outdoors, protected against the elements by plastic sheeting.....very necessary in a wet and windy Irish climate in April. The painting progressed over a couple of weeks and was then brought indoors and rigged on a hanging system. A delivery of art materials, finally allowed for the application of further detail with brush and small palette knife.
Initial sketch layout
Title - Building in Steps
Medium - Acrylic on 47 box canvases
Size - 190 x 130 inches (493 x 324 cm)
Unfilled wall-space at the side of staircases in public buildings is an ideal showcase for large works of art and, this "stepped" artwork made up of 47 separate canvases, is intended for such a location.
Ross maintains that the subject matter of this 2011 artwork, relates to high-rise building forms and cityscape and, believe this choice of subject was influenced by his architectural background..........However, his grandchildren express their thoughts in a different way and, noisily proclaim that granddad has been influenced by dinasaurs!.............Maybe Ross should change the title to "The Dinasaur"?
Whatever the real influence, the artwork started life as a series of sketches. Ross then ordered boxes of canvases and proceeded to lay them out on a tarmac area, in a deliberate form that he selected at the time. Once a decision on form had been made, he then power screwed the canvas panels into manageable panels that could be transported and readily stored indoors.
In order to create a "balance" to the painting, Ross felt the need to paint outside on cloudy days in order to avoid reflection.........quite a challenge in Ireland where rain generally accompanies cloud! Paint application was applied in various ways, using sticks, palette knives fixed to poles, drip paint application in translucent mediums etc. etc.
Laying out the canvases
Working on the painting outdoors
The final artwork laid outside
Title - Hill City (2008)
Medium - Acrylic on 12 box canvases
Size 72" x 48" ( 83 x 122 cm)
This painting is made up of 12 box canvases, each canvas is 12" x 12" square. They are fixed together in a deliberate pattern to give emphasis to the subject matter which I call "Hill City". Many of the world's major cities have a waterfront and the lower canvas was added to give a sense of "waterfront", while the upper canvas was added to give a sense of "high-rise". The outer projections at the side were added to emphasize "perspective", which seems to manifest itself in most of my "buildings" paintings. The impression of "buildings" is created by using blocks of raw colour roughly applied with a large palette knife and then "worked" with a smaller knife to achieve the "windows and floors" effect.
This painting is on permanent loan to the Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin, where it hangs in the main entrance foyer.
Title - Hong Kong (2015)
Medium - Acrylic on stretched roll canvas
Size: 80" x 44" (203 x 112 cm)
Working on and, handling/storing/transporting a large sized canvas, is quite a logistical challenge for me.......and this particular canvas, painted over a period of several weeks, was painted mostly with palette knives, indoors and (if possible) outdoors, as the weather permitted. It was also painted in both a horizontal and vertical plane (indoors) which allowed me to work at night and, get up close to the canvas to apply fine detail.
Some of the internet images of Hong Kong are fantastic! Everything is on such a large scale.......and viewing these images prompted me to take up the "painting challenge" on a large scale.........
The city reminds me of a tropical rain-forest, with a skyline that is constantly changing as ever taller buildings.....like giant forest trees, grow towards the sunlight.
When I start, I outline the basic layout with a large brush..............and then start planting "trees" to try and achieve a "form" to the canvas. From then on...I just "grow" the painting. And whatever "mood" I am in on day, influences the next direction the painting takes.
I do "know" what I am trying to achieve............but how do I get there?........It is a journey that I do try to understand, but certainly can't explain!
Instinctive?....... Let the viewer determine!
Brexit - The politics of confrontation!
I'm disappointed that voters in the UK have voted to leave the EU, but I do understand some of the anger of the disaffected. I too felt disaffection in my youth, having lived throughout the Second World War in the neglected North West of England.
For those who only know the benefits of peacetime, it is as well to recall the effects on the population, of two world wars within the short period 1914-45, which are well-documented.
The personal experience of living for years, with food rationing and the ongoing threat from bombers overhead etc. etc. only confirms to me, the utter futility of war as a means of resolving disputes.
In a Britain long-controlled by an "Eton Establishment", few army officers were ever recruited from the North. Yet vast numbers of Lancashire men were expected to fight for "King and Country" only to be sacrificed on the battlefield..........See History of: Accrington Pals, Somme, Ypres, Passchendaele etc.
The dead included my Great Uncle John Ross (Service Number 19509 Coldstream Guards), who disappeared in a sea of mud..........!
Battle of Poelcappelle 9th Oct 1917.
Only his name remains. I have viewed it with sadness..........!
Carved in stone on the Tyne Cot Memorial!
Consequently, I greatly cherish peace!
And I have been very lucky to live in an environment of comparative peace since my distant childhood. I trust my children and grandchildren will enjoy the same benefits..........How many in this world are fortunate enough to say that?
To me, by far the greatest single benefit of the European Union is peace. The alternative I visualize, is further unnecessary European conflict.
Somehow, we humans seem to have an inability to learn from history!****
Title - Nightclub (2014)
Medium - acrylic on box canvas
Size - 48" x 24" (122 x 61cm)
I have a fascination with and, fear of crowds.
It goes back to my early youth. I was caught up in a terrifying crowd surge at a overly packed football stadium during a local Derby Match and was thrown to the ground!
The surging mass of people in crowds. The passions generated by groupthink. The unpredictability!
From the silently respectful to the screaming hysterical. From the frightening tensions generated by a mob, to the crowd-strutting spectacular loved by Dictators.
I try to avoid, but love to paint faceless crowds!
This painting started life as a crowd, then transformed into an active crowd. As I added more paint and colour my paint application became more frenetic as I visualized the final outcome. A seething body of sound, movement, colour and light. All applied with palette knife and paint splatter direct from the the pot and without pre-drawing.