Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas Eve!

"Jingle all the Way" Watercolor by MARoss ©2015-2016
Now that one of the most celebrated of holidays is upon us. Whether you celebrate it or not, in all the best spirit of the season, a very Merry Christmas to you all. And my heartfelt wish for a joyous and prosperous 2016!

Michele

Monday, December 21, 2015

WINTER SOLSTICE

"Quiet Passage" ACEO Watercolor  by MA Ross
Oh the beauty of twinkling  holiday lights in that longest of dark winter nights! The quiet  of woodland creatures as they pass through a snowy forest. Such a magical time.
It is however,  a bittersweet event here in the desert. The winter solstice hails the onset of winter, yet with the return of the sun, also the eventual return of long hot days.  Fall & winter are our best seasons, and we relish them while they last. We're on the final leg to Sol's return to us in all his full blown glory.

I do hope this holiday week brings you and yours much merriment and joy.

-Michele

Friday, December 18, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

'CHRISTMAS PONY" Watercolor by Michele A Ross ©2015
In case I miss some of you in the next week, I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Thanks so much for all your support!
All the best,    Michele

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Backyard Olives" a watercolor by Michele A Ross ©2015

To all of our USA friends, Bob and I want to wish you a joyful Thanksgiving Holiday filled with good food, good company, and a grateful & joyful spirit!

With much gratitude for all we have and for all of you!

-Bob & Michele

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

WHY I LOVE VETERANS, an Ode to all Warriors

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC
Note: I wrote this in 2009 and it received national syndication. I'm sharing it again - my feelings haven't changed. Read the whole thing and let me know your thoughts. © 2009-2016 Michele A Ross

"I was thinking early this morning about this and actually got a little emotional.

First of all, I'm married to a veteran. My husband Bob was in the US Navy for 7 years during Vietnam, and was there during the evacuation of Saigon. And I'm also the daughter of one. My father was a career Army Officer in the US Army and a veteran of 3 wars, WW II, Korea, and Viet Nam.

Even if I don't agree with all the circumstances of each of these wars, there's something wonderful about someone who will hold a post and put himself or herself in harm's way to protect their group. Someone who will stand there and hold the line and say "I'm going to follow orders and get the job done for my god and my country- my group and my beliefs!" There's something above the crowd about doing that-.

When I was a child in Hawaii, we were stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. One of my most poignant memories of that era was looking at the drill field covered in coffins and knowing those boxes were filled with men who had died for their country and that their bodies were on their way back to families who are grief stricken and in pain. That was the 60's and there were a lot of conflicting viewpoints about that mess over in southeast Asia. Yes, there was a lot of waste in that endeavor, but that was never any reason to dishonor those who did their job, held their posts correctly and held the line for the rest of us.

I know just a very little about what my husband and my father went through. My father spent time behind enemy lines in China and Korea and he was in Hanoi during negotiations. My husband Bob was there at the evacuation of Saigon. I can't pretend to know what emotions they felt in such environments nor what nonsense they had to weed through and put up with from both the enemy as well as lousy commanders, unethical comrades and being asked to do things that I'm sure pushed them violently up against the wall of their own integrity. I'm sure there are things that have plagued them both from time to time and still......, there's something about a guy (or girl) who is willing to take up arms, stand a post, and hold a line for their group because right or wrong at times its still their group....... I just know that while I was playing on the beaches at Waikiki, Waianae, and the North Shore, there were others who were elsewhere in the jungles of Viet Nam trying to get that job done against incredible odds from all sides. And as Memorial Day, and my childhood memories testify, many, many were lost in those efforts. Many, many warriors lost. Yes, I've walked through Arlington National Cemetery, and seen the full ship salutes to the USS Arizona- and I dare you to do so without shedding at least one tear.

War is not the answer and I've always known that- however, what would I do to defend my group, my home and my country? What would you do? We can't handle lack of accord and understanding when the communications have become bullets and missiles, however in the right context I don't think I'd personally hesitate to use such means. Yes, I'd take up arms and hold a post if necessary..

We still need our warriors, and in today's times, we must all step up to the line. Today's greatest and most urgent battles are for our own personal freedoms, our minds, our self-determinism, our bodies, our religions and the state of our immortal being. The battlefields are sometimes intentionally confused and hidden behind big media's disinformation, big Pharma, Big Chemical, unethical legislation and leaders, and destructive technologies who run a constant campaign to make us think they are there to help and that their particular brand of bullets aren't really bullets at all. They are lying through their teeth! The corpses from those campaigns are hidden behind advertising, legislation and propaganda campaigns- but like those coffins on the fields at Schofield Barracks Hawaii, they are there and they are just as real.

So, on this day I honor ALL the fallen warriors, those who have fought and died, and those who have served and lost a part of themselves in the effort whether it be in body, mind or spirit.

I also honor all the warriors still in there slugging on in today's battlefields both physical, mental, social, spiritual and ethical. Those who ARE holding a post, taking a stand, holding the line and forging ahead for their group, their beliefs, and their integrity against incredible opposition and suppression.

Today, I also ask myself and you too- What kind of warrior am I? What post am I holding?- what post are you? What do I stand for?, what do you? What arms am I taking up for the survival of my group, my beliefs, my spirit, my religion, my honor and my integrity? And in fact for ALL of humanity?

As the old saying goes- "The man who won't take a stand, stands for nothing".

I love true warriors!
Our own neck is only as precious as our fellow group member's is.



Find your cause, Take a stand, Hold a post,
Be constantly vigilant, Hold the line

Push ahead for a better world no matter the odds.

Be a warrior on your chosen battlefield and don't let the line be broken under any circumstances.

And on Veterans Day, honor all those who have served in battle, their chosen ones or not, and who held their post, did their job and have fallen before us.

Thank you veterans of all wars! Personally, I thank you very much!"

- Michele Ross -"Mikala" 

My father during WWII
My husband as a young sailor
 P.S., Miss you Dad

Sunday, November 1, 2015

WHAT HAVE WE GOT ON THE SPACECRAFT THAT'S GOOD?

A Challenge from me:
One of my absolute favorite movies of all time is "Apollo 13". I guess because its a story of absolutely overwhelming odds against survival that are overcome by those involved, to a positive and life preserving end. One of my favorite lines in this movie is when Gene Krantz, (played by Ed Harris) says "Can we review our status here, Sy, let's look at these things from a... from a standpoint of status. What have we got on that spacecraft that's good?"

WHAT HAVE WE GOT ON THE SPACECRAFT THAT'S GOOD? That line often runs though my head when I see too much bad news here on the Internet and elsewhere. It has sort of become a mantra now. "What have we got on the spacecraft that's good?" My 2nd favorite line from this movie is when Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks) says to his 2 fellow astronauts, "Gentlemen, what are your intentions?" It is another great line that rings in my ears whenever I see too much bad news or questionable data. I don't just question others on these things, I side-check myself as well.
Our beautiful green blue ball is much like a spacecraft that we all share. Its fun to look at photos of Mars, but really for these earth bodies of ours right now, Earth is the best option. I mean, we're ARE sort of on this spacecraft together sharing space and life support. I have been to many parts of our beautiful planet, and have found beautiful things and beautiful people everywhere I went, of all cultures and creeds. Yes, there are many overwhelming things happening here and there, but especially as we go into this Season of Good Will, Let's continue to look for and find "What have we got on the spacecraft that's good?", and when only the bad seems to be presented, ask "Gentlemen, what are your intentions?" We get what we put our attention on, so let's try to strengthen and accentuate the positive and minimize the negative, and I will try to do the same. 

So, with that said, please share in your comments below, 
WHAT HAVE WE GOT ON THE SPACECRAFT THAT'S GOOD? Note: Only Positive comments allowed.
Please feel free to share this challenge, and let more good news into your life.
-Michele

Friday, October 30, 2015

HAPPY HALLOWEEN & Feliz Dias de los Muertos!

Raven Watercolor Painting by MARoss
Just wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween, or Happy Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Happy All Saints Day! - Michele

HAPPY NEVADA DAY!

Here in Nevada, we celebrate our state's birthday in a big way. While most of the celebrations happen up north in the state capitol of Carson City, we have many celebrations here down south in the Las Vegas area as well. Nevada became a state on October 31st 1864, but the event is always celebrated on the last Friday in October and throughout the following weekend.

I never thought I'd fall in love with my adopted state, but the wild beauty of the deserts and the high mountains has captured my heart as well as the independent wild west American spirit of the people.

So Happy Birthday Nevada, may you hold onto and celebrate your freedom and spirit of the Wild West for many years to come! - Michele

Here are a few NEVADA FUN FACTS you may not know:

Nevada takes its name from the Spanish word meaning snow-clad.

A 1910 law made it illegal to gamble in Las Vegas. In 1931, a gambling bill was approved that made gambling legal again.

Nevada is the only state to possess a complete skeleton - approximately 55 feet long - of an ichthyosaur, an extinct marine reptile.

Nevada is the largest gold-producing state is the nation. It is second in the world behind South Africa.

In 1899 Charles Fey invented a slot machine named the Liberty Bell. The device became the model for all the slots to follow.

Wyatt Earp started his career as a law man as sheriff of Tonopah.

The first recorded white men in the Elko area were fur trappers who trapped beaver in the area starting in 1828.

Bugsy Siegel named his Las Vegas casino "The Flamingo" for the long legs of his showgirl sweetheart, Virginia Hill.

Shrimp consumption in Las Vegas is more than 60,000 pounds per day - higher than the rest of the country combined.

Approximately 150 couples get married in Las Vegas each day.

Las Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other place on earth.

The only Nevada Lake with an outlet to the sea, Lake Mead, is man-made.

The Stratosphere is the tallest, free-standing, observation tower in the US and the tallest structure west of the Mississippi.

Over 38.9 million people visit Las Vegas each year.

17 of the 20 biggest hotels in the US are located in Las Vegas.

Nevada has a total of 315 counted mountain ranges, making Nevada the most mountainous state in the US.

Nevada has more open space than any other place in the lower 48 states. Over 80% of Nevada's land is designated for public and recreational use.

Locals use terms like The Sagebrush State, The Silver State, and The Battle Born State as nicknames for Nevada.

Frank Sinatra once owned the Cal-Neva at Lake Tahoe's Crystal Bay. It is possible to stand in both California and Nevada inside Cal-Neva's building.

Nevada tribes include Shoshone, Washo, and Paiute. Tribal lands have been used in such films as "Misery" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told".

The gross gaming revenue of Las Vegas is estimated to be over 7.4 billion dollars.

Nevada was made famous by the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the richest known US silver deposit, in 1859.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Michele Ross Artwork-Framed Examples


No back to our regularly scheduled programs

THE DOORS ARE NOW CLOSED



Well, I'm sorry if you missed it.  This registration period for the Amazing Selling Machine (ASM) course is now closed. I have no idea if and when they will do another course registration period. For the new students who registered, welcome! I'll see you inside the private ASM membership and Facebook groups.

Meanwhile, its time for me to put my full attention back onto my own Amazon and Art businesses.
Best wishes to all!
-Michele


Monday, October 5, 2015

At the top of Brian Head Peak in Southern Utah


Sept 25, 2015, we drove up to the top of Brian Head Peak , 11,307 feet  and the highest road in Utah, to enjoy the view and the fall color. Great view up there!

Fall Color along Utah Hwy 143


Sept 25, 2015- We managed to get up to Cedar Mountain and see the aspens in nearly peak fall color. So very magical!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"ON THE LOOKOUT" Watercolor by M.A. Ross

"On the Lookout" Watercolor, decolorized
I recently developed an interest in ravens and crows. Perhaps
it is because autumn is fast approaching here. Fall is my favorite
season. It means cooler temperatures, fresh apples and apple cider,
beautiful foliage, and trips to the pumpkin patch.

Ravens are intriguing birds, and one of the smartest. Poe sort of
gave them a bad rap in his famous poem. Since studying them, I've
become rather enamored.

I cheated with this image. I painted the watercolor, then when I
was checking the values in my photo editor, I decided I like this
monochrome image the best. I might show the color painting later, and this one will also be listed as a print soon.
Meanwhile, I've had fun getting to know these giant intellects of the avian world. - Michele

"On the Lookout" - Watercolor on Strathmore cold pressed rag, then de-colorized in Photo Editor.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hello September!

Photo taken last Fall in our local Mountains, the Spring Mountains, NV
Well hello September my old friend. Its so nice to see you again.

for those of us in the Southwest, September heralds the promise of cooler temps and our best and most beautiful months of October and November. Time to get back outside after the long hot hibernation period of escaping the brutal heat.

-Michele

Friday, July 24, 2015

Road Trip- Great Basin National Park


A panoramic view from Mather Viewpoint on the high road  with Wheeler Peak on the left

Wheeler Peak on the right is over 13k feet



Great Basin National Park  has been on our list for several years, and we finally made a mad dash up to see it.
It is Nevada's only National Park, and its way off all the beaten paths, in the middle of nowhere and not near ANY major highways. Out on the far eastern edge of Nevada 1/2 way up the state, just on the border with Utah. The scenic drive up Hwy 93 from Vegas is very much worth it, and the forecast predicted cooler weather, so we grabbed the chance.

The South Snake Mountain Range is dominated by Wheeler Peak which has the only permanent glacier in Nevada. We did not make the 4 mile summit trek up this 13,064 ft peak, though I wish I felt I could.  It is the 2nd highest peak in Nevada, but starting from 10,000 feet with a 3000 ft gain, the average time up is 4 hours, and just 2 hours back. We saw many people head up and watched many arrive through our high powered binoculars and the local telescopes. Driving up the road into the park takes you up over 10,000 foot elevation, and there were incredible views and vistas around every curve. Plenty of wildlife and wildflowers to see as well. The upper campground is at about 10,000 feet and there are many alpine lakes and hikes in the area. Great views of Wheeler from just about everywhere in the area. This mountain range is another of Nevada's Sky Island Echo-systems. A high altitude environment surrounded by a very different environment, in this case, a sea of high desert sage lands. Stunning all around, and a nice cool 52 degrees. We enjoyed just sitting in the cool temperatures and listening to the breeze flutter through the aspen trees. Alpine retreats are so magical when you live in the desert.
Looking North to the next Range

After enjoying the views from above 10,000 feet, we drove back down to the other section of the park at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.

We did not tour the caves as that isn't really my husband's thing and this was sort of a birthday trip for him. We did eat lunch in the nice little cafe there, and enjoyed the view and the recreated log cabin. The setting was beautiful.

Overall a very enjoyable day, though we recommend 2 days there, especially if you are into hiking because there are so many wonderful trails in this park. They go from as easy as wheelchair accessible to the 4 mile hike to the summit from the upper campground.

 Before and after Great Basin National Park, we stopped at a few state parks and other sites in the Ely area before heading home. Cave Lake State Park is a gem of a little alpine lake park above 7500 feet,
and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park was interesting for its history and great views. Both are just south of  Ely, Nevada where we stayed both nights.

deer grazing among the aspens

We had a good time and look forward to our next escape, but for now, its back to my paints! - Michele




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"PAINTED PONIES" - Watercolor by M.A.Ross

"Painted Ponies" Watercolor by M.ARoss on Arches 140lb CP
I do apologize for not posting much here lately. We've been so busy with business and travel.

I have fallen in love hard with the Wild American  Paint Mustangs. We've been to see a few of them in Nevada and Utah and hope to make a few more trips this fall. They are such proud and majestic creatures.

This little watercolor is a composite of a couple of different photos, done in the studio.

On Arches Cold Pressed Watercolor Rag.
Dimensions: Paper is 7.5 "w x 11" tall, image size is about 6x9

Available for $125.00 plus shipping. Payment via Paypal or personal check if I know you.

Message or email me with your interest and I can send you an invoice.

Enjoy!
-Michele


Thursday, June 11, 2015

"LOOKING BACK" - Watercolor

"Looking Back" Watercolor on Arches 140lb CP

Well, I did this one twice. The first one I sort of messed up on a bit, but I love this image so much I really wanted to capture a certain feeling of this wild mustang. I love the wild mustangs and we have a local herd in the mountains near where I live.

On Arches Cold Pressed Watercolor Rag.
Dimensions: Paper is 7.5 "w x 11" tall, image are is 6x9

Available for $125.00 plus shipping. Payment via Paypal or personal check if I know you.

Message or email me with your interest and I can send you an invoice.

Enjoy!
-Michele

Sunday, May 10, 2015

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Happy Mother's Day!
To all the moms, the grandmothers, the step-moms, foster moms, pet moms, dads who are moms, god-moms, and anyone who loves and cares for the future race. Here's to the hardest working people on the planet!!

Happy Mother's Day!




Hau'oli La Makuahone
(in Hawaiian)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

"A MOTHER'S PROTECTION" Watercolor

"A MOTHER'S PROTECTION"
Watercolor on Arches 140 lb cold pressed rag.
Image size: 6.75 x 4.75 inches

I've been exploring my inner Wild West and getting to know these magnificent creatures through the brush. I was fortunate to see bison in person again on one of our road trips last summer. Did you know they aren't buffalo?, they are part of the antelope family. Here's the 3rd piece I recently did.

Available- message me with your interest.

"DON'T MESS WITH MY MOM" Bison Watercolor

"Don't Mess With My Mom" - Watercolor by Michele Ross ©2015
"DON'T MESS WITH MY MOM"
Watercolor on Arches 140 lb cold pressed rag.
Image size: 6.75 x 4.75 inches

I've been exploring my inner Wild West and getting to know these magnificent creatures through the brush. I was fortunate to see bison in person again on one of our road trips last summer. Did you know they aren't buffalo?, they are part of the antelope family.

Available- message me with your interest.




Friday, May 1, 2015

HAPPY LEI DAY!

"Reach for the Sun" - Watercolor by MARoss
May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.
Every May 1st in Hawaii there is a celebration and profusion of the craft of lei making, those delightful floral garlands of Polynesia.

Hawaiians everywhere also have the tradition of "Aloha Fridays", and this year Lei Day is on Friday.

When I was a girl in Hawaii, my friends and I would scour the neighborhoods and pick flowers and make dozens of lei. Unfortunately we didn't strictly always ask for permission.

Since I lived on an Army Post, this got interesting one year when my friend Tina and I were caught stripping the plumeria trees in the Post Commander's yard- Uh Oh... Well, after thoroughly scaring us to death with a stern warning, the General invited us in for cookies an lemonade. Still, we learned to ask permission in the future. I miss the flowers of Hawaii, and still paint them though I can no longer find them out my windows. HAPPY LEI DAY! - Michele

Monday, April 20, 2015

SOLD! Bison Watercolor

It doesn't even have a name yet!



This small American Bison watercolor was just sold to a collector from Missouri who also wants to use it on his professional note cards, so he gets to help give it a title- just love that!



Sunday, April 19, 2015

FADING AWAY BEFORE YOU'RE GONE

My husband & I were speaking to a young man a few days ago. This is someone who has been in our circle of acquaintances for over 5 years. We know both his parents, we know his brother, we know many of his friends, he knows our son, but I realized he didn't really know us at all, where we've been, what we've done, our accomplishments, or what’s important to us at this time.

This got me to thinking about something that has been rolling around in my mind for a few years now. Something about getting older, that most young people probably don’t know at all. I know I didn't when I was younger.

It is how we fade away or disappear while we’re still here.

I’ll back up a bit and see if I can clarify what I mean.

5 years ago, we moved to a new city and state after living in California for over 30 years. We came here for several reasons, and one was to help a particular group that is close to our heart. So, we knew a few people, some from So Cal, others as friends of friends, but no one here really knew our history, our story.

Then a few years ago, I started to lose some friends, meaning that they passed away. One in particular was someone we’d known for nearly 30 years. He was part of a couple who have been long time friends of ours. The effect this had on me was pretty profound. It was as though a piece of me was gone. 


When you lose a long time friend or partner, someone who has been there for years, someone who knows a large part of your story, because they've been viewing your life from their view and position in space for decades, it is as though a piece of your story fades away. That person’s view of your life, their years of participation and knowledge about you is suddenly absent. It makes one feel as though you are fading away a bit yourself. Then I lost a few more, people I've known well or a little for many, many years. More pieces of my story dropping out of the picture.

Am I making sense? Does anyone else understand this?

There’s a tradition in some cultures that I really like, but it has become a lost art form in most places. It is how one introduces oneself to new people. You are asked to tell your story. This is so people get a good understanding of who you are and then know who they are speaking to or dealing with. You don’t tell a made up story, you tell the real one. Your lineage, your accomplishments, where you've been and what you've done, as a person. Its not just a resume, it is the story of who you are and how you got here.  Of course the older you are, the longer the story.

When my husband and I were speaking with this young man the other day, there was a lot of assumption about who we are, and a lot of missing information about our story. We had assumed he knew more about us, and he had assumed he knew all about us. We were all wrong in our assumptions, and we were all a bit surprised by what we discovered. Since we were discussing the possibility of a working relationship on a project, it was important to me that he know a bit more about us than he thought he already knew, more than just the tiny corner that gets exposed in purely social encounters.

I think it is one of the things I treasure most about long term relationships whether marital/ personal or friendship. They KNOW your history, your story, the good, the bad, the ugly and the wonderful. There’s a lot less explaining to do, because they already know most of it. They "get it", because they were there at the time. They played a part in your play in some way so usually know the overall script.

In this modern era of social networking, instant information, Facebook, tweets and texts, it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we know all about someone or something when we really don’t. I've made this mistake many times myself. There’s no substitute for one on one conversation, in long letters or emails, over coffee, over dinner, on a trip together, recreating together, and just listening. There’s no substitute for hearing someone out fully, no substitute for a hug or a touch.

So what am I trying to say? 

Don’t assume you know someone until you've really gotten to know them through both observation. experience and communication. Don’t assume you know why they do what they do unless you've taken the time to get the whole scoop and gathered enough understanding of their story. You don’t have to agree with everything, just listen and understand, and let them know they've been understood. Fragments and glimpses aren't enough to really “get” someone.

To younger people out there, I suggest you take the time to really get to know some older folks in your lives. Get their whole story, go beyond the wrinkles, gray hairs, or eccentricities to find what lights up their eyes, and don’t let them fade away or disappear before they are actually gone. Don’t be so impatient, there might actually be more to them than you can currently see.

To those who are my age or older, don’t stop broadcasting your story to people, especially to those who actually care and might be interested. Your story is important to someone, including you, but it’s up to you to make it known. Return the favor by really getting to know the younger people in your lives, be patient, listen, they do not have the hindsight of years that we do. Validate their energy, hopes and dreams even if they sometimes remind you of your own lost dreams.

To everyone, including myself, I suggest we tell people now and regularly how much you love and appreciate them both young and old. Don’t wait. Too often we do and end up sharing our accolades at a
 memorial service where the one person who needed it most is no longer there. Just don’t wait, do it now, do it publicly, lovingly and lavishly, do it personally, pick up the phone, invite them to dinner, to tea, to a picnic, or write them a long letter. Tell them what you like about them, what you appreciate about them, what you love laughing about with them. Be interested in their whole story.

We are all pieces of the puzzle of each other’s lives in some way. Any piece that goes missing leaves a hole in the picture for both parties. As in a puzzle, the piece on its own isn't as easily understood, but when you understand how it fits into the wider picture, its unique purpose, contribution, value and beauty can then be fully seen and appreciated. 


Just like the people in our lives. 

Thanks for listening.
-Michele


Thursday, March 12, 2015

"PRICKLY PEAR PARTY" Watercolor © 2015 Michele A Ross

PRICKLY PEAR PARTY- Watercolor by Michele Ross ©2015
I have been continuing on the cactus theme, playing with how to paint desert themes in my own way. This party of prickly pear cacti so full of fruits and blossoms seemed to me to be dancing by the light of the moon.

Available on Etsy. Image size 10x5.75 inches on Arches 140 lb cold pressed rag. Feel free to message me with any questions. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

EVENING BLOSSOMS- Watercolor by Michele Ross Artist

A week ago I got news that my friend Reuben had passed away. This is a painting based on Reuben's photo of a cactus growing near his delightful hilltop home in Southern California. He took it on one of his walks. I took some artistic license and added the moon and feel of evening. Reuben bloomed brightly and beautifully as a person. He loved people, and nature and laughter. I will surely miss you Reuben, safe journey my friend.



Image size 6.5 inches by 10 inches. Unframed. Available for purchase on Etsy, or just send me a message.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

WORLD BOOK DAY- He said he'd never been in a house with so many books?

I heard a rumor it was "World Book Day" today.

What a lovely idea! However, I remember a time when every day was a book day.

This is a picture of  a section of 2 of my 5 large bookshelves, mostly the art reference section. Recently my son had a friend over to visit and he told my son that he'd never before been in a house with so many books. I thought that was a bit sad, is it that unusual these days?

My shelves are cluttered and need a bit of organizing, but I love books, and I love my books. So many are like dear old friends who give me insight and pleasure over and over again.  Happy World Book Day! Read a book, make a friend for life.
-Michele


Sunday, March 1, 2015

WHITE PRICKLY POPPY- Watercolor

White Prickly Poppy- Watercolor by Michele A Ross © 2015
I've been away too long from my brushes. So I whipped out this little watercolor tonight.

The White Prickly Poppies grow in the higher desert mountain altitudes here in Nevada. They are really quite pretty.





Its just a small piece, painted area is 6.5 inches x 4.5 inches on Arches 140 lb Cold Pressed. Available for $45.00  plus shipping right now.


Friday, February 27, 2015

WHAT I LEARNED FROM MR. SPOCK ABOUT ART

Artwork by Tsuneo Sanda 
Do you remember where you were when that first Star Trek Episode ran on September 8, 1966?

Perhaps you're too young, but I do. I was in the Lanai of my family's house in Hawaii, and very excited.

My older brother and I had argued decidedly with our father for the right to watch this new show. Dad thought Science Fiction was pretty much a waste of time. Of course he had other things on his mind, him being an Army officer and it being the middle of the Vietnam war.

For the next 2 1/2 years my brother and I watched that show with rapt attention. Few shows "transported" me such as this one, and yes that's a pun. Books had done that, but this show, at this time, was painting a very big picture of life that I had never dreamed of before. And then there was that logical character Mr. Spock. I found him a refreshing and funny change from the high emotions of the decade at the time. I simply loved him.

I have long felt that artists are the dreamers that dream future realities that science runs hard to catch up with and produce. Star Trek gave us a picture of many things that have now come into being.  Instant wireless communication, computer tablets, computers in general, and a sense of space and bigness, and living in peace with many types of beings and species. It was a great picture of life and one that only got better with Star Trek the Next Generation. The medium was not paint, but it was a moving and mind stretching weekly panorama. The best of Science and Art for me. I shall miss Leonard and Mr. Spock, as apparently will millions of others.

Keep dreaming those dreams all you artists,  this mission too is ours:

 "...To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before."  
-Michele

Note: Image artwork by Tsuneo Sanda

Friday, February 20, 2015

WHY MERCHANDISE YOUR ART ?

My Paintings on Merchandise
Well, I don't know. I suppose its because its a great way to get your art out there and known, as well as make some extra cash. We have great examples out there in other forms. Movie merchandise. Have you ever bought a Star Wars item? Performers and musicians merchandise, ever bought a T-shirt from your favorite band?

Okay, don't hate me yet, just read on.......

We image artists have been able to deliver quality printed artwork for many years now thanks to sites like Fine Art America Online and others, but why stop there?

These days its easier than ever for painters, photographers and other visual artists to create merchandise thanks to online services like Redbubble, Zazzle, Cafe Press, and many others. And don't think 3-D artists can't do it too. I know one potter who is selling beautiful note cards with images of her pottery pieces, and a sculptor can do the same. Why not? Its great paid for promotion for your work, and if someone can't afford the larger piece or they don't have room for it, they can at least acquire a small memento of it and help promote the work! I recently spoke to another painter who had a major merchandising activity on a few of these sites, and I was astounded at the profitable volume she's been doing.

Oh, I know many artists frown on this sort of thing, but I just think we have to do all we can to make our works known. Yes, I know images sometimes get stolen when you post them on line. It happens, that's just a fact of life these days. Don't let it stop you from getting your work out there, its not doing a lot for you sitting in your studio or image files is it?

Don't get mad yet, keep reading.........

A very wise successful painter once told me. When you're at a show, don't hand out business cards or brochures with your art printed on them. Make small pieces to sell like note cards, small prints, etc. and let them help fund your advertising. Make sure your website and contact information is on those pieces so they can find you again. I learned this lesson even more acutely when I helped a friend of mine make a bunch of small prints of her originals just before a show. She had only her original paintings in the show, and because of the show's location, I thought small prints would be good to have. Well, one customer who had little money bought several small prints. Several years later, that same customer, who now had much different financial circumstances, commissioned 8 large originals from my friend!  Wow! Never presume that someone might not remember you if you treat them well and give them something they can have and afford.

Personally I've saved up sometimes for years for an original piece. I might not tell anyone, but I keep that note card or small image in my files and circle that thing like a hawk to see if anyone else snatches it. If they do they do, but I've often surprised a fellow artist who didn't even know I was looking!

Another tip is to not presume what might be popular. One of my paintings that I wasn't overly happy with, I added to a line of merchandise. It turned out to be one of my best selling images! So unless you really personally hate it,  just don't assume anything. People often have surprising tastes, and our tastes aren't all the same.

Okay, this MAY not be for everyone, and of course what is most important is to keep producing art and increasing your skills, then produce more art, and get it out there to be seen. I just want you to think about it, and the importance of making your art known as broadly as possible.

The world needs more art, and artists need to thrive. The biggest brands don't use just one or two outlets. Coke doesn't sell its merchandise in a single store, and in my opinion neither should artists.

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Document everything digitally as soon as its done. Take quality scans and photographs, or have them done. Never sell the copyrights to an original unless that is purchased for additional money, but even at that I suggest you keep the copyrights to all your own work if at all possible. One caution though is not to argue with a collector about this. If they want the copyright, great, just make sure you've priced the work appropriately for that.

2) If you are worried about reproduction work competing with your unsold originals, then start making merchandise from images of sold works only.

3) Stay organized or get help doing so. Keep well cataloged files of your images, descriptions and testimonials etc. You will use these over and over.

4) Lastly, don't be afraid to promote other artists as well through affiliate links and social network sharing of things you like. I know this can push some people's buttons, but I sell more of my own work when I also promote other artists, and frankly, we need to promote art in general a lot more to keep public awareness and goodwill high.

5) Have fun! Oh, and please share this post for me.

-Michele
©2015 Michele A Ross

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday- MONTANA BLACKFOOT WARRIOR Drawing

Drawing of Blackfoot Warrior I did when I was 11
Well this one does go way, way,back.

I tried really hard to read the date on the bottom of the scan, but I just cannot make it out. I've lost track of the original drawing.

I believe I drew this when I was about 11 or 12 years old. The title on it says "Eagle Calf, Montana Blackfoot Indian"

I don't know where I got the reference for it, most likely a book, or novel I was reading at the time. I remember being very enthralled with making this drawing, as I was so interested in Native American culture. Perhaps because I lived so long away from the American Mainland.

Little did I know back then that I would later meet and have friends who are members of the Montana Blackfoot. That a mentor of mine would be someone who lived with them, and that I myself would marry a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Not bad for a little blue-eyed white girl born in Asia. - Michele



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!

As of February 19th it will be the "Year of the Sheep" or the Ram, or the Goat depending on where you look it up.

When I was a girl in Hawaii, it was one of the most magical celebrations of the year! Dragon dances, red banners and ribbons everywhere, firecrackers, and food. Oh the Food!! It was always a good time.

I now live in the American Southwest, in Las Vegas, Nevada which is known to Hawaiian's as "The 9th Island". That's another story, but Las Vegas has the largest population of Hawaiians outside of Hawaii. It is also a popular destination for many of Chinese descent.  So, in honor of  my present location I've given you an image of a watercolor painting I did of Nevada's state animal, the Desert Bighorn Sheep.

Happy New Year my friends!! Xin Nian Kuai Le ! Gong Xi Fa Cai. 
-Michele


Sunday, February 15, 2015

OF PRESIDENTIAL OATHS AND ART

Me hanging with Abe in 2009 at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.

Monday Feb 16 is President's Day here in the USA.
Its an odd holiday isn't it?  We used to celebrate Washington and Lincoln's Birthday's separately, and now that's all rolled into one. And what happened to Jefferson? He was the author of the Constitution after all.

Each US president has taken the following Oath of office.:

 "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

That is their job and what they are sworn to do. This is important to me as an artist and a citizen, because that document was written to protect our right to pursue our own dreams and happiness. Art is a big part of my happiness, and it seems I'm not alone.

 
A watercolor painting by Ulysses S. Grant, 8th  US President
Oil painting by Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Did you know that there have been several presidents who painted? Ulysses S. Grant painted  watercolors. The esteemed Civil War Union general and 18th president seems to have had a head start in the art world relative to his fellow president-painters. In 1840, when he was as young as 18, Grant had already completed a watercolor landscape as a gift for Kate Lowe, his girlfriend at the time. Upon arriving at West Point Academy for cadet training, the future military hero more formally studied painting under Romantic artist Robert Walter Weir. As president, he took pride in his ability not only to command armies, but to create art as well.
Dwight Eisenhower also painted.  Eisenhower, already having served as a soldier and the president of Columbia University in his time before assuming the United States presidency, came to painting later in life than Grant. While observing Thomas E. Stephens painting a portrait of his wife, Mamie, he was struck with curiosity, but not necessarily any desire to emulate the artist’s work. When Stephens optimistically sent the Columbia University president a complete painting kit of his own, Eisenhower enjoyed the challenge of experimentation, but remained unconvinced that he had the innate skill necessary to make it as a painter. Not until Eisenhower was 58 years old, Chief of Staff of the Army, and influenced by his good friend and fellow politician Winston Churchill—an avid painter himself—did he take up the hobby seriously.

In addition to Grant and Eisenhower, both Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush have taken brush and paint artistically.  And of course it is relatively well known that our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson was an architect as demonstrated by his primary residence, the beautiful Monticello .
Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia

Many men of power have had artistic careers or pastimes over the centuries. It is an activity that we all need and which balances and stimulates the intellect in my opinion.

For me, it is the "stuff of life"!


- Michele

Friday, February 13, 2015

VALENTINE'S DAY- The Bloody Truth

Well, not really.
I just want to wish everyone a very HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

However, if you want to read the bloody truth you can do so here .

Despite the bloody history, I think its wonderful that we've turned it in to a celebration of love. I'm fortunate to have my own long time Valentine who brings me anthurium flowers like the ones in my painting here. If you don't have your own Valentine this year, just go find someone to do something nice for. It can be anyone, a child, an elderly person, or just a lonely friend. Just do it,  it will brighten your day, and theirs and that is a big deal!
-Michele

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

HAWAIIAN TRUMPETS - Throwback Thursday

HAWAIIAN TRUMPETS- Watercolor (Sold)

This goes back to 2002, and my 2nd re-visit to the Big Island of Hawaii.

I love  Brugmansia, also known as Angel's Trumpets. They grow all over the islands and can get quite tall. As we were driving down to Kealakekua Bay one morning, we parked near a lava wall that had a big bunch of these growing beside it. I just had to paint them.

In my walks among the neighborhoods on the island, I've also seen these things grow as tall as large trees. They fascinate me. A poisonous yet beautiful plant with such elegant blooms.

As I recall, this little watercolor sold in just a few days after I listed it for sale, though prints can still be obtained. I think I'll have to paint some more sometime, they are so beautiful.

-Michele

Sir Richard Branson and ART

Sir Richard Branson in person at a conference in Las Vegas
Why does an artist and art promoter attend a seminar that trains people how to accomplish Private Label Branding and sell things online?  Well, I think you can guess.

Its a branding and marketing thing.

As artists WE are each of us our own brand, and though there are many far more expert than me,  I have the determination to help myself and other artists be better promoters, marketers and sales people of our own work.

And so, I started building brands of physical products online to augment not only my income but to help me learn more about the online marketing of art. Then for the 3rd time in time in the last year I attended a conference that has one of the finest gatherings of expert teachers of online traffic marketing for shall we say, the less experienced and nerdy. I felt like Alice stepping through the looking glass, and discovering a whole new world out there.

There is hardly a more recognized personal brand than Branson and his Virgin empire. He is the face of his own empire and someone who backs it up with some of the most adventurous and outrageous public relations capers in history. He is a force and power all his own.

This last Saturday I got to sit in a room with 4,000 other marketing geeks and geek aspirants and listen to Sir Richard tell his unique and fascinating story. He was humble, gracious, and unassuming. One could not forget however, the fact that this very identifiable person commands a business, marketing and philanthropic empire of his own making. Branding and Public Relations has been his particular stock and trade, and of course, delivering  a better service and client/customer experience than most. I mean.. have you flown on Virgin?

There was certainly plenty of food for thought on how we artists can better market, promote and serve our own clientele and collectors. Yes, plenty of ideas there.

For a 8 minute clip of part of  Branson's click here :  Branson in Las Vegas Feb 7 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TEMPLE BELLS & BIRTHDAYS


"Thai Lotus Buds" - Watercolor by Michele RossIt’s my Birthday!
Its my birthday!
At exactly  11:15 AM Bangkok time on January 29th. So, my birthday celebrations begin at 8:15 PM Jan 28th Nevada time.
Yes, I was born in Thailand, the youngest of 5 children of American parents.  Dad was in the Army of course and an officer, so the whole family lived there.  I have always loved the Thai culture, its art, its Buddhism , the temples , the food and the lush colors. One of my earliest  audio memories is of the bells that line the roofs of the temples by the hundreds and tinkled in the breeze. I now have bells like this on my own patio.   
Tropical climates are still my favorite, the flowers, fruits and smell of the moisture laden air.
Bronze Thai temple bells


My dad was also an artist, doing mostly watercolors as they were easiest to carry when you’re jaunting around the world with a large family, or as in his case, behind enemy lines in the middle of a war.  So today, I’ve also posted one of his paintings of a rural scene in the country of my birth. 
A watercolor my dad did of rural Thailand

Ahh Thailand, I hope to see you yet again one day! Meanwhile, I'll be off to a good Thai restaurant to celebrate! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

On Growth,Change and Love of Place & People

Jean & I together on the Kona coast in 2002 near where she lived
My birthday is this week. Birthdays always make me nostalgic, and miss old friends and good times together.

One example is my friend Jean. She is leaving Hawaii  next week after living there for over 15 years.  I rediscovered Hawaii again after Jean and her husband Kawika (David) moved there.  It had been 30 years since I had returned to the state which held such fond childhood memories for me.   

Rediscovering Hawaii and learning about Hawaiian history and culture from Jean and Kawika in a way I never knew before has been like rediscovering a childhood friend and engaging in a long languid love affair.  It is an affair that I've greatly enjoyed.

Hawaii Island has provided years of beauty to all my physical and spiritual senses. I've sketched and painted her landscapes, beaches, people, flowers and moods for many years.  I've had dozens of magical mystical moments on that island. To this day if I feel unsettled about things I only have to envision myself floating in Honaunau bay, smelling fresh plumeria, or breathing in that lovely Kona air as I first step off the plane. It calms me right down.

Unexpectedly in April 2013, we lost Kawika to a stroke.  My beloved Hawaiian brother and friend
A photo I took of Kawika in 2007 at Punalu'u
of  almost 30 years was gone. Kawika was such a huge force and large presence for those who knew him.  As a couple, Jean and Kawika were one of those pairs that my husband and I have known for decades.  These are the type of friends that you can go years without seeing, then pick right up again as though it was last week.  The type of friends that you don’t have to re-explain yourself to, or recite your history to, because they know it already, they've been part of it, and even when they disagree with you, they love you and you love them. There is something about losing a friend of long duration. It makes you feel that a part of yourself is gone, because that person’s view, that long historical view they’ve had of your own life and existence is suddenly gone.   So, yes, when Kawika left, it was as if a big chunk of my own life disappeared. There was one less person  on this earth who knows  my story, the story of my years.
My husband Bob & Kawika  near Hilo in 2007
Jean is now returning to her native California to start a new phase of her life. A brave and exciting move. California is where we all met in the first place all those years ago. She will have many old friends and family to welcome her there. This is good to have as one gets older.  

When I first heard of Jean’s decision to leave Hawaii, I was very sad.  I was sad for her as I know how  much she loves Hawaii Island and her wonderful friends there. Part of my sadness was also selfish since I've enjoyed many visits to the island while she’s lived there.  But mostly I enjoyed my visits with my friend Jean.  So was it the place or the person?

I moped and mourned for a few days, and it dawned on me that although I love Hawaii passionately, it will not be quite the same for me without my friend Jean there to share it with.  That combination of good friends in a beautiful place with a mutual love for that place is so intoxicating. Because of Jean and Kawika I never stayed in a hotel, but stayed with them.  I cooked with and broke bread with them and their friends. I sipped wine and talked late into the night with them. They welcomed my husband and grown children into their home.  Because of them  I got to be with and know local people and places, and to feel the core of the islands, underbelly and all,  their history, their sorrows and joys and the real culture. I went to political rally’s, local luaus, concerts and art events, “talked story”, and got to know people both white and Polynesian whose families have lived in the islands for generations.  Not something every visiting  blue eyed “haoli” girl gets to do very often. And it certainly was not the history I was taught at Hale Kula elementary school on Oahu back in the day. 
An oil painting I did after my 2005 trip to Hawaii Island

I guess my point is, that it’s the people that make the place. There are many people still there that I love or admire, but, my friends Jean and Kawika have been the core of my Hawaiian experience integral to the place itself. Our shared love and admiration for Hawaii Island has been the main fabric of my own passion for it in the last 15 years.  Who else will so readily celebrate my simple daily joys in dipping myself in Hawaiianess when I visit? Who else there knows my story well enough to understand those joys fully? I’m not sure.  

I hope to create new traditions with my friend Jean and share experiences together in a new meeting place. For it is my love for her that won out over my love for Hawaii when all is said and done.  I am sure I will visit my old lover the place called Hawaii again, but for now I say,

Aloha O’e Hawai’i nei . Mahalo for your many gifts.  A hui hou. 
My watercolor of a fisherman on the reef in Hawaii

(Farewell to Thee my dearest, Thank you, till we meet again)

And to my friend Jean, I say, “Hello my friend, I cannot wait to see you again, it will be so nice to have you nearer.”


-Michele

Michele Ross is an entrepreneur and artist living in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

WATERCOLOR BURN NOTICE & BIRTHDAY SALE


Well, its my birthday next week, and since it is also the new year, I've been purging. Getting rid of  old things to make room for the new. Its often a tradition among artists to destroy old work to make room for new ideas.

In honor of this tradition I'm having a BURN NOTICE SALE. Through the end of the month of January I have several sales going on. In my Etsy store, I just slashed the price of several original older watercolors by 30-50%. And on Ebay, I have just listed several low opening bid pieces as well. I will be adding and listing more through my birthday on Jan 29th and all these sales will end by Feb 1st. Also, 10% of the sales on Ebay will be donated to one of my favorite charities, The Way to Happiness Campaign.  After the sales are done, I will be burning many of the old paintings that don't sell. Its tradition. So, If you care to save any from the funeral pyre, take a look, buy some and if you have any questions, just let me know. A girl can always use extra birthday cash you know. - Michele

Thursday, January 8, 2015

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

I forgot to wish you all a Happy New Year here on the blog. So like my Christmas Cactus' late blooms, I guess this is "Better Late Than Never" .

I'm re calibrating many things in my schedule of priorities this year to make more time for painting & studies, and part of that is to paint something, anything, nearly every day. Thus this late bloomer became my latest target. Florals have always been my best practice paintings, so I'm lining up plans and reference photos to keep me in blooms for awhile. 

I hope you all have had a great start to your year as well!
-Michele