We got a call one day from a local artist who put two and two together and figured out we were just down the road from her. Vicki Ross resides in Bentonville, Arkansas which is about 20 miles down the road from the Canvas Corp Brands home office. A visit to the warehouse was planned and low and behold it all clicked. We meet members of our design team from different countries, different markets and different design styles, but how fun to meet a designer so close to home who contributes in so many ways.
Vicki has been a great supporter behind the scenes helping with color selection, showing us ways to look at color and products, new ways to use what we have and looking at our product line through the eyes of a classically trained artist and we have learned so much. Vicki has always been creative, sometimes on the computer, sometimes creatively selling, then she discovered art and her creative world opened up. After quite a bit of time teaching herself and learning from others everything she could about art, she finally decided to breakaway and do her own thing, with no artistic rules, no guidelines, just be herself and the creative works just don’t stop. Vicki uses her art skills her way, incorporating them into her work, but not being controlled by it. Vicki is also happy to share her skills with others through her classes, videos and personal time. She is all about sharing and not keeping what she knows so close to the vest like many artists do.
We ask each Crew Member where their favorite place to be creative is and most say their studio or it would be in their personal studio if they have one. Well Vicki has three separate workstations. The first is a Jack Richeson taboret for oil painting or sewing, the sewing machine has to be in floor when I paint. Turn the swivel office chair and you face her iMac computer station where she manage everything.
The second is a David Sorg full-size easel is where soft pastel magic happens. This area also functions for large acrylic paintings when she covers her pastel trays with a cushion and foam core for protection before adding a glass palette and acrylic water bucket and her everything else station is a flat surface about 30″ x 30″ on a metal rolling island. Her video camera is mounted over this surface and is where she is found most of the time.
Tell us one cool detail about your studio or craft space…All my supplies are in one 14′ x 10′ room. I pretty much just have to move two-three bins to get at whatever I want. From clearing the flat surface workspace from acrylics to encaustic just takes 10 minutes or so and I am plugged in, ready to go. I value every scrap of ephemera and bottle of paint in this room and just hope I can someday use every drop. AND, my art book collection! How could I forget! All sorted by medium, some are in the “library”, bookcases behind our sofa, and about half are in floor to ceiling bookcases in our bedroom. I have a selection that would rival some libraries.
Describe your design style…. Eclectic. I work in a lot of different media, whichever grabs my interest on a given day. I love figuring out how stuff works…a new bookbinding, a new product, color, or paper. From Encaustic art to painting on a canvas tote bag.
Who or what do you give credit to inspiring your creativity?
Gosh, I’ve always been very curious. I didn’t begin fine art painting until 2002, and soon after that crossed paths with Kippy Hammond of Atlanta, GA and Fontaine-Fourches, France. She mentored me through several levels of accomplishment, and through her and her artist’s retreat at LaBonneEtoile
, I became fast friends and students of Urania Christy Tarbet, Leslie B. DeMille, Ann Templeton, Lyn Diefenbach (Australia), and Margaret Evans (Scotland), all internationally known professional artists. Each of those mentored me in their own different styles as I slowly gained confidence in pastels and oils. My first serious watercolor tutor is the world-famous Charles Reid. I value each one of these fabulous tutors.
What inspires you most today? The vast “mixed-media” community that has bridged the divide between “crafts” and “fine art”. Mixed Media artists are very curious, and eager to experiment with any and every new material presented to them. As a community, they are quick to share their experiments with everyone via blogs and YouTube videos. I’ve learned SO much since venturing into this world a few years ago.
What is your favorite Canvas Corp Brand Product? and why? Just one please!!!! This is the hardest question yet! Just ONE? out of 5,000??? Surely you jest! Just by a hair…I would pick the Origins Paper. This fabulous suede paper takes any medium I care to throw at it. From just a spray of Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist, or a simple soft pastel, it responds well. In fact, I just saw a new binding technique I am eager to try with the printed papers. The new designs for 2017 are fabulous!
What is your favorite project you have created using CCB Products:
Vicki shows us how to add our own art to any background paper with such beauty. It is a great place to practice and is not as scary as a plain piece of white paper.
Why is it your favorite? It is a perfect example of my bridge art…a realistic portrait, with acrylic paint, and silver foil on a 7gypsies vintage paper. Eyelets and Canvas Corp waxed cord attach the paper to a toned Canvas Corp raw chunky gallery wrapped canvas completed the vision. Using the print of the paper to create the vintage feel was new for me…allowing it to become part of the composition.
Vicki stretches the use of traditional scrapbooking and paper craft paper in so many different ways. She looks at each paper, collection and theme.
Do you teach and if so tell us a bit about what you teach, where you go and some of your favorite places? I do teach, both online and in person. In person I teach here in my studio. I can manage 2-3 artists in my compact space. Just last week, I had two online friend/artists in for a day of “Wicki Play,” I call it. They decided they would like to see me demonstrate how I paint a face in soft pastel…with an introduction to soft pastels as a painting medium. Their results were exciting…and they went away with ideas to continue their exploration. There were several videos filmed during the day.
There is a new creative place in town or should we say on the web – Papercraft:U and Vicki has one of the first classes on the new site – Soft Pastels….An Exploration. Soon the Papercraft:U Channel will be filled with classes, workshops and more. If you are interested in taking online classes, teaching a class or just being in the know follow Papercraft:U
I am the happiest doing…..Research and shopping for art supplies! And being on Design Teams where I get to help market a world of art supplies from Canvas Corp Brands for painting and surfaces to PaverPol for sculpting.
We ask each designer to create a 4×4 canvas that represents who they are as a designer. We know Vicki changes who she is just about daily, trying new things, new color combinations, different themes, different products…but this beautiful little piece that shows her softer side and it is beautiful.
Tell us one thing fun about you we might not know…I am basically an introvert, even though I usually am the clown of the group. I treasure my alone time in my studio and am amazed at the compositions that work themselves out in my head as I sleep. The only thing that holds me back is me. I am very hard on myself to keep striving for that next level of artistry. One of my favorite things is to see the excitement in someone else’s eyes when they catch my excitement. Or when I can help someone heal by sharing my journey…and by teaching the tools I used that worked for me.
Vicki loves to teach, but is also always learning, check out this blog post where we featured this tea pot art piece, the interesting part is how she got to this stage…there is art and beauty everywhere, take photos and down the road use them as inspiration to create.
Share with us anything about your creative life that you feel would inspire others….See art everywhere you go. Think about what colors you would paint the clouds in the sky during a child’s soccer match. See an advertising or tourism book as a source of background papers for collage. Read and watch YouTube videos about creative artists. Take online classes from artists whose style appeals to you. Become active in local artist groups, and if you have the opportunity to take an in-person workshop for a few hours or days, jump on it. You will learn from the other students as well as from the tutor. Sometimes, at certain stages of your development, you may be drawn to a weekly class. While these sometimes evolve into a social experience more than a learning experience, both can be valuable.