Stay in the Loop! Free!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

A 501-(c)3 non profit, all funds go to artist members. I had a successful campaign here for a project I designed. Read about it here:


search my blog posts?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Roots...and I don't mean hair!

While developing MyArtTutor, I have 'opened the door' to creative thinking. When we had our marketing company my title was 'Creative Actualizer'. That meant that I could be an idea person and have someone else develop the ideas. Kind of appropo for someone who exhibits ADD from time to time :)

Good friend Susan and I were talking about this (her birthday is Dec 6 with mine) when a lightbulb exploded in my head...she and I and another designer touched, designed, wrote around 100 knit, crochet, other stitchery leaflets in the 80s and 90s. DUH. We own copyrights on may not be far behind. Then I remembered that my sister-in-law, Lisa had re-gifted me with a sack of things she thought I'd like back. Turns out it was the original baby blankets from one of the books! Talk about voodoo...

Bet you are wondering where this is going, aren't ya? WELL, the other night I realized that while we all google ourselves, how many of us google the 'other names' we might have used? Well, I did it, and found many of these books online...some I didn't even remember! Some I probably shouldn't (remember).

Here is the first I designed all on my own. Happens to be the first ever book that utilized plastic canvas for needlework in 1979-80. I think it sold over 250,000 copies. Isn't this a hoot? BUT, not bad for a weekend flurry of activity...

This second book is what I really enjoyed designing...worlds apart!

And here is a slideshow for another laugh or 2!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moses-Botkin December Challenge "Hot/Cold"

With it being full-blown winter here in Northwest Arkansas, and craze holiday stuff at the same time, 5 of us from the Moses-Botkin Challenge made the deadline this month. I've been doing nothing but computing as I refine MyArtTutor, BUT that is subject for another post!

Without further ado, here is the challenge from Marie Fox,
"Warm and Cool, or Hot and Cold: opposites must both be included. Subject could be interpreted literally as in a bowl of cold cereal, and cup of hot tea, or an interior showing a cozy fireplace and snow outside. Or in less literal ways such as warm and cool moods, or warm and cool colors."

"Iced Coffee and Biscuit"
©2009 Vicki Ross
8x12 Oil on Panel

"Fire and Ice"
Oil on hardboard

Suzanne Berry 

"Colors Warm and Cool"
Oil on canvas, 8"x10"

©2009 Marie Fox 

"Winter Rooftops"
Oil on hardboard, 6"x6"
©2009 Michael Naples 

"Waiting for Global Warming"
Oil on hardboard

Unframed, 4"x6"
Diana Moses Botkin 

Monday, December 7, 2009 is launched!

(read the entire post here)

For those who have missed my presence...hahaha...on Blogger and on Facebook, I'm b-a-a-a-c-c-c-k!

My alter ego self, Victoria has been in control, immersed me in a new idea that is going live this week, and is making me announce it here and now! will enable art tutors who live all over the world teach students from all over the world in a virtual setting. Artists who have studied with our tutors in a traditional environment who want to continue their studies will LOVE this new way to study at their own pace…in their own studio, and without the travel expense and time off work. All students will be able to experiment with new tutors, tutors whom they have always wanted to study with, in all mediums and subjects.

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. 

First to go live was Leslie B. DeMille, with an e-book titled "How to Draw Cats & Kittens",  a charming example of his soft pastel technique on velour paper. Download today for only $17.95 (regular $19.95). His two newest DVDs, produced by Jack Richeson Company are also available.

Timothy C. Tyler has a DVD available on 'The Still Life from Start to Finish", and one for "Painting the Portrait". His introductory virtual classes are now accepting students. Special introductory pricing on these as well...but hurry! Class #101B "How to Paint the Simple Still Life" has a limit of 50 students. You can audit the class as Class #101A with read only access. What a wonderful way to find out his techniques, then you can choose from his other more interactive classes!

Gift Certificates are available in any amount.

Coming soon (within the next few months) are: Margaret Evans, Kippy Hammond, Julie Mayser, Kay Polk, JoAnn 'CotyJo' Smith, and Urania Christy Tarbet.  There are surprises right around the corner (and not all involve a brush with pigment) with additional tutors and many more classes!

If you practice in accord with your individual capacity, 
little by little you will find more pleasure and joy in it. 
As you gain inner strength, 
your positive actions will gain in profundity and scope. 

To be added to the MyArtTutor newsletter, register here! (this is the shopping cart portion of the main website...more detailed information will always be on the main website.) You can opt out at any time, and there are no strings will help you be among the first to know about new additions, the MAT blog, and new and ever changing class/study/paint opportunities taught by the world's best tutors!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Moses-Botkin Challenge 'View from my Studio'

(If you read this from Facebook it is just a snippet. click title to read full entry)

Michael Naples chose this month's subject...and once again the results are stunning! The wall behind our house used to be covered with beautiful vines until some rambo neighbor decided it needed to come off, and so it disappeared. The vine was the same as at La Bonne Etoile in France and would have added a beautiful dark red color!

"View from my Studio"
©2009 Vicki Ross
8x10 Oil on Panel

"studio view"

©2009 Silvina Day
8x8.5, o/c

Green Belt
8x8 watercolor on paper
(c)2009 Robin Cheers

"The View"
Original oil on hardboard, 4"x6"

Studio View
Oil on Canvas, 24 x 18
©2009 Marie Fox

Outside My Studio
16x20" oil on canvas

Electric Highway 8x8” oil on board
©2009 Michael Naples

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Copper Reflections

(facebook readers, click on the blog title for the rest of the story)

"Copper Reflections"
©2009 Vicki Ross
Pastel on Copper 4x10"

I'm mostly caught up to my tutors on my new project...and spent today in the upstairs studio (breakfast room is my oil studio). It was SO good to get back after weeks of programming and creative thinking.

I may edit the amount of copper showing...will let her sit for a day or so and then decide. BTW, this is a bronze statue in the middle of a small lake. She is an indian maiden with a fish, somewhere in Texas. Friends Joe and Echo kidnapped us one year, Joe was the tour director and we toured his favorite spots for a week all the way down to Fulton, TX on the Gulf of Mexico. He was a fabulous host and made sure we saw the sights. Joe passed away a little over a year ago...and I have many good memories and great photos from this trip.

Started a new figurative pastel today as well, 26x16" and played around off and on all day with the background. Got some real cool effects.

Stay tuned for more from Vicki's studio...pastel work this week for the OPS pastel society show Nov. 7. I have two already, and hoping for a couple more good enough to enter!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Surprise in my inbox! Parrot Tulips!

Facebook readers go to the blog!
Whoo-hoo! what a surprise when I saw this email newsletter...and there is my painting 'Parrot Tulips'! This is a link to their gallery...

I have had tons of fun with these...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere...! October Moses-Botkin Challenge

...facebook'ers, be sure to read the entire blog...

 A local weatherman did some research and found that normally sunny Northwest Arkansas has had under FIFTEEN sunny days in 3 months! No wonder we are all forming gills and webbed toes...:)

This month's challenge was from new member, Suzanne Berry, and was simply 'water'. Be sure to visit everyone's blog...some great artists!

Here is mine, from one of those brief minutes of sun:

Cool, Cool, Water
©2009 Vicki Ross
8x8 oil on panel

"Half Full"
8x8 Oil on board

"Fish Tale"
Oil on hardboard 8”x6”

"Ocean Waves"
Oil on canvas, 18 x 24
Marie Fox

Sprinkler Park
11x6 oil on linen
(c) 2009 Robin Cheers

Water Bottle
oil on canvas
© Suzanne Berry

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New finishes! Adenocard must have done the trick...

Finished several paintings that were languishing around...nagging at me. You need to go to the blog to see them all. Feels good to declare victory! Enjoy...this week will see some finishes on figurative works.

"Tanyard Creek"
©2009 Vicki Ross
12x16" oil on linen panel $815

"Charles Bridge, Prague"
©2009 Vicki Ross
11x14" oil on panel $650

"A Green Toast"
©2009 Vicki Ross
6x12" oil on panel $360

"Healing Springs, AR"
©2009 Vicki Ross
11x14" oil on panel $650

©2009 Vicki Ross
11x14" oil on linen panel $650

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Charles Bridge in Prague Painting Made My Heart Skip a beat!

Dam**t! lost an entire afternoon of painting. Was just getting into the rhythm and on target to finish another painting today when my Heart went pitty-pat. Problem was, it didn't stop. I had had another episode earlier this week, but it went away quickly and I forgot about it.

10 minutes...not going away. made a management decision to call 911. A bit of nitro sprayed under my tongue, 4 baby aspirins...and a couple of VERY non-flattering grunt face exercises did nothing to bring it down. Atta girl. Stay the course and remain constant and consistent! Oops. not necessarily in this case!

Officially 'Supraventricular Tachycardia'. Heart rate a very consistent 250, so I guess I didn't cry wolf! They gave me something that brought it down, but that was a horrible feeling...Andenocard. Room full of people apparently were pleased when they could tell it was working...I kept hearing them saying, 'Yeah, it's working!' Apparently they can tell by your eyes...

Then I had all the lab work and x-rays and stuff...all was fine. Reminds me of when our laptops begin to run excessively loud and racing and the only way to stop it is to take out the battery and restart!

Bad thing is NO ONE filmed all this for YouTube! I kept them all laughing, though!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Moses-Botkin September: Kitchen Pantry or Cabinet

I've been behind the curve this month due to my programming issues with a new website. Yeah, I'd like some cheeze with my whine! AND, this month we are welcoming Suzanne Berry for her first challenge painting...she NAILED it! Michael Naples has a 2 week old newborn at home. I'm impressed he was even able to remember a deadline! My excuse pales by comparison.

"Coming OUT of the Cabinet"
©2009 Vicki Ross
9x12 Oil on Board

"Coffee Corner" 
Oil on Board, 7x12 

"Steel Cut Oats"
12"x12", o/c
“Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of Rum"
6"x8" Oil on panel

©2009 Robin Cheers
8x16" oil on panel

"The Red Napkin"
©2009 Marie Fox
Oil on canvas, 16 x 20

"The Artist's Pantry"   
5x7" oil on canvas

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My new Sista-in-fire, Home Again, and other insurance reform needed

In order to feel better, sometimes it takes a step or 2 back to appreciate how far you have come. Randy and I have had one of those inexplicable 'coincidences' that culminated this last week in another layer of the onion being peeled back.

The onion is my description of grief, if massive enough, your brain (soul) will allow you to put the event in cold storage until you are better equipped to handle it. Then, bits by little bits, you are aware of 'things' again. If you are not ready, it goes back to be dealt with another time. The center of that onion might drive you insane if you peel it too quick.

Jill and Greg, their daughters Steely and Demi (8 and 3), moved in next door to us in February. Our area had suffered a 10 day deluge of ice that forced many people out of their homes to seek warmth in hotels. We even had our good friends Ron and Pam move in with us for 7 days...which was a party all on its own!

Anyway, within hours Randy found out that they leased the furnished house next door because when the power came back on at their home, it somehow caught on fire. Because the house had been closed up for 3 days or so, the fire simmered for a couple hours. Greg got a call from a neighbor. By the time they arrived in 15 minutes or so, he went into the house with an extinguisher and thought he had caught it in time. NOT. He turned around and saw a huge wall of flame being fed by the new oxygen coming in the door.

Fortunately, they were not home and asleep at the time. Unfortunately, the fire department arrived soon after...and while their house was salvaged, it took 6 months to 'fix'. Hence, their move into our nucleus. They have gotten a real good dose of American insurance settlement policies since. And that is another entire story. However, upon review of my writing this, I've decided that IS the story. Greg says it was a mistake to try to save the house.

Health Insurance is not the only agency that needs a complete overhaul! Unless you have had a major claim with insurance loss (non-medical) you probably have no clue what they do to make you give up and go away.

We've become good friends over the past few months, love to watch Demi dance in her tutus, barefoot, up and down the driveway...and have thoroughly enjoyed those spontaneous summer nights sitting out in our driveways for hours. (ps: this is a good neighborhood, just we all have dogs in the backyards).

Turns out that Jill is an elementary school qualified art teacher, so we have lots in common there. Also turns out that they were shocked to find out they had moved in next door to people who really understood their trauma, and didn't try to blow it off, or make inane comments about things being OK, and how fortunate they are. Bulls**t!

Fast forward to this last week when they moved back into their 'new' home. A restoration company delivered 90+ big boxes and 3 van loads of clothes on hangers on Thursday evening next door. Jill was absolutely overwhelmed, didn't know what to do first. They had planned a garage sale beginning the next day at was 8pm thursday when I saw what they were facing.

Instead of their insurance company giving them the appraisal value of the clothing (Jill's old clothes dating back to high school, every baby onesie, outdated shoes, belts, etc), they had it all drycleaned and ozoned to the tune of $31,000! Since February, the girls have outgrown those clothes, Steely gets a rash from the chemicals, and basically other than sentimental reasons, $31,000 was spent on nothing of value. Now stay with me...the insurance company was willing to pay $31,000 for restoration but NOT give them the money? WHY!

Jill was in tears, I was overwhelmed at boxes stacked to the ceiling, and had NO CLUE how to help her manage this task. I vowed to do anything I could do to make this easier on them...and didn't realize I would be peeling a few layers from my onion. As long as I didn't have to be up at 8am!

Jill kept wanting to talk about our fire and our Sarah. We would both cry a bit and go back to laughing at the sociological events of people sifting through her 10 years of memories. Laugh and cry. For 2 days. She kept saying I was the only one who realized how traumatic this was for you keep your favorite baby clothes? do you rescue the outfit your now deceased dad gifted the new baby? How does she go through 90 boxes and pick out the things she really does want to keep, while strangers are digging through them as well?

I wasn't much help the first day. Another great neighbor, Luciene Pinto from Brazil was around off and on, and helped communicate to the shoppers with her Spanish. Lu brings an entirely new perspective to the situation because she tells us how different and easier things are in Brazil than the US. Saturday I was able to engage and help Jill realize that come winter, wool hats, velour throws, gloves and socks might come in handy. I filled several boxes of 'keepables' for her to sort through later. Thank goodness both grandmothers love to keep the girls in clothing.

Jill and the girls really wanted me to come see their 'new' house after we helped Greg load all the leftovers into a truck for delivery to the Women's Abuse Shelter. Their house is fabulous, by the way. We sat and talked, and I have to say that Jill is one of the few people I've met who really wants to know about Sarah...and is curious about what it is that brought us into their world...about what brought the Garage Sale Angel to her at 8am on Friday morning. This woman spent 8 hours in the house sorting and folding clothes from the boxes and all she asked in return was a small bag of size 7 girls clothes. And she disappeared, saying she woke up that morning knowing someone needed some help with a garage sale.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. And, Jill's kitchen is empty of dishes, glasses and other essentials...they are getting the shaft insurance-wise about how the destroyed items are to be compensated.

I am drained now. peeling onions always makes my eyes leak. AND I may have another diatribe about the crooks in the homeowner insurance field. You had better hope you never have to experience how they operate. Funny thing is (a twisted funny) is the similarities of how both our families were treated...from different insurance companies...guess they teach how to be bullies in insurance school. It is, after all (in their eyes anyway), all about the bottom line and their bonuses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Surprise and Goodbye to Close Friends

A friend brought a friend over late on Labor Day weekend for a glass of wine, and he chose FIVE of my paintings for his collection (must have been some wine)! MY paintings! He carefully looked at all my framed pieces and managed to choose some of my favs. (we definitely have to get the others on the walls instead of stacked in the floor).

The ones he chose came from my experiences in France (except for Taxi). I realized something important last night, that my stories of the scenes made a real impact on him. (note to self: always tell the story!) Another very good reason NOT to use someone else's source photo!

#1: Taxis. Completed for a Karin Jurick Challenge group, Different Strokes for Different Folks'.

©2009 Vicki Ross
6x12 oil on panel
#2: French Village. so many rainy days in France...and  you have to go to market anyway. Umbrellas, shiny, reflective cobblestones, misty buildings...sturdy shoes a necessity. And know that the fresh veggies carried home will make a delicious country meal in front of a blazing fire! The collector asked if I could mist out the upper buildings a bit more like the Taxi buildings. I agreed that this was a great idea.

"French Village"
©2099 Vicki Ross
6x12 oil on panel
#3: Barflies. Back when France was known for their smoky bars and restaurants, this type of scene was common. Eyes burn, flourescent lights glow in the greenish light from aliens, wet wool smells, people sociable and willing to rub shoulders for the night. Now, smoking is a no-no. Don't think these walls will ever be free of the yellowish nicotine. People drop in for a drink, or the evening...and move on. A bit of drama between the couple in the foreground, couple in the background looking for a spot to sit, solitary bald guy sipping and looking...?
©2008 Vicki Ross
12x18 pastel on sanded paper
#4: Montmartre. Hordes of tourists, same today as 100 years ago. Hordes of locals, ditto. Painters and artists still massed shoulder to shoulder, easel to easel in the square hawking their wares. Cool, crisp air, coffee shops line the side streets. Been the same since the days of Lautrec, Monet, Degas, Cassat. This fellow was SO intent on making a sale...his dinner and Absinth for tonight rides on this sale!

©2009 Vicki Ross
12x18 oil on Panel
#5: Phil had narrowed his choices down and then I remembered this one over in the corner. It seemed to round out his selections...and what a choice! Parisian Dancers. Kippy and I were in Paris on Sunday after putting Joann (Smith) and my Randy on a plane back to the states. We went to the market (the oldest market in Europe where the dancers dance every Sunday and have since Liberation). In the breaks, young girls tried to emulate their steps. You can almost close your eyes and feel that you have been here, in this spot, before...walking along rue Mouffetard. Children, babies, old people, and a red-haired American! I was so entranced with the early morning light and shadows. I can hear the classic tarantella every time I see this painting. My first 'assignment' in Paris on my own. Directed to enter a boucherie (horrible spelling) to score a rotiserrie chicken. My finger in my dimple, other finger pointing at a particularly choice bird, my 'bonsoiur, madame' in arkansas singsong accent fooled NO ONE! The clerk stumbled a bit, but I knew she wanted to make sure I knew the price was per pound...not for the bird, and hoped she was not offending me. Oui, Oui I said, feeling very cosmopolitan and quite proud of myself. Purchase in hand, I was very pleased with me! Kippy and I met at the corner for a brunch, sitting outside watching the crowd. PS: the vegetables she purchased made their way into a couple paintings that afternoon back in Fontaine-Fourches before being sacrificed to the stew pot!

"Parisian Dancers'
©2008 Vicki Ross
12x18 pastel on sanded paper

Goodbye, my little friends. I enjoyed creating you! I know you are going to a new space where you will be admired for a long time.
Think this means I need to go back to Kippy and Jerome's for more inspiration? ME TOO!

ps: thought you'd like to see the little girl during the dancer's break...

au revoir!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PAPO Aug 24 at the lake

Plein Air Painters of the Ozarks meets every Wednesday 8 or so months out of the year and they always have a great time. I don't go often because Plein air painting is hard work...especially in August, in the Ozarks! Only 85 or so, but the humidity! and the rocks used to cover the hillside absorb the heat and reflect it back to you. (there was quite alot of socializing going on instead of painting). Of course, those of you who know and luv me know I am all business...have to get a good painting. THEN I can relax!

Cathy Wayson and her husband fed us great charbroiled burgers with all the extras after our 2 hours of painting.

It doesn't matter what kind of 'gear' you have, there is always something better. I think I'm done, tho. My EasyL box weighs almost nothing...the Guerilla Painter tripod is a bit heavy, but works great. I carry a soft-side cooler for other supplies. OH, and a field easel. Fairly streamlined, but you still have 5 or so things slung over your shoulder, which is WAY too much. Gotta get something on wheels (have had a few variations of wheeled bags that did not work). May have to go back to watercolor for physical gear hauling (a w/c block, my 4" brass Charles Reid w/c box, a handful of pigments and a good chair with easel or tripod, just hold the block in your lap supported by the arm. Lord knows I have plenty of watercolor supplies! and oil and acrylic and oh yeah, pastels. Sure has been fun collecting it all!

I've carried variations of the above gear all over Salzburg, Prague, Amalfi Coast in Italy, and France. I KNOW the values of painting outside, however, it is physically demanding...and today I think I came back in with a bit of heatstroke.

But, with all my whining (I need some cheeze with my whine), get a load of these sunflowers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Parrot Tulips

I'm having SO much fun with this taking my time and enjoying the process.

'Parrot Tulips'
©2009 Vicki Ross
20x24 Pastel on Sanded Paper
Purchase Fine Art Print HERE!

Trompe l'oeil is French for 'fool the eye' and typically done in super realism in oils. Pastels don't quite work crisp enough, but someone else is known for doing Koi fish, oversize florals, Arkansas creeks, portraits, paintings of people looking at art in museums (several are doing that)! I figured this might be a niche for me.
I figure this style of work is made all the more difficult for another artist to duplicate because of my twisted sense of humor! 
And, yes, this IS the cropped painting. The idea popped into my head in time for me to play with it. Was clueless to what background I would do when I walked in my studio and...DUH! there was the peeling tape on the plywood board (thanks Mr. Les). As I was working on it I kept forgetting what I was supposed to be painting from and to! 
And, no, I am not giving up on painterly marks with texture...but this was SO FUN!
parrot art

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"An Unmade Bed" the August Moses-Botkin Challenge

"The Boys" ©2009 Vicki Ross
9x9" Oil on Canvas

I think I'm playing with some sadists! Last month a self-portrait, this month an unmade bed...what th'...? (and all my partners know I'm teasing!)

I could not come up with anything about an unmade bed that remotely sounded interesting...for me to paint or for anyone else to look at. And therein lies the value of these challenges...IT'S A CHALLENGE!

Finally went upstairs to the guest bedroom (because of the light). Messed up the bed and got set up with the camera (yeah, should be from life, but sometimes it is just not convenient to set up in a bedroom)...when lo and behold, bitty ittle BJ popped up to see what I was doing. OK, a cute painting with him was a gift from the art gods! Light was all wrong in the photos, needed to 'bracket' so the flag was visible in the window and the bedding was recognizable...

Went back up another day and did the same thing, and BJ AND Beemer (his dad) both came up on 'their' bed to watch landscapers remove a tree. Too perfect! Except for the patterned sheets...

"Asleep in the Window Seat"
Oil on Canvas, 18" x 24"
Marie Fox
"Unmade Bed", 9x12 o/c

"Expedition on an Unmade Bed"
8"x10" Oil on board
The Old Brass Bed
10x8 oil on panel
(c) 2009 Robin Cheers
"Wine Night" 
8x8 Oil on board, Michael Naples