Ross Art opens at the FAC

Ross Double Cheeseburger
Ernie Ross stands in front of his artwork while holding a “Double Cheeseburger.”  Ernie Ross is known for his willingness to use various materials as his canvas. Ernie’s painted saws can be seen on the upper left side of the photo and his rock paintings are displayed in the center. Additionally, the Ross Art Exhibit displays more traditional canvas paintings. These are currently on display at the Edna B. Love Gallery at the Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley at 21 West Main Street, Pulaski.

Patriot Publishing

The Ross Art Exhibit, featuring the works of well-known local artist Ernie Ross, officially opened with a Friday evening reception held in the Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley.

The reception filled the Edna B. Love Gallery with admirers of Ross’s work, many of whom had been his students either recently or from the distant past. Ross recently taught a Beginner and an Intermediate Acrylic Painting class in the same room only a couple of months prior but has taught painting for many years. He frequently gives lessons at senior living facilities. Before the reception, Ross taught a group of 20 veterans in Wytheville with the aid of a large screen.

Ernie’s subject matter includes nature scenes showing animals and landscapes, as well as portraits, geometric designs and more. Notably, Ernie Ross chooses a surprisingly wide range of items to act as his canvas.

“It’s a collection of different ways I’m producing art,” said Ross of his exhibit. “I don’t just paint. I draw. I sculpt. I paint on handsaws, rocks, anything that I can paint on, I paint on it.  Just whatever pops up in my mind, I want to try to do. If I get tired of doing something, I’ll do something else and go back to this and go back to that.”

“I enjoy what I do,” Ross continued. “My daughter keeps on my case and everything like that. She says ‘Dad, you’re better than that. Keep painting more.’ I do about 4 paintings every day starting out at 4:30 in the morning and work till nine.”

Some of Ernie Ross’s art warrants closer inspection. The top of a basic can of beans becomes his setting for a beach scene. The Double Cheeseburger piece is convincing enough to whet one’s appetite but is actually a round rock painted to look like a burger. Another rock appears like a potato on one side but flip it over and the rock becomes a canvas for a beautiful mountain scene.

Ernie Ross has been known to place these painted rocks in various locations simply so people could find them and enjoy them.

“I paint a lot of rocks,” said Ernie. “I give away a lot of painted rocks. It’s worth it just to see them smile when I do it. That lights up my day and makes me want to keep painting.

Still, Ernie doesn’t mind that several pieces of his art sold at Friday’s reception.

“Well, I’ve got to make lunch money,” Ernie said with a smile. “I’m 77 now so I’m glad I got this show.”

Ernie Ross first came to Virginia from Colorado to look for his brothers. He found them, but today he is the only one of his brothers to remain in the Old Dominion. Ross came to Pulaski in 1970 and currently resides in a house he built on Brookmont Avenue.

The late Bob Ross, who had a long running painting show on PBS, is a cousin of Ernie’s from the Florida branch of the Ross family. Ernie’s family was part of the Kentucky branch of the family before he moved to Colorado. According to Ernie, all the Rosses originally came from Scotland.

Ernie Ross will teach a more advanced painting class at the Fine Arts Center beginning on March 25 and this may include a Mandala class, which Ernie describes as “dot painting.”

“And what I will do is that if you paint anything, I will show you how to make it better,” said Ross of his upcoming painting class. “I’ll give you tips and things like that.”

The Ross Art Exhibit will be featured at the Fine Art Center for the New River Valley for the entire month of May.