Zach Ross Part 1

I am a senior at Whitworth majoring in art and also taking prerequisites for different jobs in the medical field. I am originally from Wyoming and get much of my inspiration for my art from there. I enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing and being in the outdoors. My primary subject to paint is wildlife. I enjoy getting out in nature, observing animals and taking photo references, and later turning those observations and references into works of art. I will be graduating in May with a Bachelor of Art and am currently taking an EMT course as well. My plans are to be a practicing EMT this coming year while making as much art as I can.

First Light, 2019, oil on canvas, 20×20 inches

This piece marks the first painting that I was really proud of. I saw these elk while hiking with a couple buddies in northern Yellowstone in January. We were snowshoeing when we spied this group of six bull elk. We stopped and quietly observed them for a while. It was the morning after a big storm and the elk were digging into the snow with there snouts to eat grass. Yellowstone is brutal in the winter and many animals don’t make it through those months depending on the severity. Elk in Yellowstone are presented with many challenges in the winter including finding food and conserving energy that they need to expend staying warm and running from predators. These elk were out before first light after a brutal storm that night. Digging in the snow with their snouts for grass, the elk carried on with survival. We watched them for a time, and first light hit them as they looked back at us. In this piece, I experimented with color, using lively colors and hues in the elk and the warm light shining on them. I juxtaposed these lively colors and warm light on the elk with the cold and snowy landscape around them. I was able to pay closer attention to form, color, and light in this piece than I had in previous paintings. This piece pushed me to keep playing with color, expression, and composition.

Mare and Foal, 2019, oil on canvas, 18×24 inches

This is another one of my early wildlife paintings. In this piece, I used a photoreference from a photographer I know. It depicts a pair of wild horses in Wyoming. Wild horses are not common anymore but it is always special to get to see them. During the first few months of a foal’s life, the mare is the foal’s source of life and protection. As with all my pieces, I wanted this piece to evoke an emotional response from the viewer, and I attempted to do this in the way I paid attention to the gestures of the horses and utilized color in the horses and their surroundings.  I wanted to show the warmth and tenderness that exists between a mare and her foal. The gestures of the animals tell a lot in themselves with the foal curled up in the grass and the mare standing nearby watching over. I paid close attention to the gestures of these animals and utilized color and light to better establish this relationship. I related the figures to each other by using colors reminiscent of nurturing and warmth. I also used light and warmth in the surroundings of the foal and mare showing the safe and protected environment the foal is in with his mother standing over him. Depicting and learning about light was a primary focus for this piece. I was also able to keep exploring and learning about form, color, and composition. 

Find me on Instagram @zachrossart or online at https://www.zachrossart.com

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