Learn more about the specialized techniques for artistic painting by clicking on the following links.
|© 2019 Don Ross Art Studio
He's proof of it. The work of
about 130 elementary students at
Holley School, and more at other
local schools, is proof of it.
Ross, 62, in Sweet Home has been
painting only since 2003, after he
learned how so he could teach
classes for his employer.
For approximately three years, he
has owned and operated Don
Ross Art Studio at 1252 Main St.,
where his wife Angela operates
Homefront Hair Design.
He provides demonstrations and
classes as well as selling his own
"Probably the last year, I've
focused on the schools and the
community in Sweet Home," he
said, especially the grade schools.
The experience recently at Holley
"was awesome," he said. "It just
touches the hearts of
grandparents, parents and kids
themselves to see what they
could do. Anybody can paint."
He stumbled onto painting initially
while attending a show in
California to review and buy art
supplies for High School
Pharmacy, where he supervised
38 stores, including four Ben
Franklin craft stores.
Ross grew up in Missouri. He
served in Vietnam from 1963 to
1968 aboard the aircraft carriers
USS Forrestal and USS Oriskany.
He worked on tanker,
photography and fighter crews.
He returned to Missouri after his
service, and his sister introduced
him to the manager of P.M. Place,
a major variety store in the area.
The manager sent him to the
company headquarters, where he
was tested and hired the same
day. He managed a store in
Madison, Iowa, for seven years
He met his wife when he visited
Whidbey Island, Wash., while in
the Navy. He married Angela
immediately after exiting the
service, and they had three sons
by the time they left Iowa. She
came from a family of 13 in the
Seattle area, and they decided to
Ross went to work as a store
manager for Sprouse Reitz in
Kent. The company eventually
moved him to Sweet Home where
he later became a district
manager. After Sprouse Reitz shut
down, he went to work for Ben
|Late-bloomer in the art world
Don Ross gives some pointers on
painting to Holley School students
during a recent class he taught at
Photo by Sean C. Morgan
By Sean C. Morgan
Of The New Era
© 2008 The New Era
Don Ross thinks you can paint.
Franklin, opening stores
throughout 12 western states. He
went to work for High School
Pharmacy after Ben Franklin shut
down. After High School Pharmacy
sold, about three years ago, he
returned to Sweet Home.
While he was a store manager,
Ross ran across an Alexander Art
seminar, which teaches the
wet-on-wet technique popularized
by the late television painter Bill
Alexander. During the seminar, he
completed his first painting in an
"We did a painting, and the girl
came up to me and said that was
awesome," he said. "I got excited."
After an in-store instructor
inherited some money and quit,
Ross suddenly had to get serious
about art. He bought an Alexander
Art book and completed seven
"I didn't have anybody to do it," he
said, and his eighth painting was
in front of customers taking the
After losing his job with High
School Pharmacy, he decided it
was time to go back to Sweet
"We were blessed that we still
had this little business in town."
He had managed the Sweet Home
Sprouse Reitz store for about four
years and then was district
manager. After Sprouse Reitz
closed, his wife, Angie, commuted
from Washougal, near Vancouver,
for about 11 years to keep
"That's how we ended up back in
Sweet Home," Ross said. He told
his wife he would really like to
open an art shop.
"People said, there's no way you
go into Sweet Home and pull it
off," he said, but he's stayed busy
for three years. School District 55
has helped with that.
"I always loved working with kids,"
Ross said. He figured it might help
to get into schools and do painting
demonstrations. He started as a sub
for whatever the district needs, and
on his own he started doing
30-minute demonstrations with
The district was positive about
the demonstrations, he said, "so
we started doing some classes."
That started providing some
income as well through the artist-
in-residence programs, and the
parent-teacher clubs have been
He did a project with a creative
painting seminar in Las Vegas last
year and is on tap to do three at
this year's seminar. He has taught
classes at the coast and at the
Michael's craft store in Salem.
He's done one-on-one work with
families and worked at family
reunions and birthday parties.
"People are so excited about it,"
he said. He received a call from
the instructor of a woman who
took one of his classes in Depoe
Bay, requesting he contract to
teach a week-long class of 25 in
California where the woman lives.
What Ross teaches isn't
complicated, he said. He uses the
same wet-on-wet technique used
"The first thing I tell people, if
you're looking at a photo and you
want to reproduce that photo, you
can do that, but you've got to do it
(with a camera)."
Rather, he encourages aspiring
painters not to be frustrated with
instructors who tell them their
color values are too dark or too
light. He encourages them to
keep their own style.
A painting might come out darker
in the end, but "that's your style,"
Ross said. "It's all about support,
and it's your expression of
yourself on canvas."
When youngsters finish paintings,
and the grandparents want to
hang onto those paintings,
"there's no feeling like it," he
said. "It's awesome. I love it.
That's what it's all about – the thrill
of it, the painting, the sharing of
it. It's awesome to touch a life
from a paintbrush when you've
got no experience."
If two or three kids latch onto it,
and it keeps them off the street
and out of trouble, that's even
better, he said.
Ross most enjoys painting
landscapes, but lately, he's been
doing more floral paintings. He
also wants to paint buggies and
wagons, he said.
His ultimate goal: "I want to be on
|Foster students get taste of learning
Students stroll along a forest pathway during Foster's Outdoor School, held May
9-11 at Camp Tadmor. Don Ross leads 36 participants from 15 families in an art
class on May 29th. Ross taught students earlier in the day during the school's
After-School Program, and repeated the class in the evening for parents and
other participating family members.
Don Ross Art Studio opens New location in
The Don Ross Art Studio has moved!
A broad offering of art supplies and frames are
We invite you to come and visit us!
A well known publication "Artists of the West"
includes our featured artist: Don Ross.
Ross enjoys being a part of this book, which
includes the names and works of many renown
Ross is a featured artist in Artists of the West
Click on the card below to contact Don:
Sweet Home, OR
Don Ross’ love for art inspired him
to give the gift of painting to others.
Now… students of “all ages” enjoy
For the last number of years Don has
been instrumental in developing art
programs at grade schools located
within the Sweet Home school
district. Teachers and staff are
extremely moved when they see
Don’s ability to communicate and
inspire children with a paint brush.
Parents are also impressed to have
seen something special they did not know their child could do!
(Click here for the Superintendent's comments about Don and his work in the classroom.)
Don’s hope: “Somewhere and someday a child of today will be the artist of
tomorrow. I will be pleased and humbled to have been part of their inspiration.”
Ross has a special talent to teach children of all ages to paint. Don’s excitement is
contagious and observers can see it grow throughout the classroom. Smiles and a glow in
the eyes of students tell all you need to know about this program.
So far this year, Crawfordsville School had 68 students ages 1st through 6th grade complete
their oil paintings in approximately 90 minutes.
Holly school had a total of 144 students finish a pencil art project. Don is looking forward to
additional watercolor projects coming this spring for this school.
270 students completed art projects at Hawthorne school: 1st thru 3rd grades worked on
pencil art, 4th through 5th painted watercolors, and 6th grade created oil paintings.
Foster School had a total of 278 students actively participate in art projects: 1st thru 3rd
developed pencil art, 4th through 5th produced watercolors, and 6th grade students
completed 11”x 14” oil paintings in approximately 90 minutes.
Don's art is well known in Sweet Home, because of his interaction with the grade schools.
He is grateful that his artistic method is touching the lives of many children with more to
Don has also found a way to share the love of painting beyond the class room. A parent and
their child sign up to complete a special project after school. Together, the child and parent
complete an oil painting. With one brush and one canvas, they share the love of painting.
Don knows when he’s touched their hearts:
“When you see tears fall from the cheeks of a parent as they walk away hand in hand
with their child, then I know I've been blessed to give children something that will last
for their future.”