(calm guitar music) (birds chirp) - You can go anywhere on the planet, there's gonna be a bird species, there's something like 9,000 species on the planet, still some being discovered today, which is amazing consider how populated the earth is.
I just think it's such a gift to the earth and humanity to have these creatures around.
I started painting when I was probably seven or so.
I had just a desire to create these incredible creatures that I could see every day of my life.
Never had any training in school.
I am a wildlife biologist by training, so my whole being is immersed in nature.
There's all kinds of offshoots that come from that every day of my life, whether it's making duck decoys or painting or walking on the prairie and just observing.
I definitely gravitate towards watercolors.
My excitement is getting pigment on wet watercolor paper.
Ideas come to my mind and some of them have been described as whimsical.
I don't like to use the word realistic.
I yearn in my mind to be more impressionistic.
My style tends to be loose background washes and then bringing detail forward.
Sometimes when you travel, you get all kinds of great gifts.
Ecuador boasts an amazing 164 species or so.
I saw several hundred new species on that trip, but of them were 33 hummingbird species.
When I got home, I just got this wild idea to paint all 33 of those species, and I'm up to about number 18, and it's already been two and a half years since that trip.
It's fun, they're challenging.
Watercolors, doing iridescent bright colors is difficult, for me anyway.
It's been a fun project.
We've been gone from Antarctica for quite some time, but it was the most amazing place I've ever been on the planet and it's a watercolor painter's dream world because of all the blues and greens in the ice and the bird life.
I've done a few Antarctica paintings, but I'd like to do kind of a series of that.
- I've known Ross for I would guess over 20 years actually.
He started doing art when he was working with the DNR, and our relationship grew because we have an annual art show, so he would enter two pieces of his watercolor that he would do when he was out on the job.
He had a really great year with us.
He was recognized as our artist of the year, and then the jurors selected him as second place.
- That's a real feather in my cap, and I'm proud of it because Northwest Minnesota has some tremendous artists.
You go through life doing what you do and whether it was in my professional work or my hobbies, when you just put your nose to the grindstone and love what you're doing as an effort, you do find out that people do see that.
I think that's all anybody can hope for.
- I've really enjoyed his art, he has a fine style to the way that he handles watercolor.
His love of nature and his very specific attention to detail because he knows the animals so well, he can talk about the bird itself, because he has his career working with nature and with wildlife.
- It is something I'm so glad that is still burning in me.
I'll paint as long as my hands and my mind, you know, vision wise is kind of a big deal.
I've been nearsighted since I was in fifth grade, I've got hearing aids now, I mean, slowly being kept together with technology.
It's something I can continue to do.
There are thousands of people that paint and do other things, but to be able to keep that love for it here, that's the big gift to me.
I've had a great life, I mean I don't know how life could get any better.
- [Announcer] Funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4th, 2008.
And by the members of Prairie Public.