We had the good fortune of connecting with Lu Ross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lu, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks will usually lead to growth and help you achieve your goals. It will help you discover who you are and find your purpose. Although it can be scary to take that leap of faith, it will make you stronger and more resilient whether you succeed or not. Failure is part of the process and if you learn from that experience you will have moved forward. I left a career in web design to follow my passion for photography and art. Once I realized that web design did not fully satisfy my desire for creativity and art, I decided to pursue further education through the New York Institute of Photography. Leaving a career of fourteen years was not an easy decision but the need to find a stronger purpose for my work was a determining factor in that choice. Photography turned out to be a wonderful outlet for my creativity as well as satisfying my need for being in touch with nature. I firmly believe in the healing power of art and nature. My mission is to share the emotional connection that I feel with the Natural World. When out in nature I feel a wonderful sense of peace, love, and joy and I wish to invite my audience to experience the same through my art. Accepting risks opens the door to new possibilities, to experiencing new things, and increasing your knowledge. So I would advise you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new that you feel is calling you.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an artist, I find my inspiration in nature. After spending long periods of time observing Mother Nature I have come to realize that the beauty, peace, and joy you experience while out in the wilderness has a very real and strong healing power. My mission is to invite my audience to experience the same through my art. I am proud of the fact that many of my collectors have found that sense of calm and peace in the art that now lives in their home. The art improves their environment and emotional quality of life. When I made the transition from web designer to full-time artist, I first started exhibiting my artwork at Art Shows where my art was very well received. I began to immerse myself in the art world and found a gallery to exhibit my work. Shortly after that, I was accepted for an Artist in Residence project, which resulted in several art shows and the subsequent creation of my first book “Elements of Mojave”. I am constantly looking for opportunities to participate in fundraisers and projects to benefit different causes. Giving back is important to me so a percentage of the art sales for this project went to benefit the Mojave National Preserve. I recently joined the “Artists Giving Back” community to contribute to the “Give Back to Nature” project. Its goal is to help plant One Million Trees in developing countries. When my artwork was chosen for the exhibit “Celebrating the National Parks of California” at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, another opportunity presented itself to use my art sales to give back, this time to benefit the National Parks. Exhibiting my art at a museum gave me a boost to look for further representation. With this pursuit in mind, I researched the art gallery market, which was a challenge in itself. As a result of my efforts, I was invited to exhibit my artwork at a local gallery. I have exhibited in several galleries since and I am constantly looking for new ways to expand my art business. The decision to design my own eCommerce site has proven to be a great investment of my time since it has allowed me to sell my art online. Another avenue I have been working on to expand my art business is by collaborating directly with designers as well as the possibility of opening my own gallery in the future. I create representational art as well as abstracts of nature. Most importantly, I create peaceful environments with images of nature to calm, reduce stress, and improve health.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Laguna Niguel, California. I am grateful that my home is a five-minute drive to the beach because I love the ocean. There are several small beach cities within a thirty-minute drive, which makes it a great place to visit. Day one: I would first take my friend to Dana Point to experience a Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Safari with “Captain Dave”. On our way back we would stop at Harpoon Henry’s Restaurant for dinner with a great view of the Dana Point Harbor. Day two: We would take the Catalina Express from Dana Point to Catalina Island. Once we dock on Avalon we could relax, enjoy the beach, and stroll to one of the many waterside restaurants. We could also go on a Catalina Bison Expedition. It’s a two-hour tour in an eco-friendly 4-wheel drive vehicle. The tour takes you to the island’s interior to Cape Canyon and along Sheep Chute Road where we would see herds of America bison among other local wildlife. Day three: As a way to slow down the pace, we would go for lunch at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel located at nearby Salt Creek Beach. After enjoying delicious food and a fabulous ocean view we could take a walk on the beach below and continue along to the Dana Point Highlands path. This area boasts spectacular views of the ocean and nearby cities. Day4: Just twenty minutes north is Laguna Beach, known for its scenic coves, environmental preservation, and being an artist community. We would walk around town visiting galleries, shops, and the Laguna Art Museum. There is a wide selection of restaurants but one of my favorites is Romeo Cucina for its authentic Italian food. Day 5: Thirty minutes north is Newport Beach known for being one of the largest recreational boat harbors on the U.S. west coast. Here we could visit Corona Del Mar State Beach, Balboa Island, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, or go sailing. I would choose the latter since we have a sailboat in Newport Beach and we would go on a beautiful day sail along the coast. On our way back we would stop at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant to enjoy a tasty seafood dinner with a great view of the harbor. Day 6: The city of San Clemente is about a twenty-five minute drive south. This quaint “Spanish Village by the Sea” is known for its beautiful beaches, mountain views, and its colonial-style architecture. We would walk around town and along the beach stopping at The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar on the pier for an enjoyable lunch or catch the sunset during Happy Hour. Day 7: San Juan Capistrano is only ten minutes away. This is the destination for legendary swallows of Capistrano. We would tour the San Juan Capistrano Mission including the ruins of the 1797 Great Stone Church and gardens. After having lunch at Trevor’s at the Tracks Restaurant we would explore the Los Rios Historic District and visit buildings such as the 1881 Ramos House Café and the 1794 Montanez Adobe as well as art galleries.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I would like to say thank you to the members of my family. I would like to thank my husband, Don, my “Sherpa” as he amusingly calls himself, for his assistance on every photoshoot and for his love and support. A special thank you to my two wonderful children, Jenny and Nick for their continual love and support. I would like to gratefully acknowledge and thank the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation for the opportunity to create the project “Elements of Mojave” as an Artist in Residence, which gave birth to my first book. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Bob Killen for the time he spent showing me around the amazing Mojave National Preserve. His help was instrumental for later navigating the Preserve. I thank Bob for his dedication to the Artist in Residence Program. My most sincere thank you to Jason Horejs, at Xanadu Gallery – Art Business Academy, for his mentorship on navigating the art business world and specifically giving me invaluable advice on creating an art book. I would also like to give a shout out to the New York Institute of Photography. It is a great school where I had the opportunity to perfect my photographic skills. Last but not least Art Wolfe’s seminars, books, and photography have been a great inspiration for me.
Other: Mojave National Preserve Artist in Residence project: http://www.mojaveair.
BOOK: “Elements of Mojave” for sale at Amazon ( amzn.to/2Tn4jXp ) and BLURB.
Artists Giving Back: https://www.givebacktonature.com/artists-giving-back/ . A percentage of my art sales go to planting trees in developing countries.