Lindsey Ross classifies the colours of our coast
After working in a public service job out west, Lindsey Ross decided to move home to P.E.I. in 2018.
It was the perfect opportunity for her to turn her 14-year self-taught hobby into a passionate full-time career. She became an illustrator who operates a studio in Souris during summer, displaying her prints, stickers, cards, and artwork.
“I find it’s relaxing to do,” she says. “I’m a patient person, so I like doing intricate design work and repetitive patterns … It’s almost a meditative thing and a nice way for me to unwind.”
Her ink artwork resonates because it contains a lot of hidden treasures. One of Ross’s pieces is New Brunswick’s shape but includes plants and animals that connect with people from that province. Another one is a P.E.I. mandala with 14 hidden gems inside the drawing.
“I did that one while I was living in Vietnam, just dreaming about moving home to P.E.I. and missing it,” she says. “A lot of my older work was done while being homesick.”
Recently, she created a unique art project which brings a special East Coast feeling. Ross put together a print series called Fifty Shades of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (she’s currently working on the Newfoundland print), using watercolours to depict the things that East Coasters love about their provinces.
“For the creative process, it’s a lot of figuring out what is important to people in a province, and I tried to be diverse with what I am looking at,” she says of the series. “I looked at a lot of nature, public spaces, the things that are very notorious … and the hole in-the-wall places that might get forgotten. There’s a little bit of an educational side to it, which is important to an area. For P.E.I., our food is important to us, our classic meals, our provincial flowers—the things we’re nostalgic about. I try to think of every nook and cranny I can.”
The concept came to life when Ross and her friends sat around at a table and envisioned the 50 shades of Prince Edward Island. They came up with a list of 90 shades. The elimination process wasn’t easy; Ross wanted to ensure there was no over saturation and diversity of colour. After layers on layers of watercolour paints, she got the correct 50 shades that reflected her province.
“With lupins, I see lupins all the time, every summer, and I love them,” she says. “Some of them, I had to go check like the Confederation Centre of the Arts, and that one is that type of greyish kind of colour that’s not quite grey, not quite like beige. Some of them I can physically go and look at the colours. Some of them, I let two tones happen at the same time when it should just be one. It’s a lot of trial and error. Watercolours are super forgiving and super mixable. It’s a good one to choose for something like this. I just mixed the colours and tried them.”
From her experience of explaining the difference between her home province to Prince Rupert, B.C., Ross’s goal of her artwork is to recognize and give attention to small spaces that tend to be overlooked or forgotten.
“I hope people remember that there are little spaces in big and diverse places and has all these great things to offer,” Ross says. “I hope that they think about all the different industries that they represent, all of the things they are producing, all the work, the wild spaces for people to go and visit, and traditions that have held up, things they are well-known for. I hope people are reminded that their province is great and diverse and has a lot to offer. I like that my work pulls at people’s heartstrings.”