Painter’s delight 

Laguna Beach latest outlet for Cori Ross designs

Cori Ross paints with precision.

From greeting cards to canvas, the work is a planned process.

"I’m like a finishing carpenter, I’ll take about two weeks to do an original, walk around and think about it, and the colours in it, and then go back to it," says the self-taught artist, who says layering and gouache are a mainstay of her technique.

And her prints are making waves at a new shop in Laguna Beach, California, the latest outlet for her acrylics and watercolour designs.

Ross’s work can also be found on display at her in-home studio, which also acts as a gallery, and in shops at ski resorts which include Sun Peaks, Banff, and the trendy new B.C. hot spot for outdoor lovers, Fernie.

The theme for her Christmas 2002 work will be "the ski life."

Prints depict skis or ski tracks predominantly, including five pairs sticking up out of a snowbank on a snowy winter day called The Lineup.

Alpine Flowers as well as "little village scenes" are also top sellers.

Designs for cards, which the couple like to change every two years, are sent for scanning and post-production work to an outlet in Calgary. The prints are mastered using the Giclee process.

Prices range anywhere from $800 to $3,000 (for an original) depending on size (from 35" to 40"), while standard card sizes are usually 8" and 10".

"My work is my lifestyle, it’s who I am. I was always captivated by landscapes," says Ross.

Whistler and the Okanagan Valley are her top subjects.

While she has previously displayed work in Whistler galleries, Ross says she finds her home studio both inviting to clients, and an effective showroom.

Born and raised at Silver Star, near Vernon, Ross moved to Whistler for the skiing. A long-term veteran of the service industry, she held management positions at Val d’Isere and La Rúa, where she met her husband, before turning full-time to art.

"While at La Rúa I thought I had enough talent to make some Christmas cards," she says.

"I had no idea what would come out of it."

Soon Ross was busy with pre-orders.

"I got overwhelmed (by the response) a bit at first. Now I sleep much better," says Ross, who was recently showcased at an invitation-only show for 140 artists at a park in La Jolla, California.

"I always thought there may be something else – something else out there (for me), she says of her time in the restaurant business. Now, with assistance from her husband, also named Cory, who plays an active role in sales and marketing, her art is taking off.

"We have the same goals, and we’re in tune with another and where we’re going. Motivation is a big part of it too," says Ross, on working in business with her partner.

Now, Ross finds herself attending annual art shows, completing private commissions and working for Whistler-Blackcomb.

In addition, she says the Resort Municipality of Whistler has been extremely supportive.

One perk of this job is that it allows her and her husband the time to travel together. Trips include California and Hawaii, and she cites the flexi-time is a definite plus.

"Living in Whistler is amazing. Everyday I see something I want to paint."

Future plans may include their own store, but for the moment Ross is content with her level of business and the demand for her work.

"We have huge plans for the future," adds Ross.

Her work can be seen online www.crossdesigns.bc.ca, and is also available at Senka Florist, Skitch, and Snowberries in Whistler Village. Call the studio at 604-932-3473.

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