Anne Katherine Menge Ross

Artist Lets Go - Ideas Grow

Has She lost her marbles? she can always paint more!


As a recovering perfectionist-procrastinator and self proclaimed urban homesteader, I have learned to take a cue from nature and go with the flow. This resonates with my time spent working in the garden at the mercy of the weather and insects and tending to my flock of renegade chickens. I am learning that life brings many bittersweet surprises and there is great freedom in surrendering to what will be, while creating the conditions for optimal growth and blossoming success. I have been painting for over 20 years and have always battled with the need to make things look realistic to prove myself as an artist, and naturally this stems from my perfectionist neurotic tendencies. What seems to happen in art when we are constantly trying to fix things is the surface becomes overworked and the energy and life gets sucked right out of a piece, making it stagnant and dull. If that's not a metaphor for life, I don't know what is! So I spent some time in college at the opposite end of the spectrum painting completely abstract and sensational art. This broke me out of my cage of ridiculous parameters that I had built around myself and suddenly people became deeply attracted to my work. So now, I accept both parts of myself and I play with the duality of tight control vs. loose, free spirited work. This is about striving for excellence and also not beating myself up when something spontaneously changes the whole trajectory of my artwork. It's like trying to wrangle the chickens into their coop before they are ready to bed down at night...if you have ever tried this you end up looking like a flailing fool and the chickens just go back to being what they are, scratching and pecking away. Or if you have ever planted a garden and invested blood sweat and tears only to have a swarm of grasshoppers or slugs or cabbage worms sweep through and obliterate everything overnight. Do you declare that you are a failure as a gardener, or do you just make new plans for next season? I am listening now, and I hear that I can't control everything but I ought to do myself a favor and embrace the process of showing up everyday anyways. Life is about having a sense of humor, letting go and at the same time still holding ourselves accountable. So now, as an artist, I like to take those little light-bulb, aha! moments and cultivate them into blooming works of art (see my logo for a visualization of this). If an idea withers up and dies, I just till it under and plant something new in its place and the energy comes flooding back. I hope to remind people through my work that life can be whatever you make of it, if you don't cling to the grueling details and try to have a little fun. Like a swinging pendulum, I invite you to enjoy the ride between the extremes knowing you always head back to your center with renewed energy.


Where to find me...

Thanks for visiting me at Summerfair again this year in Billings in July! Hobson and I had a great time meeting new people and slinging some new products, like the fantastic marbled onesies and hats... I will be back again next year!

I made my postpartum debut at the Made in Montana Tradeshow in Helena, MT in March of 2018. Not a lot of art making happening in the lead up to this but plenty of preparation and getting my art show groove back after 3 months of dedicated motherhood. Hobson was so wonderful and really enjoyed himself while meeting so many new people and looking at all the pretty colors around him.

I will be back again next year!