Susan Andrina Ross

Susan Andrina Ross CM, (3 June 1915 – 5 January 2006), was a printmaker, illustrator and painter from Port Arthur, Ontario who is best known for her portraits of Native and Inuit peoples. Her work is valuable both for its artistry and for its historical significance since she captured many images of a passing way of life.  In 2002 she was awarded the Order of Canada in the Visual Arts.  An important and early influence in her life was her uncle, the documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty, who is best known for his film Nanook of the North.  Ross attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto in 1933. In 1938, in the last term of her fourth year, Ross left before graduating to marry Jim Ross.  Ross was active in the Port Arthur Art Club which held exhibitions and juried shows at the local library, there being no public art gallery there at the time. From 1951 to 1952, Ross taught art at Hillcrest High School.  Ross experimented with new techniques, textural effects, such as scraping-out or using tissue and glue, and mixing layers of watercolor paint between printed layers in etchings. Ross began to focus her efforts and inspiration on First Nations people.  Ross worked in remote areas such as to Big Trout Lake, to Sandy lake, Little Grand Rapids, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Coppermine, NWT, Hollman Island NWT, Cape Dorset, Baffin Island, Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, Rae-Edzo, NWT and Kasechewan, Ontario.  Ross acquired a printing press in 1969 and began producing high quality etchings and, drawing on the rich array of sketches obtained on her various trips.  Ross illustrated Sheila Burnford's books "Without Reserve" and "One Woman's Arctic" which document their travels, as well as Penny Petrone's book "Fairy Tales of Isabella Valancy Crawford" and Jocelyn Square's "SHA-KO-KA".  Ross stopped painting at age 85 having "lost the urge to do it".

Sam Kakegamic, Sandy Lake
Mixed Media on Board
26" x 19"
June 1966

Danny, Coppermine
Etching with Aquatint on Paper #AP
6.5" x 4.75"
circa 1977

Young Man, Coppermine
Etching with Aquatint on Paper #AP
6.75" x 5"
circa 1977

Pastel on Paper
21" x 14.5"
Sept 1973

Mother and Baby
Watercolour and Ink on paper
9.5" x 7.5"
circa 1977

Old Man Coppermine
Mixed Media on Paper
10.5" x 8.5"

Scraping Hide
Oil on canvas
16" x 20"
circa 1971

Etching and Aquatint on Paper 11 of 30
7" x 9"
circa 1982

Rivers Edge
Oil on Canvas  Board
16" x 24"
circa 1970

Arctic Scene
Oil on Canvas Paper
11.5" x 16"
circa 1971

Big Trout Landsacape
Oil on Board
22" x 27"