About heatherrossnaturaleclectic

I am a published artist, designer and photographer. I am especially drawn to nature in all it's forms. My Gallery/Boutique Heather Ross { natural eclectic } located at 2170 Fir St. in Vancouver Canada is an evocative mix of art and authentic finds for the home. I'm currently working on a book The Natural Eclectic™ about artful living, and creating atmospheres of nuance and grace mixing new, old and found objects.

Jelly bean colors for Spring!

While I tend to prefer muted, earthy tones, spring is such an nice time to embrace to a fresh pretty palette, if even just for Easter weekend! In Vancouver we are blessed with Cherry blossom and Magnolia trees flowering in March and April, intoxicating us all with their frothy pink blooms. It sets the mood for a sweet season.

trees in bloom Heather Ross

jelly bean colors Heather RossSo on that note I am sharing some playful adorable lighthearted palettes for spring. Fresh greens, aqua, turquoises, petal pinks, powdery sky blues and little touches of yellow.little bunnies Heather RossMagnolias Heather Rossa girl & her hen Heather Rossjelly bean colors Heather Rossblue eggs Heather Rosslittle bunny By Heather Rossblue white & green Heather Rossa gift of flowers Heatehr RossEnjoy and have a wonderful weekend no matter how you celebrate it.

All images & words copyright Heather Ross

 

 

breath of fresh air

Spring has finally arrived with flowers and sprigs of green rising from the earth! Recently I was looking around at all the different vintage and antique vessels at our shop and thought  they’d be charming potted up with succulents into adorable little groupings. It had me thinking….how is it that house plants have become trendy again?

succulent display Heather Ross

All of a sudden everybody wants terariums and succulents, macramé hanging baskets and curly leafed fig trees. Just yesterday I was looking at the antique Chinese noodle cupboard in my living room ( atop which I’m currently storing two lampshades ) and thought “I should put some ferns on that”. My partner’s out of town and I find myself wanting to play house and freshen up this place but I never really been one for houseplants. So I had a chuckle with myself. I thought ‘you’re being influenced by trends’! lily of the valleyOf course were all influenced by trends but it’s one thing to be a slave to them and another to be aware to the nuances of what is timely and what is now. The interesting thing about an eclectic aesthetic is it’s about mixing new and old in a way that feels timely without being trendy. It takes things that are old and looks at them in a new way, combines them in a new way so they become something altogether different. It’s what makes antiques still feel fresh.

planter Heather Ross

We can carry things from the past, antique treasures and nostalgic mementos from our our lives, place them in different homes and spaces as time goes on, yet not make them feel old, dated by the way we present them and give them new life. The problem I’ve always had with houseplants is they tend to get a little neglected and dusty, the leaves start to brown, and they never really look like how they first arrived unless you truly treat that growing treasure with great loving care like a pet. (Orchids are one plant other than cactus or succulents that I enjoy having at home. While they need a little tending, they stand like a sculpture overflowing with blooms for months on end ) One of the great things about succulents is they don’t need a lot of attention and they stay as they are.  As I started potting along with soil and gravel, using simple vintage vessels like pedestal bowls and pudding bowls with single plants, I perused the shop and found other antique containers that I thought could be even more interesting filled with plants. A fresh way to bring life to antique treasures and make them feel new again.blue willow Heather Ross

Blue Willow is one of the most popular, longest enduring china patterns every created. It is  a traditional classic. Yet see how different it looks when used to house this Echeveria plant. I actually even salvaged the rim of a Blue Willow bowl to create a unique border for another planting. Instead of discarding it, I looked at in an imaginative way and was able to reinvent it. repurposed Blue Willow

Very soon, terrariums and hanging baskets and such will start to feel common again, done, predictable, trendy again the way hanging macrame baskets did years ago when every bedroom had one. So the trick to being inspired by trends, is to be….inspired! Add a twist. Bring your own personality to it. Be original. Do it in your own way. That way it will be authentic and enduring. A breath of fresh air instead of a fad that will fade out.

All words & images copyright Heather Ross 2014 We’re glad we’ve inspired you but please credit appropriately on social media sites & do not reblog without written consent

Coming out of hibernation

So I’ve been hibernating a bit. It was a good snowy winter to do that. Sometimes just like the earth we need to go into a fallow state to lay the ground for a future garden to grow. We need to let the soil get fertile. Sometimes we need step back, or to step down in order to actually step up to the life we’re meant to live.

Hibernation By heather Ross

I’ve written a few introspective blogs of late ( incl this one! ) but I think I’m ready to move forward again. This blog for ‘The Natural Eclectic’ began as a platform for my book, and this winter I had a great new development. I met a dynamic and accomplished art director in the editorial and book publishing world. Excited and intrigued by my concept, they want to come on board to help bring my book to fruition. I felt renewed energy seeing that they were so inspired and couldn’t wait to start storyboarding and making tangible progress.

But then something odd happened. Life went a little sideways…and I found myself feeling atypically insular. Very out of character for me. I’ve always had a strong duality that interchanges between ambitious drive and a gentler side that desires to seek out nature, explore and just create…. but I rarely go dormant.

Snow falls Heather Ross

I see now that I needed to withdraw and go inner in order to soul search about my true path and what I’m meant to do/share/say? Painful injuries compromised my process and took me further away from the joy of making tactile things. Even quiet time editing on the computer was challenging. Some components in my work life were just not adding to a feeling of quality of life anymore, and quality of life is all that should really matter, to me or anyone else. It’s a main thread in the book.

I feel blessed to have a lovely little shop that is so well received and love being able to share beauty and exchange ideas with my clients.No doubt it’s rewarding to see my images in magazines and have recognition with awards or positive feedback from my peers. Somewhere along the path though, where photography changed to digital and everyone had phones that became cameras, it seemed the whole world started doing and chronicling things that before felt rather unique to me. Even though I’d been shooting for magazines for over 15 years and had successfully run my own boutique for almost as many, I felt lost in the shuffle. I went on Pinterest and there were millions of people creating inspiration boards on how to decorate, bake, knit, collect etc. Pop up shops popped up everywhere. Online vintage shops. Tv shows about pickers. I’d done these things since my teens in my own way without ever looking over my shoulder or comparing myself to anyone else until social media came along.  I started counting followers, I started feeling pressure.  Doubt and external demands started creeping in and distracted me on my path to creating my book. We all leave our own personal thumbprint on the world and none of us should ever feel watered down by others, but it’s hard to find the balance in the public eye. First and foremost I’m a visual artist yet I am also a metaphorical and expressive person that wants to share ideas and connect.  The best quote I ever discovered was  “Comparison is the thief of joy” Indeed!  Time to stop comparing and just start being me again!

Boutique with blossoms Heather RossMy previous blog “what is love’ was rather sad but I needed to share it. I was afraid to put it out there in case it was too vulnerable, too deep. Aren’t blogs meant to be about DIY decorating, recipes and cheerful projects?  Yet I discovered that readers really responded to my message, and they in turn shared their stories. Someone who’d lost their mother recently said it was the most beautiful blog they’d ever encountered.

So as I move forward on my book I will be mindful of what my true intention is. I want to encourage and invite creativity and awareness, sensitivity and exploration of not only our interior environments and natural worlds, but also our emotional selves. The book will touch upon themes of many tactile and ‘material’ things but will not be about encouraging materialism, decorating to impress or in any way making others feel intimidated.  I cannot wait till I hold my book in my hands and share it with others. Of course I will marvel over the cover, the paper, the images chosen, the layout, the words, the weight of it all. I will launch it and feel proud and delighted when others cherish it too. But most importantly I will revel in seeing a dream, a vision come to life that hopefully touches and inspires others in a meaningful way.

Hope springs eternal by Heather Ross

I took a while to post this blog. It was snowing when I started and now the cherry blossoms are out. While I write I dream of us spending time writing my book in a country house. I see animals in a pasture and meadow walks with the one I love. A painting studio, maybe even a kiln?  Discovery and life anew as I ebb and flow from hibernation and fallow states into ones of full bloom. I see many stories and pictures coming to life…

All words and images copyright Heather Ross 2014

what is love?

What is love?

Is it a feeling?

Is it a bond?

An unspoken connection?

It is a gift to love and be loved, though sometimes it is through pain and loss we feel the true depth of our love. All the strings pulling, twisting, knotting, fraying…as we’re forced to cut the thread and let go.

Does love end when life ends? Does it live only within our physical sphere or endure in the ether, the matter between matter, the space where one thing ends and another begins. Where does the love of a living being go when they go? Does it only stay in the heart of the one left behind, fed by memories of moments,  touchstones and longings?

remembering Griffin

I just held a vessel. It is what remains of a creature I so loved. My Griffin. I loved him. He knew it. He loved me. I felt it. He was safe with me until the end. Trust. Affection. Comfort. Reliance. Companionship. Tenderness. An unspoken bond. A shared life. Mornings in bed with tea. Afternoons in the garden sunshine.

Griffin by Heather Ross

There are footprints on the windowsill I don’t want to wash away. They are evidence of so much more. One day they will fade. Will the love? Or just the memories and the matter? Is love not eternal…for all things great and small?
Griffin by Heather Ross
As a kitten Griffin was so shy, yet he learned to trust me and to love me. He had a sister Zoe.  She left us long ago but my love for her has not diminished. She was so dear.
Griffin & Zoe
Griffin was funny, sweet and loving. Soft. He calmed me down. He followed me and at times he ran away from me. He clung to me when he was scared. Called to me when he was hungry and cold. He pawed my eyelashes with a featherweight tap of curiosity. He slept by my side. He looked deep into my eyes. I miss him.
Love is sad but always worth it.  It comes in many forms.  Love is all that matters.
All photos and words copyright Heather Ross 2014

the natural season of giving

Heather Ross Natural Eclectic (1 of 1)

This weekend marked the solstice and longer days ahead. A gift for those who long for light. It snowed, got misty and dreamy.  Nature said ‘s l o w   d o w n’. I had much to do, like everyone else at this demanding time. I was blessed to sell four paintings this week and my clients hoped for them to be hung before Christmas. So Sunday between errands and parties I ventured to my clients home. A beautiful space overlooking a golf course, I was gifted with this stunning wintery vista above. We hung art and got to know the owners over a delicious espresso and Baileys.  Instead of feeling pressed for time I appreciated the ‘pause’ this had allowed me.   A small festive gesture on their part that warmed us before heading out to gather food for a few days of feasting.

                 Baileys, espresso & starburstsThere are many ways to share, to give thanks, to give. It can just be your presence, as opposed to presents. It can be as simple as a  well chosen special ornament. A little package that shows you put personal thought and special care into it’s choosing.

Vintage silver bells & milk glass Heather RossI love to bake sugar cookies, a childhood favorite of my sister and I. Every year I packed them off the Italy where my sister lived, knowing that upon opening the gift box she would be flooded with fond memories that made her feel close to home even though she was very far away. She has now returned home to her roots and we were able to decorate them together just as when we were young. The memories are as sweet as the cookies.

sugar cookies by Heather Ross

A very talented client of ours makes wonderful tag cards each year. Each one is customized to suit the recipient. She hand selects the elements, collages, pastes and paints them. Mine was a medley of duck egg blue and copper and gold, rustic mixed with finery and natural motifs. She knows me well! A cherished gift to receive within a little envelope in the mail. Lara Irwin tag, photo Heather Ross

A gentleman approached us in our shop with these lovely plaster cast sand dollars. With only a week to go before the holidays we were not really in need of more stock. But he had chosen the sand dollars so carefully, created moulds, sanded and drilled them, and strung them with hemp cording. How could I say no? He had gone to such effort and care. I have a particular attachment to sand dollars myself and of course just love natural forms, so I bought them all. It feels wonderful to be in a position to help support others and encourage creativity.silver & sand dollars

A client came in and chose some of the sand dollars to make a wreath. Though the shop was bustling with customers and sales, we found time to chat, and she shared about her new home that had just a smidgen of an ocean view she called “sea glimpse”. I came home after this full day at the shop a little weary but satisfied after such a busy successful day. To my surprise a lovely letter from this client was waiting for me in my inbox.

” Thank you so much for the lovely vintage lantern ornament and for the pretty sand dollar ornament collection.  Your shop is always such a delight to visit – the lovely ambience of the beautifully curated items is complemented perfectly by your charm, your unique style and your enthusiasm for the objects you’ve gathered or created.  I know pulling together this collection and running a retail outlet is a ton of work and it takes a very special gift to pull off the “natural eclectic” mix.  Your shop is a rare and unique treasure in a world dominated by chain stores and the quest for profit above all else.  You deserve every bit of success that comes your way.

P.S.  Thought you might like the following quote as I believe you see the beauty in many things others pass by ….“Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a lot to love a leaf. It’s ordinary to love the beautiful, but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary.”

Bird lantern ornament

I was so touched ~ words can indeed be a gift too! So in this season of hustle and bustle remember that gifts do indeed come in many packages. While of course I appreciate beauty and wonderful objects, tactile finds and treasures, nothing takes the place of feeling special. Life is a gift. Love is a gift.

Sun and snow and even rain and fog are a gift. Time is a gift. Listening is a gift. Reaching out is a gift. Noticing is a gift. And things bought with thought or made by hand are gifts that will truly resonate. May you all feel joy and gratitude this time of year in the season of giving ~ Heather

Radiant Orchids and Emeralds

Emerald seas photo Heather RossIs it just a coincidence that Pantone’s color of the year ‘Emerald’…will surrender in 2014  to ‘Radiant Orchid’…. a lush violet/amethyst shade? On the color wheel they are exact opposite ‘split complimentary’ tones. Based on color theory they are very compatible together, pleasing, bringing out the best in each other, balancing, neither one competing with the other for attention. Green represents life. Strong, serene, natural, vital. Violet is more spiritual, floral, sensual… yet also regal { perhaps Pantone was inspired by the royal birth in England? } Violet, orange and green are considered secondary colors to primaries which are red, yellow and blue. It takes a deft hand to mix primaries all together in one setting successfully. Unless perfectly executed in a crisp coastal home or on the border of a Hudson’s Bay blanket, I feel they can look generic or childish. I’ve always preferred colors that are more subtle and nuanced with depth, the ‘in between hues’. While people often associate my work with blues,  I rarely ever paint with bright cobalt or royal blues. I prefer the more serene shades of blue that drift toward..that’s right..the green or violet side of things!

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When I do embrace a warmer palette, I love using greyed down shades of lavender.  I may not fully embrace  the tart vibrant fuchsia aspect of Pantones next darling, but I will indeed welcome all it’s gentler shades as seen in the sheer petals of this radiant orchid image I captured against linen on a sun filled day.

lost & found in the fog

The other day I found a moment to myself. I decided to get lost in the fog.Foggy Noll Heather RossI got lost and found myself actually. It had been a while since just me, myself and my camera had a littler wander.Foggy Seas photo Heather RossIt was misty and mysterious, the air filled with little particles, the landscape hiding and revealing, the sky a perfect soft box.

Foggy Marsh Heather Ross

Foggy Dock Heather Ross

As the evening approached quickly in the dense fog I got a little chilled, a little tired and headed back up the hill home. All of sudden it was clear. There was a bright warm afterglow of a sunset, pink light just slipping away, a tinge of blue sky and warmth! All of a sudden I felt robbed. I felt regretful. I felt annoyed! Then it struck me. What a metaphor for life in so many ways! On one hand I was a bit cold and chilled and not aware that just steps away ( if I had just taken a further wander ) the sunshine was waiting for me! On the other hand I had been content and creative in the misty landscape until afterwards I found the sun and had regret. I almost felt  ‘left out’! Here were all these people enjoying an extended summer moment after weeks of grey and I had been just steps away in my own fog. I let the ‘grass is greener’ effect taint the moment just before. Not unlike a cozy happy moment at home that gets stirred up when all of a sudden you see via social media that everyone is out and about at some dazzling party you were not privy too! Indeed. A lesson to be in the present and find contentment and beauty wherever you are. Even if you are in a fog.

Foggy Trees Heather Ross

 All images & words copyright Heather Ross 2013

Hello Fall

Hello Fall. Right on cue with the Autumn equinox you arrive with crisp mornings, long golden shadows and yes, rain. My creamy hydrangeas have turned a rosy blush, a tell tale sign that summer is truly over. Hydrangeas photo Heather Ross

We embrace this as a season of harvest. Of cocooning and retreating back into ourselves and our homes after months of play outdoors. As my previous blog clearly states, I am a summer girl, but autumn does hold a special place in my heart too. It’s just a little bittersweet for me. Cozy grey days are always fun to embrace after a long stretch of sunshine, just along as the grey doesn’t stay too long! There is a surrender involved. A letting go. I offset the shorter days by spending as much time out on rambling walks when the sun is out and sipping perfect blends of rich smoky Lapsang Suchong tea to warm up once inside ( tastes like a campfire )

While many welcome the rich warm earthy tones of fall, I’ve never preferred the rusty palette associated with this season. Take a look at my take on a sunnier brighter approach to a Thanksgiving tableau, as seen in BCLIVING. This is my first of monthly blog posts of  I will be creating for their online magazine in addition to my own personal blog here. I hope you enjoy it!
inspired autumn by Heather RossRecently as part of IDSWEST in Vancouver, Interior designer Sophie Burke created a table scape that embraced a similar aesthetic. We were delighted she chose our natural table linens, driftwood toned hand dipped tapers and vintage pressed glass candle holders  to create her ‘Scandanavian Rustic’ table for the Dinner by Design charity event.

DINNERBY DESIGNDinnerbyDesign Photo Heather RossDinnerbyDesign Photo Heather Ross

 

This time of year I also get busy like a squirrel foraging for winter, filling the shop with all sorts of textural treasures for the busy season ahead! It’s a creative time that I enjoy, especially in our new location that remains flooded with sunshine ; )

perfect palette H. Ross

All images copyright Heather Ross 2013

Ode to an enchanted summer

A summer girl I truly am. Born in August on the same day as my loved one, it is a time I always hold dear to my heart. This was an exceptionally special summer I will never forget. Endless days of sunshine. Celebrations and gatherings. Ocean swimming, day trips, road trips, and camping.

ode to summer photo Heather Ross

Filled with beauty, vitality and rare weeks of warm dry weather, I relaxed into a long season of enchanting celebration and discovery. 66917_10151465149046296_673459260_n

I watched sunsets and moonrises. Saw deer, eagles, racoons, herons, osprey, and even whales blowing off the shore of Bonniebrook Beach.

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We watched fisherman where the rivers edge met the ocean near Roberts Creek, and children dare to leap into the space between the pier and the sea below at Davis Bay.

summer children photo Heather RossAt certain milestones in our lives, we must take stock of all that matters to us. Ascertain what truly gives us joy, express gratitude for all that we are thankful for and really focus on all that makes us the most content, beautiful productive person we can be. This summer I committed to making the most of every ‘summery’ moment our beautiful British Columbia had to offer! I found this beautiful book with my shop in mind, but decided I must keep it! With a delicate robins eggs blue cover juxtaposed and great First Nations graphics, it’s a wonderful anthology of my roots and a momento of this summer  I will cherish.vintage book, photo Heather Ross

I’ve been able to take breaks from being ‘a shop girl’ to get out and explore this wonderful provence of ours ( of course exploring ALWAYS means treasure hunting for the shop too! )  thanks in large part to my sister Janet  who returned ‘home’ from Italy a year ago and is helping out in our thriving bustling new boutique location!554916_10151507040996296_1740579612_n
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Even when I was working in the shop it still felt like a holiday. Our tall lofty new space with 21 foot windows has so much sunlight streaming in we never had to turn on our lights on!Sunshine at Heather Ross {natural eclectic }

My signature light and airy, watery palette could not have been more fitting this season. I embraced a breezy coastal boho meets modern Cape Cod kind of mood.1185306_10151522764226296_1130283711_n

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I spent evenings in the city painting al fresco on my patio, watering the garden in peaceful bliss, dining outdoors and lounging with my beloved cat griffin who loves the sun too!946369_10151515835961296_786835333_n

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I foraged for driftwood, seashells and treasures, and gathered fruits and berries.

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Invented blackberry cobblers with lavender culled from my own garden and berries picked on my walk home each evening along the railroad ties of the community garden.

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I’ve wandered on many walks with my beloved partner Craig with whom I just celebrated our 5 year anniversary.  Found starfish and even a vintage star shaped cookie cutter waiting for me at the waters edge on rare high tide in West vancouver! 1176287_10151535576626296_828739990_n

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We stayed up the Sunshine Coast at a  magical B&B with horses, peacocks, cats and emus all coexisting together. The setting is a fabulous mix of new and old, with a modern open airy gallery guest suite situated on a dreamy pastoral property.

Todd Clark Studio B&B

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peacock feathers Photo heather RossThere were many gatherings. As part of my/our ‘birthday week’ Craig and I ate fish and chips in my family home ( thanks mum! ) with visiting dear old friends from childhood days and indulged in my favorite must have traditional BON TON Diplomat cake!

Birthday mates Heather Ross & Craig Anderl

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With family, friends and a Rose Veuve Cliquote gifted by my fabulous cousins we wandered down to the beach I grew up at. Then plunged into the sea, that was unusually warm and inviting at sundown.

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We shared most amazing meal at Heirloom Vegetarian along a harvest table, family style with another dozen of our close friends who showered me with cards, flowers and hugs.

Birthday birdie wishes

 We went to a delightful hoe down hosted by a dear client of ours, camping amongst horses and hay bails after a wonderful fete at foothills of Pemberton.  1011390_10151503935041296_265900479_n

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1000582_10151504076311296_1675233491_n It was so much fun to discover how treasures from our boutique made a home for themselves in their gorgeous garden shed and rustic sleeping quarters.

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We swam in almost every lake on the sea to sky drive back down to Vancouver,as did many others. I’ve always been an ocean girl but craig is a prairie boy so lakes call to him.

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A week left in August, and my hydrangeas are turning a tinge of rosiness. This signals the arrival of our ‘Indian Summer’, a transitional time that hovers before Autumn. A beautiful time yet one that stirs up melancholy for me as it harkens to the shorter days ahead. Yet I cannot be greedy for I have truly soaked in all I could! 1150288_10151538116966296_1008796748_n

As an artist I try to capture these small and simple joys of life and install them into my work, my paintings, my photos and words, even my vignettes in the shop. It is the way that I connect, but also how I preserve and incapsulate my memories. So this is my ode to an enchanted summer filled with long light evenings spent with those dear to me, to delicate moments exploring in nature, to exuberant squeals of joy when my warm skin met fresh sea, when fingers found the perfect berry or seashell, when eyes caught a whale surfacing or eagle soaring. 1002849_10151480072876296_2106291978_n

There’ve been serendipitous chance meetings and some magic mixed in for sure too. I feel gifted and grateful to have experienced it all. When reflecting on how I wanted to spend  my milestone birthday I realized how fortunate I truly was, for it was not so different than how I spend my every day life, there was nothing I needed to escape from, I had everything I needed already around me. Love. Family. Beauty. Warmth. Abundance. Vitality. Expression. Nature. Creativity. Shelter. Hope. Joy. All of which is pretty remarkable.

All images copyright Heather Ross 2013

Wall mounted ‘Water’ discs as seen in photo above created by Heather Adair

setting the tone

we threw a little summer party for our beloved new shop July 18th ~ this is how we set the tone….thank you to everyone who attended ~ it was a beautiful evening… we are very grateful

Summer celebration heather ross custom ribbon Heather Ross559076_552100201516644_2010765561_n
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1069931_4438539261851_3838250_nHeather Ross with painting

( All images above & words expressed above Copyright HEATHER ROSS 2013 )

If you’d like to see more please check out Jan of Poppytalk’s lovely blog on the event

Photo by Poppytalk at Heather Ross