October 29 – Happy Birthday, “Joy of Painting” Guy!

Posted on October 29, 2013

Okay, yes, the “The Joy of Painting” guy had a name: Bob Ross.

A guy who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 17—a guy who made a living screaming at recruits who were late and ordering them to clean the latrine—seems an unlikely sort to become the calm and happy host of a TV show called “The Joy of Painting”!

But Bob Ross learned to paint quickly while in the military, because he had only short breaks in which to paint pictures (which he then sold). And while he was screaming at all those recruits, Ross promised himself never to shout again, once he was out of the Air Force.

Ross was so calm and soft-spoken as a television host, he was compared to Mr. Rogers!

When Ross began to make more money selling art than he made at his “real job,” he left the Air Force. Someone at PBS must have been impressed by his “quick paint” technique with oil paints and realized that this technique would be perfect for a how-to-paint TV series. Soon Ross was world famous for his show on PBS.

You see, many oil painters allow time for one layer or color of paint to dry before applying more color, but Ross used a wet-on-wet technique that allowed a picture to progress so much more quickly! It is estimated that Ross painted between 25-to-30 THOUSAND paintings in his life. Most of his paintings are of mountains and trees, cabins and lakes—subjects dear to his heart because he lived in Alaska for many years.

To see how quickly Ross painted, check out this video, which teaches how to paint “happy little trees.” Or how about this video how-to on waterfalls?

Quotes from Bob Ross

Remind yourself of these things over and over again, while you paint!

  • We don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents.

  • [Someone said] 'Bob, everything in your world seems to be happy.' That's for sure. That's why I paint. It's because I can create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news.
  • In painting, you have unlimited power. You have the ability to move mountains. You can bend rivers. But when I get home, the only thing I have power over is the garbage.
  • We don't know where it goes. We don't really care.
  • Any time you learn, you gain.
  • Any way you want it to be, that's just right.
  • Trees cover up a multitude of sins

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