While you may not know his name, you’re probably all familiar with the bearded TV artist known for his gentle, soft-spoken manner, and iconic afro hairstyle. His show, “The Joy of Painting”, aired on PBS from 1983 till 1994, a year before the artist’s untimely death at the age of 52.
Even non-artists enjoy watching Bob paint. There’s just something mesmerizing about his quiet and peaceful approach to painting. And while his paintings are actually quite crude in execution, they’re absolutely beautiful, and it’s a true joy to watch them take shape as Bob patiently explains each step with a smile and a few words of encouragement.
We don’t make mistakes. We have happy accidents.
I have loved watching Bob Ross since I was too young to even pick up a paintbrush. My mom and dad used to hold dinner until practically-still-in-diapers-Wendy had finished seeing what gorgeous landscape Bob was creating that day. I was too young to remember any of it, but years ago, when I rediscovered “The Joy of Painting” on TV, it was honestly like seeing a very old friend again. He was so familiar to me that I knew we had met before.
They say that in a child’s life, the first six years are the most formative. During this time (more so than any other), children soak up information and are inspired by what they’re exposed to. There’s no question that Bob Ross influenced me a great deal. I mean, painting is my career! Hard to get any more inspired than that.
Bob even kept pet squirrels and loved birds… did my affinity for befriending squirrels and birds come partly from watching him growing up? Hard to say for sure, but I doubt it was a coincidence.
Spending 30 minutes watching Bob in the studio is better than 3 hours of traditional therapy. Bob always came across as so kind and very talented. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I’ll put on an episode of Bob, and it’s so soothing, that despite wanting to stay awake to see the finished painting, I fall asleep anyway.
From ocean views (my favourite to watch) to mountain scenes, snowy fields, luminous waterfalls to lush, green forests, Bob’s serene landscapes are unmistakeable. And his wet-on-wet technique is a style that’s still taught by certified Bob Ross instructors to this day.
As Bob wanted to share the joy of painting, so I want to share the joy of watching Bob. Right now, you can watch — for free — “The Joy of Painting” marathon streaming online on Twitch. October 29th would have been Bob’s 73rd birthday, and to honour him (as well as to celebrate the official launch of Twitch Creative), the online channel is airing all 403 episodes of the original series. That’s eight and a half days straight of Bob painting… I won’t tell you how many hours I’ve watched since it began Thursday night. But I’m watching it right now as I write this post… and it’s been on since I got up at 8:00 this morning…..
So if you have some spare time over the next few days, I encourage you to check out an episode or two. And on behalf of one of my favourite artists and myself, I’d like to wish you all happy painting, and God bless, my friends.
And God bless you, Bob. Thanks for being you and for making our lives just that little bit better.