I felt like taking a break from the usual here and wanted to chat today about my personal inspiration for painting, and in general, the amazing Bob Ross. I’m also hoping to introduce him to a new generation of people who have no idea who the man is.
Growing up in the 80’s
As anyone my age or older can attest to, there wasn’t a lot to watch on TV all those years ago in the 80’s. I mean, it was far better than the choices prior to the 80’s, but you didn’t have 600 channels to pick from either.
As most kids in the 80’s, I spent a great deal of time watching PBS. Of course, PBS had Sesame Street, still does in fact, but they also had The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Actually, they do still air that show today despite the fact it’s been over 20 years since the last episode.
The Joy of Painting began in 1983 and it ran until 1994. I didn’t watch the show religiously, but if I caught it while it was on then I was glued to the screen watching Bob Ross create these amazing scenic paintings in under 30 minutes.
The funny thing is that I had no desire to learn to paint back then. I enjoyed drawing, but painting wasn’t something that really spoke to me.
Yet, watching Bob Ross paint was simply awe inspiring and I watched.
What Bob Ross Taught Me
Bob had a lot of little catch phrases during his career on PBS. Hey would talk about the “happy little trees” and the “happy little clouds”, but he also had many more things he’d say that were very profound.
The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.Bob Ross
We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.Bob Ross
I think there’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us.Bob Ross
It’s so important to do something every day that will make you happy.Bob Ross
There’s no shortage of them either.
The value of hearing that as a child growing up can’t be underestimated. I’ll be honest, I didn’t grow up in a very supportive home. Compliments were something you heard once every few years if you were lucky. So, to hear this man be so positive, so reinforcing, was just magical to me.
As a kid, it was never about the art when I watched Bob. It was a man with a blank canvas who could turn it into something special just by believing he could.
Rediscovering The Joy of Painting
A year ago, maybe two now, I was over at my friend Kamui’s place. Somehow we got talking about Bob Ross and we pulled up a video from The Joy of Painting on YouTube and watched it.
Other than me and Kamui, his wife was there as well as his two daughters. His daughters at the time were roughly ages 12 and 8 (correct me if I’m wrong Kamui).
As Bob got painting and creating awesome art with a few brush strokes, Kamui’s daughters were astounded. In a few minutes they were mesmerized, which is something Bob does to everyone. His calm demeanor, soothing voice, and visible enjoyment from painting is hypnotizing.
It was so awesome to see a new generation discover something so great from our childhood.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that Bob Ross Co. had put every season of The Joy of Painting on YouTube. In the years since doing that, as they did it years before I realized, Bob has taken on a whole new audience of viewers discovering him for the first time.
So, I have since begun watching every episode, of which there’s around 300, and reimercing myself once again.
The difference now, other than my age, is that I’m also painting miniatures. Sure, it’s not the wet-on-wet canvas painting that Bob Ross helped make famous, but it’s painting and it’s art.
Watching these episodes again with fresh eyes has been great. The things I pick up on now in watching him are different. Bob is an amazing teacher. He has this carefree way of teaching you about what he’s doing without you even realizing it most of the time.
As Bob paints he will explain what he’s doing, why he’s doing it, and any theories or concepts behind it if applicable. The little things I’ve picked up regarding light, perception, color theory, and so many more have become invaluable pieces of information lost on me in my childhood.
Always the Teacher
Bob Ross isn’t seen by many as an amazing painter. He didn’t create the kind of paintings that art collectors cared about. He wasn’t doing anything revolutionary either.
What he was though was so much more than what his art wasn’t. Bob was the best teacher I have ever seen. His goal with his show wasn’t to make you an artist, or show off his work, but instead to help you find joy and comfort by painting. To escape for a little bit and create your own world.
That is the legacy that Bob Ross has left behind. The world didn’t lose an inspiring artist when he passed away. What we lost was a cherished man who found joy in teaching everyone that you can do anything you want.
Discover Bob for Yourself
As I said, every episode of The Joy of Painting is on YouTube. Definitely check that out if you’ve never seen him, and also do if you have because, like me, there’s always something new to learn.
Now, bear with the terrible TV quality we endured back in the 80’s, the iconic perm of Bob Ross, and enjoy the show for what it is.
Also, if you’ve never seen Bob, give it about 5 minutes. His paintings all start off very basic, but he quickly adds a level of detail to his work with incredible speed. Often you’re left wondering how he created what he did in a matter of seconds.
I could go on and on about the amazing man that is Bob Ross but I’ll call that good for now ;)
Bob Ross also epitomizes what I’m trying to do here at Creative Twilight as well. I’m not the best painter out there, but my goal with this blog has always been to teach and inspire.
I spend more hours than you care to know working on the various tutorials I do here just because teaching is something I get great enjoyment from. I don’t want you to see my miniatures and feel intimidated. I want you to be inspired and seek to learn, to improve, and to enjoy the hobby that is miniature painting.
I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I get from reading comments where people feel inspired from something I did, or that they learned something new and are excited to try it out.
That’s all I’m trying to do here and I have Bob Ross to thank for that.
If you enjoyed this, then definitely check out my guest article on Tangible Day where I talk about what Bob Ross taught me about miniature painting.
On a related note, Andrew did a guest article for me about how painting is life changing. It’s a good followup to this article.
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