White man with an afro, a valium voice, and the uncanny ability to create a breath-taking landscape painting within a half hour PBS program.
Using knife edge and push brush techniques, Bob made it look as though a two year old could accomplish the same with ease.

It was not that easy!

Bob Ross is dead now, but hundreds of thousands of his paintings still walk the earth.


Bob Ross (born October 29, 1942, in Daytona Beach, Florida; retired from the United States Air Force in 1981; died July 4, 1995 of cancer, at the age of 52) was a painter whose "Joy of Painting" television series on PBS gained a sort of cult following. The program started in 1983, ran new episodes until 1995 (when Ross' death prevented the production of episodes), and reruns are still on the air in some places (always on public television).

Ross was known for his soft, gentle voice and his calm, peaceful manner. Any errors he made weren't mistakes, but "happy accidents", which he soon turned into beauty. Trees he painted were "happy little trees" and he didn't like to just draw one tree, since it would get lonely, so he gave it a friend or two.

He was morally the equivalent of Barney and Mister Rogers, but yet he was still cool. I watched him as a teen who knew nothing about painting and even now can only draw a decent stick figure. Watching "Joy of Painting" wasn't so much about the actual painting or the technique. It was a great relaxer and emotional release, like meditation.

According to bobross.com (the website of his company, which still sells his painting kits and related products), Ross used a rather unique wet-on-wet technique, which eliminated waiting for a layer of paint to dry. This allowed Ross (and presumably those who buy/bought his kits) to complete a painting in under 30 minutes. For your tranquil pleasure, DVDs featuring 3-hour-long tutorials Ross made when he was still alive are available for purchase on his website.

Apparently, much of the materials he used were rather unique, and not typical paintbrushes and tools. The website alludes to "a specially formulated substance" to initially cover the canvas, "special natural bristle brushes" which create effects different from normal brushes, and "uniquely-formulated oil paints" which are firmer than regular paint.

But I didn't care about any of that. I just liked watching and listening to this fuzzy-haired (as lawnjart wrote above, he did look like he had an afro), gentle, gentle man create beautiful nature scenes before my eyes. And for those 30 minutes a day, everything seemed right and at peace.

Hopefully, Bob Ross is at eternal peace now.

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