Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting

Life lessons from a painting instructor, TV presenter, and pop culture icon

Creativity 5 min read Sep 25, 2019
Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting

We tell people sometimes: We’re like drug dealers, come into town and get everybody absolutely addicted to painting. It doesn’t take much to get you addicted.
-  Bob Ross, painting god

We 100% agree. After all, how do you argue with a guy who painted 10,000 works of art in his lifetime and then went on to become a daily viewing habit worth millions of dollars and now, decades later, a viral sensation among Australian millennials?

If you haven’t heard of Bob Ross, he was a paintbrush-wielding, ‘fro-rocking American art instructor, who hosted a half-hour public-access show called “The Joy of Painting” back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Also extremely popular as a Halloween costume, Bob popularised the wet-on-wet method, wherein you apply paint on a still-wet coat - a centuries-old technique used by the French impressionists.

Bob believed anyone can paint just by watching and painting along with him. And many probably did; because who could resist that stress-busting dulcet voice telling you to “make some nice little clouds that just float around and have fun all day” or “clean your brushes so your spouse doesn’t ask you to find someplace else to dwell”? Just ask social media sensation Nicole Bonneau, whose mission is to paint through all 403 of “The Joy of Painting” scenes!

Be zen like Bob and paint along with him this June. If you’ve never handled a brush before, that’s even better. As he’d always say on the show, “We don’t make mistakes; we just have happy accidents.” Yes, Bob, we know.

Oh, and here he is feeding a squirrel.