I looooooove Bob Ross. Don’t get me wrong; I would consider anyone hanging one of his pieces in their home a domestic terrorist. I find his actual paintings schlocky and sentimental, but I love his attitude, accessibility, and his crusade to enable any would-be painter. So many people are too intimidated to even attempt making art. There’s something truly wonderful about a warm, encouraging voice teaching you a few basic techniques in the comfort of your own home. And “warm and soothing” was the Bob Ross trademark.
Ross actually developed his painting technique in the US Air Force, and while he assumed a “tough guy” demeanor on duty, it never really sat well with him. Hoping to leave the service someday, he wished to lead a more gentle lifestyle, and swore “never to scream again.” Below is the beginning of the first episode of The Joy of Painting, (before he knew the show would run for 11 years), wherein Bob Ross soothes the ever-loving-fuck out of his audience members, and holds their collective hand through the process.
You didn’t have to be an expert, you didn’t even have to be good. Bob Ross was art therapy.