With all this time on our hands while we stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be looking for new things to watch, or new hobbies to try. One classic TV series that can help you achieve both at the same time is Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting.” You know the one with all the “happy little trees,” right?
A number of Ross’s shows have been available on Netflix and other streaming services for a while, and the PBS original still airs on public television stations around the country.
But you can also go online to the Bob Ross YouTube channel and watch every season and every episode in his “The Joy of Painting” series. That is 403 episodes to enjoy and also 403 different projects you can complete!
“The Joy of Painting” ran for 31 seasons, from 1983 through 1994. Part of the charm of this series is its simplicity. Each episode starts with just Ross, his paints and a blank canvas. Then, over the course of the approximately 25-minute episode, he’d talk his audience through how to make a painting, from the colors they’d need on their palette and the brushes required for the painting to the steps and strokes that will take you through the final touches.
Over the years Ross gained a large and loyal following. For many, watching someone take a blank canvas and turning into a work of art in less than 30 minutes was fascinating. Some people would follow along during the episode to create their own painting. And, although Ross died in 1995, many people still watch and paint with the artist, either through old episodes on YouTube or via various official Bob Ross tutors.
All you have to do is search Bob Ross on Instagram to find people who have created work inspired by Ross, like Instagrammer Kassandra Brace, who posted a painting she made by following a Bob Ross tutorial:
Beyond the actual paintings, many fans love Ross because of his soothing voice. His calm manner, pleasant tone, easy-going style and acceptance of mistakes along the way in a painting (which he always referred to as “happy little accidents”) just puts you to ease.
In fact, Newsweek devoted an entire feature piece to “The Soothing Sounds of Bob Ross” and the impact he had on our artistic culture and psychological well-being.
The woman who would eventually help bring Ross’ show to TV knew there was something special about him when she met him at a local painting class she signed up for following a personal tragedy. “I was so mesmerized by Bob,” Annette Kowalski told NPR. “Somehow, he lifted me up out of that depression. I just think that Bob knew how to woo people. I said, ‘Let’s put it in a bottle and sell it.’ ”
Eventually, they got a TV deal and the rest, as they say, is history.