He has a soothing effect on most people.
If the phrase “happy little trees” brings a wave of nostalgia to you then you’re not alone. Millions of people have been watching Bob Ross paint for decades- despite the fact that he died nearly 30 years ago. The Air Force-veteran-turned-artist has been mesmerizing audiences with his smooth and relaxing voice ever since he first went on the air from an Indiana PBS station in 1983. Ross’ signature curly-hair (a perm) and gentle voice (he hated raising his voice after having shouted orders in the military) have made him a nationwide phenomenon. And, amidst the disquiet of the Covid-19 pandemic, many fans have been returning to Ross’ shows as a way to unwind.
In contrast to his laid-back and easy going TV persona, Ross actually would practice his paintings days before taping The Joy of Painting so that he could create them in 30 minutes for the show. However he never ever came across as rehearsed. Instead he radiated a calm and reassuring presence that both artists and observers enjoyed – and still do. Despite the criticisms of how simple Ross’ TV paintings were, the paintings he made for himself (and that presumably took more than 30 minutes to complete) are quite complex works of art. It’s worth noting here that 4 of Ross’ paintings have been acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History where these pieces have been made part of the permanent collection.
Aside from teaching the basic brush strokes and the wet-on-wet painting technique, Ross opened up a world of possibility for many people who never thought they’d ever be able to complete a painting. He also encouraged people to believe in themselves, which is a message people never tire of hearing. Now more than ever people are flocking to his TV show and his painting techniques for comfort and direction.
At the Bob Ross Experienceat the Minnetrista Museum campus in Muncie, IN, the house that was turned into the WIPB TV station where The Joy of Painting was taped is now a museum dedicated to educating the public about Bob Ross and his life. So, if you’re ever in the neighborhood of Muncie you can visit the museum and even take an art class taught by a certified Bob Ross instructor.