Not too long ago, PBS partnered with John Boswell (Symphony of Science) to produce a series that features the pairing of PBS Icons and setting their words to music. Last month brought us a remix of Mister Rogers called, “Garden of the Mind.” A new video has been added to the series and it features Bob Ross.
For those unfamiliar with Bob Ross, he was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. He is best known as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, a television program that ran for more than a decade on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) in the United States.
The Joy of Painting ran from January 11, 1983 to May 17, 1994. The show still appears in reruns across the U.S., and it has enjoyed success on YouTube. During each half-hour segment, Bob would instruct viewers in the art of oil painting using a quick-study technique that kept colors to a minimum and broke paintings down into simple steps that virtually anyone could follow. In Mira Schor’s book, “Wet: On Painting, Feminism, and Art Culture,” she compared Bob Ross to another PBS icon: Mister Rogers (Fred Rogers). She said that the softness of Ross’s voice and the slow pace of his speech was similar to Fred Rogers (Wikipedia).
I was very fond of watching Bob Ross as a child. I grew up poor so I didn’t have access to oil paints or canvas. I did break out my crayons and sat listening, drawing, and trying to recreate what I saw. His voice was calming and seemed down-to-earth and not larger than life.
Sadly, Bob developed eventually canceled he show in in 1994 because he was fighting cancer. Bob would succumb to his illness in 1995.
However, Bob lives on and the legacy he has left behind continues to enrich the lives of everyone. Side note: My friend uses Bob Ross to get to sleep. His voice is that soothing.