Mar 25, 2006

Happy Trees and the 'Cult of Bob Ross'

I remember when cartoons ended on Saturday I'd start turning the dial looking for something else to watch and would come across this guy with a huge afro painting landscapes and talking so softly it was like drinking a cup of warm milk before falling fast asleep. It was master oil painter Bob Ross. He'd use a huge house brush to paint with and say the word 'Happy' more times in 30 minutes then I have my entire life. His art didn't really make me want to paint it but for some reason I would watch his entire program every time. I never purposely planned on watching it, I'd always stumble upon accidently but it drew me. Bob even had a side kick on his show several times, his pet squirrel Peapod. Perched on his shoulder Bob would paint away talking to Peapod as if he could understand him. In those days PBS shows were the closest thing to reality television and it fascinated me to be honest.

Happy trees, happy clouds, and happy accidents are part of the wonderful 'Cult of Bob Ross'. He's become a pop culture icon of sorts now and has been forever immortalized on the web for future generations to enjoy. This is my contribution to his artistic influence.

Bob Ross (October 29, 1942 - July 4, 1995) was a grandmaster American oil painter who primarily practiced the finer, more respectable arts of relaxation and kindness. His quiet, nurturing disposition was a form of therapy to the weary, and the reassuring intonations of his gentle voice hypnotized entire generations of would-be illustrators into creating a million-dollar art supply store enterprise.


Robert McLaughlin said...

Your post reminds me of a show in the 1950s called "You Are An Artist". John Gnagy the artist fascinated me and hooked me on a more sophisticated level of drawing. To my young mind that meant graduating from stick figures to using real shading, shadows, and perspective. Quite a leap for a 5-year-old.

I just learned he died in 1981 at the age of 73.

Kaladda said...

You finished! Too Cool!

an orange said...

What a nice tribute! That is just so cool.

kingbonk said...

your post is exactly how i feel about the fella. i dont think ill ever paint like him , but i could watch his show 24/7 and assuredly come out of the experience with vastly better mental health. he was absolutely mesmerizing and relaxing to watch at work... it was almost like performance art. thanks for the tribute

Amanda said...

I loved Bob Ross as a child and as an adult. Whenever I see that a previous episode of The Joy of Painting is on I watch. I could watch Bob paint for hours on end. Thank You for making this tribute to him. He certainly makes me "happy" every time I hear his voice.