Google is honoring the 70th birthday of Bob Ross with a beautiful doodle on its search page. The doodle truly reflects what so many appreciated about Ross. His gentle nature is represented by the squirrel’s confidence in sitting on his shoulder. His appreciation for nature is portrayed on the canvas with his signature “happy trees”. His amazing eye for color is represented by the wet pallet that he so masterfully used to recreate the living colors of nature.
Bob Ross is best known for his decade-long PBS show “The Joy of Painting”. In this series, he introduced thousands, if not millions, of people to the art of painting. In particular, he used a wet-on-wet oil technique which produced quicker results on the canvas. Ross was so easy to relate to. His calm demeanor and relaxed approach to art really drew people to his show and made art more accessible to the common man. Statements like “there are no mistakes, only happy accidents” and “happy trees” made learning from him enjoyable and seemed effortless.
Ross wasn’t always the easy going painter that many saw on TV. In fact, he had a pretty successful career in the U.S. Air Force where he retired as a Master Sargeant after 20 years of service. During his stint in the Air Force, he was stationed in Alaska which turned out to be a very inspiring force for his paintings. According to Wikipedia, once he retired he lamented having to be “mean and tough,” …”the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”. He apparently vowed to never scream again after retirement.
Unfortunately for all of us, Ross’ life was cut short due to lymphoma in 1995. His legacy still lives on at Bob Ross, Inc. where you can still find a variety of products and tutorials bearing his image. Ross has a personal spot in my heart as I remember when I was younger, my Grandmother was inspired by his show to paint. It was amazing to see the beautiful landscapes that she painted. I have also been personally inspired by his show and have even used his wet-on-wet techniques with acrylics and loved the results. Hopefully we can all take a moment today to learn more about this brilliant and humble man. He is truly missed.