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Painting With Bob Ross

Bob Ross's PBS show, The Joy of Painting, ran from 1983 to 1994, with more than 300 shows that permeated my childhood. The speed and skill he showed on screen made painting seem like an unattainable art, not something that someone with my limited skill could do. I can hardly sketch a tree let alone paint one with friends in a happy forest scene. But with each episode, he assured his listeners that they could paint along with him and have the same result. 

Honestly, I didn't believe him. But a few weeks ago I decided to give it a shot. 

The official Bob Ross YouTube channel has full episodes to watch, which means that you can pause at your leisure. That helped a lot because I could stop it when I needed and rewatch parts until I understood what I needed to do. 

I also used acrylic paints, not oils like Bob did. This made it a bit tricky because they do not have the same colors nor do acrylics stay wet like oils do. But I managed to muddle my way through some episodes. 

My first result was terrible:

Eek. That is one ugly painting.

It was supposed to look like the picture in Episode 1 of Season 1. It does not. 

Luckily I did not let this stop me. I watched a different episode and painted this:


An improvement! My barn looks a little uneven but even Bob described the farmer as a drunk in this episode, so my lopsided barn makes a bit of sense. 

I still knew I could do better. So, here is my third attempt:


Now, this one I actually like. I did a decent job on the mountains and my lake actually looks like a lake! You can see that I put my whole name on this one. That's how proud I was. 

Here is the fourth one I did:

Lots of happy trees everywhere.
I messed up the lake a bit but my trees and and mountains look even better. 

I'm hoping to keep painting along with Bob Ross in the future. It is extremely relaxing to paint along to his soothing voice. Even if you haven't painted much before, a few attempts can end up with a decent result. 

If you are considering painting along with one of his episodes, I highly recommend it. But don't let yourself be disappointed by a bunch of silly mistakes when you start. Trust me; you will get better. 

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