Bob Ross and Happy Trees

There are certain people you encounter in life that inspire you. People that motivate you to be your best or try new things.

The band KISS made me want to be a rock star. Mr. Milisits in high school made me want to sing. But today’s post is about the man that made me want to, of all things, paint.

Bob Ross was a genius.

Here was a guy who didn’t follow the traditional method of painting. He would literally cover the canvas in white paint and then paint on top of that. The wet on wet technique he called it.

I remember spending countless afternoons after school with my Grandmother watching him on PBS painting. He’d always say things like “Lets put a happy little tree in there” and then out of nowhere one would emerge from a knife or brush he wielded in his hand. Freakin’ awesome!

Sometimes he would begin with a dry black canvas. He’d then cover the entire canvas in blue and paint on top of that. Then he would start painting the scene from there. These would be his night scenes and were always my favorites.

I painted quite a bit with Bob in the 80’s. It was not only easy but one of the most relaxing and rewarding things I ever did.

When Bob died in 1995 I was devastated. He was really just starting to achieve celebrity.

I always wondered what it would have been like if he were still around today.

I could see him being a special guest on Letterman or Leno and the bit would be him painting a picture in 3 minutes or something like that. Everyone would go crazy in the audience.

Sadly, it just wasn’t mean to be.

Last year, I had to go to Freeport Maine for work. While I was there I decided to make the two hour trip upstate to the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. It’s the lighthouse you see on the back of the Maine State quarter and also one of the backgrounds you can have in Windows 7.

While I admired the beauty of the lighthouse and it’s surroundings a very cool idea popped into my head. And I could not wait to get home.

So yes, I still paint Bob Ross style every once in a while. Fortunately, his painting products can still be found in stores so there is still a market for it.

I love the idea of taking a blank canvas and making a whole world on it in an hour or so. To me, it’s still therapeutic.

And here’s the best part of all: while I’m painting my happy little trees (still no where near as good as his) I think about all those wonderful afternoons after school with my Grandmother.

Thanks Bob

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