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kottke.org posts about Bob Ross

Want to Buy a Bob Ross Painting? You Can’t. (And Here’s Why.)

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 15, 2019

During the course of his television career, Bob Ross painted more than 1000 paintings. But you never see them for sale. You can buy Bob Ross paint sets and even a waffle maker that makes waffles that look like Bob Ross — “Pour in the batter, lower the lid, and before you know it, there’s Bob Ross ready for butter and syrup.” — but good luck buying one of his actual paintings. In this charming little video from the NY Times, we learn where all of Bob Ross’s paintings are, meet the paintings’ custodians, and discover why the art isn’t for sale.

In 1994, the talk show host Phil Donahue asked Mr. Ross to “say out loud your work will never hang in a museum.”

“Well, maybe it will,” Mr. Ross replied. “But probably not the Smithsonian.”

Some of Ross’s paintings can be viewed at The Bob Ross Art Workshop & Gallery in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Every episode of The Joy of Painting can be viewed on YouTube or sometimes streaming on Twitch. I watched on Twitch for a couple minutes just now and was tickled to catch him saying one of his signature phrases: “happy little trees”.

The Bob Ross Challenge

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 14, 2018

As a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Micah Sherman and Mark Stetson produced a web series called The Bob Ross Challenge in which 13 comedians attempt to paint along with Bob Ross as he does his thing with the trees and little fluffy clouds. Here’s the first episode, featuring Aparna Nancherla:

I feel like she does a lot better than I would have! The episodes are each less than 2 minutes long…you can burn through the whole season in about 20 minutes. Or if you want to try the challenge yourself, you can watch every episode of The Joy of Painting on YouTube. (via open culture)

The very first episode of The Joy of Painting

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 23, 2015

The Joy of Painting, hosted by Bob Ross, ran for 11 years on public television for a total of more than 400 episodes. The very first episode ever broadcast was just uploaded to Ross’ YouTube channel.

Bob Ross remixed and autotuned

posted by Aaron Cohen   Jul 26, 2012

The second in a series of remixed PBS icons is out with a super positive Bob Ross track, again by Symphony of Science’s John Boswell. You may recall the brilliant Mr. Rogers remix from June. “Relax. Let it flow.” and “Believe you can do it because you can do it.”

And here are a couple profiles of Ross: Orlando Sentinel, 1990, and NY Times, 2001. Additionally, this NY Times, 1991 profile talks about how he didn’t sell his paintings despite how prolific he was.

Mr. Ross, who said he has produced nearly 30,000 paintings (the prolific Picasso did not match that record), does not sell his paintings or show his work in galleries; he has only had one retrospective — at the Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie, a town that boasts of the artist as an honorary native son. Mr. Ross said he had no desire for a major exhibit. “There are thousands of very, very talented artists who will never be known, even after they are dead,” he said. “Most painters want recognition, especially by their peers. I achieved that a long time ago with TV. I don’t need any more.”