Probably one of the most soothing people who has ever appeared on TV is Bob Ross. The talented painter is capable of making every brush stroke into an incredible landscape that you couldn't even imagine, all the while speaking some of the most positively joyful words you will ever hear. We all have watched it on PBS at least once in our life, some of us have even attempted to follow along.
Trying to paint like Bob Ross isn't the easiest thing, but as he said, "there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents". The calming presence of Bob Ross is something everyone should experience in their life, but did you know his life wasn't always pet squirrels and happy trees?
Here are 10 things you didn't know about Bob Ross:
1. He was missing part of his finger
While working as a carpenter with his father, Ross lost a part of his index finger on his left hand. Luckily it didn't affect how he held his palette!
2. He enlisted in the Air Force
When he was 18 he joined the United States Air Force. He actually rose to the rank of Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Clinic at the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.
3. He started painting while in the Air Force
He wanted a TV show called The Magic of Oil Painting with host Bill Alexander. He liked the quick painting style and started practicing during work breaks and selling the results. He quickly realized he could make more money doing this than he was in the Air Force.
4. His Air Force career is why he is the calm man you know and love
He held a lot of positions in the military where he was in a position of authority. He said that he was required to be "tough and mean". He said that he was "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." Ross decided while still in the Air Force that if he ever left he would never scream again.
5. Each painting he did was painted three times
He would paint one version as a guide that would sit just off camera so he could use it as reference, one would be the one he actually painted on camera, and then a third that Ross would do after the taping with a bit more detail for his instructional books.
6. His reason for painting is the most Bob Ross reason imaginable
When asked about his positive attitude his response was perfect. He said "I got a letter from somebody here a while back, and they said, 'Bob, everything in your world seems to be happy.' That's for sure. That's why I paint. It's because I can create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news."
7. He rejected an invitation to be on Oprah
Wow. No one turns down Oprah... Except Bob Ross. He was invited to come on the show and he originally was going to if he was going to get to do some paintings for the audience, but he then realized the show was actually about couples are are in business together but don't live together so he declined.
8. PBS says that 90% of viewers never painted along with him
Even though it's all he wanted, a lot of people just watched him for the comforting programming. According to PBS only about 10% of viewers actually paint what he does.
9. It's hard to find a real Bob Ross painting to purchase
Because he has so many lessons and shows that show all of his paintings, there are a lot of fakes out there. Also, he tended to donate so many of his works to PBS as donations for fundraisers so there aren't a lot in circulation.
10. Bob Ross hated his hair
His hair was actually permed so that he wouldn't have to cut it as often. He apparently grew to hate the style but he had already been on TV and it kind of became his signature look. This is what he looked like before the perm.
When he was going through treatments for his cancer and started losing his hair he chose to wear a wig to keep up appearance.
Bob Ross passed away in 1995 at the age of 52. We were lucky enough to have him all those years, but obviously we still miss him. Luckily he lives on, thanks to his painting legacy, all over the internet now. If you are ever looking for something soothing to watch in the evening, I highly recommend it! And if you are feeling particularly crafty give it a try! He's a great teacher and you will surprise yourself with how well you can do!
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