The Untold Truth Of Bob Ross

Bob Ross. Just his name brings a calm. The soft-spoken painter who didn’t make mistakes,
only “happy accidents,” painted on PBS stations in the 1980s and 1990s. His untimely death in 1995 at the age of 52
occurred just when he was exploding on the pop culture scene. He even appeared in a hip MTV spot back when
MTV was hip. “MTV, the land of happy little trees.” There’s a lot people don’t know about Bob
Ross, so get ready for some surprises about the guy with the sweet pipes and sweeter ‘fro. “If this is your first time with us, let me
extend a personal invitation for you to drag out your brushes and paints, and paint along
with us. I think you’ll enjoy it.” Wet rivals To the viewer, Bob Ross is that happy guy
who paints happier trees and clouds and rivers. To the artist, Bob Ross is a guy who paints
in a very specific and unique way: wet on wet, where paint is applied on a still-wet
coat to create the finished piece. Ross himself began painting in Alaska and
learned his technique from a famed wet on wet painter, Bill Alexander. The German-born Alexander appeared on public
television before Ross ever did, in the 1970s. Ross dedicated an episode of his Joy of Painting
program in Season 2 to his teacher and mentor. “I would like to dedicate this show, to my
beloved friend, and teacher, whom we’ve all watched and loved for many years on public
television, Bill Alexander.” But things soured from there. By 1991, Ross wouldn’t even mention Alexander
by name. As for Alexander, he said: “I invented ‘wet
on wet.’ I trained him, and he is copying me what bothers
me is not just that he betrayed me, but that he thinks he can do it better.” Hard to imagine anyone being mad at Bob Chillpants
Ross, but it goes to show you: everyone has a rival. Someone out there probably hated Mister Rogers,
too. “hahaha.” Master Sergeant Bob Ross is the last guy you’d expect to be
angry with anyone, but he wasn’t always a soft-spoken painter. Ross was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, and
made his home in Orlando. If you’re wondering how a Florida man made
it up to freezing Alaska, he did it the honest way: by joining the military. “I spent half my life in the military. And I used to come home, take off my little
soldier hat, put on my painters hat.” Bob Ross enlisted in the Air Force at age
18 and was stationed in Alaska. Ross served 20 years, achieving the rank of
master sergeant, before retiring. Ross wasn’t the softy we know and love during
his time in the military. He explained: “I 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.” After Ross left the Air Force, he vowed never
to yell and scream again. “Shoot, that’s the joy of painting. That truly is the joy of painting.” Unnatural fro As recognizable as his sweet voice, the afro
Bob Ross sports is the stuff of legend. It’s a meme in itself. But Bob’s fro is as real as his rivalry with
Picasso. The trademark hair is just a perm. He initially got a perm to save money no need
to waste precious cash on a haircut when it will all just grow into a big ball of awesomeness. And he hated it, but he couldn’t undo his
money-saving strategy. The afro became the logo for his company. His business partner Annette Kowalski said: “He could never, ever, ever change his hair,
and he was so mad about that. He got tired of that curly hair.” Still, you can’t call it a mistake. “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy
accidents. So that anything that happens here you can
work with it.” Going for broke Bob Ross achieved fame for his PBS show, but
it didn’t pay the bills. In case you forgot, PBS stands for Public
Broadcasting Service as in a nonprofit station that gets 15 percent of its funding from the
government. So obviously Ross wasn’t swimming in it as
a PBS star, but he had to make something, right? Well, not really. Ross said that he never got paid for his Joy
of Painting program. As in nothing. He said: “People see you on television and they think
you make the same amount of money that Clint Eastwood does. But this is PBS. All these shows are done for free.” Ross made his money teaching, and selling
books, and of course selling some of his paintings. Ross also sold videos of his painting system
which were really three-hour workshops that went into more detail on his style. “Shake it off, hehe, and just beat the devil
out of it.” Happy little statistics In 2014, the statistical website FiveThirtyEight
finally answered the paradox that has kept mortal man up all night: What exactly did
Bob Ross paint? Joy of Painting aired 403 times Ross only
painted 381 times, since the other episodes featured guests. You know what Bob liked? Trees. A whopping 91 percent of his paintings contained
at least one tree. And if Ross painted a tree, there’s a 93 percent
chance he’d paint a second tree. Because trees shouldn’t be alone, obviously. “A nice way to make a happy evergreen… let’s
give him a friend.” He only painted palm trees 2 percent of the
time, but what do you expect? They’re everywhere in Florida. He was probably sick of ’em. Surprisingly, for a guy known for his “happy
little clouds,” his paintings only featured clouds 44 percent of the time. “And we’ll go right up in here, and maybe…
and maybe there’s a happy little cloud that lives right there, all you do is just tap.” And the only thing he hated more than palm
trees were people. In his 381 paintings, only one featured a
person. It was a silhouette against a tree a lonely
cowboy. “In technical terms, that’s known as laziness.” Cash on cash Actually coming across an original Bob Ross
isn’t as easy as it seems. In the 381 programs he recorded, he painted
three per show one he painted on camera, one beforehand that he used as a guide, and one
for close-ups and photography later. That means he produced 1,143 paintings during
his show. Where are they? For starters, he donated most to PBS stations,
who auctioned them off. But if you have a lot of cash around, you
can purchase an original Bob Ross and they ain’t cheap. A Ross can run over $10,000. That’s a whole lot of happy trees. “Maybe these sons of a gun… there they go! Go right on off the top of the canvas here.” Medically mesmerizing Let’s be honest. The reason Bob Ross became so popular wasn’t
a sudden interest in wet on wet painting. He had a unique look, and his soothing voice
just sent people to their happy place. “The chickens grew up, and they became my
friends.” There’s something about watching a guy paint
clouds and trees in a pacifying voice that relaxes people. Ross once said in an interview: “We’ve gotten
letters from people who say they sleep better when the show is on.” And that’s the truth. There’s this thing called Autonomous Sensory
Meridian Response, or ASMR. What people with ASMR get when they hear Bob
Ross is “the tingles” a calming, pleasing feeling that is usually associated with intercourse. “God was really having a good day when he
made Alaska.” We’ll let you decide if the phenomenon is
real or not, preferably by listening to him alone in a darkened room. “Whoo! See what happens?” Overseas star When you think of the fame of Ross, you don’t
consider it on a global scale. Yet, somehow, Bob Ross has a following worldwide. There are certified Bob Ross instructors around
the world, but for some reason, Japan in particular took to Bob Ross. Japanese television station NHK aired The
Joy of Painting twice a day for years, and despite a Japanese voiceover translation something
most foreign countries airing the show did not use the smooth pipes and relaxing mannerisms
carried over perfectly. “(speaking Japanese)” Family palette Of all the Joy of Painting episodes, the most
frequent guest was Bob’s son Steven. “Thanks dad. Hi, glad you could join me.” With his hair-band looks, Steve certainly
didn’t look the part of painter, but his technique without a doubt was on par with his dear old
dad. These days, Steve doesn’t have a lot to do
with the Bob Ross empire. A falling out of sorts happened after his
father’s passing, and Steve left Bob Ross Inc. Steve Ross still paints, as does his half-brother
Morgan Ross. The two maintain a low profile online, but
Steve is best known for making enough double entendres in one of his Joy of Painting appearances
to become a short-lived meme. “Push nice and hard. If your wrist is wore out by the time you’re
done doing this you know you did something right.” No wonder he keeps a low profile! Thanks for watching! Click the Grunge icon to subscribe to our
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