Reviews: The Joy Of Painting

Purely pleasant

I remember seeing this show on TV from time to time as a kid. My mom liked to watch it, and I happened to be in the room when it was on. Now, however, the owners of Bob Ross's content are giving episodes of his show away for free on YouTube. Which is keeping very much in line with Bob's own way of thinking, as he was a very charity-minded individual who donated what he had, and was all about sharing the joy of painting with others.

Depending on how you look at it, Bob either makes painting look easy, or incredibly hard with himself clearly being a master of the art. It's stunning to see how he makes his paintings. How dobs of paint somehow look perfectly like leaves in a tree. How he can paint an entire canvas full of clouds, then paint over it with mountains and forests and rivers and have it actually turn out great. How a sudden, very dark brush stroke that looks horribly out of place can later be transformed into a beautiful, totally convincing mountain.

It's ironic that Bob frequently emphasizes that "anyone can paint", when it's clear that he's an utter master of it. But he has had guests on his program, and shown paintings sent to him by viewers that were inspired by his show. He even once received a letter from someone fretting over being colorblind and afraid this would make it too difficult to make a good painting; Bob then dedicated a whole episode to creating a grayscale painting, to prove that according to him, anyone, including colorblind people, can paint.

Other than the first season, the show has a totally minimalist approach that works great. Totally black background. No music. No jump cuts. You watch Bob paint in real time, and there are zero distractions. And besides, who needs background music with that pleasant, mellow voice? Bob was happy when someone wrote in admitting they fall asleep to his voice.

The real time nature of the painting is the best part. It's amazing how easily this man can create a beautiful painting of a mountainous, foresty landscape (as that's what most of his paintings are) in less than a half hour. The close-ups show exactly what he's doing, and apparently it has inspired many people.

But even if you can't paint (regardless of what Bob thinks), if nothing else, you can relax to his pleasant voice and pleasant paintings on YouTube.