Bob Ross 1943-1995
Bob Ross really is the author of the cheer. To know him was to win a good friend. A friend who was ready to share the full extent of his oil painting skills and knowledge with the world. Bob's willingness and desire to spread the joy of painting with the world was only surpassed by his incredible talent for encouraging others to explore their untapped artistic abilities. The first words I remember hearing him say were "You Can Do It" as he was encouraging and graciously empowering his viewers to try it out.
Even after a 20-year career in the US Air Force, which he began at the age of eighteen, Bob has retained his love and desire to paint. No matter how rigorous his duties in the Air Force were, he devoted his time studying privately with some of the best art teachers in the country, as well as taking classes. art at several colleges and universities.
When Bob officially retired from the Air Force in 1981, he immediately began to focus all of his energies in painting. As with any career change, the decision to commit to painting full-time was a difficult one. “But, I knew I could do whatever I dreamed of possible,” Bob says.
As he wrapped up his twenty-ninth public television series The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross couldn't help but feel he was dreaming. The incredible success of the artistic series made Bob Ross so familiar to so many viewers, he was often overwhelmed by the warmth he felt from people across the country. "I get so many letters from people telling me I'm like a member of their family; it's a fantastic feeling."
At a time when people hear so much 'you can't do this' or 'you didn't qualify for this' negativity in their day to day lives, Bob stood up to say that with enough pure desire and the ability to dream, anyone can learn and paint sweet dreams. The kind of confidence and encouragement that Bob offered to his audience had given him a special place in the hearts of new artists as well as seasoned performers around the world.
With an abundance of cuteness, Bob's gentle and empowering approach to teaching wet-on-wet painting technique wasn't just a 'happy accident'. Since his first appearance on public television with his JOY OF PAINTING series in 1983, he had been committed to himself and promised his viewers that he would never lose sight of his goal: to deliver the best and most enjoyable. painting experience possible, and doing so in the warm, 'family' style that had made it so popular. "I made sure that on every show I made close personal contact with my viewers," Bob said.
Bob could dream and he had the ability to “paint beautiful pieces of those dreams” for literally millions of public television viewers, while teaching them how to paint their own dreams. He has also worked diligently with publishers and manufacturers to provide the best educational tools and painting products possible, such as videotapes and books to encourage interest in painting. As well as a multitude of painting supplies specially designed to give an optimal result with his technique. He had also formed a team of certified instructors who travel across the country teaching his painting method. Bob Ross's commitment to the success of his viewers was unquestionable.
It's easy to see how his dedication to an idea has affected so many people. We hope that for many years to come, his warmth and loving spirit will continue to touch the hearts of the many people across the country and around the world who can truly be called "friends".
Mr. Ross died on July 4, 1995 at the age of 52. Bob's wife, Jane, died in 1993. He is survived by a son, Steven Ross, who is an instructor to Bob Ross and has occasionally appeared on the television show The Joy of Painting. As you reflect on Bob Ross' contribution to helping make our lives a little better every day, maybe you too will pick a brush and explore your untapped abilities. "You can do it, my friend".