Bob Ross, born in Florida on October 29, 1942, discovered oil painting while he was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1960s. He studied the “wet-on-wet” technique, which allowed him to produce complete paintings in less than an hour. He then became an instructor himself, eventually teaching a TV audience of millions on the PBS show The Joy of Painting.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Robert Norman Ross
FAMOUS AS: Painter, art instructor, television host
BORN ON: October 29, 1942
AGE: 52 Years
BORN IN: Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
DIED ON: July 4, 1995 (aged 52) in Los Angeles
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, United States
Bob Ross, television’s famous painting instructor, was born Robert Norman Ross in Daytona, Florida, on October 29, 1942. He was raised in Orlando, Florida. After dropping out of school in the ninth grade, Ross served in the U.S. Air Force. During his service, he took his first painting lesson at an Anchorage, Alaska United Service Organizations club. From that point on, he was “hooked,” a term he would use frequently during his years as a painting instructor.
After returning from the Air Force, Ross attended various art schools until he learned the technique of “wet-on-wet” from William Alexander (later his bitter rival), where oil paints are applied directly on top of one another to produce complete paintings (mostly landscapes) in less than an hour. Ross taught wet-on-wet to several friends and colleagues, and in the early 1980s, he was given his own show on PBS based on the technique.
Ross’s instructional program, The Joy of Painting, premiered in 1983 on PBS, where it would run for more than a decade and attract millions of viewers. As a TV painting instructor, Ross became known for his light humor and gentle demeanor, as well as his ability to complete a painting in 30 minutes. The Joy of Painting would eventually be carried by more than 275 stations, spawning an empire that would include videos, how-to books, art supplies and certified Bob Ross instructors.
Death and Legacy
The Joy of Painting was canceled in 1994 so that Ross could focus on his health; the famous TV instructor and host had been diagnosed with lymphoma around that same time.
Ross died from lymphoma at the age of 52, on July 4, 1995, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The majority of his original oil paintings were donated to charities or to PBS stations. Today, Ross remains one of the best-known and highest-paid American painters. His legacy lives on through a number of facets, including a fan-based Twitter page of more than 67,000 followers.
Happy Little Facts About the Iconic PBS Painter
- Bob was in the United States Air Force.
- Bob didn’t invent his painting style. He learned it from another how-to television painter, William Alexander.
- Bob popularized an art historical painting technique call “alla prima.”
- At least 90% of viewers do not paint along with Bob. Ever.
- Bob often donated his paintings to fundraisers at PBS.
- Bob was missing a finger.
- Bob permed his hair as a cost-saving measure (and later disliked it).
- Bob Ross painted in his basement.
Bob ross Quotes
1. “In painting, you have unlimited power. You have the ability to move mountains. You can bend rivers. But when I get home, the only thing I have power over is the garbage.”
2. “You need the dark in order to show the light.”
3. “Look around. Look at what we have. Beauty is everywhere—you only have to look to see it.”