A mainstay of public television for decades now, Bob Ross' kindness and good humor still attract a following. His show, The Joy of Painting, does teach a certain method of painting and some basic skills in that method. But the attraction of the show is not all about his rare ability to turn painting into a performing art. Much of the attraction was his kindhearted and peaceful nature. When watching his thirty-minute transformation of a blank canvas into a beautiful landscape painting, he would often paint a "happy little tree" and then "another one, because everyone needs a friend." His clouds would "just float around and have fun all day". And often a tree or bush was added to the painting "to give the squirrels someplace to live." His painting lessons also taught how to see and appreciate what is around us, how to imagine and shape the world around us, how to accept and work with unplanned events. Watching Bob Ross gives me the assurance that each of us can bring beauty into the world, so long as that's what we are trying to do in the first place.
Was Bob Ross more interested in painting, or was painting something of a bridge that he used to teach the art of being joyful? And if painting was his way of spreading kindness, what will be mine?
As Bob usually said at the end of his painting lessons: "God bless, my friend."