Bob Ross. Mention his name and a smile appears on the face of almost everyone who has encountered his “Joy of Painting” shows from the 80’s. Notwithstanding that we share the same name (and I rocked my own serious fro back in the day) Bob and I are not related, but he actually did have an effect on my personal interest in artmaking.
I remember my Dad intently engaged in Bob’s show as he worked on his oil paintings side by side with Bob. Back in the day, you couldn’t “pause” the show and rewind so you had to move fast and let it flow. I used to sit and watch the show AND watch my Dad drift to a different place…the hypnotic mix of Bob’s voice, his lessons and the need to make something in real time was so special for me to view. Bob also taught one of the great lessons about creativity and artmaking…keep going! Your “happy accidents” often take you to a new and improved place that fosters learning without getting stuck in the search for perfection.
This past weekend, the Minnetrista Museum in Muncie, IN celebrated the opening of the “Bob Ross Experience”. They refurbished Bob’s former studio, bringing together objects and media from Bob’s life and career, and added interactive experiences that will bring the “Joy of Painting” to life for visitors. This permanent exhibition pays homage to a special guy who touched the lives of so many with his gentle and optimistic approach to teaching and sharing the joy of painting.