POTD – The Happy Painter

Posted on February 12, 2012


Picture of the Day  – Our year end donation to NPR comes with a gift, usually a mug or grocery bag.  This year though, though there was a much better option.  I selected the Bob Ross T shirt.  Remember Bob Ross, the Happy Painter?  He was the painter on public television with the enormous afro who painted happy trees, happy mountains, and happy clouds.  Per Wikipedia:

“Ross was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, and attended school until the ninth grade. Raised in Orlando, Florida, Ross enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18 and was living in Florida early in his military career when the Air Force transferred him to Eielson AFB (in Alaska), where he first saw the snow and mountains that later became recurring themes in his artwork; he developed his quick-painting technique in order to be able to create art for sale in brief daily work breaks. Having held military positions that required him to be, in his own words, “mean” and “tough,” “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work,” Ross decided that if he ever moved on from the military, “it wasn’t going to be that way any more,” “vowing never to scream again”. Ross discovered after beginning his sideline in painting that he was soon able to earn more from selling his work than from his Air Force position. After leaving the Air Force, he studied with Bill Alexander before becoming famous worldwide with his own television program, The Joy of Painting.

Ross had a son, Steven, from his first marriage to Lynda Brown. Steven occasionally appeared on The Joy of Painting and is a Bob Ross–certified instructor. Ross and Lynda’s marriage ended in divorce in 1981. Ross married again, this time to Jane. Jane died of cancer in 1993, and Ross himself battled lymphoma in his later years. In early 1994, Ross cancelled The Joy of Painting after its 11th season to continue battling the disease. On July 4, 1995, Ross died at home and was survived by his ex-wife Lynda, his son Steve, a half-brother, and a full brother. He is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha, Florida.

Ross was the host of the public television series The Joy of Painting. The show ran from January 11, 1983 to May 17, 1994 and still appears in reruns in many broadcast areas and countries, including the PBS oriented Create. During each half-hour segment, Ross would instruct viewers in the art of oil painting using a quick-study technique that kept colors to a minimum and broke paintings down into simple steps that virtually anyone could follow. Art critic Mira Schor compared him to another PBS television host, noting that the softness of Ross’s voice and the slow pace of his speech was similar to Fred Rogers.”

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