50 Facts About The Life of Painter Bob Ross
Bob Ross has been inspiring people to paint around the world since he started A Joy of Painting, and there are several interesting facts about the man that make him even more lovable. There are some facts about the man and his journey through life that you may not know about. His 30-minute shows were the perfect way to get people into painting, and that was something that Ross lived for.
He knew that everyone had a painter inside of them and wanted to get that out so they could enjoy the joyfulness of painting. Even though he has been gone for quite a while, his painting show is still one of the most popular in the world, and several people still watch it to this day. So if you want to learn more about Bob Ross, check out these 50 facts.
Had A Love For Painting
Ever since Bob Ross was young he had a deep love for painting and learned the art from his mother, who often painted picturesque scenes on old gold mining pans. Bob's mother knew that he had a talent for painting as he would often spend most of the day painting and was learning quickly.
Bob's other passion in life was the outdoors, as he would spend most of his time there when he was not painting. Growing up, he would either be exploring the outdoors or painting the scenes that he experienced when he was out in the wilderness.
Bob Ross Was In The Air Force
Something quite striking is that Bob Ross was actually in the Air Force when he was younger and was quite different from the Bob Ross we know from the show. Ross ended up joining the military when he turned 18 years old as he was someone that always wanted to serve his country.
Ross was a medical records technician who rose through the ranks where he received the rank of master sergeant. Ross was stationed in Alaska's Eielson Air Force Base, where he started falling in love with the surrounding scenery. Ross would get a lot of inspiration from painting when he was out in Alaska, as it was full of scenic views.
Bob Ross Didn't Always Have A Perm
Bob Ross didn't always have a perm, and it was something that he wasn't too fond of as well. Before Ross had the afro, he always experimented with his hair and loved to style it differently. When it came to making The Joy of Painting, he decided to go with a different look and something that he wouldn't have to maintain constantly.
That result was the perm afro that he so famously became known for and one of the reasons why his show was so successful. Ross didn't like the perm that much but was forced to stick with it as his popularity grew astronomically.
Bill Alexander Was His Mentor
Bob Ross was a great painter before he met Bill Alexander, but he learned a great deal from Alexander, a master painter. Alexander and Ross ended up getting along pretty well when they first met, and Alexander decided to become Ross's mentor as he saw the potential within him.
Alexander ended up teaching Ross how to paint picturesque paintings in under 30 minutes and create something out of nothing. Ross learned a lot from Alexander and was able to apply it to his teachings. The two would end up on shaky ground later on in their lives.
Bob's Student Became His Manager
When Bob Ross was teaching people how to paint, he ended up teaching Annette Kowalski, who would later become his manager for The Joy of Painting and his painting supply business. Annette knew that Bob Ross was a particular person that needed to be seen by the world, and she ended up becoming the mastermind behind his business.
Annette was one of the reasons why Bob Ross became world famous and why his paintings ended up being available for people to buy. Unfortunately, their relationship didn't end well and the rights to the company became a battle before Ross passed away.
Bob Ross Had A Pet Squirrel
Boss Ross loved animals, but his favorite was his pet squirrel named Peapod. Ross would often show Peapod on his show as he would be nestled in his front pocket. Peapod was given to him when he was younger as he wasn't strong enough to live in the wild, so he took care of him and became his favorite pet.
Peapod wasn't the only squirrel he owned; he had several that he took care of and would also bring on the show. Bob Ross's passion for wildlife never faded, and he wanted to share that with all of his viewers.
Bob Ross Was A Fond Lover Of Animals
Aside from loving squirrels, Bob Ross was fond of animals of all types. When Bob was younger, he took care of a baby alligator and kept it in his bathtub until it got healthier. Ever since then, he had a calling to take care of animals that were in need.
Everything from birds, raccoons, deer, and other animals in need, Bob would take into his care throughout his life and build an even deeper bond with these little creatures. Bob was most happy when he was around animals, and they were something that got him through life.
Bob Ross Made Three Copies Of His Paintings
When it came to The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross would create three copies of the painting that was used on the show. The first was used as a reference for the show and was usually created before from some inspiration that Bob had. The second was the painting that he would paint on the show.
The third was painted by Bob after the show and had far more detail than the first and second ones. The third was used as a reference for his teaching classes around the country. Overall, Bob Ross created thousands of paintings throughout his lifetime, and every one of them is a masterpiece.
Bob's Son Steve Is Also A Talented Painter
Bob's son, Steve Ross, is also a talented painter that was featured in a couple of episodes of The Joy of Painting. Ever since Steve was young, he was inspired by his father to create beautiful artwork and was blown away by the number of paintings his father painted and wanted to be just like him.
Bob started teaching Steve how to paint at a young age and found that he was just as talented as he was when it came to painting landscape scenery. Steve learned from the best in the industry and ended up painting mountains better than his father did.
Bob Ross Would Paint On Pans When He Was In The Military
When Bob Ross was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, he started painting on old gold mining pans just like his mother did when he was younger and sold them for extra cash on the side. He would often paint the Alaskan landscape that he saw every day, and people around the base came to like them.
Bob would sell his painted gold mining pans for about $25; now, they go for thousands of dollars as they are pretty rare, and not too many are around. Bob always painted throughout his life, and it was something that he never gave up on.
Bob Ross Worked For Free
Although The Joy of Painting was the biggest painting show in the world, he didn't receive a penny for it. Bob Ross didn't want money for his show and was happy to even have the opportunity to have a show. Bob Ross instead made his money from the art supplies that he sold to his viewers.
This included all of the paints, canvas, brushes, and supplies that were used on the show. It worked out for Bob in the end, as his show became world famous and his supplies were shipped to all corners of the world.
These Two Had An Odd Relationship
Although Bill Alexander was pleased about Bob Ross's success, he started becoming jealous of him as The Joy of Painting was more popular than his own. Alexander started getting annoyed because Bob Ross was using his painting technique and getting much more attention.
Instead of still being his friendly mentor, Alexander became a rival of Bob Ross as he wanted the fame. It is uncertain what their relationship became of after Bob's fame, but it is safe to say that it wasn't good.
Bob Ross Was Addicted To Painting
Ever since Bob Ross was a young child, he was addicted to painting and even described his addiction as a drug addiction. Every time Bob started a painting, he was already planning the next, and this became an obsession with him as he needed to paint something at least once a day. He believed that the more he painted, the better he would get at teaching it.
Bob even said that he looks at himself as a drug dealer who is making everyone addicted to painting. A pretty odd way of thinking, but that was how Bob Ross lived his life.
Bob Ross's Paintings Were Stolen Once
During the second season of The Joy of Painting, someone broke into Bob Ross's van and stole 13 of his reference paintings. Bob was deeply saddened that someone would steal his paintings, but he eventually moved on as he was full of inspiration.
Those 13 paintings are probably the only paintings of Bob's that are out in the public as a majority of his paintings were either donated to charities or given to museums. Bob Ross didn't believe in selling his artwork and wanted people to create their own that they would cherish. It is a good thing that Bob didn't take it too hard as his show became more popular over the years.
Bob Ross Was Rarely Interviewed
Several people think that Bob Ross was the type to turn down interviews, but that was far from the case. Bob Ross didn't mind getting asked for interviews, but the thing was that no one offered him any interviews when he was alive. Ross appeared on several shows when he was famous, but no one offered an interview even though his show was world famous.
Bob was a very kind person and didn't mind if people wanted to know about his life, it was something that he enjoyed, and it is quite surprising that there are not many interviews about the wonderful man who inspired people to paint.
Bob Ross Wanted To Make A Wildlife Show For Children
Bob Ross was always interested in wildlife and had the idea of creating a wildlife show for children when he was done with The Joy of Painting. Unfortunately, this never came to be as Bob passed away, but it probably would have been one heck of a show.
Bob Ross had a deep knowledge of wildlife and how to care for them; when he traveled the country teaching people how to paint, he would often visit the local animal recuse shelters to interact with the animals. His passion for wildlife was with him until the end, and it shows in all of his photos.
Bob Ross Has Inspired People All Over The World
Bob Ross wasn't only inspiring people in the United States but people all over the world. The Joy of Painting was translated into several foreign languages as everyone wanted to learn from the master. Ross was blown away by the number of people who watched his show and was even more amazed at the paintings they created.
Bob would often travel the country and meet his viewers and look at the art that they created. This created a strong bond with his viewers and was one of the reasons why everyone enjoyed watching his show. Bob Ross is still inspiring young people to paint to this day.
He Was Born In The State Of Florida
Bob Ross was born in 1942 in Daytona Beach, Florida, which was quite surprising as the man was fond of the snow, mountains, and trees. Ross wasn't fond of going to school and ended up dropping out in the 9th grade. He ended up working as a carpenter with his father until he was 18 and decided to join the military.
Ross felt at home while stationed in Alaska as the scenery was more to his liking. He moved back to Florida when he was older and is buried in Gotha, Florida.
Bob Ross Could Film An Entire Season In Just Two Days
Bob Ross was a hard-working man when it came to The Joy of Painting, and he would often be able to film an entire season's worth of paintings in just two days. Bob was able to crank out around seven paintings a day, which would only leave him to paint six for the next day as a season was only 13 episodes.
The production team was amazed at how Bob could create something new every time and never tire of it. Aside from painting on the show, Bob would often paint at home as well; this man was a machine when it came to painting.
Bob Ross Created His Own Line Of Paints
Bob Ross's paints have become one of the top canvas paints to buy as he wanted to make a product that was great by his standards. Bob Ross spent a lot of time researching what paints would be the best for his painting style and didn't cheap out on the materials to make them.
The paints have become available worldwide and ended up becoming Bob's primary income source as he didn't get paid anything for The Joy of Painting. These paints are still just as popular as when Bob was alive, as his show still lives on and inspires people to paint.
Bob Ross Was the Sweetest Person
Several people have agreed that Bob Ross was a gentle soul on and off camera and loved to make people feel happy. He had a lot more energy when he was off camera and was still the sweetest person in the world. There wasn't much of a difference between Bob on television to Bob in person.
Anyone who met Bob was greeted with happiness and love, which was something that he wanted to bring into people's lives. Bob was a one-of-a-kind person that would have done so much more if he wasn't taken away from us so early.
Bob Ross Museum
If you ever find yourself in Florida, check out The Bob Ross Artwork Shop, which features some of the paintings he created and some of his personal items. Located in New Smyrna Beach, this museum was built to honor the memory of the legendary painter and is a place for people to see some of his art in person.
Asides from having several of Bob Ross's paintings, the museum also offers painting classes that focus on the techniques that Bob Ross would use. This is the perfect place to visit if you are a fan of both art and, of course, Bob Ross.
Bob Ross Was Heavily Criticized
Although Bob Ross was the most famous artist in the world, many artists criticized him heavily. For some reason, big-time artists were annoyed with Bob Ross because of the success that he had as an amateur artist and the way he was teaching people how to paint. Several artists were upset with the amount of such little detail that was in his paintings.
Another reason why he was criticized was that he made art very popular, and almost everyone wanted to become an artist because of him. Despite the criticism, Bob Ross is still loved by many people around the world.
Bob Ross Was Very Popular In Japan
Among the top foreign countries that adored Bob Ross was Japan. The Joy of Painting had a massive following in Japan; several thousand people started watching his show and were inspired to paint. Ross was pretty surprised when he found out that Japan, of all countries, loved his show.
The Joy of Painting was also famous in Mexico as well with several thousand people watching it. Bob Ross entertained people worldwide with his wonderful show, and his style of painting became one of the biggest as well. It is hard not to like the gentle Bob Ross.
Didn't Mind That People Were Falling Asleep To His Show
Bob Ross would often receive letters from his viewers telling him that they enjoyed falling asleep to The Joy of Painting. Bob didn't mind that his viewers were falling asleep to his program and he was glad that his show made people feel at peace. Several people found that The Joy of Painting was a cure for insomnia and stress.
Bob was grateful that his show was peaceful for them as he came from a military background which was more of a stern life. Bob also found out that military veterans with PTSD were enjoying his show, which made him very happy.
His Favorite Place To Paint Was Alaska
Since Bob Ross was stationed in Alaska during his military career, he came to like the Alaskan wilderness, which was one of his favorite places to paint. When Bob was in Alaska he took advantage of his free time from the military and explored the wilderness of Alaska.
Bob thought Alaska was the most pristine landscape that America had to offer and based several of his paintings on its landscape. Most of the mountains and happy little trees that Bob painted were based on the landscape he had seen in Alaska. Another type of scenery that Bob liked to paint was a landscape full of snow.
Bob Ross Created Over 30,000 Paintings
Bob Ross created over 30,000 paintings over his lifetime, and only a fraction of the paintings were painted on The Joy of Painting. Since Bob would create three paintings each episode, there were only about 1,000 paintings that were done throughout the show. The rest of the 29,000 were paintings that Bob painted throughout his life and is just an example of how addicted this man was to painting.
Not many artists can say they have painted over 30,000 paintings, but Bob Ross was a legend and was indeed in love with the art of painting.
There Are 403 Episodes of The Joy of Painting
The Joy of Painting ran for 403 episodes from 1983 to 1994. It was the most famous painting show on television and probably would still be going on if Bob didn't pass away. The 31 seasons have been made available for everyone to watch on several platforms as Bob Ross is still as famous as he was when he was around, if not more.
Since filming a season only took about two days, it wasn't that hard for Bob Ross to film and he ended up creating a show that will never die.
Never Included Signs of Humans In His Work
One thing that Bob Ross stayed away from in his paintings is the signs of human life. Bob always wanted the painting to be all about the wilderness, as that is what made him happy. The only thing that Bob would sometimes add to his paintings is a cabin, but he would never paint light or a chimney, to show the place was abandoned.
You will not find a single piece of Bob's artwork that includes human life, as all he wanted to paint were happy little trees and mountain tops. He said if you want to paint humans, learn from someone that paints them.
Loved To Keep Animals In His Pocket
We all know that Bob Ross used to love keeping squirrels in his front pocket, but he would often keep other small furry creatures in his pocket as well. Any animal that was small enough to fit in Bob's pocket would end up in there if he cared for them.
He would often keep small birds, raccoons, and other small animals in his pocket to make sure they were alright. No matter where Bob went, animals would always follow. One of his passions was caring for animals, and he loved to interact with them in any way.
Bob Ross Rehearsed All Of His Lines
Bob Ross had several lines throughout The Joy of Painting and would often rehearse his lines the whole day to get them right. Even his little phrases like "dirty little devils" were something that Bob would practice on a daily basis. Bob was a bit nervous when he first started filming The Joy of Painting and often stayed up late into the night rehearsing his lines.
The rehearsing paid off in the end, as all of his lines have become memorable. Bob eventually started getting used to the camera and didn't need to rehearse as time went on.
YouTube Has Kept His Show Alive
The Joy of Painting aired on PBS for several years, but they stopped once the contract came to an end and this left a couple of years when no one could watch the show. Luckily, this was when YouTube started getting big, and once The Joy of Painting episodes were posted online, a new generation learned about the legendary painter.
The YouTube channel featured all 403 episodes of The Joy of Paintings which have gained billions of views over the years. It is a good thing that YouTube made him famous again as it has inspired people worldwide to paint, especially the younger generation.
Received Hundreds of Fan Letters A Day
Since Bob Ross had a huge fan following, he would receive hundreds of fan letters a day. Bob would take the time to read every letter written to him and often talk about some of them on The Joy of Painting. People worldwide wanted to write to Bob as he was a kind-hearted man who would take the time to read each letter and take them to heart.
He would receive fan letters that would either show him a piece of their artwork that they created or they would ask him a personal question, which he would always try to answer.
No Public Records On The Worth Of His Paintings
There are no public records on the worth of Bob Ross's paintings as a large majority of them were donated to charity organizations, and none have been sold on the private market. This is quite surprising as the man was one of the world's most famous artists.
The only artwork of Bob's that has been sold on the private market is the gold mining pans that he painted when he was in the Air Force. These mining pans have gone for several thousand dollars as it is the only artwork of his that has been for sale.
Became A Pop Culture Icon
Bob Ross became a pop culture icon when The Joy of Painting became one of the top watched shows in the world. Now, Boss Ross is even more of a pop culture icon thanks to the internet, which has shown the younger audience what he was like when he was around.
It seems like Bob Ross will never die off as he is one of the top internet sensations. It looks like Bob will teach people for years to come even though he is no longer with us. It is a good thing that the internet is around because we might have forgotten about this amazing man.
Bob Ross Loved Canoes and Fishing
One of Bob Ross's favorite past times when he wasn't painting was canoeing and fishing. Bob loved to be out in nature, and being on a canoe made it that much better. He would often go fishing on lakes and loved to soak in all the wilderness and wildlife.
His son Steve would often accompany him on his fishing trips, and Steve thinks of them as his most fond memories of his father. It is surprising that Bob never painted a fisherman on a lake since he enjoyed doing it so much.
Happy Little Trees
Something that drove the director of the show crazy was when Bob Ross would paint a happy little tree at the end of the show, as she always thought that he wouldn't finish it in time. Bob often did this at the end of every episode to get on the director's nerves.
The funny thing is that Bob would always finish the painting on time no matter what, and it was just something he loved to do to mess with the production crew. Bob was known to joke around a lot and would try to incorporate that on his show.
Had A Deep Knowledge About Animals
Bob Ross was always fascinated by animals and educated himself about all the creatures he interacted with. If Bob Ross never painted, he probably would have been the American version of Steve Irwin. Something about animals made Bob feel happy, and he loved it when they needed some care in any way.
Bob Ross had several pets and would often visit animal recuse centers to help out in any way he could. He probably wouldn't have been the same if he didn't get to interact with animals as he did, and he was pleased to show his viewers how great they were.
Ross Was A Big Fan Of Country Music
Bob Ross was a big fan of country music and would often be invited to country festivals. Bob was super excited when he was invited to the Grand Ole Opry for a performance and was introduced by the band on stage. Everyone in the crowd knew who he was and that surprised him as he finally realized how popular he really was.
Bob would listen to country music while he would paint to give him a bit more inspiration. Bob really liked country music because he felt like it was made to be listened to in nature.
He Learned To Paint By Watching Instructors As Well
When Bob Ross was younger and looking to learn more painting skills, he turned to television shows that showed him how to paint. This is what led Bob Ross to get into the industry of teaching people, and he was thrilled when he got the chance to actually teach on television.
Bob was ecstatic when it came to the creation of The Joy of Painting because it was one of his lifelong dreams that came true. He knew that anyone could learn from him as he was able to do the same when he was learning how to paint.
Most of His Audience Never Painted
Although The Joy of Painting was intended for people to paint along with Bob Ross, a large majority of his viewers didn't paint but instead watched. Bob Ross wasn't disappointed when he found this out, as he was happy that people enjoyed watching him paint. He thought that people who were watching would eventually get into painting and hoped that he could get everyone out of their shells.
A large majority of people nowadays are watchers as well, but viewers have admitted that watching Bob Ross calms the mind and makes one a more creative person.
Once Did A Pitch For MTV
Bob Ross was so popular during the 80s and 90s that MTV approached him to do a pitch for their network. Surprisingly, Bob agreed and was featured in a 30-second pitch showing him painting and saying, "MTV, the land of happy little trees."
This little pitch made Bob Ross even more popular as MTV was the most popular network at the time. Anyone who was around at the time must remember this pitch as it was one of the most popular that MTV released. Bob was thankful to MTV because they promoted him to a different crowd that he could get into painting.
Holland Based A Radio Show On Him
Bob Ross became such a big icon throughout the world that Holland decided to make a radio show based on The Joy of Painting. The show would consist of a painter painting a Bob Ross-styled painting while the DJ plays the latest music tracks. This became huge in Holland as people already knew of Bob Ross and were engaging in the painting-music combo.
It seems like you can find a trace of Bob Ross in every corner of the world, which shows how big of an influence this man had on the world. Who knows what sort of inspiration we will find from Bob Ross next.
Used A Wet-On-Wet Oil Painting Technique
The wet-on-wet oil painting technique is the style of painting that Bob Ross learned from Bill Alexander and is what he used to make all the paintings on The Joy of Painting. The wet-on-wet technique is unique because it allows the painter to keep painting on the canvas without waiting for it to dry.
This technique is what made The Joy of Painting possible, as Bob could keep painting until the painting was done. This was a new style of painting that became popular because of the help of Bill Alexander and Bob Ross. This was also a favored technique because it was easier to paint with.
Part of Bob's Hand Is Missing
When Bob Ross dropped out of the 9th grade, he decided to work with his father, who was a carpenter. Being a carpenter means that accidents tend to happen, and Bob ended up losing part of his left-hand index finger while cutting some wood. Luckily, Bob didn't lose a large portion of his finger, and it was a wake-up call to what he wanted to do with his future.
Bob was pretty lucky that his injury wasn't too severe, as it would have affected his painting, and that was something he never wanted to happen. Bob was also right-hand dominant and didn't use his left hand to paint.
A Special Episode of The Joy Of Painting
A special episode of The Joy of Painting that Bob Ross took to heart was when he decided to do a grayscale painting. The reason why it is so special is that Bob received a letter from one of his fans explaining that he wasn't able to paint because he was colorblind.
Bob took the note to heart and decided to do an episode on greyscale and even mentioned the letter that he read. Bob inspired the man to paint as he showed him that people that are colorblind can also enjoy the art of painting.
Steve Ross Still Paints As His Father Did
Although Bob Ross has been long gone by now, his son Steve is just as good as his father when it comes to painting. Steve is still teaching people how to paint and will not stop until he stops breathing. He has admitted that every time he paints, he feels that his father is right there guiding him on what to do.
Steve's artwork is the closest thing that you will get to Bob Ross's work, and being his son really shows in the way he can paint. He still produces some of the finest work and thanks his Dad daily for it.
Bob Ross Passed Away When He Was Just 52
Bob Ross was a great man that was taken away from us at such a young age. It always seems like the good die young and unfortunately, Bob Ross was one of them. Bob Ross passed away when he was just 52 from cancer, which shocked the world. Ross struggled with cancer during the last few seasons of The Joy of Painting but he wanted to paint until he no longer could.
Sadly, Bob passed away only two years after his wife succumbed to cancer. His grave is often visited by his fans, who leave paints and other art supplies in his name.
The World Misses This Legend
Ever since Bob Ross passed away, people worldwide have missed his funny little quotes and deep wisdom. The good thing is that Bob gave us hundreds of hours of joyfulness while watching The Joy of Painting. One person that deeply misses Bob Ross is his son Steve, and there isn't a day that he doesn't think of the man that taught him everything.
Bob Ross has inspired people around the world to paint even though they thought they couldn't, and because of him, people are into oil painting all over the world. This legend will be missed and hopefully, he is painting happy little trees somewhere up there.
I hope you have enjoyed this article about the legendary life of Bob Ross.