Soft-spoken painter Bob Ross is honored Monday in a Google doodle that celebrates his life and the encouragement he gave to so many in his PBS show, "The Joy of Painting," on TV for more than a decade. Monday, Oct. 29 would have been his 70th birthday.
Ross taught us not only about painting, but his encouraging, calming and reassuring approach pushed even the most reticent of viewers to pick up a paintbrush or piece of wood or any tool to use to paint. The show aired from 1983 to 1994. It could have gone longer, but Ross was battling lymphoma, and canceled the show to deal with the illness. He died on July 4, 1995.
The painter with the large hair and large heart had a pretty simple philosophy: that the ability to paint comes from the heart, and if you have one, you, too, can do it.
His work included landscapes — trees, clouds, mountains, lakes — and the oil painting technique he used is known as "wet on wet." The painter keeps adding painting on top of paint that is still wet instead of letting each layer of paint dry.
But it really wasn't so much his technique of painting that connected with viewers; it was the emotion he conveyed about it. When he showed viewers how to paint trees, they weren't just trees, they were "happy little trees." Clouds weren't just clouds, they were "happy little clouds." Painting, he once said, let him "create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it."
You can see some archived Bob Ross shows on YouTube. And if you want to see previous Google Doodles, here's a sortable archive of all of them. But first, take a moment to enjoy this remix of Ross's show, lovingly presented by PBS:
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