Bob Ross was an American painter, painting instructor, and TV personality. He began his painting career while in the U.S. Air force, drawing mostly landscapes. Ross became a popular figure in the 80s thanks to his TV show, The Joy of Painting. His show taught people how to paint utilizing the wet-on-wet technique. Armed with a cool demeanor and a reassuring tone, Ross simplified the art of painting for his loyal audience. He inspired people who had never held a paintbrush to believe that they had artistic talent. He also established a company which produced guidebooks and videos on painting. Ross passed away in 1995 but his legacy still lives on. Google honored him with a doodle on the 29th October 2012 (which would have been his 70th birthday).
Bob Ross Biography
Robert Norman Ross was born on the 29th of October, 1942 in Daytona Beach, Florida. His father, Jack, was a carpenter and a Cherokee Indian while his mother, Ollie was a waitress. He also had a half-brother named Jim. As a child, Ross loved animals and spent his time, taking care of injured animals that came across his way. After just a year in high school, he dropped out and started working for his dad.
In 1961, Bob Ross enlisted in the United States Air Force where he would spend the next 20 years of his life. During his time in the Air Force, he was posted to the Eielson Base in Alaska. It was in Alaska that he began taking painting classes. Ross was however dissatisfied with the classes because his instructors only sprouted off abstract terms without really teaching one how to paint. His frustrations came to an end when he watched a PBS program, The Magic of Oil Painting.
The host of the show, Bill Alexander, made use of a 15th-century technique known as alla prima to simplify the art of painting. Also known as wet-on-wet, the technique involved applying oil paint on the canvass continuously without waiting for the previously applied one to dry. As a result, one could finish a painting in 30 minutes top, the same length of time a TV program would take. Utilizing this technique, Bob Ross made numerous paintings of landscapes consisting of the glorious Alaskan mountains and snow. He sold same to tourists making a fortune as a result.
He thereafter decided to retire from the army in 1981. Two years later, he started his own PBS show, The Joy of Painting. The show ran from 1983 to 1994 and was a fan favorite. This has been attributed to many factors such as his ability to break the process of painting into simple steps, his humble and positive attitude, his laid-back demeanor as well as his hippie style consisting of a permed afro, shirt, and jeans. Ross completed at least 30,000 paintings in his lifetime. The final episode of his show aired on the 17th of May 1994.
Bob Ross was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1994. Despite his outgoing personality, he was still a man who preferred to keep his private life, private. As such, he kept his illness away from the attention of the public. Ross died on the 4th of July 1995. He was 52 at the time of his death and was buried in Gotha, Florida. Even though Ross has been late for more than two decades, his legacy still lives on. Episodes of his shows are now available on Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch.tv. In 2013, some YouTubers staged a contest between him and the famous painter Pablo Picasso. The video of the contest has been viewed more than 33 million times.
Family – Wife, Son, and Children
Bob Ross got married on three occasions in his lifetime. His first marriage was to a lady named Vivian Ridge in 1965. The marriage produced a son, Steven but they divorced in 1977. Ross got married for the second time to Jane Ross in 1977. Their marriage lasted until Jane’s death in 1992. Ross remarried three years later, in 1995, to a woman named Lynda brown. His marriage to Lynda lasted until his death that same year.
The painter has only one child, a son named Steven. Steven is a product of his first marriage and was born on the 1st of August 1966. Steven followed his father’s footsteps into painting and sold masterpieces of his own. He also appeared on The Joys of Painting show and became a certified painting instructor in the wet-on-wet technique. There is not much information available about what Steven is up to now except that he is living in New York.
At the time of his demise, Bob Ross had a net worth of $6 million. His fortune did not come from his popular show as he was not paid for it. Rather it came from his company, Bob Ross Inc. The company sold instructional videos and books. They also offered training sessions on the wet-on-wet technique. Additionally, they made money from collaborations with makers of painting supplies. In 2018, the coy licensed Ross’ voice to a meditation app, Calm.com. His voice will be used to create a series that will hopefully lull people to sleep.