Personal Heroes: Bob Ross

I’ve been meaning to write about some of my personal heroes on here for a long time, so here’s the first one in a series of many.

I loved Bob Ross when I was a kid. I’ve never been very good at painting, but his show, The Joy of Painting always caught my attention. Watching him paint just relaxed me in a way that no other TV show could.

Maybe it was his soothing voice, or the soft jazz music, or the way he made creating masterful paintings seem effortless, but something about him always made me smile.

Years went by and I didn’t hear anything about him. Whenever I thought of painting, I still thought of his “happy trees,” but he had disappeared totally from my world.

Then, in late 2015, an ad on Facebook led me to discover a Twitch stream that was playing a Bob Ross marathon. I watched several episodes and the feelings of nostalgia, relaxation, and creativity came rushing back to me. I decided to look him up on YouTube, and to my surprise, there was an entire Bob Ross YouTube Channel! Now, whenever I’m in a chill mood, I lie down on the couch, pull out my phone, and Chromecast a few Joy of Painting episodes while I relax.

I’m waaaaayyy into the feeling of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). It’s the tingly, euphoric feeling you get on your scalp and the back of your neck when exposed to certain stimuli. If you haven’t heard of it, I highly suggest you watch a few ASMR videos on YouTube. Anyway, I discovered that I get that feeling from watching Bob Ross episodes. It’s quiet, it’s soothing, and it feels like he’s having a conversation with you alone. In fact, that’s part of his style. He talks to the audience as if he’s giving a private painting lesson to one person.

Bob Ross was legitimately a laid back, kind, soothing guy. He was a master sergeant in the Air Force, and he was frequently put into positions where he was required to scream and yell. When he retired, he said he never wanted to scream again.

We live in a world where negativity is everywhere you look. I’m a generally positive person, and the amount of anger and sadness I see in the world is depressing. Whenever I find someone who is genuinely kind and positive like Bob Ross, it gives me hope for humanity.

It seems like these days Bob Ross is more popular than ever. In fact, today at Target, I saw a whole Bob Ross merchandise display! I have a Bob Ross Funko Pop figure, a Chia Pet Bob Ross, and even a book of Bob Ross sticky notes.

Bob Ross display at Target store

Unfortunately, Bob Ross died of lymphoma in 1995. Hopefully, due to his recent surge in popularity, a new generation will discover The Joy of Painting and they’ll start making “happy accidents” of their own.

“The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”

-Bob Ross

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