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Bob Ross and his 'Happy Trees' hits £13,000

Original Bob Ross painting hits £13,000 in Ellis Willis & Becketts Fine Art and Antiques Auction on 26th March 2024. If you have any interesting paintings you may wish to enter into a future auction then contact us either by email or call 0114 279 6959.

Bob Ross, born Robert Norman Ross on October 29, 1942, in Daytona Beach, Florida, was an iconic figure whose gentle voice and happy little trees brought art into the homes of millions through his television program, “The Joy of Painting”. His show aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States and reached audiences in Canada, Latin America, Europe, and beyond. Ross’s approachable, nurturing demeanor and quick painting technique made him a beloved art instructor and television host.

Ross’s early life was marked by a love for animals and nature, which would later become a central theme in his artwork. He enlisted in the United States Air Force at 18 and served as a medical records technician. It was during his military service in Alaska that he first encountered the snowy landscapes that would feature prominently in his paintings 1. Ross developed his fast painting technique during brief work breaks, which allowed him to create art quickly—a skill that would become his signature on “The Joy of Painting.”

After 20 years in the Air Force, Ross retired with the rank of master sergeant. His military career had required him to be tough, but he vowed never to raise his voice again after leaving the service. This decision contributed to the calm and soothing demeanor he was known for on his show.

Ross’s painting career took off after he discovered Bill Alexander’s television show “The Magic of Oil Painting.” Alexander taught the alla prima or “wet-on-wet” painting technique, which Ross would later adopt and popularize. This method involves applying oil paint on top of still-wet paint, allowing for the completion of a painting in a shorter time frame—perfect for a half-hour television segment.

“The Joy of Painting” featured Ross’s soft-spoken instruction as he created landscapes, often using nothing more than a housepainting brush and a palette knife. His ability to transform a blank canvas into a serene landscape in each 30-minute episode amazed viewers. Ross often used the show as a platform to encourage viewers to believe in themselves, promoting a message that anyone could be an artist.

Ross’s legacy extends beyond his television show. His image and quotes continue to be popular in internet memes and merchandise, reflecting his lasting impact on popular culture. His approach to teaching art made it accessible and enjoyable for people of all skill levels, and his positive philosophy resonated with audiences around the world.

Bob Ross passed away on July 4, 1995, but his influence endures. He demystified the painting process, inviting viewers to pick up a brush and discover the joy of creating.

Ross’s message was simple yet profound: every day is a good day when you paint, and there are no mistakes, just happy accidents!

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