Bob Ross’ Show ‘The Joy of Painting’ Makes Its YouTube Debut
"Happy little trees" for a whole new generation.
If you’re in the mood for blast from the past and also want to improve your painting skills, you’re in luck. The iconic PBS series The Joy of Painting, starring the afro-ed artist and television personality Bob Ross, is finding a second life decades later thanks to YouTube.
As of October 23, the series, which enjoyed an 11-year run between 1983 and 1994, is available for streaming on the video sharing platform thanks to Ross’s official fan page.
Ross completes a single painting each season, simultaneously schooling viewers on the techniques of wet-on-wet landscape oil painting over the course of several half-hour episodes.
While the crossover success of the show was initially unanticipated, Ross quickly became known for his serene voice and soothing demeanor, as well as his affinity for painting “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees.” He occasionally talked about his personal life on the program, including his stint in the Air Force, and even allowed friends and family to make guest appearances.
“I think there’s an artist hid in the bottom of every single one of us,” Ross says in the first episode. “You know, we have avoided painting for so long because I think all of our lives we’ve been told that you have to go to school half your life, maybe even have to be blessed by Michelangelo at birth to ever be able to paint a picture. And here we want to show that that’s not true—that you can paint a picture right along with us.”
While his oft-repeated mantra “anyone can paint” may understandably receive an eye roll from professional artists, for the rest of us, the show serves to make our day just a little bit brighter, even if we don’t even pick up a brush.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.