Bob Ross—Joy of Painting for Beginners
Bob Ross Shares His Joy of Painting
Somewhere between 10 and 100 years ago I used to watch a TV show about oil painting. It featured a crazy, bushy haired guy painting outdoor scenes with "happy little trees" and mountain scenes. Although not an artist by any means, I always thought I could do that and really wanted to try, but never found the time or money.
Then, two years ago, my wonderful wife bought me a starter kit from the Bob Ross Joy of Painting series; the very man I had watched years ago. She also bought me an easel and some other supplies, and I, Dan Harmon, began to paint with oil. They were pretty awful, but over the months have improved considerably, to the point that I don't automatically look for the trash can when one is finished. I at least hang on to them for a few days to critique my own errors and have come to realize that oil painting is within my reach, even as a raw beginner.
Bob Ross Paint Supplies From Amazon
While the unique supplies for Bob Ross's technique are getting difficult to find, Amazon still has a large stock. Above is a kit very similar to what I started with and should be perfect for the beginner just starting out. Paints, other brushes, cleaners and such are all available as well as DVD's and books to provide additional help.
Bob Ross Method of Oil Painting
Bob Ross, in his genius, came up with a method of oil painting that is perfect for beginners in the field. Materials from brushes to paints are relatively inexpensive to get started, and right from the start, his "apprentices" begin making actual paintings, not just practice canvases that look like just what they are. While those of us that never progress beyond Bob's method of oil painting will never become famous for our artwork, the methods Bob Ross uses in his teaching series "The Joy of Painting" offers encouragement right from the start to newcomers to the field of oil painting.
Beginners can start small, with a minimum of supplies and still make some beautiful paintings. As they find that they enjoy their new hobby they can expand with additional brushes, paints, and other tools slowly and as they find they want to learn even more of the techniques Bob Ross has to offer.
Bob Ross Joy of Painting Series
Bob Ross offers his "Joy of Painting" series of instructional videos, books, and supplies to help the beginning painter, and this is where I started myself.
The gift kit I received contained just 2 or 3 brushes, a palette knife and a dozen or so small tubes of oil paint along with easy to understand and follow instructions. It was enough to discover that I could do this, and that I enjoyed it immensely. It was also enough to find out that the simple beginners kit was soon no longer enough; I wanted more brushes and a nice palette. I wanted to expand beyond what that first small kit offered.
Palettes can be a little expensive, but I found that I could make my own palette out of clear plastic quite easily. The Bob Ross Joy of Painting series has been very popular over the years and although Bob is gone, his materials and instruction books, along with DVD's of his TV shows are still available on the internet as well as art stores in town. I have also had good luck finding materials on eBay. I enjoyed painting enough that I even set up a small studio area in my remodeled sunroom to give me a small area I could call my own to work in.
I now have all the paints and brushes recommended for his outdoor scenes. Wildlife and flower scenes are also included in some of the instructions, but I have preferred mountain and wilderness scenes. There are now other painters and authors promoting his methodology in painting; some take a little different tack to the work and some follow quite closely.
None of my work, or much that I have seen by others using the Bob Ross oil paint techniques is truly top notch art; one of my co-workers studied painting for many years under a russian painter and makes fun of Bob Ross although he does appreciate that the Bob Ross method has encouraged me to start oil painting at the beginners level. He wants me to continue studies on painting, but I have no real interest in becoming famous or even improving beyond what I can with my current methods of oil painting.
The instructional method used in the Joy of Painting series uses pictures painted by Bob Ross and the student is supposed to copy them, adding their own personal touches as desired. I am to the point that I occasionally take my materials camping with me and work from the surrounding views. That is enough to keep me quite happy. I am not truly interested in spending the years of study necessary to become really good; I just want to make some paintings that I and others can enjoy.
Above is one of the first "Joy of Learning" books I used. I found it to be an excellent starter book, giving detailed instructions and a large number of paintings for ideas to work from. There are many other books in the series, and I have purchased most of them. The scenes vary widely in each book, with snowy landscapes, autumn scenes, ocean views and so on. If you're looking for landscape artistry there will be something for you in every book.
Personal Experience With the Bob Ross Joy of Learning
The process has been a real eye-opener for me; I really can paint! No, it is not world class, but I enjoy it and friends and relatives seem to appreciate the work and have asked several times for me to make them one. I've even sold a few at yard sales for enough to keep me in paints and materials. I would certainly recommend the Joy of Learning series of training books and materials to anyone that would like to try painting but doesn't know how to even begin. I have never had a lesson or any training beyond books, but as I say, people seem to enjoy my work.
I have also learned the satisfaction of an artist with a finished product to show the world. By now my own eye can always find fault with the best of the oil paintings that I can produce, but that's OK. Some of my work now is suitable to hang on my wall, and other people find them acceptable as well and that is immensely satisfying. Some of my family members have tried their own hand at oil painting when visiting, taking their work home when they leave, and it pleases me that I have started someone else down the same path that I have taken and enjoyed so much. If you, my reader here, decide to give Bob Ross a try and learn the joy of painting yourself please send me an email with a photo of your work; I would be very interested in it.
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Dan Harmon