Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Zen and the Art of Bob Ross

Bob Ross slays me. I mean he totally cracks me up. He's the perfect blend of simple and amazing, interesting and dull, talented and trite. He's famous for his lexicon of silly little painting terms..."happy little trees" and "a nice gentle cloud that pops right out there." His show is punctuated by the sound of him thwacking his brush against the legs of his easel in the most comical way. He paints for thirty minutes and completes an oil painting that could easily feel at home in an art sale at the local Hilton on a Saturday.

I am watching Bob Ross right now with my father. Below are actual quotes from the show I am watching. However, if you haven't seen him before, you owe it to yourself to catch him on PBS or cable tv some night.

"Work in layers, one at a time, one at a time, don't get greedy."
"Maybe we just put some dirt in there, some rocks and twigs. Whatever, whatever. Let that float along, barely touching. That's right...perfect"
"This tree needs to really pop out. Let's go back in and give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend. You know I always say that...everybody needs a friend."
"This brush is not as much fun to clean off as the big one. I like to clean the big one and everyone back stage goes running."
"I get a lot of letters about my easel, asking if they could have an easel like I have. This one is just an old ladder! You can make one at home."

I tried to find a video for you on youtube, but alas, he is so easily ridiculed, there are almost exclusively Bob Ross parodies out there, instead of his real shows. It's a tragedy.

When Dad is stressed at all, Bob Ross is his refuge. I remember his interest in this show in the early 80's and then the late 90's, both challenging times in my father's career. Now is another challenging time. So, almost as a harbinger of the recession, Bob Ross has been coming more and more frequently to our tv set. It's the art and the amazing way he puts color onto the canvas, but it's also the hushed, hypnotic tones with which he speaks. Right now, I can almost not hear him for my dad's gentle breathing beside me. He's asleep. Thank you, Bob Ross for relaxing my father. R.I.P.


Amelia's moms said...

I actually watched a female version of Bob Ross the other day at the gym and found myself totally mesmerized, despite the fact that she was painting a horrifically cheesy "happy little frog" on a lilypad to go on a dresser in a little boy's room since "frogs aren't good for little girls of course, friends!"

TheElementary said...

I think Bob Ross is wonderful, absolutely marvellous.
Have you seen this youtube video? It's one of the funniest things I've seen- a deadpan parody of the great painter but yet, I think Bob Ross himself would have had to laugh at it. A happy little laugh.