Helen’s Heroes #1 – Bob Ross
This is the first in a new regular series highlighting people and things that have influenced my life.
Number one is a massive hero of mine.
I have always been creative. By that I mean I’ve always had the ability to visualise something, then put it on paper. My first hero taught me about perspective and how you don’t necessarily need to draw a tree for your audience to see one.
Bob Ross was a painter and presenter of The Joy of Painting. His iconic afro hair style looked dated, the whole show did, I didn’t care. His unique way of putting paint on top of liquid paint created landscapes like I’d never seen before nor have I seen since. When I was poorly as a child I would lay on the sofa and watch his half hour tutorials in awe of his imagination and skill. I had always been taught to paint or draw what was in front of me, Ross created these landscapes from his head.
At school art involved sketching an outline, mixing paint on a palette and carefully applying within the lines. Here was Ross, slapping paint around with an emulsion brush like no ones business. Dad used brushes like his for decorating. For me, Bob Ross was a total maverick.
Watching him now takes me back to being a child again. I can still fall asleep to the sound of this voice.
I’ve no idea whether or not he was well received by art critics. I can’t imagine his work was groundbreaking in the art world, but it certainly was in mine. I remember being at school and talking to my ‘audience’ as I painted pictures. I’d reel off phrases that I’d picked up from the show like ‘just the indication of a little water’.
Thank you Mr Ross
Thanks to you I can take a brush and a bit of paint and create skies, mountains, water, trees, cabins and so much more. You taught me about light and shadow. Now, when I paint, I wonder whether things are the colours that they seem. I can look at a tree and see orange or yellow, purple even if the light is right. While I’m at work I can pass on your knowledge to the next generation of budding artists. I hope that I can inspire them as much as you did me.
With or without Bob Ross I would have pursued a path involving art and creativity. What he taught me in those half hours was worth just as much as any hour in a classroom.