Bob Ross, the painter and television personality, was an endearing, soothing, and extremely prolific artist who purportedly completed 30,000 paintings during his lifetime. What made this especially likeable and talented painter truly different is that he truly believed that all of us could also be artists.

Ross’s gentle voice and warm demeanour captured the hearts of humans of all ages and artists of all levels world wide. Bob spent 20 years in the United States Air Force and retired with the rank of master sergeant before transitioning into the happy painter we know today. He is quoted as saying “after yelling so much in the Air Force; he never wanted to yell at anyone again.”

As Robert Frost famously said “Way leads unto Way” and the Alaskan Mountains where he was stationed became iconic features in his paintings. While stationed there Ross indulged his creative side by painting his landscapes onto golden pans, which he sold for $25 each. Today, they can fetch as much as $7500 on eBay.

One of Bob Ross’s biggest influences was a German painter named Bill Alexander who hosted an art instruction show on PBS “The Magic of Oil Painting. He shared his “wet-on-wet” oil painting technique. Ross ended up studying under Alexander, who became his mentor in the early 1980s, and as Alexander was preparing to retire, he asked Ross to take over teaching his painting classes. Ross agreed, and set out to tour the country on his own in a motor home, traveling and teaching people.

One of his students Annette Kowalski recognized his gentle and powerful positivity while taking a a five-day instructional course with Ross in 1982. She became Ross’s manager, helping him broker the deal for The Joy of Painting television show with PBS. Despite it’s incredible popularity Bob Ross did the series for free, while his income came from Bob Ross Inc. which sold art supplies and how-to videotapes, taught classes, and even had a troupe of traveling art instructors who roamed the world teaching painting.

It’s been nearly 25 years since the sincere, gentle and very talented Bob Ross passed. His encouraging artistic mentor style continues to spread smiles and inspiration to artists of all ages. Below is just a few of some of his many magical quotes and a classic clip from his show. SOURCES MENTAL FLOSS, WIKIPEDIA & BIOGRAPHY

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