Bob Ross Facts: A Look Into The Life Of A Great Artist | Kidadl


Bob Ross Facts: A Look Into The Life Of A Great Artist

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There are very few people in the world who haven't heard of Bob Ross.

His afro and soothing voice have gained him immense fandom and appreciation from people all around the world. Additionally, his paintings are housed at the Bob Ross Museum in Florida.

Born and brought up in Florida, Bob Ross did not always have a knack for painting. Ross initially took after his father and started his career as a carpenter but later joined the United States Air Force. It was here that he took his first art lesson and the rest is history. Ross's passion for painting developed while he was deployed in Alaska and grew exponentially after he retired from the military. He took formal lessons from Bill Alexander and learned the wet-on-wet oil painting technique, which later became his bread and butter.

Host of the famous PBS show named 'The Joy of Painting', Bob Ross brought joy and laughter to many households in the country. It is very evident through the fact that around 90% of his audience did not even paint in the first place! They only watched the show for the aura that Ross exuded. Keep reading for more Bob Ross facts!

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not also check out Abby Lee Miller facts and Bob Fosse facts here on Kidadl!

When was Bob Ross born?

Bob Ross, the television sensation and the pride of the U.S., was born on October 29, in the year 1942.

One of the most interesting facts about Bob Ross and his early life is that he was born near the beaches in Florida. It may be a little presumptuous but the beach climate could have been one of the reasons why this sensational man came to have such a soothing demeanor and went on to win the love and affection of many of his fans and supporter. Bob Ross's father was a carpenter and even Ross eventually joined the family business. He became a full-time carpenter with his father within the first year of high school. This also led to one of the issues that later came up. You may not have noticed this but Ross did not have a part of one of his index fingers. He later revealed in interviews that he lost this finger during his career in carpentry. While it may sound absurd to us that a man who was missing a finger part could be capable of painting so well, Ross was the person to turn to when things started to feel like they were impossible. He proved, in more ways than just one, that nothing could stand in the way of true passion and love for art. Many of even his most ardent fans failed to notice the lack of the left index finger because Ross always held his palette in his left hand. Nevertheless, now we have one more reason to love the man and his incredible talents.

Ross dedicated only some of his early days towards carpentry. It was at the age of 18 that Bob Ross joined the United States Air Force. People, over the many years that they have known Ross over the television screen, have been baffled by the idea that such a gentle and calm man could ever be a part of the Air Force. It does not seem that a man of his temperament would be able to lead people by such a firm hand in the Air Force, but Ross was a man of many abilities. In one of the rather candid interviews, Ross revealed that he even had anger issues and was known in the Air Force for his extreme punishments. Remember, this is the very man that kept a squirrel in his shirt pocket and loved it so dearly during his shows!

Bob Ross Early Life

Ross's early life was pretty simple. He was born and brought up in Florida. He attended the Elizabeth Forward High School.

Ross initially had plans of joining his father in the carpentry business, which he did while he was still at school. His adventures in carpentry even cost him one of his fingers but that was not to stop him from achieving the many wonderful feats that he did. Not much is known about Ross' connection and relationship with his family, however, we do know that he later joined the United States Air Force, and this is where he met the true passion of his life - which was painting. It does seem unlikely that someone would take up painting while their time in the military but true passion finds its way out of thin air. This was the case with Bob Ross as well. It was in the early 1960s that Ross took his first painting lesson with the United Service Organizations club. Whether it was love-at-first-sight for Ross and the art - we don't know - but we do know that when he quit the Air Force, the first thing that popped in his mind was to take formal painting lessons. This is where his journey towards unmatched fame and success began, and the train did not stop until Ross drew his last breath. In fact, even years after his death, Ross' show is still being watched all over the world. Ross was deployed in Alaska and while he was there, he pursued his knack for painting. He used to paint the Alaskan landscapes and sell them for some extra cash. However, it was only much later that he learned the technique that would earn him his fame and glory.

Ross's adult life was half spent in the military and half in pursuing his true passion. Ross discovered the wet-on-wet oil painting technique through William Alexander, who was popularly known as Bill Alexander. Bill was Ross's teacher and later his arch-nemesis. Ross took classes from Bill Alexander, who was the then host of the PBS show 'The Magic of Oil Painting'. Bill was also the pioneer of the wet-on-wet technique. This technique became increasingly famous amongst many people because of just how easy it was. Typically, oil paintings are time-consuming since the artist would have to wait for each layer of paint to dry up before going on to the next one. However, the wet-on-wet technique eliminated the waiting part and allowed even amateur artists to feel like they could achieve something within a limited time frame. Even though Bill ran the show and pioneered the technique, it was Ross that was able to make it known all over the globe. It is assumed that Bill's demeanor could not be as popular with the PBS stations as Ross's quiet voice and smiling face could. After the ex-Master Sergeant took his lessons from Bill, he started briefly teaching some people. Ross learned enough to pass on some of his knowledge and it was at this time that he met the woman who would later become his manager. Annette Kowalski briefly took lessons with Bob Ross and was entranced by his grace and calmness. She became his manager and helped him in being signed for the show The Joy of Painting in 1983. This show was an instant hit and gained so much momentum that it aired for no less than 11 years. There are some speculations that Bill Alexander appointed Bob Ross as his successor, but Bill's interviews stating his grievance towards Ross and how each Ross painting was a copy of the technique that he had invented, speaks otherwise.

Bob Ross's actual name was Robert Norman Ross.

Bob Ross Paintings

Bob Ross hoped that his show, 'The Joy of Painting', would be a good advertising tool for his art supplies, which it was. Ross indulged in the show as a way of selling his art classes and we can hardly say that it did not work. Whether it be in New York City or in Florida, Bob Ross art supplies were available everywhere.

Ross spent most of his life painting and it is assumed that he painted no less than 30,000 pieces of art in his lifetime. This is possible and rational since he painted three copies of the same piece of art for each episode. There would be one that Ross referred to but would be hidden off the screen. The second would be painted through the course of the show and the third would be painted as Ross's assistant made note of his every stroke and his techniques.

This sensation of the art world was known for his adorable references. Ross's paintings often had 'happy little trees', while also becoming a way of referring to him later on. Ross's brush and palette knife would work ceaselessly and seemingly effortlessly to create such beautiful landscapes that the beholder would be in awe. Ross created thousands of painting through the course of his life but never sold any of them. There are no records of a Bob Ross painting being sold by the artist himself. This was because Bob Ross's 'happy little trees' were only a way of bringing joy to people's lives and not an economic tool. It is rather understandable and a given that such a man would be loved and appreciated. He later donated most of his paintings, which then got auctioned and the proceedings were given for a charitable cause. You are sure to find Ross die-hards even today, as they scout for even a single painting. Although, we can only imagine how expensive his artwork would now be!

Bob Ross Facts You Should Know

One of the little-known facts about Bob Ross is that the ex-Master Sergeant did not actually have curly and fluffy hair.

He actually got a perm in order to make sure that he could save money. A perm would mean that his hair would need less maintenance, and he did this before his work gained momentum and he achieved worldwide fame. The fluffy afro later became such a sensation that Ross had to stick with the haircut. However, he is known to have admitted on several occasions that he was never fond of the hairstyle and even hated it. It is hard to imagine what this man would look like if Ross lost his afro and suddenly showed up on the screen with straight, silky hair!

Annette Kowalski, Ross's manager, was initially his student. She was just one of the many people that fell in love with Ross's way of teaching art. It was mutually profitable for both Ross and Kowalski to be associated through business because Kowalski got the opportunity of being surrounded by art, while Ross got many economic benefits from her skills.

Bob Ross's van was once burgled. This event was positively jarring since all the burglars took away were paintings. This is also a way of understanding just how famous this man and his art were.

One of the many reasons why Ross was loved and adored by many was his love for animals. In the episodes of his show, one of the rather cute critics was his squirrel. This tiny squirrel named Peapod would peek out of Ross's shirt pocket and give the audience a reason to smile. Ross, in his childhood, even had a rather unusual pet. He told his viewers in an interview that he had an alligator as a pet in his bathtub when he was a child.

Bob Ross was so famous that he eventually started to get 200 fan letters every day. We would assume that such a famous man would not have the time or energy to be going through so many letters, but Ross always managed to make sure that his fans were getting on well. If any of his frequent writers ever stopped reaching out to him, Ross would actually go the extra mile and even mail them himself, asking if they were OK. It is very tough not to love such a human being!

While we may think that there was nothing to not love about Bob Ross, many critics thought otherwise. There were many people who thought that there was no skill or merit to Ross's paintings and they weren't real art. This is one of the reasons why some art supply stores were forced to move his products to the hidden aisles in order to not offend any customers.

Even Bob Ross's son, Steve, is a painter. He made several appearances on screen throughout the lengthy tenure of the show.

The Bob Ross Art Workshop is still functional and works towards teaching people the art of oil painting. It is located in Smyrna Beach.

While we may think that the show 'The Joy of Painting' must have been very profitable for the artist, this was not the case. Ross did not earn a single penny from the show. In fact, he only used it to advertise for his art classes and supplies.

Ross could film an entire season of the show in just two days. Each season comprised 13 episodes, which were 30 minutes long.

How Did Bob Ross Die

Bob Ross died near New Smyrna Beach, on July 4, 1995.

His death was a tragic loss to the nation as well as for the whole world at large. He died after suffering from lymphoma. Even though not all people were able to embrace Ross and his passion and love for painting, there are those who still watch his videos and see him as an inspiration!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Bob Ross facts then why not take a look at Abby Lee Miller facts, or Bob Fosse facts.

Written By
Shirin Biswas

<p>With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.</p>

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