Information & Tips

How did Bob Ross and his method become so popular?

Following a career in the U.S. Air Force and after much study in traditional art forms, Bob Ross became frustrated and sought to develop a quick-study technique that would appeal to the masses. He knew that many people were reluctant to attempt painting because of the required long periods of study before one ever put brush to canvas. Through his television programs, Bob Ross has introduced this easy to do painting technique and clearly become the most recognized artist in the United States and in many parts of the world. On air continuously since 1983, his programs have been viewed on virtually all public television stations in the United States. Proving the universality of art, the "The Joy of Painting" has been broadcast in Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Iran, Turkey, The Philippines, The United Kingdom, and The Netherlands.

What is the Bob Ross "Wet-on-Wet" painting technique?

The wet-on-wet technique Bob Ross has developed is a very unusual and interesting painting method; it is different from any other way to paint. "Wet-on-Wet" is the application of wet paint on top of wet paint, omitting the traditional "wait" for each layer to dry. Using special firm oil paints and starting with a wet canvas, paint may be glided across the canvas with large brushes and painting knives - making clouds, mountains, trees and water appear in seconds. This method allows you to complete a painting very quickly (Bob finished one in every thirty minute program). Even those who have never considered painting before can do it in one sitting, and it is so easy that you can start immediately.

How does the Bob Ross painting method work?

The very first thing Bob Ross does when he paints is prepare the canvas in a very different way (this is probably the most unique feature of his technique). The canvas is covered with a thin basecoat of a specially formulated substance. It is very slick and wet and makes the entire wet-on-wet process possible. It stays wet through the entire painting. These "wet" substances are called Liquid White, Liquid Black, and Liquid Clear. The most often used is Liquid White. Bob's amazing technique works because of the special tools he uses. In addition to the special basecoat, he has developed brushes and paints that are quite different from traditional painting materials. Without them, the quick and easy results cannot be achieved. Bob's special natural bristle brushes are very important to the process. There are several different sizes and shapes used to create literally hundreds of incredible effects on the canvas. Compared to traditional painting brushes, Bob's wet-on-wet brushes are very large (they resemble everyday house painting brushes!) yet produce incredibly realistic details. Bob Ross also uses uniquely-formulated oil paints. They are very "firm" paints much more so than regular oil colors. A firm consistency in conjunction with the slick liquid basecoating on the canvas is essential to this style of painting. With just thirteen colors, Bob Ross makes up an endless number of beautiful mixtures in his paintings. You can too.

Can anyone paint like Bob Ross?

Absolutely anyone can paint like this. Every movement, tool and learning guide has been developed by Bob Ross with the beginning painter in mind. No previous experience of any kind is required. Bob believed strongly that every person obsesses the ability to paint. "Art is not just for the chosen few but for everyone," he says. And that is why no other person in history has created as many first time painters as Bob Ross has.

What do I need in order to start painting?

The most important thing you need is the desire to paint. Without it you will have little or no success in your endeavors; desire turns the spark into a warm glowing flame. You may need only a very few Bob Ross Tools to get started, then as you become more familiar with the special equipment, its use and its care, you can experiment with different Bob Ross Brushes, Colors, and Basecoats. Spend as much time as possible practicing; you will see steady improvement in your abilities with each painting. Bob's instructional books, videotapes and television programs are all you need to follow the technique step-by-step. And the best way to learn is through "hands on" painting workshops held by skilled Bob Ross Certified Instructors in your area, including Paul Bryant in Norfolk, East Anglia.

What if I make a mistake on my painting?

In this method of painting there are no mistakes, only "happy accidents". You can add, change, remove or correct anything in your painting; the Bob Ross method provides an enormous amount of flexibility.

Must I complete my painting in one sitting?

Once you have started your painting, it is not necessary to finish it the same day. If the Liquid White (or Black or Clear) should dry on the canvas before you've had the chance to complete the painting, simply re-apply liquid basecoat over the unfinished areas, then continue painting.

How long will it take my painting to dry?

Drying time will vary depending on a number of factors such as heat, humidity, thickness of the paint, painting surface, etc. Another factor is the individual colors used. Different colors have different drying times, For instance, Blues will dry very quickly while Reds, Whites and Yellows are very slow drying. A good average time for an oil painting to dry, when painted in this technique, is approximately two to three weeks or longer.

How do I decide what to paint?

What to paint poses a much larger question than how to paint. Imagination is the most valued ability an artist can possess. It is like a muscle in our bodies in as much as its ability can be increased by excercise. The more you paint the better able you are to compose a painting in your mind. Ideas are ever present around us. You may sketch scenes or use a camera to capture a single moment in time for future use. The many Bob Ross Instructional Guides provide a variety of painting subjects.

What are some of the benefits of painting?

Quite literally, painting will change your life. You will gain self-esteem and a confidence you never knew you possessed. Painting provides an excellent source of personal relaxation and even physical therapy. It allows you to associate creativity with every aspect of your life, not just on the canvas. Many have been led to find pleasure in music, reading, writing, sewing, gardening and much, much more as a result of painting. Through painting you will discover in yourself a greater awareness of the beauty of nature.