These Are Bob Ross’ Most Breathtaking Paintings
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These Are Bob Ross’ Most Breathtaking Paintings


Bob Ross, the very permed and often-bespectacled
star of PBS’ long-running and beloved The Joy of Painting, is many things to many people. In every episode of his show, he encouraged,
enlightened, and brought joy to everyone who watched. Here are his most breathtaking paintings. In the last episode of Season 11 of The Joy
of Painting, Ross begins the show in a unique way: with what looks like a completed work. He usually starts off with a blank canvas,
but the purpose of this particular installment, aptly titled “Happy Accident,” is to help
viewers overcome an especially vexing problem in painting: what to do when you’ve made an
obvious error or when the painting itself is just fatally flawed. Ross had already made a name for himself for
taking what appeared to be complete paintings and adding black marks right down the center. Of course, the slashes are soon trees that
viewers have to admit make the perfect finishing touches on the piece. “Happy Accident” is this surprise maneuver
on speed. He takes his palette knife in hand and begins
to strip paint from the canvas so as to take that perfectly fine painting and destroy it. Then he paints another scene in its place. The re-do is a gorgeous creek scape, but perhaps
even more important than the finished product is the message Ross leaves us with at the
end of the episode: no painting is a lost cause, and do-overs are just fine, in art
and in life. Ross is most known for his paintings of mountain
landscapes, happy trees, and waterfalls, but he also paints one hell of a campfire. Season 3, Episode 10 begins with a canvas
covered in one of his signature colors, Alizarin Crimson. Then, with a one-inch brush dipped in Cadmium
Yellow, he begins to create the outlines of a fire using X-shaped strokes. He makes the fire’s heart a brilliant yellow
and its ridges a darker red, blending and blending and offering this invaluable piece
of advice: “You don’t want to bring a dirty brush back
to the center.” By the time Ross is finished with his campfire,
it’s surrounded with luminous shrubs and a pond that reflects the fire’s golden glow. He can’t resist, of course, grabbing some
Van Dyke Brown and adding a big, strong tree in the foreground. “I love to paint trees. They’re one of the most fantastic things in
nature to me.” Perhaps most alarming to many fans will be
the man Ross sketches in at the end. Human forms don’t often make an appearance
in Bob Ross paintings, but the man nevertheless looks completely natural with his back up
against a tree trunk. As often as Ross focused on earthbound things
like trees, rivers, and mountains, he was just as excited to turn his attention to the
heavens. In the “Northern Lights” episode, he looks
upward, and the painting he produces rivals the awe-inspiring spectacle that is the aurora
borealis. Ross, a Florida native, joined the Air Force
when he was 18 and was stationed in Alaska. He wasn’t happy in the military, but he loved
Alaska’s untamed beauty, which he honors in this episode. He begins with a dark canvas, then sketches
in three bright arcs, and pulls the paint up with a 1-inch brush. The technique brings out the colors already
on the canvas and soon Ross has recreated a scene he was lucky enough to witness over
and over again in the roughly dozen years he spent in America’s 49th state. He’s also included a looming mountain, crashing
waves, and a rugged cabin ready for human habitation. He also takes a moment to posit that God was
having a good day when he made Alaska. We assume that God also must’ve had a blast
when he made Bob Ross. It only makes sense that the champion of painting-as-meditation
would take on something as soothing as waterfalls. One of Ross’ best contributions to the genre
is “Misty Waterfall” from Season 7. The greatest appeal of this episode just might
be how well it showcases the Bob Ross philosophy of painting. While he dots a blue sky with happy little
clouds and lines the horizon with trees, he mentions what his uncle told him about what
you should do if you want to catch a rabbit. “He said, well, he said, you can stand behind
a tree and make a noise like a carrot. When he comes by, you grab it.” Then Ross told his viewers that they need
to think like a tree to give life to a glen and think like water to create a good waterfall. He also advises watching for mistakes that
end up being assets. Happy accidents, in other words. The mist over the waterfall comes courtesy
of pulling down on the edge of shrub-like trees, which he blends together with soft
but confident strokes. Incidentally, Ross’ casual demeanor was, according
to his good friend and business manager Annette Kowalski, very much an act. He was, in fact, meticulous and exacting in
his approach, creating three separate paintings for each episode and also agonizing over his
every word. In the “Tropical Seascape” episode, Ross ventures
out of his comfort zone, and into the tropics, proving that Paul Gauguin didn’t have exclusive
rights to the sandy beach. To help him keep a firm eye on the horizon,
Ross starts off his seascape by dividing the canvas with masking tape. Then he proceeds with the top half, using
a mixture of yellows and reds and blues to create a pastel sunset befitting paradise. Later, he focuses on the sea itself, creating
impossibly perfect waves that crest just so under a nodding palm. Ross’ technique for making waves is simple. He first draws an outline of a wave, uses
a 2-inch brush to fill in the color down below, and then highlights each tiny peak using his
palette knife. He makes it look easy, but then again, he’s
making wave noises as he works, and he probably hasn’t been at the tiki bar all day. As was often the case, Ross decided to devote
the episode to the beauty of the beach to satisfy his viewers. They wanted him to go south, and he selflessly
answered the call. There are a million ways to begin an episode
of a painting show, and Bob Ross, for all his cozy predictability, was not averse to
taking chances. In “Trapper’s Cabin,” he chose to open with
a shot of himself cradling two baby birds in his hands. He informs the audience that the birds are
week-old swifts that have just gotten their feathers. Then he tenderly transfers them to a nest
set up next to his easel and starts painting. “I absolutely adore these little characters. They’re so cute.” There are also a million ways to paint a house,
and Ross was famous for being able to paint a cabin in just a few strokes. In this episode, having filled in a beautiful
and layered background, he goes to work on an outbuilding for the ages. For cabins, Ross often employed the same knife
he used for his mountains, and this episode is no exception. He rolls some browns and whites up on the
knife and, with a feather-light touch, unfurls the cabin’s weathered walls and roof. Then he adds some red to the roof, inviting
his fans to get crazy, and we’re sure they gladly accepted that invitation. In some ways, Bob Ross was like the U.S. Postal
Service of mountains: He painted them in rain and heat and snow and gloom of night. He liked to claim that his son, Steve, painted
better mountains than he did, but in Season 6’s “Arctic Beauty,” it’s clear that no one
could make a mountain quite like Bob Ross. He understood that mountains presented many
challenges to his inexperienced viewers, like how to invest a 2-D mountain with the proper
majesty and how to give a painting proper perspective so that the mountains don’t take
over the entire composition. These are questions he answers in “Arctic
Beauty,” by starting with a black canvas and painting in the sky first. When he does get around to adding the mountains,
he uses his tried and true technique of rolling a mix of paints onto his palette knife and
unrolling that mix right onto the canvas. As with Ross’ ponds and cabins and trees and
waves, his mountains look effortless. They’re also breathtaking and realistic and
only part of a much larger composition that includes a meadow and a cascading stream. Ross invites his audience to go wild with
their mountains, adding whatever detail makes them happy, but he also advises they use the
right tool for the job. In the final episode of the first season of
The Joy of Painting, Ross invited his son, Steve, to come on the show and ask him a series
of questions fans had sent in during that inaugural year. The first star of the show is Bob’s beard:
it’s ’80s shaggy and magnificent. Second billing goes to his and Steve’s matching
glasses. With gold frames and progression lenses, they’re
the pinnacle of handsome dork dad. And it must also be mentioned that Steve looks
to be about 15 or 16 and more than a little reluctant to serve as his father’s guinea
pig. One of the major charms of this episode is
the series of audience questions Steve poses to his father. “The first question is, what is Magic White?” Bob responds that Magic White is a very thin,
white, oil-based paint that stays wet on the canvas for extended periods of time. Other questions involve how to choose the
best brushes. “When you purchase a brush, get one that is
natural bristle. Do not let ’em sell you a nylon brush. It won’t work. It cuts paint.” And whether it’s okay to wash brushes in turpentine: “’Turpentine’? Several things are wrong.” These are all great, nitty-gritty pieces of
advice for any aspiring Ross acolyte. The painting created during this episode is
beautiful, but the real draw is watching the Ross father-son bond play out right before
our eyes. Fans often wrote to Ross or approached him
in public, asking him to create certain scenes or make use of particular techniques so that
they might be able to do the same at home. In Season 2, Episode 4, of The Joy of Painting,
Ross went above and beyond, painting a wintry scene in whites and grays to show a colorblind
viewer that a person’s ability, or inability, to see color need not determine their destiny
as a painter. It should also be noted that Ross is showing
a decent amount of chest in this episode and that he’s also wearing a gold medallion of
some sort. As for the painting itself, Ross mixes up
some blue and brown to make the gray, and the only other color he allows himself to
use in this show is white. You might think this would be boring, but
you’d be wrong. With gray on his brush, he swirls in some
clouds, blends them, and then moves onto a range of mountains. He gives the mountains some company in the
form of happy trees, a misty stream, and a small, pleasantly weathered house. The theme of this episode is “almighty.” Ross paints in almighty mountains and an almighty
river and almighty trees, all the while reinforcing the idea that everyone has estimable talents,
regardless of whether they see the entire rainbow. Bob Ross was a very private person. While he did share a lot with his viewers
over the years, he also kept careful guard over his personal life and, for the most part,
he stayed out of the spotlight. Fans did know that he lived in Alaska for
a time, served in the military, adopted a number of orphaned animals, and had a son. But what they might not have realized is that
he was struggling with the illness of his second wife during the show’s 23rd season,
and that he likely filmed this episode, “Mountain Ridge Lake,” shortly after her diagnosis. Ross often said that one rule of painting
is that you can’t have the light without the dark. That proved to be incredibly poignant in this
episode when it appears that he is channeling his grief and putting his heart right on the
canvas. Setting aside his trademark self-deprecation,
the resulting painting is a stunning summer scene of soaring mountains and a gorgeous,
reflective lake inviting you to jump in, swim, and stay a while. The most heart-breaking and telling line of
the entire segment is when Ross indirectly addresses his heartbreak, assuring viewers: “You know, it’s like in life, you gotta have
a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I’m waiting on the good times now.” Can happy trees cry? We’re asking for a friend. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

About Roger Trantham

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83 thoughts on “These Are Bob Ross’ Most Breathtaking Paintings

  1. Mr. Ross set my heart, mind and feet on the path of art and painting – thank you so very much for changing my life for ever. Bob Ross and David Bowie – the people I miss the most in this world.

  2. I love and miss you Bob Ross. I watched you from episode #1 to the very last show. You taught me so much. RIP Bob.

  3. I used to love watching Bob Ross! Very soft spoken,and the most amazing person and painter of pictures I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!

  4. One of the most recognizable men in my lifetime and he was humble. I’m 40 years old and this man was a jewel for humanity. Those were the days.

  5. Bob Ross paintings are so magnificent words can not describe it it’s a magnificent he was such a terrific painter i miss him

  6. My mom and I used to watch Bob Ross all the time, I loved him. Beautiful pictures every time. Rest In Peace great guy.

  7. I was lucky enough to see a few of his pieces in person at a local craft store, I guess they just got in a bunch of Bob Ross supplies to sell and had his artwork there to draw people in. I was amazed at how thick the paint was in certain areas and how incredibly detailed they all were. The world lost a true gem when he passed.

  8. Mr happy clouds!!! One of the coolest dudes ever on TV, I'm not a painter and don't really have much interest in it but I can watch this guy all day long, his narration while he's painting is like having some kind of therapy going on in the room.

  9. He was unbelievable. Too bad the happy little trees cost $10K now and are going up in price. He's made his place in art history. He was a master with the knife and pulled his images out of some place in his mind.

  10. I always thought this was the written version of a Bob Ross painting.
    The Spell of the Yukon
    BY ROBERT W. SERVICE
    I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
       I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
    Was it famine or scurvy—I fought it;
       I hurled my youth into a grave.

    I wanted the gold, and I got it— 
      Came out with a fortune last fall,
    Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
       And somehow the gold isn’t all.

    No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
       It’s the cussedest land that I know,
    From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
       To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
    Some say God was tired when He made it;
       Some say it’s a fine land to shun;

    Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
       For no land on earth—and I’m one.

    You come to get rich (damned good reason);
       You feel like an exile at first;
    You hate it like hell for a season,
       And then you are worse than the worst.

    It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
       It twists you from foe to a friend;
    It seems it’s been since the beginning;
       It seems it will be to the end.

    I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
       That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
    I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow.
    In crimson and gold, and grow dim,

    Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
       And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
    And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
       With the peace o’ the world piled on top.

    The summer—no sweeter was ever;
       The sunshiny woods all athrill;
    The grayling aleap in the river,
       The bighorn asleep on the hill.
    The strong life that never knows harness;
       The wilds where the caribou call;
    The freshness, the freedom, the farness—
       O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

    The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
       The white land locked tight as a drum,
    The cold fear that follows and finds you,
       The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
    The snows that are older than history,
       The woods where the weird shadows slant;
    The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
       I’ve bade ’em good-by—but I can’t.

    There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
       And the rivers all run God knows where;
    There are lives that are erring and aimless
       And deaths that just hang by a hair;
    There are hardships that nobody reckons;
       There are valleys unpeopled and still;
    There’s a land—oh, it beckons and beckons,
       And I want to go back—and I will.

    They’re making my money diminish;
       I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
    Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
       I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
    I’ll fight—and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
       It’s hell!—but I’ve been there before;
    And it’s better than this by a damsite—
       So me for the Yukon once more.

    There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
       It’s luring me on as of old;
    Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
       So much as just finding the gold.

    It’s the great, big, broad land ’way up yonder,
       It’s the forests where silence has lease;
    It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
       It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

  11. I remember watching his show every week with my Pop as a kid back in the 80s. I still miss Mr Ross. Simply a brilliant painter and just as brilliant a human being.

  12. Right sad he died but, you are just selling ads cause we know these things…..Duh! And….. Says you. There are tons of BR videos out here we can watch without your commentary. Where you get your art degree? Anyway University? as another one of your ads breaks in…….Bogus. His estate should stop you on this.

  13. I’m an artist , my son says Dad “can I have a canvas and use all your stuff”? Naturally I said sure son. Took thinner and white paint , mixed them and put it on , them pulled up an episode of Bob’s. He would pause it but not much , in only about an hour he had created a BEAUTIFUL painting with the pallet knife mountains and everything. I was blown away. Bob would have been so proud. His goal was to show EVERYONE that they can paint. So my point is Mr.Ross, you shared,cared and were truly a great man and I miss you and love your giving soul. Sleep well kind man till we all meet up on the shore.

  14. I met his son, Steve at a painting class in the 90s. I traded 2 of my paintings (rock n roll logos, Warrant and I think, AC/DC) for the painting he did for the class. I have an original Ross painting signed "Ross II". I told him that I call "van dyke brown", "Van Halen brown". I will always be a metal head.

  15. And this Looks Like A Good Spot For A HAPPY LITTLE TREE.
    THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE BEAUTIFUL PAINTINGS AND ALL OF THE PRICELESS LESSONS AND MEMORIES
    GOD BLESS YOU SIR AND REST IN PEACE.
    EVERY TIME I SEE A SUNSET WITH A BIG OLD Happy TREE IN THE WAY I THINK OF YOU.

  16. Two Bob Ross. One from this time line an another from a different time line. Both are very good but you must understand the Bob Ross from my time line never whore glasses, never played music, never said those famous words Almighty or hypnotise, no he never said those words. My Bob Ross never whore glasses never played music.

  17. speaking as an academic in art history, i wouldnt be surprised if bob ross within 20 years has become one of the most revered painters in modern times

  18. Bob Ross has to be one of the most underrated painters of the modern era. Very unfortunate. His talent is genuine and his paintings are beautiful.

  19. He didn't just taught me a lot, but also with his gentle way of speaking has a place in my heart forever. I thank God for Bob Ross, for shining His light through Bob Ross into the art world.

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