Robert Norman Ross was born on October 29, 1942, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The man was an American painter, art instructor, and a television host (at the same time). He was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, which was an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States and also aired in Canada, Latin America, and Europe.
With a gentle, comforting voice and a perfectly-permed afro, Ross went from being a television personality in the 1980s and 1990s to an online phenomenon with fans on YouTube and many other websites.
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Ross was well known for his trademark mottos that he used while painting such as “Happy little trees.” In most episodes of The Joy of Painting, Ross would claim that one of his favorite parts in the act of painting was cleaning the brush. Furthermore, he was quite fond of his personal method of drying off a brush that he had dipped in odorless thinner by striking it against the thinner can (- he also struck a box in earlier seasons, and a trashcan in the later seasons; every now and then he would strike the brush hard on the trashcan, and say he “hit the bucket,”) and an easel.
With the paintbrush in hand, he would smile gently and often laugh aloud as he instructed his audience “beat the Devil out of it”. He also used a lightly-sanded palette, which was implemented in order to avoid catching a glare from the bright studio lighting.
When asked about his calm, cool and collected approach, and his rather chill and contented demeanor, he noted, “I got a letter from somebody here a while back, and they said, ‘Bob, everything in your world seems to be happy.’ That’s for sure. That’s why I paint. It’s because I can create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news.”
Believe it or not, for such a beloved television personality, there is actually very little known about the artist. Besides a few details about his earlier years and information regarding his experience with his mentor Bill Alexander, Bob’s well-known persona remains non-transparent. While not exactly a hermit, Bob simply wasn’t asked for interviews that often, and the company that protects his intellectual property is also insanely protective of his privacy, even after his death in 1995.