I watched Bob Ross my entire life.
One of my earliest memories was watching his show at my great grandfather’s house. I loved how this man could take an empty canvas and in under 30 minutes create this piece of eye catching artwork. Bob Ross was one of my first role models, and his colorful works really spoke to me at an early age.
Obviously at 4, I was doodling on random pieces of paper and not painting with oil. I really enjoyed making art. In fact, I thought that was how I would make my first million: becoming a famous artist like Bob Ross.
That did not happen.
In 1999, I saved up some money and went to the local Ames department store and purchased a Bob Ross painting kit. It was exactly what I wanted. Why shouldn’t the man that made me fall in love with art, be the one that taught me to paint.
At first, I really loved painting. I experimented with different styles, but was really drawn to the simplistic landscapes. Blending colors and painting landscapes became very soothing. I would spend hours each night practicing different techniques and experimenting with new ways of painting trees or clouds.
Skip ahead to 2000 when I started applying to art colleges. I packed up some of my favorite illustrations and brought one oil painting I thought had a great color scheme. I knew it was not perfect, but I was hoping someone might see some potential or offer me some creative guidance.
The first interview created a knot in my stomach like I swallowed a rock. The college was really impressed with my illustrations, so I thought the painting would be another home run.
It was not.
The lady told me Bob Ross is a laughing stock in the art world, and suggested I throw out his books and not show the painting to anyone else I wanted to get accepted. Harsh.
I went home that night and packed up all my oil paints and put my Bob Ross books in storage.
This is the painting that I took to the interview:
I only made a dozen oil paintings, and after that interview, I never painted again.