If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him. – Voltaire
Within the troves and burrows of the internet I have come uponst the greatest of streams, a stream so revolutionarily awesome I don’t think I can ever turn it off.
Bob Ross was and is a painting legend star of The Joy of Painting and now his entire series is streaming online 24/7. It’s like finding out theres a free chocolate fountain in your basement that is magically replenished forever, or at least until your power/router goes out. Mr. Ross is a hero of mine and if you don’t know why, it’s time you find out.
Bob Ross is a Folk Hero
I imagine watching Bob Ross paint is like watching John Henry plant the spikes of the railroad with a mighty swing, Bob’s brush his hammer, the canvas his road. They both have a magical, more myth than man quality about them except that Bob Ross was in fact real. Bob creates joy in all that he touches and molds beauty from nothing, like a wizard. Bob Ross is a wizard. He uses the power of friendship and happiness to draw glory, created from his own perception. Mr. Ross’ perception is quite possibly his greatest folk power. He takes an empty canvas and creates the most intricately detailed landscape scenes in 22 minutes or less . Nothing ever appears out of place, as if everything was already there when he finishes, but that’s the power of his folk magic, he knows where its going to be already. His planning ability is unrivaled as not only does he know where it all will be, it always looks great and is finished in 22 minutes. Bob Ross does not fear the hands of the clock, Bob Ross shall always overcome.
Also like a folk hero he teaches us something. Of course the obvious teachings of the Joy of Painting are…paintsmithing…but that’s not what he’s really teaching. No, Bob Ross teaches you about life, about adversity, about fear and death and joy and god. Bob Ross is a giving man. He wants you to learn that there is always room to be happy and anyone who disagrees with him should be shot.
Bob Ross could be insane
When viewing TJoP for the first time you may notice that Mr. Ross is in a completely empty room besides his easel, his paint, and his canvas. He stands in a void with but you the audience and a bleak canvas of white, a direct contrast to the world he inhabits. Bob then takes the only thing at his disposal, his only tool against the darkness, his paints, to create a new world, one he may escape to. Bob Ross broadcasts his entire shows run from the darkest depths of the human soul, an empty vacuum of space void of any life…but Bob finds life there. He not only finds it, Bob creates it.
Bob feels the darkness looming around him and reaches out to the audience for help. He requests that you bring joy to this world with him, this bleak dark space so that he may be happy again. Every episode starts the same, with a sad canvas and an empty room but as he finishes he has created a window to a new life, a world he may never traverse to. It is sad to think that Bob tries to create these wonderful places and keep them happy and calm, but may never visit them as he is trapped within his dark prison.
I suspect that in one episode the camera may be panned and we see a vision of the audience, ourselves, and it be either a mirror or an inanimate object like a cactus, that he has grown accustomed to talking to, akin to Wilson from Castaway. The mirror would symbolize that he is truly alone and he knows it, but fears without someone to talk to he may never find safety. The inanimate object would be worse, as he would truly believe to be teaching something that is in all aspects is unteachable. We are all Bob Ross’ silent cactus, unable to react to the beauty he creates as quietly we must gaze.
Bob Ross was a nice man
The whole point of TJoP is that you are to learn to paint like Bob Ross. No one in their right mind actually thinks they can do this however. The man creates mountains from nothing, he makes colors bend to his very essence and tears the sun from the sky as he places it upon his canvas, all in 22 minutes or less. These things never happen out of torment or anger, instead Bob wields his folk powers in such a way that the sun wants to be in his picture, the mountains would love to join his canvas, the clouds would literally die for him. He does this with his gentle nature and a happy word. He may or may not truly believe that he can help you paint, it truly doesn’t matter to him, as long as he knows he can help someone.
His soothing voice is never demanding, its always inquisitive. How bright do you want the sky? How tall do you want the tree? It’s always between you and the tree, and no matter what you choose the tree will be happy, and thus so should you. There are no mistakes, only happy accidents. Bob Ross never judges anyone, it is not his place to judge. He considers himself no better than anyone else but in fact that just makes him more better, maybe the best of all.
Now you may understand why I’ll probably be watching this stream for months to come as there is quite nothing better than Bob Ross’ Joy of Painting to soothe the soul. I hope you may join me, as Bob would have wanted it that way.