Bob Ross

American painter, art instructor, television host, and Air Force master sergeant (1942–1995)

Robert Norman "Bob" Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995) was an American painter and television host. With his calm, patient nature, Ross came to prominence as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, a long-running television program on public broadcast stations in the United States. Ross died of lymphoma at the age of 52.


  • In Painting, You Have Unlimited Power. You Have The Ability To Move Mountains. You Can Bend Rivers. But When I Get Home, The Only Thing I Hve Power Over Is The Garbage.
  • I started painting as a hobby when I was little. I didn't know I had any talent. I believe talent is just a pursued interest. Anybody can do what I do.
    • Cathy Hainer (October 28, 1993) "PBS' stroke of serenity / Bob Ross brings brush of zen to 'Joy of Painting'", USA Today, p. 3D.
  • People have success with this method and it gets them excited. It gets them hooked. You can put layers of thick paint on thin paint and that allows you to complete a painting in one sitting.
    • Mike Flannagan (October 1, 1992) "TV Artist Bob Ross Watches Paint Dry, Turns It Into a Successful Career", The Knoxville News-Sentinel, p. B1.
  • Within one hour of touching the brush to canvas for the first time, my students have a total, complete painting.
    • Alessandra Stanley (December 22, 1991) "Television: Bob Ross, the Frugal Gourmet of Painting", The New York Times, Section 2; Page 33; Column 1; Arts & Leisure Desk.
  • I have to paint fast on television because of the limited time, but I don't want people to see what I'm showing them as work, something to worry and fret over. This is supposed to be fun.
  • Traditionally, art has been for the select few. We have been brainwashed to believe that Michaelangelo had to pat you on the head at birth. Well, we show people that anybody can paint a picture that they're proud of. It may never hang in the Smithsonian, but it will certainly be something that they'll hang in their home and be proud of. And that's what it's all about.
    • Linda Shrieves (July 7, 1990) "Bob Ross Uses His Brush to Spread Paint and Joy", The Orlando Sentinel, p. E1.
  • I've never claimed that this is investment art. When we first started out, all the art colleges and universities across the country would sort of badmouth what we were doing. It's funny that a lot of them now are sending us letters saying, 'We may not totally agree with the way you paint, but we appreciate what you're doing, because you're sending literally thousands of people into art colleges.'
    • (1990) reported in Associated Press (July 7, 1995) "Bob Ross, Painting Instructor to Millions, Dead at 52".
  • Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything that you're willing to practice, you can do.
  • We don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents. And that's when you really experience the joy of painting.
    • Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere. Collection 1: Ep. 8 "Wintertime Blues"; The Joy of Painting Season 20: Episode 3 Bob Ross: Winter in Pastel.
  • Absolutely have to have dark in order to have light. [...] Gotta have opposites – dark and light, light and dark – continually in a painting. If you have light on light, you have nothing. If you have dark on dark, you basically have nothing. [...] You know, it's like in life: you've 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.


  • Happy painting and God Bless, my friend.
    • Ken Tucker (2006) Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate about TV, Macmillan: ISBN 0312330588, p. 155.
  • Let's build us a happy, little cloud that floats around the sky.
    • Ann Curry (September 22, 2004) "Painter Bob Ross remains an iconic figure years after his death", NBC News.
  • Little more black, little more blue. And we'll just put that in using little crisscross strokes or--or little X's, whatever you want to call them. Whatever.
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