“Hi, welcome back. I’m certainly glad you could join me today!” – Bob Ross
Recently, a trend went around the internet where people accepted Bob Ross’ invitation to paint along with him, and proceeded to follow one of his tutorials while documenting the results. I enjoyed watching a few of these videos, but never thought I would try it myself. However, I recently caught the painting bug. When this happens, I usually hop over to Pinterest and paint a canvas or two that I’ve saved for such an occasion. But this time was different.
I wanted to paint something new, to try a style that I hadn’t before. This idea eventually led me to Bob Ross – the man with an abundance of beautiful painting tutorials to choose from. After several minutes of searching, I finally found a happy little painting of a sunset scene. I clicked on the video, and with Bob’s greeting began The Joy of Painting – aka: the painting attempt that morphed into following 3 Bob Ross tutorials.
For the first tutorial, I began by applying “a thin, even coat of liquid white.” (I really hope you read that in Bob Ross’ voice XD) I then painted the sky, water, mountains, and finally the happy little trees and other greenery. The water got kind of lost when I tried painting some bushes, and I soon discovered that bush-painting is not my strong suit. I attempted to cover them up with grass, but got kinda frustrated because the majority of my water had disappeared. However, as a wise man once said, “we don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.”
By the time it had dried, I was pretty satisfied with the results, even though it didn’t look much like Bob’s. However, it turned out that the greenery in this scene ended up looking the most natural out of all three paintings.
In total, the entire painting process took me 4 hours to complete. That’s a loonnggg time, but as I said before – I was pretty happy with how it turned out, considering it was my first painting of this sort. It looks fairly decent to my untrained eye, even though I was using a much smaller canvas than Bob’s, and the wrong kind of paint.
Here’s where we go into what little knowledge I have of painting. See, Bob Ross uses oil paint, as it works better for his “wet on wet” method. I, however, was not aware of this, and painted my scene with acrylic paint. One of the main differences between the two is that oil paint takes days to dry, making it easier to blend and mix. Acrylic paint dries in less than an hour, making it much harder to blend on the canvas. (I had no idea of this before I started this Bob Ross painting fiasco, as I have only ever used acrylics.) This – on top of the fact that I didn’t have a palette knife to properly make the mountains – made painting this scene pretty difficult, but it was a great learning experience.
A couple days later, we were happily running some errands when we happened across a Michael’s craft store. I (luckily) had my wallet on me, and decided to purchase some oil paints to try following another Bob Ross tutorial. I emerged from Michael’s with a small set of oil paints, a palette knife, and some new paint brushes. (I had a couple coupons, OK?) Thrilled with the amazing deal I got on my supplies, I headed home to try another painting.
I’m just going to say it – this painting did not turn out the way I wanted. I decided on a forest scene with a cute little bridge, and guess what’s in forests? BUSHES! The painting was going splendidly until Bob told me to paint some happy little bushes. Unfortunately, my bushes weren’t very happy, and neither was I by the time the painting was finished. No matter how many times I re-watched the tutorial, I just couldn’t get those bushes to look right. The bushes in my painting looked nothing like the leafy, intricate, and detailed ones in Bob’s. Rather, they looked like floating green blobs of bleh. If the bushes could somehow be erased, I think I would be much happier with this painting, especially because I really liked the way my bridge turned out.
After that, I was determined to redeem myself, so I sifted through dozens of Bob Ross videos to find one without many bushes. I wanted to try using the palette knife to make mountains, as I didn’t have one before. I decided on a scene similar to the first painting I attempted, and got about halfway through the tutorial before things went awry.
I had painted the sky, water, and mountains when Bob instructed me to paint green hills at the foot of the mountains. I tried my best, but those hills were just plain bad. I decided to paint over them with some distant trees, similar to the ones in the first painting. This eventually led me to stop watching the video entirely and “freestyle paint.” I copied some techniques I had learned in the other two videos, and the painting below was the final result.
A couple notes on this painting – The land in the foreground isn’t really natural-looking. It’s very straight and “perfect,” not something you see often in the woods. However, I love how my sky turned out. The mountains look very different from the ones in the first painting, but I was using a real palette knife instead of a cheap plastic substitute. Because I had to paint some new water after the green hills failed me, the sky doesn’t reflect into the water the way it’s supposed to, and neither does the land in the foreground. Even with these mistakes, I’m pretty happy with this painting in general.
Considering that this was my first time painting nature scenes and using oil paints, I think my paintings turned out pretty good. Despite the fact that I was using the wrong type of paint and didn’t have a palette knife, the first painting is probably my favorite. I like the third one a lot, too, but the second painting is definitely my least favorite. Overall, this was a fun learning experience for me, and I really enjoyed it! (I also squashed of the painting bug – I don’t think it will be back for a while! XD)
Have you ever tried to paint along with Bob Ross? If so, how did it go? Which painting do you think turned out the best? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!
Have a great week!
P.S. – If you’re interested in watching or following the Bob Ross tutorials mentioned in this post, all three are linked below.