PBS remixes Bob Ross

PBS released this delightful video of Bob Ross "remixed," titled "Happy Little Clouds."


  1. Wait, aren’t we supposed to tear him up like we did with the painter of light?   I hope not because I like Bob Ross even if his paintings are kind of samey.

    1.  Kinkade used his projected image as an “ethical Christian” to dupe people into buying outrageously over-priced Thomas Kinkade Store franchises.  People ripped him apart, rightly, for being a hypocrite.  Ross gets a pass because he was a decent fellow who worked to bring art to the people.  Yes, he made good money on the training, books, and what-not he sold through his company, he gets props for giving back to the community that supported him. 

        1.  That you make that statement, while touting a photo of the sleazy hood Sinatra, has me grinning from ear to ear.

      1. Okay, that’s it.  From now on we will only view art made by nice people.  Same goes for movies, books, and music.

        Wow, we have a lot of work to do, all those background checks on artists, writers, directors, actors, musicians.  Damn, there goes half my punk rock collection!

      2. Key for me is that he shared his skill by teaching others how to do the same and showing us that we can do this too.  That alone sets Ross apart.  
        That said – how did this thread devolve into a Ross vs Kincaide. Other than the fact that they both painted in oils, I do not understand how it is even relevant for this post. Talk about red herrings… Things are simply not black and white – decrying one oil painter (and not for his oil paintings, but for his hypocrisy) no where means that one decries all oil painters. 

        Also – I do not think anyone disagrees that his art is incredibly cheesy. It is very much part of the charm of those happy trees and fluffy clouds. (fixed typo)

  2. Bob Ross gets a pass because, unlike Kinkade, he was humble and kind. Also because he rocked a sweet Goombah-fro like no other man could.

    1. He gets a pass? How nice of you. So should every painting be gallery material with some bs artist statement accompanying it? Is it not enough to be “just” nice paintings, with happy little clouds and trees?

    2. From his wiki:
      “Ross mentioned that all his programs were donated free of charge to PBS stations and that his earnings came instead from sales of his 20 books and 100 videotapes (the total to that date), as well as profits from some 150 Bob Ross-ATE teachers and a line of art materials sold through a national supplier.[5] Ross also mentioned on the show “Towering Glacier” (#2341) that he donated all the paintings made on the show to PBS stations around the country to “help them out.”[10]”

      1. Also from his wiki:
        “Bob Ross Incorporated grew into a $15 million a year business”

        Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a nice guy, but like most working artists he also wasn’t afraid of a dollar.

        1. He was one of those very lucky folks that can do something they love and make money out of it. I wish everyone could do that. It’d be a happier place for it. 

        2.  So he was good at what he did and made a quite a lot of money, he also didn’t demand exorbitant fees from a public body, he made his money by providing value and content.

          1.  I wouldn’t “demand exorbitant fees” either if PBS was providing free advertising for Diogenes Painting Inc.  Like I said, I think Ross was probably a nice guy, and I certainly don’t blame him for making a buck off his work.  I just think it’s funny the way BB will scoff at one simplistic painter for being too commercial, while cooing over another very commercialized artist.

  3. Bob Ross encouraged and inspired people to explore something new. His paintings weren’t the point, nor was he selling them (at least not that I knew of).

    1. According to his NY Times obituary Bob Ross Inc. was a $15 million/year business.   He sold books, supplies, and lessons from certified instructors in The Bob Ross Method.  I’ve got no problem with him selling his talents, but let’s not pretend he took a vow of poverty or something.  He was a pleasant guy.  That’s all I need to know to think well of him.

  4. Is it dusty in here? I think I got some in my eye. *Sniff*

    That was beautiful. And beautiful paintings, too! Such an inspiring person, and gentle soul!

  5. I agree with the Kinkade comparison.  Bob seemed like a completely kind and likable dude.  Plus, instead of slinging shlock in malls he dedicated himself to PBS broadcasts and I think his professorship.  Wish they would have incorporated his distinctive brush cleaning style and his pet squirrel!!

  6. I can’t watch this at work, but if it hasn’t been remixed with “Little Fluffy Clouds” (the 90s live!), then I’m not watching it ever.

  7. Hey, I’ll admire a Ross or a Kinkade over a Cy Twombly anyday.   Though I have to admire Twombly for his brass ‘nads in accepting those checks for that “work”.

  8. Interesting that PBS is rebranding itself this way, with this and with the Mr. Rogers remix video from a few months ago. In a way, it’s playing on nostalgia — comfort food for the soul — but it’s also emphasizing the network’s dedication to the humanities; extolling the virtues of creativity and imagination, and their role in creating a more-balanced, less stressed-out life.

    PBS: TV for your Sense of Wonder. I can totally get behind that.

    Symphony of Science did a  Carl Sagan remix, last year I think, that did something similar with clips from COSMOS:


    PBS has taken that formula and really run with it, and the results are quite moving.

  9. He followed his bliss, educated people and made money while doing it. People enjoyed his work, thus contributing to their lives.  No money laundering, no tax fraud, no midnight abortions.  Watch him paint and tell me you’ve paid enough attention to your environment to remember what trees reflected in a lake look like, let alone be able to paint them.  Even badly.  Critics, the ones that think they can, wish they could and never tried.  It’s safer that way.

    1. I actually do remember what trees reflected in a lake (or sea) look like. I never get tired watching that.

      The most memorable ones were when I was a night guard at a camping place. Walking early in the morning when even the birds were still asleep and the midnight sun was up, and air was calm and the rocks and the trees made a perfect reflection into the sea. Beautiful, and just so peaceful… I could have stood there forever watching it. And yes, mr Ross’ paintings have that same peaceful feeling to them.

  10.  I turn on late-morning PBS and watch Bob Ross sometimes when I’m sad or stressed out. He’s always so calming and soothing. Happy little clouds, happy little trees.

  11. I watched a couple Bob Ross videos that they had playing on repeat in an art supply store last year. I’d seen bits and pieces but had never watched an entire video. It was a lot of fun to watch and cheesy as it is, and as schlock as the paintings are, it actually really inspired me to try oil painting (which I still haven’t done, but the thought hasn’t left my mind). 

    I think he must have been purposefully making the paintings cheesy because the whole point is that it’s something that anybody can do. You can follow his methods for a good head start, and then along the way you’ll develop your own technique and style (well, ideally you would). I wonder what other sorts of paintings or other artwork Ross created? If you watch his videos you can tell that he has a lot more skill and talent than he lets on.

  12. I’m so effing sick of autotune, especially in ‘popular’ music.

    That said, this is one of the best uses of it that I’ve ever heard.  Possibly ’cause it speaks to BR’s true feelings and the audio treatment is not so heavy handed.

    And what a wonderful, inspirational person he was, to teach others by his fine example.

  13. Bob’s whole point was to encourage people to create art. The business side of things (the books and supplies) was created in order to continue making his show. That it grew so large is more a testament to the man’s connection to his audience, than to the sort of cynical marketing that Kinkade dealt in.

    Bob was a sincere and lovely man who only wanted to bring happiness to people. What you see in his videos is exactly who he was.

  14. I know this is a PBS promo thing but, I wish they had gone exclusively with the Isaac Hayesish groove of the ‘make love to the canvas’ part. A whole mix in that vein would have been way cool…

  15. He probably got more people to start painting than anyone else ever. BTW this video seems to have a similar emotional tone to those great Carl Sagan/Neil Tyson/Freeman Dyson ones.

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