(Image Via Gentlemanbeggar, whose post you should definitely check out for a giggle or three)
I’m going to come clean here: I never in my life have watched an episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. I’m not a painter. I frankly find his paintings simplistic and slightly cheesy. Make that a big ol’ hunk of Monterey Jack. Even the phrase ‘happy little trees’ makes me itch all over.
And yet I do have a sneaking respect for Bob Ross. Whatever I may have thought of his paintings, his phraseology, or his show, the fact remains that he did a hell of a lot to get millions of people to try doing something creative. He taught them that mistakes are nothing to be afraid of. He encouraged them to use their imaginations to bring themselves and others happiness.
Were all of the people he inspired Picassos and Van Goughs in the rough? Hardly. I’m sure quite a number of the paintings he inspired others to do are the visual equivalent of Vogon poetry. And yet, someone out there had to be better. Several someones, I’m sure. And those special few have gone on to create much better paintings.
Others, I have no doubt, quickly realized that painting wasn’t their medium, but knew that somewhere out there was the right form of self-expression for them. They went on to try other creative pursuits, such as sculpture, photography, needlecrafts, weaving, and beading. Maybe they were better at those. Even if they were no better at them, they found more happiness.
Even the people who were No Damn Good at painting and didn’t really care found happiness doing something creative. What’s more, they didn’t harm anyone while doing it.
And so today I thank the late Bob Ross on his natal day for bringing joy and creativity, and yes, even the (grits teeth) happy little trees to so many people.