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The show was as meditative as it was instructive. Ross put out pure positivity into the world.
In every episode, Bob Ross explained his art as a way of capturing the eternal beauty of the world. When he filled his canvas with color, he'd say things like, "This piece of canvas is your world, and on here you can do anything that your heart desires." When he painted a cloud, he might say, "A cloud is one of the freest things in nature."
The contemporary art community never took the work of Ross seriously. Ross thought his art was for anyone who ever wanted to put a dream on canvas.
One comment under the YouTube videos captured his work this way: "He didn't paint to show how good of a painter he was. He painted to show how good of a painter you could be."
A lot of what we know about Bob Ross can be gleaned from his art. He always painted scenes of nature, full of trees and mountains and clouds, and filled with animals. He almost never painted people.
He spent 20 years in the Air Force. During this time, he learned to paint. He enjoyed painting more than the Air Force. He first joined the company of the German-accented television painter Bill Alexander. After that, he started his own show, crisscrossing the country, and teaching classes nearly year-round.
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