Bob Ross: 6 Interesting Facts and Happy Little Trees

From Air Force Career to Art Instructor

Many have heard of Bob Ross and perhaps tuned into his show The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, and also aired in Canada, Latin America and Europe.

Bob Ross enlisted in the US Air Force at age 17

Painting Paid More than the Military

However before he became a famous painter did you know he had a long military career in the Air Force? Ross discovered that he was able to earn more from selling his artwork and own branded art supply line than his position in the Air Force. Ross retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service, having the rank of Master Sergeant.

Happy Little Trees and Mountains – Inspiration from Alaska

Bob Ross typically painted mountains, lakes, snow, and log cabin scenes and these were strongly influenced by his years living in Alaska, where he was stationed for the majority of his Air Force career.

Why the Fast Painting Technique?

Short breaks in his work schedule during the day did not give Bob enough time to work on landscapes leisurely. He had to work fast before his break ended!

30,000 Paintings

Through his speed, and style he created 30,000 paintings in his lifetime. It’s estimated that 91 percent of Ross’ paintings contained at least one tree. Above is an unusual painting by Bob that does not contain a tree.

Iconic Hair

Bob actually permed his own hair to keep an easy style he didn’t have to mess with. It evolved into a sort of iconic look for him. He wore the same look for years. Before he could change it back, though, the perm became his company’s logo — Ross hated it. “He could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that,” Kowalski says. “He got tired of that curly hair.”

Bob Ross was gentle soul who had a soothing voice that inspired many.

“The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”
- Bob Ross

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