Essay on The Bob Ross Painting Method

Essay on The Bob Ross Painting Method

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Bob Ross and his happy little friends have introduced millions of PBS viewers to the world of art. Bob may be gone but his gentle legacy of painting technique continues to charm and instruct. Not only are there books and DVDs available, but a full line of Bob Ross painting supplies are sold on-line and in select venues. There are also over 3000 certified Bob Ross instructors nationwide and internationally.


How Does He Do That?

The Bob Ross painting method is the wet-in-wet technique. Artists have used this method for hundreds of years, and for the oil painter is the fastest method to use.

The Bob Ross oil paints are specially formulated to meet the consistencies he prefers in the various colors on his palette. He also has a specific range of colors he uses. There are soft and firm versions of many of his colors. That is how important the liquidity is in his painting style. The thinner paints are used in the early stages of painting, while the thicker paint is used in the latter stages. This is known as thick over thin. If a thin layer of paint is applied over thick, there is a danger of cracking, unless it has been made more supple with the appropriate oil medium.

The colors are very specific, and there are sets of colors expressly grouped together for various types of paintings. There are sets for landscapes, flowers and wildlife painting. His style can be emulated using other brands of paints, but if the artist uses different shades of a color, the mixture will not result in the same tone found on a Ross painting. Lamp Black and Ivory Black may not blend exactly the same. Mixing green from yellow and Prussian Blue will not be the same green as yellow mixed with Phthalo Blue.

Paintbrushes that the Ross system ...


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...ist must keep his tools scrupulously clean. The brushes are dipped and wiped throughout the painting session with brush cleaner to keep from contaminating colors with residue from previous paint. Use a beater rack to remove excess thinner from brushes after cleaning them.

Keeping an organized and tidy palette is also important in maintaining clean brushes. Mixing is done with both palette knife and brush, but the blends are kept separate to retain the integrity of the colors. There is no muddiness in Bob’s world.

Bob Ross’ techniques allow the student develop wet in wet techniques that are building blocks to learning the art of oil painting. His tried and true methods help the beginning artist gain confidence in their abilities to produce warm and inviting landscapes, florals and whimsical wildlife paintings. Let Bob’s happy world become a part of your life.

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