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Desc:The Symphony of Science guy offers a moving musical tribute to PBS's Bob Ross
Category:Arts, Classic TV Clips
Tags:bob ross, happy little trees, autotune, melodysheep, happy little clouds
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Comment count is 14
The Mothership - 2012-07-27
This brought a lot of good thoughts to my heart.
gmol - 2012-07-27
This was great but I have a complaint to register about Mr. Ross.

Shows like his are inspiring and, like anyone practiced, he makes it look effortless. Shiz, you mean you just say you want to paint a tree, lay a few brush strokes down and BAM! you have an awesome freaking tree? My inability must rest in the fact that I am not believing strong enough...or letting things flow enough....

I don't know anyone who can paint representation-ally* without having trained their eye to break down an image in front of them into abstract little two dimensional shapes (let us ignore familiarity with the medium for now). Unless someone can show you how to do that, the ability to paint well seems magical (as opposed to something that you know you could do if you just put enough hours into it). I remember watching Bob and getting frustrated that I could only imitate him coarsely (oh look if I sort of dab my brush does look like a realistic pine tree!). Just about anyone can paint, it is hard to find someone that can show you how...maybe the entire show went over my head...but I can't remember him telling me how to paint well...just little tricks that I could barely imitate, but no principles.

*.andscape/plein air is a little different I guess...but still representaitonal
SteamPoweredKleenex - 2012-07-27
There's only so much a guy can do for you in a one-way medium. It's probably like doing tech support with a clueless relative over the phone.

His technique for a lot of this stuff is impressionistic, where you just do dabs of color that happen to look like things. It's like making squished "m" shapes with a pencil, and if you make enough of them, they start to actually look like flying birds in the sky.

This is going to sound kind of patronizing, but you could have been trying too hard to make it look real. Fast and easy is the way to do this stuff, and if you're making tons of little jabs at the canvas instead of a few, it's probably going to look bad. If you play an instrument, it's the difference between someone who obsessively stares at their hands, the music, their hands, etc. and even if they know how to play the piece, it's jerky and doesn't seem to flow.

It's also something you'd really have to practice at.

chairsforcheap - 2012-07-27
As good a place to reflect on painting as anywhere. I went to art school and took a number of painting courses with professors who were very much of the modern school of "just slap paint on the canvas and develop your own style!" Through the courses i learned nothing of technique, and just felt like money was being flushed down the drain every time i attended class. (I'm also colorblind and the prof wouldn't let us buy black, so i would just mix a bunch of acrylic into a deep gray green that would taint everything i tried to apply a shadow to.) That said, I think bob ross would have been a much better teacher than the ones I had who were only good at pulling talent out of people who already had a lot of it (because most of them went to art highschools...the freaks) His demeanor is everything, and his focus on positivity is what you should look at. Painting is a wonderful activity and even if all your hard work amounts to something that sucks, hey at least you made a painting, right?

cognitivedissonance - 2012-07-27
It's funny, I went to an art school within a state school, and I feel like I had the opposite problem: too much technique. I remember in one watercolor class the assignment was "make 200 shades of green". I was kind of aggravated by it. To be fair, right now I appreciate knowing that I know how to make 200 shades of green.

sosage - 2012-07-27
In art you have to fall on your face a lot, in a very visible and embarrassing way, before reaching whatever your criteria of a competent artist is. Bob really could explain more technique, but I think his main goal is to keep pushing people to put in the brush miles, which is the only way to improve (preaching to the choir: but contrary to what everyone else thinks, talent helps, but rarely trumps hard work). Probably secondary is getting people to relax while falling on their faces practicing. People can have all kinds of hang ups and anxieties before they even put a mark on their canvas. Just relax. Failure is okay, as long as you learn and try again. Third is probably getting paid to paint on PBS.

chairsforcheap - 2012-07-27
also, paint really weird shit. it helps if you have demons.

chairsforcheap - 2012-07-27
nobody can tell you your painting sucks if it has enough realistic penises in it

Bootymarch - 2012-08-01
That was just about the most interesting dialogue I've ever read on this site. Well done.

Riskbreaker - 2012-07-27
This man always made me happy, always.
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2012-07-27
I listened to this just a day after Patton Oswalt's routine about him and William Alexander. I have to say I think I prefer Alexander's School of Angry German Expressionism.

But yeah, this made me pretty happy so...rock on.
Screwtape - 2012-07-27
This needs to be done for Norm Abrams. Internet: I command you, have it on my desk by Monday.
Miss Henson's 6th grade class - 2012-07-27
Okay. so this has kind of a Postal Service vibe going for it, but I think that if nobody on the Web cooks up an Orb mashup featuring Bob Ross after hearing this, I'll be very disappointed indeed.
joelkazoo - 2014-06-06
Almost resubmitted this. Glad to see it here!
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