The Joy of Painting

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The Joy of Painting
Bob at Easel.jpg
Bob Ross at his easel
Starring Bob Ross
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 31
No. of episodes 403
Original channel PBS
Original run January 11, 1983 – May 17, 1994
External links

The Joy of Painting is an American half-hour television show hosted by painter Bob Ross. It ran from January 11, 1983, until May 17, 1994, a total of 403 episodes. In each episode, Ross taught viewers techniques for landscape oil painting. Although Ross could complete a painting in half an hour, the intent of the show was not to teach viewers "speed painting". Rather, he intended for viewers to learn certain techniques within the time that the show was allotted.


Broadcast by non-commercial public television stations, the show's first season was in 1983, and initially produced by WNVC in Falls Church, Virginia, then by WIPB in Muncie, Indiana, from 1984 until the show was cancelled in 1994, and later by Blue Ridge Public Television in Roanoke, Virginia. Most of the series was distributed by what is now American Public Television.

International broadcasts[edit]

As of 2006, The Joy of Painting has been shown in many countries worldwide, such as Greek state broadcaster ERT3, Turkish state broadcaster TRT (with the title Resim Sevinci), BR-alpha in Germany, Discovery Real Time in the UK, NHK in Japan, EBS in South Korea and Once TV in Mexico, ATV and ICable TV in Hong Kong, IRIB in Iran, and the Colombian state channel Canal Capital.

The show continues to be broadcast in syndication on public television stations, and continues a multi-million dollar spin-off business bearing Ross's name that sells art accessories related to the show. Re-runs are sometimes packaged under the title Best of The Joy of Painting.

The show airs regularly on the PBS digital subchannel Create.

The theme used for the show is "Interlude" by Larry Owens, for Network Music.


Each 30-minute show begins with Ross standing in front of a dark room with a blank canvas. In under thirty minutes, Ross would turn the blank canvas into an imaginary landscape, using the wet-on-wet oil painting technique, in which the painter continues adding paint on top of still wet paint rather than waiting a lengthy amount of time to allow each layer of paint to dry.[1] Combining this method with the use of two inch and other types of brushes as well as painting knives allowed him to paint trees, water, clouds, and mountains in a matter of seconds. Each painting would start with simple strokes that appeared to be nothing more than colored smudges. As he added more and more strokes, the blotches transformed into intricate landscapes.[2] The paintings featured colors like titanium white, phthalo green, phthalo blue, prussian blue, midnight black, dark sienna, Van Dyke brown, alizarin crimson, sap green, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, Indian yellow, and bright red. As he painted, he instructed viewers regarding the techniques he was using and added his signature soothing comments describing the "happy little clouds" and "happy little trees" that he was creating with his brush. He would also mention snippets of his own life, including his military career and the time he spent in Alaska, family anecdotes, and his affection for small animals, which he raised and set free. The show would occasionally feature a video of Ross with a baby squirrel or deer. He became known for his soothing tone and reassuring comments, such as "We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents." Each program was shot in real time with two cameras: a medium shot of Ross and his canvas, and a close-up shot of the canvas or palette.

Occasionally, he would introduce a guest painter to host an episode. Guests included Dana Jester,[3] Ross's son Steve, and pet squirrel Peapod.

Video game[edit]

In March 2006, AGFRAG Entertainment Group announced that it was in the process of developing a video game based on The Joy of Painting for the Nintendo DS and Wii console systems and for the personal computer. The games would focus on the art of painting in the Bob Ross style.[4] In December 2006, Bob Ross Incorporated dropped developer AGFRAG from the project and began searching for a new developer.[5]

DVD releases[edit]

DVD releases are grouped into collections such as:

  • Barn Collection
  • The Bob Ross Workshop
  • Seascaping Collection
  • Waterfalls Collection



  1. ^ "Bob Ross Bio - Bob Ross Biography - Bob Ross Stories". Retrieved 2013-12-10. 
  2. ^ Thill, Scott (2008-09-05). "Annuals + Bob Ross = Such Fun". Wired. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  3. ^ Sally Schenck (director). "Sunlight in Shadows". The Joy of Painting. Season 27. Episode 10. PBS.
  4. ^ Casamassina, Matt (2006-03-31). "Bob Ross Paints on Revolution: Yes, it's true - the famous cult painter goes virtual on Nintendo's new generation platform.". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  5. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (2006-12-07). "Bob Ross Game Still On, Folks". Kotaku. Retrieved 2007-10-21. {}

External links[edit]