The Joy of Painting

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The Joy of Painting
The Joy of Painting title screen.jpg
Starring Bob Ross
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 31
No. of episodes 403
Running time 30 minutes
Original network PBS
Original release January 11, 1983 – May 17, 1994
External links

The Joy of Painting was an American half-hour instructional television show hosted by painter Bob Ross which ran from January 11, 1983, until May 17, 1994. In each episode, Ross taught techniques for landscape oil painting, completing a painting in each session. A total of 403 half-hour episodes were produced over thirty-one seasons.


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 ended 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. The theme music used for his show is "Interlude" by Larry Owens for Network Music, Inc.


Each 30-minute show usually begins with Ross standing in front of a blank canvas against a white and black background. Within the 30-minute program, Ross graphically ran the colors across the screen as he painted an imaginary landscape, as well as a seascape, using the wet-on-wet oil painting technique, in which the painter continues adding paint on top of still-wet paint, rather than waiting for each layer of paint to dry. 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, mountains, and seas in a matter of seconds. Each painting would start with simple strokes, that appeared to be nothing more than the smudges of color. As he added more and more strokes, the blotches transformed into intricate landscapes, as well as seascapes.[1] As he painted, he instructed viewers regarding the techniques he was using, he added comments describing the "happy little clouds" and "happy little trees" that he was creating. 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. At the end of every episode, Ross was best known for saying "So from all of us here, I'd like to wish you happy painting, and God bless, my friend". 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.

Guests included a long-time friend of Ross, artist Dana Jester, who made a number of appearances on the show,[2][3] along with Ross's son, Steve Ross,[4] his old instructor John Thamm, and many others.[5]



As part of its launch of Twitch Creative, streamed every episode of The Joy of Painting over a nine-day period starting on October 29, 2015, what would have been Ross' 73rd birthday.[6][7][8] Twitch reported that 5.6 million viewers watched the marathon, and due to its popularity, created a weekly rebroadcast of all 31 seasons of The Joy of Painting to air on Twitch each Monday from November 2015 onward, and will have a marathon of episodes each October 29. A portion of the advertising revenue has been promised to charities, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[9] This event was also repeated on October 29, 2016 for his 74th birthday.[10]

In 2015, full episodes of The Joy of Painting were added to the official Bob Ross YouTube channel.[11]

In June 2016, Netflix began streaming Ross's other painting television series Beauty is Everywhere.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Joy of Painting has been seen in multiple episodes of British sitcom Peep Show in which the two core characters refer to Ross as "God", once using his broadcast as a way of "flipping a coin" to help make a decision based on what he was painting when randomly switched on their television.
  • In 1994, Bob Ross appeared on the Bill Nye the Science Guy season 1 finale episode "Eyeball", in which he performed a self-parody segment titled "The Artistic Eye with Bob Ross". In it, he talks about how rods and cones work, and paints some rods and cones inside an outline of an eyeball.
  • Ross is also parodied in season 1 episode 12 of the animated show The Boondocks. The painter in the episode is a soft-spoken copy of Ross with identical clothing and signature Afro hairstyle. He befriends main character Riley who is tagging a house with graffiti. Ross's character guides him to create a masterpiece that amazes the community.


  1. ^ Thill, Scott (September 5, 2008). "Annuals + Bob Ross = Such Fun". Wired. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  2. ^ Dana Jester Painting Bob Ross Style. YouTube. 
  3. ^ Sally Schenck (director). "Sunlight in Shadows". The Joy of Painting. Season 27. Episode 10. PBS. 
  4. ^ "Bob Ross - Mountain Range (Season 8 Episode 11)". YouTube. 
  5. ^ "List of guest painters on 'The Joy of Painting'". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  6. ^ Leopold, Todd (October 29, 2015). "Bob Ross Marathon Underway on Twitch TV". Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ Machkovech, Sam (October 29, 2015). "Twitch launches "Creative" category, eight-day Bob Ross Painting marathon". Arstechnica. Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bob Ross channel on". The Joy of Painting Marathon - Celebrating the official launch of Twitch Creative! #painting #oilpaint #bobross. October 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ Porter, Matt (November 9, 2015). "5.6 Million People Watched Bob Ross's Twitch Marathon". IGN. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Perez, Sarah. "After Pulling In 5.6M Viewers, Twitch Is Keeping Bob Ross On The Air". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  11. ^ "Bob Ross". YouTube. 
  12. ^ Cuccinello, Hayley (June 2, 2016). "You Can Relax Now, Because Netflix Is Streaming Bob Ross". The Huffington Post. 

External links[edit]