The Joy of Painting

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The Joy of Painting
The Joy of Painting title screen.jpg
Starring Bob Ross
Opening theme Interlude by Larry Owens
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 31
No. of episodes 403
Running time 30 minutes
Distributor Interregional Program Service/American Program Service[1]
Original network PBS
Original release January 11, 1983 – May 17, 1994
Related shows The Magic of Oil Painting
External links

The Joy of Painting is 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. The program followed the same format as its predecessor, The Magic of Oil Painting, hosted by Ross's mentor Bill Alexander. During its run, it won three Emmy Awards.


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.


Each 30-minute show usually begins with Ross (or a guest) standing in front of a blank canvas against a white or black background. Guests included Ross's long-time friend Dana Jester,[2][3] along with Ross's son Steve,[4] his old instructor John Thamm, and many others.[5] Within the 30-minute program, Ross painted 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 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, 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.[6] 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, deer, raccoon, or another small animal. 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.

Ross created three versions of each painting for each episode of the show. The first, painted prior to taping, sat on an easel, off-camera, and was used by Ross as a template to create the second copy—the one viewers actually watched him paint. After taping the episode, Ross painted a third, more detailed version for inclusion in his instructional books.[7] All three versions were then donated to various PBS stations.[8]


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.[9][10][11] 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.[12] This event was also repeated on October 29, 2016 for his 74th birthday.[13]

In 2015, full episodes of The Joy of Painting were added to the official Bob Ross YouTube channel.[14]

In June 2016, Netflix repackaged several 1991-92 episodes of The Joy of Painting under the moniker Beauty is Everywhere.[15] A second package of episodes titled Chill with Bob Ross was added in December.

In November 2017, the first teaser trailer for the 2018 film Deadpool 2 was released that featured a parody of The Joy of Painting.[16]


  1. ^ American Public Television Celebrates 50th Anniversary
  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. ^ Thill, Scott (September 5, 2008). "Annuals + Bob Ross = Such Fun". Wired. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  7. ^ The Real Bob Ross: Meet The Meticulous Artist Behind Those Happy Trees. (August 29, 2016), retrieved May 2, 2017.
  8. ^ Shrieves, L (July 7, 1990). "Bob Ross uses his brush to spread paint and joy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  9. ^ Leopold, Todd (October 29, 2015). "Bob Ross Marathon Underway on Twitch TV". Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  10. ^ Machkovech, Sam (October 29, 2015). "Twitch launches "Creative" category, eight-day Bob Ross Painting marathon". Arstechnica. Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Bob Ross channel on". The Joy of Painting Marathon - Celebrating the official launch of Twitch Creative! #painting #oilpaint #bobross. October 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ Porter, Matt (November 9, 2015). "5.6 Million People Watched Bob Ross's Twitch Marathon". IGN. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ Perez, Sarah. "After Pulling In 5.6M Viewers, Twitch Is Keeping Bob Ross On The Air". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  14. ^ "Bob Ross". YouTube. 
  15. ^ Cuccinello, Hayley (June 2, 2016). "You Can Relax Now, Because Netflix Is Streaming Bob Ross". The Huffington Post. 
  16. ^ Dave McNary (15 November 2017). "'Deadpool 2' Teaser Trailer Offers First Footage and Bob Ross-Style Painting Lesson". Variety. 

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