2019 continues to be a ridiculous, exhausting time to be alive. We could all use some gentle pep talks to encourage us to practice self-confidence, accept our imperfections, trust our instincts, and work hard to make our dreams come true. And we’re in luck. All 403 episodes of The Joy of Painting are legally available on YouTube.
Bob Ross essentially invented ASMR. Sometimes I’ll fall asleep before he’s even done listing off the colors he’ll be using in an episode’s sweeping landscape, but sometimes I need a little more. Here are five episodes of The Joy of Painting to watch when you need Bob Ross to set you straight, kindly and lovingly.
“A Walk in the Woods”
From Day 1 with the first happy little tree, Ross was encouraging us to put our doubts aside and just get started. “Let your imagination run wild, let your heart be your guide … In the time you sit around worrying about it, you could have completed a painting already. Let it happen.”
Maybe you’re ready to give up before you’ve even attempted to start, because creating anything is hard, and you don’t think you have enough talent to make anything worth sharing. Bob won’t hear it. “People continually say, ‘I don’t have the talent to do what you’re doing.’ That’s baloney. Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything you’re willing to practice, you can do. And this is no exception.”
Referring to mistakes as “happy accidents” is standard Ross practice. But in this episode he takes it to an entirely new level, demonstrating how to scrape off an unloved painting and transform it into something new. “Anything you do, you can learn to use. And that’s when you truly, truly experience the joy of painting — when there’s no fear.”
“Mountain Ridge Lake”
Here, Ross spends more time than usual on the fluffiness and happiness of the rascal clouds. It’s predictably mesmerizing and soporific, but don’t fall asleep yet. “Let your imagination take you to worlds that only exist in your mind. No bad stuff here. That’s why we have happy little trees. Everything’s happy here.” A few minutes later, as he blots some black shadows over a lake: “If you have light on light, you have nothing. If you have dark on dark, you have nothing. It’s like in life. You gotta have a little sadness once in a while, so you know when the good times are coming. I’m waiting on the good times now.” Ross’s wife died shortly before this episode was shot. In his darkest hour, he still made time to spread the word of hope.
Have you entirely lost confidence and wonder what’s the use in trying? Here’s Bob Ross to the rescue. “Once you get the pressure thing down, it’s easy, so easy,” he nearly whispers as he lovingly scrapes some highlights onto a mountain peak. “I get letters every day from people all over the world … fantastic friends … I have youngsters in their 90s write and tell me they wanted to paint their entire life, and now they’re doing it. And if you can do this, you can do anything that you believe you can do. Anything, anything. I know you can do it, and if I know, you certainly do.”