I grew up thinking all pine trees were happy. I’m not from some great pine forests or anything. I’m just from a place that had PBS on constantly, and I spent a lot of time learning about painting nature from Bob Ross. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, I’m truly sorry. Bob Ross was the host of the classic show The Joy of Painting from 1983 to 1994.
With his gentle voice, bushy beard, and epic glassware, Bob Ross was a fixture of public television for a decade. Each episode of The Joy of Painting started with a blank canvas on an easel in a dark room. The only props were a stool on which sat art supplies, and Ross himself. At the end of 30 minutes, he would turn that blank canvas into a beautiful landscape painting that usually started with some feathery brush strokes in one corner of the canvas. Try as I might, I could never figure out where the painting was going until half way through it. Of course, I was only 5 or so and thus it was completely acceptable that I didn’t get it.
I’ve been burying the lead, though. In case you’ve missed the news that has been circulating the web this weekend, YouTube recently uploaded the entire first season of The Joy of Painting to their site. You can now go and watch some of the most classic episodes – and bare witness to the epic ’80s fashion that Ross never ever abandons throughout the four seasons that took place in the ’90s. And if you happen to be one of those adults with small nerdlings of your own, you can totally set them up in front of these videos and feel no guilt about screen time. Bob Ross is just about the best screen babysitter of all time. Here’s a taste to get you excited.