The Joy of Painting

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The Joy of Painting
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 network PBS
Original release January 11, 1983 – May 17, 1994
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.


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 begins with Ross standing in front of blank canvas against a black background. 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.[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. 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, Steven.


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.[4][5][6] 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.[7]


  1. Thill, Scott (September 5, 2008). "Annuals + Bob Ross = Such Fun". Wired. Retrieved January 25, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Dana Jester Painting Bob Ross Style on YouTube
  3. Sally Schenck (director). "Sunlight in Shadows". The Joy of Painting. Season 27. Episode 10. PBS.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Leopold, Todd (October 29, 2015). "Bob Ross Marathon Underway on Twitch TV". Retrieved October 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Machkovech, Sam (October 29, 2015). "Twitch launches "Creative" category, eight-day Bob Ross Painting marathon". Arstechnica. Retrieved October 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Bob Ross channel on". The Joy of Painting Marathon - Celebrating the official launch of Twitch Creative! #painting #oilpaint #bobross. October 29, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Porter, Matt (November 9, 2015). "5.6 Million People Watched Bob Ross's Twitch Marathon". IGN. Retrieved November 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links