Sunday, March 13, 2011

I might not have had Bob Ross's painting abilities, but I did have his hairstyle...

Those of you who are of increasingly advanced age, as I am, may remember the artist Bob Ross from the back-in-the-day PBS show The Joy of Painting.  

Bob used to talk in an extremely mellow and calm voice, all about the "happy clouds" and "happy trees" and how you didn't make a mistake, just a "happy little accident" and in the span of one half hour TV show, he managed to produce a pretty darn decent painting, usually a landscape, and make it look easy to boot.

Well, back in the day when the Husband was just the Boyfriend and we were poor college student types, we decided that we too could paint like Bob Ross.  Well, "we" in this scenario was actually the Boyfriend, as I've never held the faintest illusion that I could actually paint (or draw, or sketch, or pastel, or sculpt or do anything artistic that involves me using my hands and brain to reproduce something that another human being can readily identify) and this is an opinion with which many unfortunate art teachers from the early 70s through the late 80s would wholeheartedly concur.  I am most pathetically Artistically Ungifted, y'all.  But, I was swept up in his enthusiasm and agreed that this would be a fun weekend activity, so we went to the art supply store and picked up some Bob Ross painting kits.

After doing an exhaustive internet search (read: fifteen seconds with my good friend Google and then five minutes of making Hubby stop the gargantuan computer project he's been working on all weekend to turn around and look at link after link as I hollered at him "Hey, do you think this is it?  This must be it, right?  Oh, no, wait, isn't this the one?  What about this one?"), I'm fairly certain that this was the kit we bought, or it was from the same series at least, although the canvas that came with ours was much smaller (again, poor college students - we didn't have the cash to spend on a deluxe canvas set) and of "landscape" instead of "portrait" orientation.  (Well, that's the way we painted them, anyhow.)  We went back to Hubby Boyfriend's apartment and set up our project.  We worked on our canvases intently and diligently for the better part of the afternoon, finally getting to step 10 (signing our paintings with pride!) and left them to dry.  I'd like to tell you that our painting experience was as mellow and fluffy as Bob and his hair, but it wasn't.  Not even the magic of Bob Ross could turn me into a decent artist.  What should have been a glorious, snowcapped Mystic Mountain, rising up above a lake and river into a happy-little-cloud-speckled sky looked more like a hunk of moldy cheese, smoldering on a shiny salad plate.  Oh well.

Shortly after our Wild Weekend of Art, the Boyfriend upgraded to the FiancĂ© and shortly after that, we began living together.  I began the practice of proudly displaying our masterpieces side by side in our first apartment and kept the tradition up for many residences over the years, until the paintings got packed away for a move and lost to the set of Boxes One Never Actually Unpacks, but Still Moves from House to House Where They Reside in a Forgotten Corner of the Basement.  Periodically, I'd think "Hmmm, I wonder what happened to those Bob Ross paintings we did?" and even attempt a search of the BONAU,bSMfHtHWTRinFCotB but no matter how many of those dang Mystery Boxes I would paw through, it was always in vain.

Until last month, that is, when I was helping Kiddo gather materials for school project and opened up the trunk in which I have stored copies of just about every photo we've ever taken of her in the past 7.75 years.  This trunk also contains several other odds and ends in the "memento" realm, like the lock of hair from Kiddo's first haircut, copies of her birth announcements (along with approximately 200 extra prints of the photo we sent out with her birth announcement - um, what the heck were we thinking?) and many miscellaneous photos of ours taken well before Kiddo arrived on the scene.  And there, in the trunk, I found them.  The Bob Ross paintings.  Both of them, tucked away in the bottom of the trunk (which, in hindsight, seems a perfectly logical repository for them, and one I should've therefore thought of instead of one of the basement boxes), in all their technicolor glory.

I haven't hung them up again, though I just might.  I think I'd want to frame them first, which is something we couldn't afford to do back when they were created and something I never got around to in subsequent years.  We'll see if they make it up onto the wall or if they languish on top of the scanner where they've been since last month when I unearthed them.  In the meantime, however, I proudly present the Internet Unveiling of the Smiths' Mystic Mountains:

Mr. Smith's (not too bad, really):

and mine:

I'd like to remind you that theoretically, these should have looked identical to each other as well as pretty darn close to Bob's original:

But hey, if I never did quite match Bob's painting talent, at least I did once rock his hairstyle:

 (image borrowed from the Bob Ross Wikipedia entry)

(me, circa 1987)

Last but not least, I'd like to dedicate this post to my dear Aunt Becky, because she hears Bob Ross's voice in her head (along with Billy Mays, but that's neither here nor there) and because I once promised her that if I ever found the paintings, I'd share them with her.  So, this one's for you, AB!


My name is Andy. said...

Those are awesome paintings!!! Will they hang in the living room? I think they should!!

You rock!!

Givinya De Elba said...

Well done, I am certain I could never coerce paint to attach itself to a canvas in an order vaguely resembling anything, but your paintings are GREAT!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

When we are old and grey, we are going to live in the same nursing home, back together again as we have CLEARLY been separated at birth. Whilst I have never tried the actual painting, I ADORE Mr. Ross. Le sigh.

Again - I adore you!!!

Annabelle said...

I loved watching him. Sooooo mellow.

I bought a book of his for my brother, I totally have should have kept it.

Now I'm jonesing for some happy little trees.


Crazy Sister said...

You did well. And wow the hair!

Pearl said...

Would you believe I've actually WATCHED this guy?!

Ahh. PBS.


Andrea @ The Creative Junkie said...

OMG, I remember watching him! He had that soothing voice - it was almost hypnotic.

I think your painting is pretty damn good, Heather! Mine would have been 1/2 finished with a paintbrush jammed through the middle of the canvas. A painter I am not.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hey, I remember Bob! What a flashback you gave me. I never got the kit but I watched that show all the time.

You two were very good students! The painting are both terrific. Bob's mellow voice would tell you what a great job you did.

200 extra baby announcement pics :-) Gotta love that.

Have a great weekend, jj