I’m sure everyone who’s ever picked up a paint brush is well aware of the late Bob Ross and his popular television series, “The Joy of Painting.” The series ran on PBS from 1983 through 1994. I never painted along with Bob, but I did enjoy watching the show. At the time, I never dreamed that I would someday become an artist.
Bob Ross made use of a method known as “wet on wet”, and he created an entire line of paints and products designed for his followers to use. Although I’ll agree that many of his paintings are lovely, I’m personally not a fan of “wet on wet” oil painting.
I am, however, a fan of his light-hearted, affirmative approach to art. As you may already know, since I’ve mentioned it a few times, I have a little Bob Ross desk calendar here in the studio, a Christmas gift from one of my daughters. What I enjoy most about the calendar is coming to those pages where instead of a landscape painting image, I find a quote from Ross.
Here’s a recent quote:
“…and that may be the true joy of painting, when you share it with other people. I really believe that’s the true joy…”
After reading those words, I began thinking more about art and the joy it brings to our lives. Yes, it can sometimes bring a bit of frustration, too, but overall I think the joy is greater. If it weren’t, we probably wouldn’t be doing it.
When I made the decision to learn to draw, I never thought beyond that single skill. I never thought about “becoming an artist” or what that would mean. When I first picked up a pencil to practice drawing, I never guessed that my life would be changed as a result.
Yes, I’ve definitely found a lot of joy — in both painting and in drawing — and today I want to share a few thoughts. What are the true joys of painting?
I’ll definitely go along with Bob Ross on this one. Sharing our art with others brings a special feeling of satisfaction. It’s nice to walk into my in-laws’ home and see my paintings hanging on their walls. It’s nice to go to our public library and find my oil paintings on display. It feels good to take part in art shows, whether we win any ribbons or not.
This goes hand-in-hand with sharing. I love being part of our local and regional art organizations because these organizations are important in our communities. We provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge of art and to participate in student shows. We help to beautify community buildings and businesses in the area by providing paintings for display. We’ve also been instrumental in community fund-raising efforts through art auctions and other art-related projects. It’s a good feeling to know that something I enjoy doing can benefit others.
Art is not just a talent some people have and others don’t. It’s a skill that can be learned, and one of the joys — in both painting and drawing — comes from helping others discover their own abilities. I love sharing knowledge that I’ve gained. I’m able to share through this blog, through fun “art lessons” with our grandchildren, and through personal contacts with people I meet. No matter where we are in our own “art process”, we have knowledge and experience that may be useful to others.
We can’t overlook the fact that art is fun. As children, we loved to play, and I don’t think anyone ever truly outgrows that need. Art allows us to make messes. We get to pull out all the colors from the box. We can sprinkle glitter around, and cut and paste to our heart’s content. We can try new “experiments” — some of which will succeed, others of which will be colossal failures, but all of which will be fun.
I really don’t think I ever considered how being an artist would change who I am or how I see myself. Yet time and again, I’m required to “get inside myself” a bit, to think about the meaning of different things, to gain an understanding of my point of view and how to best express my thoughts. Being an artist has changed me — in positive ways. I feel stronger, more confident, more comfortable with who I am, more willing to take risks, more certain of who I am and what matters most to me.
So, yes, I’ll go along with Bob Ross and say that sharing is a joyful part of art, but to me, it’s only one of the many joys we discover when we pick up a paintbrush or reach for a pencil and sketchbook. Art has so much to offer, more than we sometimes realize. Today, please, take a moment or two and think of all that art means in your life.