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11 Things We Learned From ‘The Joy Of Painting’ (Now That Bob Ross Is On Netflix)

Fans of the ’80s, do-it-yourself art projects, or falling asleep with the TV on can rejoice — The Joy Of Painting is finally on Netflix.


Bob Ross, who is known for his signature afro and gentle, calming voice, hosted The Joy Of Painting on PBS from 1983 to 1994. Any child of the ’80s knows that Bob Ross wasn’t just a person — he was a movement. If your formative years were spent napping to Ross’ gentle voice or trying to paint landscapes that wouldn’t be out of place in a dentist’s waiting room, you probably took in some of Ross’ wise words. The lessons he’s taught us throughout his tenure as TVs most famous (and only?) painter are invaluable.

Here are just some of the amazing things we learned from Bob Ross.

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1. Never be afraid to challenge yourself.

“How do you make a round circle with a square knife? That’s your challenge for the day.” – Bob Ross

Bob Ross taught us that the best way to grow up big and strong like the happy trees he so effortlessly painted is by challenging yourself to do better and be better. “Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is,” he said. You’re right, Bob. We’re gonna go for that fruit!

2. Don’t fear mistakes; they are part of growing up.

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.” – Bob Ross

Ross taught us to always look on the bright side, even when we’ve messed up. What is a mistake but another lesson to learn? Everything has its silver lining.

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3. You can do whatever you put your mind to.

“The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.” – Bob Ross

Ross once said,“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.” He genuinely believed that there’s nothing you can’t do as long as you’re willing to work at it — this goes for painting a lazy stream to being president (probably). Bob Ross was our biggest supporter.

4. Question your government.

“That’s a crooked tree. We’ll send him to Washington.” – Bob Ross

Behind Bob Ross’ gentle voice and calm demeanor was perhaps the mind of an anarchist, but we’ll probably never know for sure. All we know is that there was no better way to learn that politicians lie than an offhand comment about painting trees. We didn’t understand politics back then (heck, some of us weren’t even alive when he started), but we certainly do wonder what he’d say about Trump.

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5. Ignore the haters.

“They say everything looks better with odd numbers of things. But sometimes I put even numbers—just to upset the critics.” – Bob Ross

Whatever they are saying about you doesn’t mean anything. If only Bob Ross had ever read the comments section on YouTube.

6. Be weird; be yourself.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.” – Bob Ross

Personally, our best friend is a cup of coffee and we like it that way. Or maybe our bed? Who doesn’t love a good nap?

7. Death is a natural part of life.

“In nature, dead trees are just as normal as live trees.” – Bob Ross

Woah. Dark.

8. Accept the bad things that happen, so you can appreciate the good.

“You need the dark in order to show the light.” – Bob Ross

Whether you’re having a bad day or going through a personally difficult time, Bob Ross taught us that feeling down is necessary to help us appreciate the wonderful things life has to offer.

9. Helping others helps you.

“You can have anything you want in the world — once you help everyone around you get what they want.” – Bob Ross

Always pay it forward. Always be kind, like Bob Ross.

10. Free yourself from fear and anxiety.

“Just let go — and fall like a little waterfall.” – Bob Ross

Anxiety doesn’t help anyone. Would a waterfall get anywhere if it was afraid to flow? “Remember how free clouds are. They just lay around in the sky all day long,” he said. Be like the clouds. Be free.

11. Avoid weirdly colored snow.

“The only thing worse than yellow snow is green snow.” – Bob Ross

Sure, Bob. Sure.

We love you, Bob. Thanks for always being there to bring us happiness.

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