The Joy of Watching The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross

As a kid growing up in the ’80s, I would watch The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross whenever I would catch him on local TV. I would sit and just watch the man paint the usual “happy little trees” in his landscape portraits and marvel how he made it look so easy to create fantastic pictures in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, the man died in in 1994 due lymphoma. But I still remember this oddly hypnotic man and his paintings.

So, I was actually blasted by a wave of nostalgia that Twitch, in celebration of Bob Ross’ birthday as well as to promote their new Creative channel, was going to stream all 400+ episodes of The Joy of Painting! It seems like a strange combination: getting the always positive and jolly Bob Ross, painting his usually cheerful landscapes and mixing him with the usually toxic community of gamers on Twitch and, well, the Internet in general come to think of it. I just had to go and watch what would happen when we combine the two “incompatible” elements together.

I only wanted to catch a couple of episodes to see how Twitch was reacting to Bob Ross and his extreme positivity. It was a mistake, because I just got sucked in! I just kept on watching episode after episodes. I couldn’t stop watching this man paint! Oh, but, according to Bob Ross, “We don’t make mistakes; we just have happy accidents.” And, in this instance, I have to agree! And I think the thousands of viewers will agree.

Even if I did grow up watching Bob Ross go paint his “happy little trees” and listening to him making up his little stories to go along with his paintings, here I was, more than 20 years later, spellbound once again as I watch him just mix colors and apply them to a piece of canvas! That’s a part of the “magic” of watching Bob Ross work. There’s just something soothing and calming about how he speaks and works. Watching Bob Ross work is like eating a potato chip: once you start, it’s hard to stop!

And the way that he paints makes you believe you can make your own “masterpieces” without taking a formal lesson! Each and every episode, Bob Ross would show his techniques regarding how to make snow-capped mountains, babbling brooks, and, of course, those happy little clouds and happy little trees! And his techniques aren’t that complicated. At times, he’s just tapping the canvas with green with an ordinary paintbrush in order to make luscious forests or using his painter’s knife to make a stunning mountain. It looks so simple, anyone can do it!

But the most surprising thing about the entire marathon was the overwhelming positivity that filled the chat room. You see, in Twitch, whenever something is being broadcast, people can chat live and comment on what’s happening on the stream. And, since this is the Internet after all, most of the comments can be pretty vile, with people trolling each other and spewing all kinds of racism and sexism whenever possible. I was kind of afraid to see what kind of lambasting this extremely friendly painter was going to get.

I expected this phrase to get lambasted on Twitch.

I expected this phrase to get lambasted on Twitch.

Amazingly, most of the Twitch community went along for the ride! There was just a feeling of happiness through most of the entire Joy of Painting marathon. As all of the episodes were being broadcast one after the other, most viewers notice a lot of the patterns and phrases Bob Ross would mention. The chat would gleefully type in “RIP Devil” whenever Bob would clean his brush and “beat the devil out of it.” Or when Bob would tell viewers he would be using “Titanium White” but would overly stress the “h” sound and  torrent of “hwite” would errupt in the chat. I especially loved it when Bob would put a heavy blotch of Van Dyke Brown on a perfectly good picture seemingly destroying all his work, to which the chat would exclaim that the painting was “RUINED,” which, in all honesty, did really look like he wreck it. But then Bob would turn that splotch of dark brown into a fantastic “happy little tree” or a “legendary mountain” and the chat would proclaim that the entire thing is “SAVED.” It sounds repetitive (and it is) but I never got tired to seeing and reading them.

The entire thing was, I would say, an unexpected hit on Twitch. On average, The Joy of Painting Marathon was bringing in 30 to 50 thousand viewers every day! I’m betting some, if not most, of the viewers logged on the marathon to enjoy it ironically but, by the end, I think that most people just had a beautiful time watching Bob Ross take a canvas, eight colors and several brushes and make a beautiful picture. Most viewers just loved listen to him talk with his oh so soothing voice and listening to him spout little pearls of wisdom that you knew came from his heart. It was just a beautiful shared experience for practically everyone that watched. So much so that, when the stream finally drew to a close, I’m betting people got choked up just a little bit, especially when they played that montage song.

As of right now, there is a timer counting down to… something. Most are hoping they’ll repeat it. However, even if it was a magical experience, I wouldn’t want them to immediately repeat the entire thing. I would rather have Twitch make it an annual event. The reason why they make the marathon was to celebrate the launch of Twitch Creative and, if they do repeat all of the Bob Ross episodes, that may take away viewers from the other channels who may want to see if the other content creators have the same magnetic personality had or if people will be hypnotized and marvel at these new content creators’ works.

Still, Twitch’s The Joy of Painting marathon was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on the Internet in a long time. It’s nice to see that, even after 2 decades after the show was put off the air, a whole new generation have found the magic that Bob Ross put on screen. Twitch didn’t make a huge mistake of putting this on the air; it was definitely a happy accident.

Did you watch The Joy of Painting marathon? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comment section below!

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