On the 25th anniversary of death: From today big Bob Ross special on ARD-alpha

“Happy little clouds” and “happy little trees” – Bob Ross thrilled the TV audience with kitschy landscapes and a calming voice, long after his death. To mark the day of his death, ARD-alpha is starting a Bob Ross special tonight with a lot of “The Joy of Painting” and a documentary.


Even hypnotists could learn something from this man. Bob Ross painstakingly dips the canvas in sky blue while he whispers into the television camera in American English: “Today we paint a very simple scene. I hope you like it. “

He brushes a midnight blue onto the sky blue. Then this calming bass again: “We start in the corner. Perhaps in our world it is a simple, happy cloud that lives here. ”Experts of the matter know that at the end of the half-hour real-time painting, this picture will look right, really cheesy. But at best you fell asleep there. Many of his viewers don’t even know that Bob Ross has been dead for 25 years. The nice American died on July 4, 1995. He left 30,000 pictures.

His dark afro hairstyle and a five centimeter wide brush are the optical hallmarks of Bob Ross. But it is thanks to his voice that his TV painting course “The Joy of Painting” has millions of fans around the world.

Lots of trees and clouds

In 1983 Bob Ross started his TV career. It was in these years that artists worldwide were preparing to deconstruct the world. The Bulgarian Christo covered whole islands at that time. The German Georg Baselitz turned everything upside down in his pictures. Bob Ross, on the other hand, celebrated success with a consistent retro wave. Naive river landscapes, mountain panoramas, clouds, clouds again and again.

Statisticians have calculated that 91 percent of the images show at least one tree, 20 percent a sun and only 2 percent palm trees. “Evening Peace”, “Summit in the Light”, “Colors of Nature”, “The Old Mill”. None of Ross’ pictures made it to the world’s major museums. “When I paint something, I don’t want to have to first explain what it is,” is a typical quote from the Florida landscape friend, who looks like a crazy small-town art teacher with a thick beard and huge curls. However, the TV painter created an empire with millions in sales. From books to tubes of paint, everything is available.

A voice like Demerol

You don’t just have to credit Ross for standing up for a very happy image of man. He also didn’t see himself as a great artist. When the “New York Times” dedicated a great story to him in 1991, he had only exhibited his pictures once, despite the huge fan base. The newspaper compared his whispering to Demerol, Michael Jackson’s sleeping pill. Ross was humble: “There are thousands of very, very talented artists who are not even known after their death. Most artists want recognition, especially among professionals. I’ve had my show for so long. I do not need more.”

Ross was 52 when the cancer was stronger than he was. He made people happy beyond death. His producer James Needham recalled: “We even get letters from blind people who turn on the show. They write that Bob Ross gives them hope. “

ARD-alpha is now devoting even more airtime to its TV god

In Germany, the format runs on ARD-alpha – one of the station’s best known formats. ARD-alpha often broadcasts Bob Ross at night and leaves him with the original English sound. The broadcaster sees the American in a way in the tradition of Joseph Beuys and his credo “Everyone is an artist!”, As can be read on the website. Since 2001, 17 seasons with 221 episodes have been broadcast on ARD-alpha and its predecessor BR-alpha – again and again.

The first season of “Bob Ross – The Joy of Painting” shown in the program has run 46 times to date. “Not only the painting technique, but also the painter’s gentle voice, the noise of the brush and the scratching of the spatula on the canvas contribute to this success. They reduce stress and calm down, ”says the program area manager at BR television for ARD-alpha, Andreas Bönte. “This is the best slow TV.”

On the day of death on Saturday, the special interest channel shows a particularly large number of episodes. Let’s start tonight at 11:45 p.m. with a “Joy of Painting” marathon, of the continued tomorrow morning from 8.15 a.m. becomes. At the Saturday illuminates that also shown in the original English version Documentary portrait “Bob Ross: The Happy Painter” at 4 p.m. and 9:35 p.m. Life and career of the legendary TV painter. Family members, friends and companions have their say. Rare archive material can also be seen.


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