Blakelee Lebeau

Blakelee Lebeau

Published: 06 Oct 2023


Bob Ross, the beloved painter and host of “The Joy of Painting,” has captured the hearts of millions of viewers with his soothing voice, signature afro, and incredible artistic talent. While most people are familiar with his gentle demeanor and the mesmerizing landscapes he created on his television show, there are many surprising facts about Bob Ross that few people are aware of.

In this article, we will delve into the lesser-known aspects of Bob Ross’s life and career, revealing intriguing tidbits that will leave you in awe. From his days as a military drill instructor to the true origin of his iconic hairstyle, we’ll explore 19 surprising facts that will give you a deeper appreciation for the man behind the easel.

Table of Contents

Bob Ross never received formal art training.

Contrary to popular belief, Bob Ross was a self-taught artist. He discovered his passion for painting while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

His iconic afro was a time-saving strategy.

Bob Ross wore his distinctive afro because it allowed him to save time on haircuts. This gave him more time to focus on his artwork and teaching.

Bob Ross was a military veteran.

Before becoming an artist and beloved television personality, Bob Ross served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, retiring as a Master Sergeant.

He filmed all episodes of “The Joy of Painting” in real-time.

Unlike many television shows that use time-lapse or edited footage, Bob Ross painted each artwork from start to finish during the filming of his iconic show, “The Joy of Painting.”

Bob Ross painted three versions of each painting.

To ensure that viewers could follow along, Bob Ross would create a finished pre-painted version of each artwork alongside the one he painted during the episode. The third version was often painted after the show for instructional purposes.

The majority of Bob Ross’ paintings were donated to charity.

Bob Ross donated a significant number of his original paintings to public television stations to be used as fundraisers during pledge drives.

He completed over 30,000 paintings in his lifetime.

Bob Ross was incredibly prolific and created thousands of beautiful landscapes during his career as an artist.

ASMR fans find Bob Ross’ voice soothing.

Many individuals who enjoy ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) find Bob Ross’ calm and gentle voice to be incredibly relaxing and satisfying.

Bob Ross was an advocate for wildlife conservation.

Throughout his paintings, Bob Ross often emphasized the importance of nature and wildlife preservation, encouraging viewers to appreciate and protect the environment.

His famous catchphrase was trademarked.

The phrase “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents” is a registered trademark owned by Bob Ross Inc., the company that manages his legacy.

Bob Ross’ show continues to inspire a new generation of artists.

Even though Bob Ross passed away in 1995, his show and painting techniques continue to captivate and inspire artists of all ages. His influence can be seen in the growing popularity of YouTube channels dedicated to painting tutorials.

Bob Ross’ son, Steve Ross, also became a painter.

Steve Ross followed in his father’s footsteps and became an artist, continuing his father’s legacy and sharing his own unique painting style.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has Bob Ross’ easel.

Bob Ross’ easel, brushes, and paint palette are part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Bob Ross’ paintings have been exhibited internationally.

His artwork has been displayed in various galleries and museums around the world, showcasing his talent and influence as an artist.

Bob Ross was a mentor to many artists.

His warm and encouraging teaching style made him a beloved mentor to aspiring artists, always encouraging them to express their creativity and learn from their own unique experiences.

He used a wet-on-wet painting technique.

Bob Ross popularized the wet-on-wet technique, where layers of wet paint are applied on top of each other without allowing them to dry. This technique allowed for blending and creating stunning landscapes in a shorter amount of time.

Bob Ross’ paintings have a calming effect.

Many people find solace and tranquility when looking at Bob Ross’ paintings. The serene landscapes and soothing colors have a way of evoking a sense of peace and serenity.

He passed away at the age of 52.

Bob Ross’ untimely death in 1995 was a loss to the art community and his countless fans around the world. However, his legacy lives on through his artwork and the inspiration he continues to provide to aspiring artists.

Bob Ross received fan mail from all over the world.

His influence reached far and wide, and he received countless letters and artwork from fans of all ages and backgrounds, expressing their admiration and gratitude for his work.

These surprising facts showcase the incredible talent, impact, and enduring legacy of Bob Ross. From his humble beginnings to his worldwide influence, Bob Ross will forever be remembered as an iconic artist, teacher, and source of inspiration for generations to come.


Bob Ross, the iconic painter and host of “The Joy of Painting,” continues to captivate audiences with his soothing voice, impressive artistic skills, and inspirational approach to art. Throughout his life, Ross left a lasting impact on both the art world and the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

From his military background to his unforgettable afro hairstyle, Bob Ross’s life and career are filled with fascinating details that make him a beloved figure even decades after his passing. Whether it’s his unconventional painting techniques, his belief in the therapeutic power of art, or his timeless words of wisdom, Bob Ross will always be remembered as a true artistic legend.

So, the next time you grab your paintbrush and easel, channel your inner Bob Ross and remember his famous words: “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”


Q: When was Bob Ross born?
A: Bob Ross was born on October 29, 1942.

Q: What is Bob Ross’s famous catchphrase?
A: Bob Ross is best known for saying, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Q: Did Bob Ross serve in the military?
A: Yes, Bob Ross served as a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force for 20 years.

Q: Where was “The Joy of Painting” filmed?
A: The show was filmed at the studios of WIPB in Muncie, Indiana.

Q: Did Bob Ross sell his paintings?
A: Yes, Bob Ross sold many of his paintings through his company, Bob Ross Inc.