Dabbling in Painting

Okay, don’t laugh! Except for practicing mixing colors and brushstrokes, I have tried three “painting” things so far. OTOH, they are obviously inept and show lack of experience. OTOH, I have seen worse things in modern art museums so…

The first was an attempt at a Bob Ross painting. Note, to do a Bob Ross painting (I have subsequently found out) you need the exact tools and you can’t do it on a canvas pad or canvas board but a double primed, stretched canvas. So when it started to turn to mush I went my own way. A happy accident as Mr. Ross would say… or a laughable travesty!

I actually like it!

The next was my attempt of painting a flower from a photo freestyle (no drawing or outlining). Lesson: freestyle is something you do after you have mastered, to some degree, form. Just ask your martial arts instructor.

Also, color and paint mixing is an actual skill and it isn’t easy.

The last that I free-styled, I like also. Difference here was I have some drawing experience in portrait and cartooning. Funny thing is it ended up looking quite a bit like Randy Marsh from South Park!

So, fun. And when I have a house and can afford to splash paint around and make a mess I will do it hobby style and probably stick with landscape. With perhaps a spaceship in the background for my own personal touch – I am sure there are enough people who do Bob Ross paintings with little deviation already.


Ben Stahl, Bob Ross, Stations of the Cross

This is just a tidbit I found interesting. I was falling asleep to a Bob Ross The Joy of Painting Episode the other week, when I saw he had a rather distinguished guest in Ben Stahl. Well, distinguished by the rather extravagant introduction that Ross heaped upon him. The funny part about the episode is Stahl talked all through his painting demonstration and everything he said was basically “everything this hippie behind me has told you for the last several years is wrong.”

And while I agree with a tiny portion of what he contradicted, basically what the two did was quite different. The Alexander/Ross technique for landscape painting produces good results. Although it is one method among many and certain aspects of it are better suited than others. For instance, I always found the buildings to be lacking and messy. On the other hand, if there is a better way to produce clouds I’d be hard pressed to think of what it could be.

Anyway, watching the episode I knew I had encountered the name Ben Stahl before. This guy is famous for something in particular, and I have run across the name before. Well, that was true just that day I had purchased the Library of Catholic Devotion set from 1954 and in the Prayer Book it has the fourteen station of the cross that Stahl was commissioned to paint in the 50’s.

They are quite good although I would not put him up with the masters. Although I would put him above the 20th century.


{Note: I have edited a portion of this material as I was pursuing a couple trains of thought simultaneously. Also I miswrote that I have heard critics deride the technique of wet-on-wet painting, what I meant to say as I have heard critics dismiss Bob Ross as an artist. Critic being a deceased profession entirely without meaning in the realm of art for about a century now.]

I have always needed the television on to fall asleep. Otherwise the wheels keep turning and I’m tossing all night. The wife and I decided that 2017 would be murder television free – no crime shows, real or fictional. That leaves out a lot of sleeping material. Easiest thing is to stream shows that have fifteen thousand episodes and most cop dramas have about that many!

A couple of months ago my wife finds this show, The Joy of Painting, on Netflix streaming (do they still do DVD’s?) and so we give it a go. Man, you talk about drifting off to sleep. Forget Lunestra or any other sleeping aid. All you need is Ross’ soothing voice talking about happy trees and clouds with friends and… ZZZZZ…ZZZZ

Not that it is boring, mind you. Painting was one of the first things I had ever wanted to do which is one reason why I had never watched The Joy of Painting. It is quite fascinating to watch what begins as a real mess take shape in such a short time (yes, we all know he had a reference painting he painting before the show). I swear he can start with a blue smear, I turn to adjust my pillow or something – hey! where did that stream and forest come from?

It should be noted that as mesmerizing as it is to watch the process, Ross only applied it to limited number of settings and styles, basically those that interested him. Mountains, trees, clouds, streams, beaches, what they call landscape painting. Any man-made objects usually consisted of old cabins, never was there a skyscraper, jumbo-jet or any harsh modern object of industry. No, this was John Denver country here.

Ross’s technique, wet-on-wet, or Continue reading “I LOVE THIS GUY!”