Despite being inspired by The Joy of Painting, there was very little joy involved in this process. Since you can’t really work with oils and 2 inch brushes on nails, I used acrylics and a fine nail detailing brush. And borrowing a term from the master, I was in “agony city” the entire time. His wet-on-wet method doesn’t work with quick-dry media. And it’s even worse on a canvas smaller than a dime. So my trees aren’t so happy. They’re more like content trees.
The index finger has a hwite tip, which I created with handy dandy nail tape in standard French tip fashion. I overlapped a tree onto it in homage of Bob’s penchant for drawing outside the bounds of his cutout paintings.
The thumbs have “Saved” and “Ruined” written on them, two words that chat loves to shout based on how poorly or well they think the paintings are going. “Saved” was written with a fine tip marker while “Ruined” was painted on with my brush and done with my non-dominant hand to add to the sloppiness.
Fun fact: the “Saved” nail can be read when upright, in a thumbs up position, and the “Ruined” nail can be read when downwards in a thumbs down position. I thought I was being clever. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
After several hours, cabinectomies, and happy accidents, I finished and sealed in all that goodness in with a top coat of clear Seche Vite.
Even before his arrival on Twitch, Bob Ross has been an important influence on my life. I remember watching The Joy of Painting as a kid. Back then, I wasn’t well equipped and I painted on computer paper, on our glass coffee table, with an old watercolor set that my Mama had handed down to me, and synthetic brushes from a color by numbers book kit. But I didn’t know or care. All I knew was that I enjoyed learning how to paint pretty things from the soft-spoken man with funny hair.
I remember that cabins were my favorite things to paint, and for years after all my drawings and paintings featured them. I wish I knew where they all were to show you guys. Maybe another day, after some serious cleaning and organizing.
At a certain point, I forgot about painting. As technology became more relevant, my interests shifted to pixel art, then coding. I eventually went off to school for it, and though I did take a painting class, it wasn’t like painting with Bob. It’s a lot less fun with the fear of a grade in mind.
Then 9 days ago, Twitch–a service known for live video game streaming–announced their latest channel: Twitch Creative. They had partnered with Adobe to encourage artists, crafters, musicians and creators of all kinds to share their creative processes. And since you’re on my blog, you know I’m all about that!
To usher in the new channel, they marathoned every episode of The Joy of Painting, and I watched devotedly for all 9 days. Seeing Bob joyfully share his world full of happy trees for his critter friends to live in warmed my heart. His enthusiasm was undeniably infectious, as was his positivity. Only he could tame a crowd of 185k viewers and inspire them to spam things like #KEEPBOB and #THANKYOUBOB in a show of affection and gratitude.
Now that I’m running a creative blog and I’m at the point in my life where people are starting to look to me as a creative authority in a professional capacity, I’ve found a new appreciation for Bob Ross. As a child, I enjoyed watching because he taught me how to make pretty pictures that I could get my Mom to hang on the wall beside her bed. Now, I think there’s a bigger lesson to be learned. Bob didn’t create selfishly. He found a great joy in showing others how to unlock their creative potentials. He was gentle and encouraging. I know now that while it’s satisfying to receive accolades and to take pride in what you’ve done, it’s much more fulfilling to assist someone else in making something they can be proud of. You double the warm and fuzzy feelings. I think that Bob and his unwavering happiness were living proof of that.
So thank you, Bob, and thank you Twitch, for giving us a week of something good and pure, for reminding me of how joyful the process of painting can and should be, and for showing us the importance of community and creating beautiful things together.
GGWP and God bless.