Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Little Trees

I love Bob Ross. I know that he's embraced by a subculture of hipsters who ironically praise his sing-songy voice and hippy afro. I'd like to think my fondness for Bob, however, has more to do with his quaintly-honest sincerity. There is no mocking in my admiration.

In a half-hour, Bob Ross turned a blank canvas into a serene woodland tableau. Watching him do it is like watching a magic trick you've seen before. You know what's going to happen, you know how it's done. But it's amazing every time.

The paintings themselves are, of course, amusingly pedestrian; they're the sort of works you can find at the Starving Artist's Expo at the hotel out by airport. You're far more likely to find me getting lost in a Rothko or one of Gerhard Richter's Ice paintings. But as much as I dislike Bob's product, I do have respect for his process.

The real pleasure is Bob himself. The narration is not so much a lesson in painting as it is Bob's stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Listening to his soothing voice hypnotizes me into a mellowness so profound I want nothing more than to lay my head on his beautiful nimbus of hair and zen out for the rest of the afternoon.

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