Peak of the Week: Vol XXVII Issue 8

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

Everyone loves a wholesome little story. With everything that has been going on, these stories are more important than they ever have been. They help us to get through these weird times. With Peak of the Week, I am hoping we can provide some nice stories to help keep us all going.

I have to be upfront with you – when I started writing these, the only certainty I had was that one piece would have to be on Bob Ross. I revisited his show, The Joy of Painting a fair amount during the first lockdown. I’m not exactly much of an artist myself, but watching Ross paint away with a tone as soothing as his is television’s version of comfort food. Just try to be stressed while watching a couple of episodes. I’d bet good money that it isn’t possible.

Before starting The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross served in the military, where he was a Drill Sergeant. To the surprise of most, he was quite strict in this role and was fairly hard on his peers (which means yes, he has actually raised his voice at one point in time. Shocking, I know). He would paint during his lunch break, hence how he was able to finish a piece so quickly during the show. Eventually, he grew tired of being mean for a living, and, with art sales now outweighing his military salary, he retired from his position. Ross would then go on to start The Joy of Painting in 1983, which ended after a run of 403 episodes.

Soft-spoken on screen, he was known to be a kind man away from the cameras too. In his spare time, he would rescue wild animals and help to raise or rehabilitate them back to health. The most famous of which possible being Peapod the Pocket Squirrel, which appeared in numerous episodes of the show. During his youth, he had a woodwork related accident that saw him lose a finger. When recording, he would hide it under his palette as to not scare any of the children watching. He was quite conscious of those watching him each week – after being approached by a fan who loved art, but could never paint due to his colour-blindness, he dedicated an episode to a painting done entirely in greyscale. 

Whether you’re an avid art fan or otherwise, Bob Ross’ calming demeanour is a must-see for anyone needing a bout of relaxation.