Bob Ross And Machine Learning

If you’ve been on the internet in the last two years and you are somewhat tech-savy you’ve probably heard about the latest fad in Computer Science: Machine Learning.

Wikipedia describes Machine Learning as the subfield of computer science that “gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed”. While this does sound like it’s coming straight from a science fiction novel about computers that gain consciousness and eradicate mankind it’s not really that extreme. At least not yet.

There is a lot of cool stuff we can get computers to do using this kind of theory. While Google was able to get a computer to become an even better player of the the board game “Go” than professional player Lee Sedoy, which might be the first step in enslaving mankind, we can also use Machine Learning to take the stylistic elements of one painting to draw another one.

So as an example we are able to take Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” and have a computer paint a photograph we’ve taken in Van Gogh’s style:

 

Using the website deepart.io we can use the same technique to apply the characteristic style of a Bob Ross painting to real life photographs. For best results we chose paintings that were similar to the photographs we wanted to bobrossify.

 

So let’s start with one of the most iconic mountains in Europe: the Matterhorn in Switzerland:

While the trees and grassy areas in the photo are no problem to replicate the deep blue sky and the rocky parts of the Matterhorn don’t yield very good results, since there are no areas that look like this in the painting we used as reference.


Up next is another famous mountain, the Mt Fuji, or Fujiyama, in Japan:

Overall a pretty good result, since we have almost all the things in the photo in our painting as well. There is a little bit more snow on in our generated painting, but it seems like it’s snowing on Mount Fuji.

 

There are not only paintings of mountains done in “The Joy of Painting”, there is also at least one painting of a beach in every season. So let’s try El Matador State Beach in Malibu:

Besides the tree in the sky a job well done.

 

Going back to mountains, here are the Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado:

Since there is almost no difference between the photo and a Bob Ross painting we get a pretty good replica, besides the new mountain that grew in the sky.

All in all we can get pretty close to Bob’s style with this technique, but since Bob Ross always uses very simple methods that dont rely on details to create great looking paintings it’s hard for the algorithm to apply this style to very detail heavy photographs.

If you want to generate your own pictures like this visit deepart.io, and if you would like to learn more about machine learning there is a fantastic introduction done by Google on YouTube. If you already know some basics and want to start programming there is a great book about programming machine learning using Python.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter.

Happy Painting, and God bless, my Friend.

Our Favorite Painters on YouTube

… besides Bob Ross.

While Bob is the indisputable king of painting instruction videos you can find a
number of great artists and instructors on YouTube. Check out some of our favorite ones:


Kevin Hill

Kevin Hill is a 21 year old painter from California. He started painting by watching painting shows on PBS (most
likely ‘The Joy of Painting’ with Bob Ross) when he was 15 years old, and has since become a master of the
wet-on-wet-technique. Kevin is not only a great painter, but also a wonderful instructor whose soft voice and
friendly demeanor very much remind us of Bob Ross himself.

Today Kevin has his on painting show on PBS
called ‘Paint with Kevin’. In each 30-minute episode, he provides instruction in a calm, reassuring manner and
coaches viewers as they expand their painting skills.

Shorter versions of the episodes of his show and
livestreams can be found on his
YouTube channel
 or his website.


David Dunlop


David Dunlop is a painter, a teacher, a lecturer, and the writer and artist on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series ‘Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop’ and other DVDs about painting. He lives and paints in Connecticut and writes about his thoughts of art on his Art Blog.

While there are only a handful of videos available on YouTube we really love his Ten-Minute-Oil-Sketch
video
. Another great one is his video about painting water lilies in the
style of Monet
, in which he talks a little bit about the french painter and impressionism in general.(If you are interested in learing more about Monet and his paintings of water lilies, there is a fantastic book called Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies’. You can even get it for free as an eBook if you join the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial or as an audio book if you do the same thing for
Audible
. Both trials can be canceled any time.)

Check out David’s YouTube channel and be sure to visit his website.


Igor Sacharov

The Russian painter Igor Sacharov has a lot of videos on YouTube. While some of his videos feature english commentary most of them are in Russian. However, the self proclaimed ‘Russian Bob Ross’ does such fantastic paintings that it really doesn’t matter that you most likely won’t understand a word. If you have a little bit of experience you can still try to paint along and copy his techniques.

We especially love Igor’s seascape paintings and hope that you will enjoy them too.


Which painters are your favorites on YouTube? Send us a mail at paintings@twoinchbrush
.com or contact us on Twitter.

So You Want To Buy A Bob Ross Painting

Long story short: Original Bob Ross paintings are so expensive, you could use the money and buy yourself something like this instead..

If you have seen more than five episodes of ‘The Joy of Painting’ you probably thought about buying an original Bob Ross painting. While it is easy to paint one in his style yourself (even if you’ve never painted before) a painting by Bob himself is just something else. How hard can it be to get one? There are over 400 episodes of ‘The Joy of Painting’ and Bob did three copies of every painting on the show. So there should be over 1200 paintings from the TV show alone out there, and some of them just have to be on eBay or some other website.

So you open up your favorite search engine, try your luck with something like “Buy Bob Ross Painting” and are greeted with pages upon pages of Bob Ross replica paintings:

eBay doesn’t look much better either:

Beautiful paintings, but they all are just done in “Bob Ross Style”, none of them are done by Bob himself. So for the average person the question “Can I buy a Bob Ross painting?” has a definite answer: No.

 

It is rumored that in his lifetime Bob made over 30.000 paintings, so what happened to them all? Why is it so hard to find an original Bob Ross painting on sale? Here is what Bob said about some of them:

“One of the questions that I hear over and over and over is, ‘What do we do with all these paintings we do on television?’ Most of these paintings are donated to PBS stations across the country. They auction them off, and they make a happy buck with ‘em. So if you’d like to have one, get in touch with your PBS station, cause…we give them to stations all over the country to help them out with their fundraisers.”

What happened to the other thousands of paintings Bob did outside of the TV show isn’t known, but if you’re lucky and look hard enough you might come across an eBay listing like this:

So, an original Bob Ross for sale might cost you a few thousand dollars, but at least there is free shipping! This particular painting also includes a letter from the original owner who used to be stationed with Bob in the US Air Force Base in Alaska.

If you want to have a Bob Ross-esque painting on your wall you can always grab your brushes and paint it yourself. Not only will your paintings look as good as Bob’s with some practice but you’ll get to experience the joy of painting first hand.

If you think you have an original Bob Ross painting or are about to buy one, you can send a mail to info@bobross.com and ask them to verifiy that it was really done by Bob Ross himself.

Our Favorite Bob Ross Quotes

If you have ever watched ‘The Joy of Painting’ with Bob Ross you know that Bob didn’t only know his way around the canvas but was also a man of great wisdom with a wonderful sense of humor. It is no surprise that there is even a quiz on the internet with the name “Who Said It: Bob Ross or Buddha?”. Try it out and see if you can get everything right.

So without further ado here are some of our absolute favorite things that Bob said on his show:

About Happiness and Sadness:

 

On Talent:

‘Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.’

 

About Politics and Trees:

‘That’s a crooked tree. We’ll send him to Washington.’

 

About the Director of the TV Show

‘I can’t go over 30 minutes, because we have a mean ol’ director with no sense of humor.’

 

On Uncle Sam:

‘Oh, if you have never been to Alaska, go there while it is still wild. My favorite uncle asked me if I wanted to go there, Uncle Sam. He said if you don’t go, you’re going to jail. That is how Uncle Sam asks you.’

 

Advice from his Father:

‘I remember when my Dad told me as a kid, ‘If you want to catch a rabbit, stand behind a tree and make a noise like a carrot. Then when the rabbit comes by you grab him.’ Works pretty good until you try to figure out what kind of noise a carrot makes…’

 

And Words about his Mother:

‘Tender as a mothers love… And with my mother, that was certainly true.’

 

About Friends and other special People:

‘Don’t forget to tell these special people in your life just how special they are to you.’

 

About Nature and our Responsibility:

‘If we’re going to have animals around we all have to be concerned about them and take care of them.’

 

And our all time Favorite:

‘We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.’

 

 

So, what are your favorite quotes by Bob Ross? Be sure to tell us on Twitter or send a mail to paintings@twoinchbrush.com.

Happy Painting, and God Bless, my friend.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bob Ross

1. Military Career In The Air Force

Ross enlisted in the United States Air Force at 18 years old and served as a medical records technician.He eventually rose to the rank of master sergeant and served as the first sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Clinic at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, where he first saw the snow and mountains that later became recurring themes in his artwork. He developed his quick-painting technique to create art for sale during brief daily work breaks.

Having held military positions that required him to be, in his own words, “tough” and “mean”, “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”, Ross decided that if he ever left the military, he would never scream again.

Source

 

2. Straight Hair And His Afro

While Bob Ross was very well known for his friendly and calm persona his most striking feature had to be his hair. But fact is, Bob had naturally straight hair and only got it permed to save money. Rumour has it that he even hated his ‘fro but had to keep it because it had become his trademark.

“He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts,” his longtime business partner Annette Kowalski told NPR. “So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again.”

3. Third time’s a charm

While Bob made it seem that the paintings he did during the tapings of ‘The Joy of Painting’ were done very spontaneous and full of ‘happy little accidents’ this was in fact not the case. In reality Bob painted the same picture three times:

The first copy always hid off screen, and Bob referred to it while the cameras rolled. He painted a third copy when filming finished. This time, an assistant would stand behind him and snap photos of each brushstroke. These pictures went into Bob’ “How to” books.

Source

4. Bob the Celebrity

After the success of ‘The Joy of Painting’ Bob had a number of appearances on nationally televised talk shows and was also regularly being spoofed on MTV and HBO. This trend continues until today.

While there is a story that Bob was once invited to the Oprah Winfrey show that we couldn’t verify, Bob was invited onstage  at the Grand Ole Opry in 1987 by country star Hank Snow. Bob being an old country fan accepted the invitation and gave Hank a private lesson afterwards.

5. He Did It For Free

Bob Ross never recieved a penny for his television show ‘The Joy of Painting’. However, Bob was a smart businessman and used the show as an advertisement for his own line of painting supplies. And boy, did he make a happy buck with it!

His company Bob Ross Inc. went on to become a $15 million empire of how-to books, videos and, most of all, Bob Ross art supplies.

Source

Guest Painters on ‘The Joy of Painting’

Bob often invited friends to paint with him on his TV show ‘The Joy of Painting’. These guests feature people like Dana Jester, John Thamm, Ben Stahl, Audrey Golden, Joyce Ortner, Dorothy Dent, Diane Andre and more.

 

Dana Jester is an old friend of Bob, who continues painting and making videos about it to this day. Check out this video of him painting some big ol’ mountains:

 

Another interesting guest is Bob’s old instructor John Thamm, who shows us how to paint a portrait in season 16 episode 6. While John’s style of painting might be very different from Bob’s style they sure can tell us a lot of stories from back in the day.

 

 

One of the most frequent guests and our absolute favorite is his son Steve Ross. And not we love him, it seems like Tumblr has grown a very special relationship to the young man:

 

You can find a list of all appearances of guest painters under this link.

Why Does Bob Ross Have A Coke Nail?

UrbanDictionary.com defines a coke nail as “one significantly longer fingernail on one or both hand(s), most often the pinkie nail, which is used for scooping up powder cocaine and snorting it. This is known as doing a bump. The nail becomes the vessel as opposed to needing an item to snort a line of coke through; ie, a straw, rolled up dollar bill, etc.”.
And if you look closely and watch carefully you might just notice the same thing on the hands of Bob Ross. An example can be see on the picture of Bob and a baby raccoon below.

But why? Did Bob Ross do cocaine?

While the average person most likely does not even know about the existence of these nails and their use the coke nail got a bit of exposure in 2012 when several online news outlets claimed to have found a picture of actress Carrie Fisher, best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, featuring an alleged nail for sniffing cocaine.

After reading about this theory on the internet Carrie Fisher herself however denied the “coke nail” on Twitter with this tongue-in-cheek comment:

This still leaves us with our question. Why did Bob Ross have fingernails that strongly resemble coke nails?

The answer is found in Bob’s profession and passion: Painting.

Bob Ross was in fact not doing cocaine. A lot of painters use their nails to scrape off excess paint from their paintings. Using your nails is faster and more handy (excuse the pun) than using a tool for this, and for a serious painter like Bob Ross there is no question that he used this old trick too. See how close the nail is to the painting below? Using it instead of going of and grabbing another tools is certainly a lot faster in case you make a mistake.

Happy Painting, and God bless my Friend.