Why Painting Is Great For Your Mental Health

We all know that the act of painting is not only fun and often times incredibly satisfying but also a great way to relax and relieve stress.
But did you know that it also has wonderful effects on your mental health? And we are not even talking about art therapy guided by a professional but your ordinary slap-some-paint-on-a-canvas fun.

So join us and find out why painting is great for your mental health!


Stress Relieve

What we and everyone that has ever held a paintbrush already know has now been confirmed by scientists: painting reduces stress.
Girija Kaimal, assistant professor of creative arts therapies at Drexel University, led a study examining the effects of making art on stress-related hormones in your body and has found that even only 45 minutes of creative activities like painting reduce symptoms of stress in the body. And the best thing is that this happens regardless of experience or talent. But as Bob Ross always said: Everyone can paint!

For the study the researchers invited 39 adults between 18 and 59 years old and provided them with resources to create whatever they wanted in 45 minutes. The participants also had the opportunity to ask an art therapist in case they had any questions. Before and after the 45 minutes the researchers measured stress hormones in the participants’ bodies and discovered that around 75 percent of them had a significantly amount in their bodies after the experiment.

“It was surprising, and it also wasn’t. It wasn’t surprising because that’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting. That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.” Kaimal explained.
The scientists also noticed that there was a correlation between the age of the participants and the lowered hormone levels, meaning that younger people benefit even more from creating art.
According to Kaimal “one reason might be that younger people are developmentally still figuring out ways to deal with stress and challenges, while older individuals ‘just from having lived life and being older’ might have more strategies to problem-solve and manage stress more effectively.”


Effects On Depression

Painting does not only reduce the symptoms of stress but also helps with depression. A lot of people suffering from it have reported that painting gives them newfound energy and invokes feelings of pride and accomplishment in them. Feelings which some of these people have not felt in years or never at all.

It is no surprise that painting and creative exercise in general have long been recognized as important and effective tools to help people who suffer from depression. A 2015 review of randomized controlled trials on art therapy’s effect on depression found that subjects in 6 out of 9 studies saw a significant reduction in depression. The review, published in the journal Health Technology Assessment, also included studies that found art therapy reduced subjects’ anxiety and distress and improved their self-esteem, mood and quality of life.

Leading art therapists recommend people who are self conscious or emotionally unstable to start with more controlled and predictable mediums like pens, pencils or markers on paper, and only move to looser mediums like oils, watercolors, or acrylic paint once they have started to gain more confidence, since the looser nature of these mediums tend to make them rather unpredictable and can lead to frustration in beginners. A great way to start with a very controllable medium are adult coloring books. These books were first popularized in France, a country that is number one in per capita consumption of antidepressants, tranquilizer, and sleeping pills.


Increased Empathy and Tolerance

A study of over 10,000 students found that a one-hour trip to an art museum changed the way they thought and felt. Students who visited a museum not only showed increased critical thinking skills, they also exhibited greater empathy towards how people lived in the past and expressed greater tolerance towards people different than themselves.

The study showed that children who toured an art museum became more observant, noticing and describing more details in an image, than their peers who did not. Being observant and paying attention to detail is an important and highly useful skill that students learn when they study and discuss works of art.

Visiting a museum also made the children more tolerant of people who disagree with them. While the results of a standardized test that measured their change in tolerance have not been huge even a small difference from only half a day at the museum is a great improvement.

How To Make Your Own Bob Ross Costume For Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner. Are you ready to woo your friends and random strangers with the best Halloween costume known to mankind?

We’ll show you how to dress up as Bob Ross and one of his happy little paintings and be the star of every Halloween party!

If you don’t want to DIY your Bob Ross Halloween costume for you and your partner we have great news for you!
Because of the big demand you can now buy a Bob Ross Couples Costume. Get it quickly before it sells out for this year’s Halloween!

In case you already have everything to dress up as Bob you can get the Happy-Little-Painting-Costume seperately as well.

Here is all you need for your perfect Bob Ross costume:

  • A brown afro wig to recreate Bob’s signature hair style. (Did you know that Bob Ross actually hated his ‘fro?)
  • A brown makeup pencil for the beard, or a fake beard
  • A blue dress shirt and a pair of dad jeans. While Bob sometimes was seen in different colors like red his blue shirt is the most recognizable.
  • A paintbrush. You do not need a real brush for oil painting, a cheap one from the hardware store is perfectly fine.
  • A wooden palette. If you don’t want to buy one you can also make one yourself out of cardboard. Don’t forget to add some paint to your palette.

With just these few items you have got yourself a pretty good DIY Bob Ross Halloween costume! Get ready to be the star of every party. And be careful of happy little accidents on the spookiest night of the year 😉


Did you wear a Bob Ross costume for Halloween? We love to see your pictures! Send them to us on Twitter and Facebook!

What Happened To Steve Ross, The Son Of Bob Ross?

We probably all know and most likely love Bob’s son Steve. Bob Ross mentioned Steve several times during ‘The Joy Of Painting’, talking about how his son makes a pretty penny selling his masterpieces.
Steve appeared in no less than 13 episodes on ‘The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross’, most noteably in the final episode of the first season, ‘Final Reflections’, where he helps his father by reading questions from viewers, which the old master answers. Besides his appearance in this Q&A style episode he also painted 12 other original paintings for the show.

Steve also quickly became a fan favorite during the Twitch livestream and on Tumblr because of his double entendres, such as “pound it into the brush real good”, “it can be dirty, it doesn’t have to be clean. Oh yeah, sure, tell me more”, or “It’s getting bigger all the time. Oh no, it’s huge. Look at that, it’s a monster!”. Combined with his heavenly voice, the hair and his mustache it is no surprise that Steve Ross was quickly titled Tumblr’s Sex God.

Jokes aside, what really happened to Steve Ross after the death of his father Bob?

It seems like Steve cut every and all ties to the public and went completely underground. Besides the obvious results like the YouTube videos of his appearances on his father’s TV show there are almost no traces of him to be found on the internet. One of the only sources that mention Steve is an announcement of the death of his late father.

The New York Times wrote in an obituary for Bob Ross that “he is survived by his son, Steven, of Ronkonkoma, L.I.”. It seems like Steven (or Steve for short) left Florida to live in the state of New York.

From this obituary it is also known that Steve became a Bob Ross-certified instructor, but after checking lists of practicing instructors it appears that he is no longer teaching people to paint. It is also not known if Steve still paints at all. One of Bob’s oldest friends however stated on his private Facebook page that Steven was still painting the last time they have spoken, but this was around 10 years ago now. Another commenter said that she believes Steve is doing software work now. Further questions about Steve’s whereabouts however remain met with silence.

It seems that Steve Ross does not want to be in the spotlight, as he is completely untraceable on social media or the internet in general. According to this book Steve also has no part in the Bob Ross company and rumor has it that he and the executives did not part on friendly terms after the death of Bob Ross in 1995.

Wherever Steve Ross might be now, we wish him the very best.

 

Life After Bob Ross: More Oil Painting

You have painted along with Bob Ross for several episodes now and might even have tried fancy stuff using black gesso or contact paper. Your girlfriend/boyfriend is threatening to kick you out if you ‘put one more stupid mountain painting on the living room wall’. Your big two-inch-brush is losing its last hair and you feel like it is time for you to move on from ‘The Joy of Painting’.

While Bob Ross is a fantastic source of information for first time painters most of us feel like painting something else after a while. Armed with Bob’s basics of mixing colors, creating the illusion of distance, and applying highlights (remember: thin paint sticks to thick paint) there is nothing keeping you from venturing further into the realms of painting.

Since most of us already have the tools recommended for the Bob Ross technique we will take a look at some options in oil painting, so you don’t have to go out and buy new equipment. Or at least very little.

 

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 which he developed further. Kevin is not only a great painter, but also a wonderful instructor whose soft voice and friendly demeanor very much reminding us of Bob Ross himself.

Painting along with Kevin feels like the next logical step to take once you have mastered Bob’s technique. He sticks with the same nature themes and colors (which might annoy your significant other), but paints with much more detail. Most of the brushes Kevin uses should already be in your toolbox, but you might want to stock up on his beloved filbert brushes.

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.

 

Dave Usher

Dave Usher is a painter from the United Kingdom. On his YouTube channel he focuses on oil, acrylics and watercolor painting. With over 40 years of experience Dave certainly knows what he is doing and in the several videos he uploads each week he proves to be a great teacher as well.

While Kevin Hill paints his nature scenes with more detail Dave Usher does it in a more impressionistic way, often using nothing more than a palette knife. Painting mainly motives of the british countryside most of his paintings are done in thirty minutes or less. Since Dave paints in three different mediums you might have to search a little bit until you find an oil painting.

Link to his YouTube Channel.

 

Yourself

If you have enough of following along with videos of other people painting here is an idea for you: just look through your smartphone, camera or photo books for motives you would like to paint and do it. Even if you have never painted a cityscape or a bowl of fruit before it is a great experience and you will learn a lot from it. Just be careful with paintings, as some people might get offended by your first try. Maybe stick to self portraits for the beginning.

 

Know another great painter to follow along with, or want to show us your own creations?
Send us a mail at paintings@twoinchbrush.com or visit us on Twitter.

Show Your Love For Bob Ross With These Awesome Articles Of Clothing

There are a lot of ways to annouce your love for the soft spoken painter Bob Ross and his paintings. While growing your hair and getting it permed, while wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans, or even dressing up as one of his paintings is one of them, there are a few others that are more suitable for the normal non-crazy person.

 

Socks!

Our favorite and probably the most subtle way of confessing your feelings for Bob are these cool socks made by Oooh Yeah. You can get them for men and women and they come in many different colors (featuring happy little trees, fluffy old clouds and the man himself) and even as multipacks.

Shirts!

A little bit more in-your-face than socks are the millions of Bob Ross themed shirts avaiable on the internet. While the Bob-Ross-Galaxy-Shirt is a timeless classic our favorite one is the Bob-Fucking-Ross shirt.

Check out some of the designs we like below:

 

 

 

Underwear!

Even when you think you’ve seen it all you discover that people are selling Bob Ross themed underwear. It is available in black for men and white for women and features a drawn Bob Ross figure on the behind. There is a joke about a happy little bush somewhere hidden here, but we leave that for the reader.

 

 

If you know about some more cool articles of Bob Ross themed clothing hit us up on Twitter!

Happy Painting, and God bless, my Friend!

6 Tips To Improve Your Bob-Ross-Wet-On-Wet-Technique

Number 1: Take it slow!

While Bob Ross only takes 30 minutes for every painting he does, us mere mortals can’t expect to do the same.
You can expect a painting to take at least 90 minutes, maybe 60 if you’re going really fast. You’ll probably spend more time mixing colors, trying new techniques, thinking about where to place that next happy little tree, and cleaning your brushes (we seriously believe that we spend around 50% of our painting time with cleaning brushes before we got our cleaning screen) than Bob does. It may also make a difference that Bob Ross painted over 10 000 paintings in his life.

But hey, it’s about the journey and not the destination. Painting is fun and relaxing and we should enjoy every second of it.

 


Number 2: Thin Paint Sticks To Thick Paint

Bob repeast this in almost every episode of ‘The Joy of Painting’, and it is great advice for all of us mud mixers out there that have problems when putting the highlights on their trees and bushes.
Oil paints are made of two things: pigments and oil, and the more oil there is in a paint, the thinner it gets. And just like very wet stuff that sticks to very dry stuff thin paint sticks to thick paint in much the same manner. You can find more tips on how to do mountains here.

If you ever had the problem that the paint on the canvas mixes with the paint on your brush when doing highlights for your trees and bushes you probably didn’t thin your paint enough. You can do this by dipping your brush into your liquid white or even your paint thinner before mixing the color you want to use for the highlights. If your paint still doesn’t stick, just add a little bit more thinning medium.

 

Number 3: Be Gentle!

Every time we apply one layer of paint over another layer we have to be very careful not to mix the two layers.

When doing mountains, be sure to hold the knife just as thight as Bob would hold a new born baby bird: Tight enough not to drop it, but not tight enough to hurt it. And baby birds (just like palette knifes) are very delicate creatues, so very little strength is needed for this. Just let the knife (or bird) do the work.

When putting highlights on trees or bushes drag your brush through the paint a few times to create a sort of rounded end on your brush. Then turn the brush in such a way that this rounded end points up and very gently put the paint on the canvas, almost not touching it. Applying the highlights in this way (along with thinning your paint) makes sure that you won’t pick up the darker layer that’s already on the canvas.

 


Number 4: Using The Right Paint

First of all it is important to use oil paints. The Bob-Ross-Wet-On-Wet-Technique was developed for oil paints and if you’re using acrylics you’ll have a hard time getting the desired results. We’re not saying that it is impossible to do Bob-Ross style paintings with acrylics but it’s going to be much harded to follow along with Bob.

While there are times where thinner paints are needed (like when applying highlights, see above) most of the time you’ll get better results with dryer and firmer paints, so paints with less oil. You’ll obviously get the best results with the original Bob Ross paints. These are a bunch of oil paints that have been developed to work specifically with Bob’s technique. They even vary in the ratio of oil to pigments depending on the things you’ll paint the most with them. So darker colors that are used more often for background layers are firmer than lighter colors, which are used mostly for highlights.

If the original Bob Ross paints are too expensive for you (although they are definitely worth the money) there is a way to upgrade other paints by removing some of the oil from them. You can read more about this in the article about painting mountains you can find here.

 

Number 5: Stop Overmixing!

One thing most beginners do when first starting to mix colors on their palette is overmixing their colors. When mixing two or more colors it’s often the case that we don’t want to create a new color that’s completely uniform, but rather a marbled mix of colors that we can use for our painting. If you look at a tree you’ll notice that the leaves aren’t all the exactly same color. The same is true for the snow we put on the mountains. Sometimes the little bit of Titanium White that didn’t quite mix with the Prussian Blue will create a wonderful effect of light that gets caught in the snow on some mighty mountain in Alaska.

While Bob Ross makes it seem very easy to get the perfect mix it actually takes a while to get a feeling for when to stop. But once you have it you’ll create wonderful paintings with it.

 


Number 6: Have Fun!

The most important tip of them all: don’t forget that you are painting for fun. Enjoy the process of creating something. Don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t work on the first try but rather try to find the beauty in learning a new technique and overcoming the hurdles you face.

Follow Bob’s advice and take mistakes not as mistakes, but rather as happy little accidents!
Too much green in your water? It’s a beautiful little pond full of algae now!
The snow got mixed up with the ground layer of your mountain? Seems like the mountain is even more rocky than you thought!

This is your world, you’re the creator. Feel free on your canvas!

Paint Better Mountains – Upgrade Your Titanium White

One of the things most beginners find hard to do when first painting along with Bob Ross are mountains. They struggle with getting the paint to ‘break’ like Bob does, and while the old master creates the illusion of terrain with a swift movement of the hand and a small roll of paint on his knife, they are stuck with the same role on the painting and with almost no breakage and no terrain, just like pictured below:

One solution to this problem is to just slapping a lot more paint on the canvas and calling it a day, just like I did in my first painting:

 

But here is the thing: Since a lot people start painting with rather cheap oil paints the problem is not their technique but the paint itself! 

Oil paint in its basic form consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil and the Titanium White that Bob Ross uses is a rather firm and dry paint, meaning that it does not contain as much oil as other paints. The original Bob Ross Titanium White is made for the wet-on-wet-technique while other oil paints, especially cheaper ones, contain way more oil than the Bob Ross variant. But there is a way to upgrade even the cheapest oil paints you can find to get better results!

 

To show you this trick I went out and got the cheapest paints I could find. A 12x12ml (or 12×0.4oz) set of them cost me around 4$, so one tube is a little more than 30 cents.

And just as one would expect the paints are not the best quality and just as firm as the baby owl that Bob had on his show one time.

As mentioned above oil paints are made from pigment and oil, so to get our paint to become firmer we need to find a way to decrease the amount of liquid oil in our paint. While there are stories about the old masters of oil painting leaving their paints out to dry over weeks and waiting for the day the paint had the perfect ratio of oil to pigments we don’t have time for this. So here comes the trick:

All you have to do is take some carton (I like to use the back of notepads as they seem rather absorbent) and spread your paint on it.

 

After around thirty minutes you should start seeing spots and stains of oil on the backside. This is the carton sucking the oil out of your paint.

Now it’s time so see if your paint is firm enough. Just scrape it off with your palette knife, put it on the palette and check the firmness. If it still very runny you can just put it back on the carton and wait for another fifteen minutes. Be sure to not leave it there too long. After around one hour the paint simply becomes too dry and won’t leave your knife when applying it on the canvas. If this is the case simply add a little bit of fresh white and mix it thoroughly. This is what happened to me, and since I didn’t have any white left I just scraped the paint from the first mountain I did and mixed it, which is why the snow on the second one has a little darker color. So I put down some rough mountain outlines and applied some paint. Below you can see the results using Titanium White fresh out of the tube and using paint that was dryed with this trick.

While the breakage is not as good as Bob’s you can clearly see the effect of ‘upgrading’ the paint by drying it. So while you will get the best results using the original Bob Ross products this technique might push your paintings to the next level.

I hope this trick helps you with your mountains.

As always if you have any comments feel free to reach out on Twitter.

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.