Bob Ross, whose 70th birthday is celebrated Monday with a Google Doodle, said that one experience made him vow never to raise his voice again.
“We don't have mistakes here,” the host of the long-running PBS program, “The Joy of Painting,” would often say as he completed a landscape painting using oils. “We just have happy accidents.” When adding items, Ross often referred to them as “happy”: the artist would dab in a “happy little cloud” or a “happy little tree.”
What made the painter so softspoken? Ross said that he promised himself he would keep his voice down after his time in the military. The artist joined the Air Force when he was 19 and was sent to Alaska, the place where he saw daily the geographic features like mountains and snow that would feature heavily in his “Joy of Painting” artwork. (Ross was originally from Florida and then went to high school in Pennsylvania.) The artist started painting landscapes on tins used for gold-panning on his lunch breaks and sold them to gift shops to make extra cash while in the military.