Entry #1 | Jan. 16, 2023
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to write more.
Specifically, write more in a new series I’m calling ROSSology — a way for me to share my joy of painting with you, stories about Bob Ross, painting tips, wisdom and more.
You can learn more about my journey to becoming a Bob Ross Certified Instructor® here. This isn’t a story about that, but a story of what “that” means.
I recently completed my first series of sold out workshops in 2023 at The Bob Ross Experience in Muncie, Ind.
The BRE as we call it, is in the former Lucius L. Ball home sitting on the West end of the stunning grounds of Minnetrista Museum and Gardens.
The yellow-bricked home, which dates back to the 1870s, was originally a wood-framed farmhouse.
In 1910, Lucius and Sarah Ball extensively remodeled the home, including rotating it on its foundation to face the White River (it originally faced what we know today as Wheeling Avenue).
So, it’s only fitting, a house rich in tradition linked to a family of Ball Brothers, later housed WIPB-TV and became the studio home for “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross.
I love going to the L.L. Ball house and the BRE. As soon as I open the handle of the big wooden door and hear the hinge squeaks longing for some WD-40, the little brass bell on the inside of the door rings like it probabaly did way back then.
I feel at home. I feel Bob. Calm. Happy. Creative.
Like I penned in the post linked above, Bob was my mentor and my friend. I feel his spirit when I’m in that yellow-bricked house.
Upstairs in the workshop studio, surrounded by natural light and Bob’s demo paintings, it’s simply magical.
Across the hall from the workshop, Bob’s originals, currently from Season 15 of the now 40-year-and-running series hang to marvel at.
On this particular Saturday, as I instructed an eager group of 12 painters from all over the Midwest, Bob was with me — again.
I loaded a little roll of paint on my No. 10 palette knife, showed my students on the workshop’s camera just like Bob did to his camera way back then, and then dropped in a happy little — or in this case a mighty — mountain.
Then it happened, déjà vu or whatever you want to call it or believe. I had been there before.
I heard a whisper in my right ear similar to “you can do it” in a soft, calm voice. And then felt a quick, cool draft, like someone walked by me.
Bob was with me. It was eerily awesome.
After I demonstrated the technique and unleashed the students to do their own almighty mountain, I turned around and walked to the sliding door separating the workshop from the rest of the Experience. I took a long, happy deep breath and turned back to the class.
The student sitting the closest to my easel, basically directly behind me in the front row, made eye contact with me and quietly mouthed “that was awesome.”
Did she feel it too? Did she see it in me? Could she tell something?
Then the goosebumps came. I know he was proud of me, shoot he was there watching me.
After the class everyone came up to thank me, sharing their Bob stories and in some amazingly, powerful way, confiding to me that this is exactly what I should be doing.
There was the family from Brentwood, Tennessee, who drove up just for the Experience and the workshop. The older gentleman who has painted his entire life, but for the first time on this day in Bob’s style. The couple from Michigan painting for the first time.
The next day I received an email from a student in class and my heart smiled — again. The true Joy of Painting, just like Bob told me it would happen way back then.