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8th Grade Paints with Bob Ross

The phrase "We don't make mistakes...we just have happy accidents" conjures up for many of us one famous name...Bob Ross. 8th graders at CMS embarked on an art journey into the world of Bob Ross, exploring his techniques and examining his work. Avery, an 8th grader at CMS, offers us an account of this special art study that the class has been working on for the past several weeks:

"In eighth grade art class, we recently participated in a Bob Ross painting study to learn more about his technique of painting with oils. If you don’t know who Bob Ross is, he was a very famous painter who passed away in 1995, but still lives on through his art and shows. His painting show, The Joy of Painting even spanned 31 seasons! Oil painting is a very fun experience that many would not have been able to try out if we did not learn at school.

We began by watching through a joy of painting episode in one class session and then began the painting process the following week. First, we prepared our canvases with a coat of liquid white. Liquid white is white oil paint thinned out with a special oil, which creates a smooth and blendable base for when you begin to paint. Bob Ross uses a sort of “wet on wet” technique where he adds layers on top of his wet paint and is able to use it to his advantage. By following this, we were able to learn a lot about the way that paints and colors work as we tried to recreate some of his work.

One interesting thing about how Bob Ross painted was his use of unconventional brushes. Instead of a regular ½ inch brush he uses 1-2 inch brushes, which are typically seen in painting houses! Using these types of brushes really helped us be able to be more precise and controlled with our strokes. After we painted our sky and water, we used a fan brush. A fan brush is basically a brush that is small from the core and then protrudes to create a sort of triangle. Bob Ross used these brushes for painting trees, highlights, and more. Another tool we used in this process were palette knives. We used these mostly to block in highlights, dirt, and rocks. Palette knives are very useful when you need a thin line or maybe just need to create highlights on your water.

Something else to note about this experience was that it was not as easy as Bob made it seem, and that painting is definitely a process. Even though it was sometimes discouraging when the art did not come out exactly how you wanted it, as Bob would say: there are no mistakes in painting; only happy accidents. Overall, it was a very fun experience! It was so amazing to be able to learn a new medium that I would not have been able to try out otherwise. Our class really enjoyed learning the joy of painting with Bob Ross!"

Check out their amazing paintings below! Special thanks to CMS art teacher Traci Pines for implementing this project into the CMS curriculum, and to Avery for such a profound student reflection.

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