Little Trees, If You Please

A class at Art MoB will show you how to paint like this guy.

A class at Art MoB will show you how to paint like this guy.

They say everything old is new again. We say everything kitschy is cool again.

Some postmodern cynics and art snobs may have poked fun at the late PBS painter Bob Ross, but his exquisitely gentle approach to teaching has far outpaced the anachronistic goofiness of his dandelion-seed Afro and stagey on-screen persona.

A former military sergeant who vowed he’d “never scream again” in civilian life, Ross cajoled his audience in an encouraging purr, earning him comparisons to a similarly soft-spoken TV personality, children’s hero “Mister” Fred Rogers. Ross’s nine-year show “The Joy of Painting” taught viewers a method of oil painting particularly kind to newbies, where unintentional smudges were “happy accidents” that could become natural parts of the landscape.

“The Joy of Painting” was popular on three continents, and begat a line of books, videos, and a licensed technique that made Ross famous – and rich. The prolific artist, who died in 1995 at age 52, has been celebrated in recent Google doodles and in a book last year that statistically analyzed the flora-and-fauna breakdown in his 30,000-some paintings (including his unforgettable “happy little trees”).

But let’s back up and start slow, as Ross would. On Saturday, Aug 8, certified Bob Ross instructor Pete Ferry continues his series of beginners’ painting classes at the Art MoB. Attendees will start and finish an entire landscape in each four-hour session. It sounds intimidating, but we can guarantee Ferry will guide his flock sweetly through the process.

 124 4th Avenue East, Hendersonville. 12-4pm. $55. 828-693-4545.


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