Bob Ross is known the world over as an eminent painter, creating more than 30,000 landscape and nature paintings and demonstrating how to do many of them on his television show, "The Joy of Painting," which ran on PBS for 11 years. He was also a successful business man whose company sold art supplies and taught painting.

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But Ross, who died in 1994, is most known for his upbeat nature and soft-spoken voice. As he painted during his television episodes, he would make painting a life philosophy, his gentle voice reminding us that, "You need the dark in order to show the light," and that "we don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents."


It's said that Ross developed his mild speech mannerisms after being a drill sergeant in the United States Air Force. "I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore," Ross says in a Military.com article.

Ross served 20 years in the military, retiring as a Master Sergeant and pursuing his joy of painting. He often remarked upon his service on his television show, particularly when painting scenes that reminded him of being stationed in Alaska where he honed his talent and drew inspiration from the Alaskan wilderness. 

In the 22 years since his death, Bob Ross' popularity has continued to grow; his television shows are available online, he is all over social media and in memes, and there are ongoing Bob Ross classes and tribute events. More than his paintings, it's his philosophy that endures; his message is one that society needs to hear now more than ever: "Beauty is everywhere -- we only have to look to see it."

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