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Friday, 10 May 2013

Eye Off Ball.....

I took a look through my old entries today, in order to find something, and discovered a number of comments I wasn't aware had been made - so will have to check back more often. Apologies that I didn't reply, where replies might have been advisable - there must be a way of receiving notification from Blogger that comments have been made, but I don't at the moment know what it is.  

Similarly, I have no idea what happened to the formatting of the last post, where a gap appears in the last paragraph for no obvious reason.  Can't edit it out, no matter how I try.  

One of the comments referred to a piece on  Bob Ross - and argued that Ross used painting as therapy, and that many of his students then and now do the same; and that it's not reasonable to judge his or their paintings as, eg, landscape painting.  I've summarized the argument a bit without I hope misrepresenting it.  

This is true so far as it goes - and you might also argue that when seeking tuition, you tend to find that which suits the level you wish to reach: so that the student who wants to go on, and delve into the minutiae of technique, colour-mixing and all the rest of it, is not likely to be lingering over, say, Bob Ross, Bill Alexander, or Darryl Crow for long; he/she will leave them behind as not being enough - will go elsewhere because the Bob Ross approach is for hobbyists rather than serious painters (words a problem here: I have nothing against "hobbyists", and don't always go all slack-jawed in amazement at the "serious painter", either).  

I don't think the argument is too sustainable though if you look at what is now the Bob Ross Corporation (TM), its protection of the brand image - eg, by taking anything down from YouTube which shows more that a few minutes worth of Ross's work - or if you look at the mass of equipment available in the BR (and Bill Alexander) method.  It's a big business, and the various "certified Bob Ross instructors" ARE selling what they call painting tuition.  I don't see how the person starting out in oil painting is necessarily going to know that the methods are not at all easily transferable to more straightforward, or traditional, or ultimately far more enjoyable and productive methods.   What I object to is primarily the extreme expense the BR approach entails - I don't think it's fair to those starting out; and I would still warn them that there are better ways: indeed, I think almost any other way is better. 

However, I had an email correspondence a while ago with a Bob Ross instructor named Jason Bowen, who has some work on YouTube: he seems to be a genuine young man, and also made the point that he's not trying to be the next Rembrandt or Van Gogh; he knows his painting is a hobby, and he's trying to give people a sense of achievement - something they've made with their own hands and can take pride in.  I accept that - while reserving the view that even for those who don't have ambitions to stride a bit farther, there are still far more satisfying ways of doing what they want to do.  

But there we are.  Thanks for the posts, and I don't at all object if they disagree with mine - so keep 'em coming. 


  1. Fully agree with your comments, Robert, re the Bob Ross, et al systems. However, each to their own and if they help someone to pick up a paintbrush where others have failed then that's not a bad thing. Many of them, I'm sure, soon find the limitations and move on.

    Like your latest stuff; afraid I have been neglecting you a bit lately. Too much on and boring stuff at the hospital has stripped away time. I'm off to the UK next week for a few days to treat myself to some inspirational (I hope) exhibitions as well as a 'Special' Family lunch. Family being a collection of aging cousins; all that remain these days. But a good bunch and I try to get over every two or three years. But most of the time I will bury myself in paintings and sculpture in London. Looking forward particularly to the Portrait and SELF expos' in the Mall Galleries as I dabble now in that genre. always nice to see how the 'Good 'uns' do it.

    Hope the bones are hanging together; the hands are certainly working well. Keep it up.

  2. Hallo Brian, and I've worked out how to get notification of new posts emailed to me;I get there in the end. Eventually.

  3. Hello Robert, I know from POL that BR is not your favourite. However, you do not have to buy his equipment in order to paint. His shows have been on our TV after midnight and I do admit he got me started on landscapes where I used to concentrate on famous buildings. Hopefully I have managed to shake off the curse of the look-alikes.
    All the best