Stress relief

Art teacher Bob Ross is a YouTube sensation - 25 years after his death

Splashing some paint around - or even watching a late American artist do so online - can relieve the pressure of this ‘unprecedented time’

23 August 2020 - 00:00 By
Artwork from Boss Ross' board game, Art of Chill.
Artwork from Boss Ross' board game, Art of Chill.
Image: Supplied

A recent article in The Atlantic claims that Bob Ross is the ultimate calming presence. More than 25 years after his death, Ross — an American who found fame in the '80s with a TV show teaching people to paint — retains an almost spiritual presence in the world of step-by-step art-making and is loved by adults and kids alike for his distinctive hair, gentle voice, and expressions such as "happy little trees".

The official Bob Ross YouTube channel has more than 4-million subscribers and more than 360-million total views. Why? Because there's nothing quite as innocently engrossing as watching him turn out a "serene portrait of nature in just under half an hour".

In his show, The Joy of Painting, Ross described his art "as a way of capturing the eternal beauty of the world and living free no matter the challenges in life".

He was a voice of positivity, saying things like: "This piece of canvas is your world, and on here you can do anything your heart desires."

WATCH | A short clip from Bob Ross's series 'The Joy of Painting'

You may not produce a masterpiece on your first go, but there are many health benefits to splashing some paint around:

Holding a paintbrush triggers your mind to start imagining and can be an external representation of and relief from tough emotions.

Creative work quickly releases stress, and calms the temper.

Making art plays a significant role in the development of the brain.

Painting boosts memory skills. People involved in drawing, writing, and painting are at a lower risk of developing memory-related illnesses in old age.

Drawing and painting help develop or enhance your fine motor skills.

Creating art demands patience - an important self-regulation skill.

Making a piece of art gives you a sense of accomplishment, enhancing self esteem.

Sketching and painting also enhance problem-solving abilities and critical thinking.

Focusing on making art is meditational. It relieves stress and has been proven to lower cortisol levels. It also helps to regulate mood and control depression.