Bob Ross Lied to Me! (Season 1, Ep 2 – “Mt. McKinley”)

This week, we (Bob Ross and I) attempted to do a painting of Mt. McKinley. I’ve never seen Mt. McKinley, and all I know about it is that it’s in Alaska, and is the highest mountain peak in North America. This was going to be interesting. I know mountains are one of the most common items in Bob Ross paintings, so I was actually looking forward to getting into them.

A screenshot showing Bob Ross's completed painting from Season 1, Episode 2

“Mt. McKinley” – by Bob Ross – from The Joy of Painting, Season 1, Episode 2

Bob Ross’s painting of Mt. McKinley in Season 1 Episode 2 of The Joy of Painting
Bob Ross’s Mt. McKinley, from Season 1, Episode 2 of The Joy of Painting
I thought I’d take a look at what we’d be doing in advance, so I sat down and watched the episode. Good thing I did too – because Bob Ross lied to me! In episode one, he outlined all of the equipment we would need for the first season (at least). But almost immediately into the second episode (while working on the sky), he says “Now, let’s get our our almighty fan brush.” … This was not on the list of tools in the introduction, nor did he make a special introduction in this episode. Just out of the blue – we needed to have a fan brush (doesn’t everyone just have one?). I picked one up at the art supply store the next day, but was more than a little miffed at Bob for not really providing me with details.

When it was time to paint, I set everything up and put a layer of liquid white on my canvas, as I’d been shown in the previous video. Everything started out alright – although, again I mixed too much green in with my blue for my sky – and I was ready when he told me to get out my fan brush…but unfortunately, everything kind of went downhill from there. I couldn’t (and still can’t) figure out how to use this fan brush to make fluffy clouds. Or how Bob blended the whole sky together using the large 2.5″ brush, without making it into a general wash. Or how to get that wonderfully smooth slope of the snow on the mountains. Or how to get the shadowing on the mountains.

By the end of the episode I finally understood how to make the evergreen trees – although it doesn’t really show in my painting.

My own painting, trying to resemble Bob Ross's (but failing)

My completed painting of Mt. McKinley – I just realized that mine is portrait while Bob’s is landscape.

Ultimately, this one went way worse than the first. I’m not expecting to be amazing – but because the first week went so well, I guess I had higher hopes for myself. I’m feeling a little down about this one, but I guess in reality it’s not THAT bad – I mean, for someone who has very limited painting experience. Also, for the record, I definitely could not have done this painting in a 1/2 hour like Bob does I didn’t even bother trying. This one took over 3 hours, but I didn’t keep track of the time specifically.

Next week, it looks like the painting is: Ebony Sunset! (Oh god I just looked at it and now I’m afraid!)

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