For many people, Bob Ross and his happy little trees are a source of nostalgia, comfort, and relaxation that we’ve never really been able to duplicate. He’s getting more and more attention as the years go by and new fans discover his patient style of creating art, but there’s always something we can learn, right?
So, here’s why he made three copies of every painting on his show.
It turns out that Bob Ross had a “third time is the charm” mentality, so he created a reference painting ahead of his taping, then one while the cameras were rolling. Afterward, he tried for a “flawless” version for his instructional books.
In 403 episodes of The Joy of Painting, Ross produced 381 paintings, which means there are a lot of Bob Ross originals floating around out there. Which is why the New York Times thought it was strange that they’re so hard to find and buy.
So they decided to look into it.
They found that there is still a massive collection sitting in a Virginia Warehouse owned by Bob Ross, Inc. A few are even hanging on the walls. All of the paintings are owned by Annette Kowalski, the woman who “discovered” Ross and later became his business partner.
What’s more? They’re not for sale.
“It never occurred to us to…change the whole concept that we’re not in it to sell paintings,” president Joan Kowlaski told the Times.
In fact, Ross never wanted them to be sold, and most of his internet followers don’t want that to change, either.
They will be going on display, though, in The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, as part of their permanent collection.