If you’re in need of some “happy little trees” this Monday, you’ve now got somewhere to get your fix. Bob Ross, the perm-sporting, velvet-voiced host of PBS's The Joy of Painting, is back on the unlikeliest of networks.
Twitch.TV – the online livestreaming site best known for livestreaming playthroughs from professional video gamers is now broadcasting each of the Joy of Painting's 31 seasons on what it's calling, “Bob Ross Mondays.”
“For a long time there has been a group of broadcasters on Twitch who loved doing creative artwork, custom design, prop building, and other crafts, usually inspired by video game culture. We’ve always categorized these folks under the “Creative Game' category because we had nowhere else to put them,” says Bill Moorier, head of creative at Twitch.
So Twitch decided to give them all their own dedicated “Creative” category and Bob Ross's birthday (last Monday) seemed like the perfect day for the launch.
“Long before Twitch, Bob Ross pioneered the entire idea of creating something in real-time,” says Moorier.
Running from January 1983 to May 1994, each of the 403 half-hour episodes of The Joy of Painting saw Bob use his patented quick painting technique to take viewers through the creation of an entire landscape oil painting, while he encouraged those watching to paint right along with him.
“His demeanour was so soothing, it had a calming effect on viewers. When people came home from a rough day at work or needed a break from hearing negative stories on the news, Bob was someone they could relax with,” says Moorier.
Twitch viewers agreed. Over 5.6 million unique visitors tuned in to watch a nine-day marathon of the show's entire run that started on October 29th. Plus, thanks to Twitch's chat function, the whole community could share the experience of working on their own paintings in real-time just as Bob would've wanted.
“Throughout the initial marathon, every episode maintained at least 30,000 viewers which is an incredible feat. Many did not want the show to end, so it was the community’s collective voice that led to the idea of Bob Ross Mondays.”
Bob Ross passed away from lymphoma on July 4, 1995, but Bob Ross Mondays ensure that people will be painting “happy trees” at his instruction for years to come.
“We wanted to honour his memory and cultural impact,” says Moorier. “A number of our Creative broadcasters had cited him as a major influence. While showing his passion for painting, Bob would talk viewers through the process and interact with them as if they were in the studio with him. This is exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for with Twitch Creative.”
Watch an entire season of The Joy of Painting every Monday from 3 p.m. PST to 9:30 p.m. PST on www.twitch.tv/bobross.