The Joy of Painting

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been watching The Joy of Painting quite a bit recently. The classic series from 1985 is being repeated every evening on BBC Four. There’s something enormously therapeutic and relaxing in watching a weird, but obviously very talented, American guy create a painting from scratch. Of course, the program was designed to teach people various techniques of landscape painting, but given I can barely hold a paintbrush let alone replicate anything the great Bob Ross shows us, I think there is something else in this television show which fascinates me. There is something about watching an image being created from a blank screen over half an hour which is both relaxing and compelling. The pictures Ross creates are usually quite beautiful and evocative. Who knows whether a program like that could be commissioned these days, but in repeating them I suspect BBC Four is trying to tell us all to chill out a bit.

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