Bob Ross is buried in Gotha, Florida.
Ross was born in Daytona, Florida, in 1942, and dropped out of high school to work with his father as a carpenter before joining the Air Force at the age of 18 and moving to Alaska, where he worked as a drill sergeant where they called him “Bust ’em up Bobby” for being super strict.
While in Alaska, he became inspired by German painter Bill Alexander, who hosted The Magic of Oil Painting on PBS.
He started to sell his paintings at local markets in Alaska and when he started to make more money at art than the Air Force, he made his way back to Florida, where he was ultimately given his own slot on PBS with The Joy of Painting, which was broadcast on 300 stations across the country.
Ross was never paid for the television program, but he made his money from selling Bob Ross-branded art supplies, instructional videos, and merchandise. It’s been estimated that Ross painted roughly 30,000 paintings before he passed away. They currently sit in in a warehouse in Virginia, basically forgotten by the company that owns them, Bob Ross, Inc., and it’s almost impossible to purchase one on the open market or in private auctions.
The company would rather preserve the paintings than sell them away to the highest bidder, in part because Ross never wanted his work to be seen as a commodity, as the process of creating them was more valuable than the final product.
But it’s high time for Orlando and Central Florida to lean into our connection with this famous creative who touched so many people with his art and host at least an exhibition of his work. So here’s hoping, that by vibrating this out into the universe, someone like Orlando Museum of Art or the Cornell Fine Art Museum, will connect with Bob Ross, Inc., to host a local exhibition of his work so we can marvel in all his happy little trees.