‘The Joy of Painting’: Bob Ross’s Soothing Powers Endure on Hulu

The Joy of Painting - Bob Ross

Perhaps it was the way Bob Ross whispered “happy little clouds,” the whoosh of his brush on the canvas or his encouraging claim that we’re all artists. There was just something about Ross, the gentle virtuoso who showed viewers how to paint landscapes, that sucked you in to his PBS series The Joy of Painting.

But as his business partner, Annette Kowalski, once told The New York Times, “The majority of people who watch Bob have no interest in painting. They’re only interested in Bob’s persona, his whatever-it-is that relaxes people.”

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His soothing powers endure: Hulu, which streams the 1983–94 series, disclosed that in 2018, customers watched nearly one million hours of the show. What’s not known is if viewing spiked at night.

As Ross, who died in 1995, said, “People…say they sleep better when the show is on.”

The Joy of Painting, Select Seasons Available now, Hulu