There is generally a distinction between art that is "commercial" and art that is considered "fine art." I always dismissed Bob Ross and his paintings because I would think of him as more of a TV personality than an artist. But after rewatching an episode, I was reminded of his genius as the show's host, his talent as a painter, and his poetic knack for being a motivational speaker all at the same time. Here are some of his best quotes, that while cheesy, apply to both painting and life.
1. "You need the dark in order to show the light."
While he is talking about the relativity of color in painting, there is a double meaning here that parallels life as well. It's easy to overlook the little things that make life better when we are in a good place, but it's the hard times that we have to remember the light in our lives.
2. "Look around. Look at what we have. Beauty is everywhere. You only have to look to see it."
The nature that is depicted in Bob Ross's paintings is certainly beautiful, but so are the people and things that brighten our lives. It's important to acknowledge what we have and remember there's always something to be grateful for if we search for it.
3. "They say everything looks better with odd numbers of things. But sometimes I put even numbers, just to upset the critics."
It's common in art to have things in threes in your compositions, but by saying he likes to ignore this rule he's encouraging us to go against the status quo and challenge norms both in painting and life.
4. "The secret to doing anything is believing you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe."
This one's pretty self-explanatory. Often you're the only one stopping yourself from achieving your goals. Having self-confidence is universally important for happiness and success.
5. "We don't make mistakes. We just have happy little accidents."
This is his tagline for a reason. It's so important to remember to try to make the best of failure and keep a positive outlook.