New York

Ull Hohn

American Fine Arts

I’ve never been a painter, but in a slough of despond, or when overcome by paralyzing lethargy—for moments, hours, days—psychically wired to the TV set, my only friend, I’ve had occasion to be an armchair painter, thanks to Mr. Bob Ross. Mr. Ross, you see, is perhaps our nation’s preeminent instructor in the art of amateur painting, although as this is his vocation he must be accounted a professional. Such are the ironies of public television, which is Mr. Ross’ main venue. I believe his show, of which I’ve seen only fragments, but fragments seen perhaps a hundred times, I believe his show is called “The Joy of Painting.” I can’t imagine that Mr. Ross doesn’t enjoy his job. He might be a worthy object of envy, especially for dispossessed creative types who can barely make a go of it.

Mr. Ross has a calm, easygoing, reassuring manner, a manner that telegraphs to his audience. Yes, you can

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