What were some of Bob Ross's painting techniques?


Quick Answer

Bob Ross employed a wet-on-wet technique in his painting, which means he constantly applied new layers of fresh paint before previous ones fully or partially dried. Ross added many of the geographical features in his works using a palette knife or very thick brushes.

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Full Answer

Ross generally applied a base coat to his canvas before adding individual features. This coat typically consisted of an ingredient called Magic White, which Ross thinned out with white paint and applied to the canvas using a 2.5-inch pure boar split-bristle brush. Like all other layers, this base coat remained wet and assisted in the blending and amplification of subsequent colors.

Ross often completed mountain and sky areas with large brushes and then added trees, rivers, water features and mountain lines with the knives and liner brushes, thus enhancing the sense of texture. Using this technique, which is called "scumbling," what first appear as smudges of color gradually build into an entire impression and eventually yield a sophisticated landscape. Ross preferred to wash brushes and other implements in odorless mineral spirits and always kept his inventory of tools and paints to a minimum. He didn't want to intimidate viewers with overly expensive equipment or technical knowledge.

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