Local Artists Enjoy Ross Method

Clay Today

Sept. 9, 2010

Jean Kinney, left, and her daughter, Linda Humphrey, stand near paintings done in the Bob Ross Method.

By Christina Leach Phillips


FLEMING ISLAND– Linda Humphrey once completed an entire landscape painting on canvas in 19 minutes. 

Her mother, Jean Kinney, recently painted 16 wildlife canvases in three weeks.

The two Clay County women are Certified Bob Ross Instructors and owners of Let’s Paint.  Ross, the soft-spoken host of the “Joy of Painting” series on the PBS channel, completed oil paintings in his half-hour show using a “wet-on-wet” technique he developed. Although Ross died in 1995, the technique, which is a method of applying wet paint on top of wet paint without waiting for each layer to dry, is now being taught worldwide.

“It’s interesting and it’s a lot of fun, and anybody can do it — you don’t have to have any kind of artistic talent — it’s all in the technique,” said Humphrey.

Humphrey, who has a degree in art, is a painter and sculptor, and she also designs and carves wax jewelry for jewelers.  Kinney is an artist who has painted since she was a child.

When Kinney started taking Bob Ross classes a few years ago, she said, “I painted traditionally, and I never painted anything in one day.  In traditional painting, you have to wait for everything to dry or it turns to mud.  With the Bob Ross method – I just became fascinated by it.”  

Kinney decided that she wanted to teach the Bob Ross method, and she told her daughter.

Humphrey, who was living in Tennesseeat the time, said, “I told her that if she was really serious, I would come down and I would help her out.”

Humphrey moved to Florida this spring, and the two women became certified Bob Ross instructors. They now teach at A.C. Moore and at their studio in Fleming Island.  They also offer lessons in homes, assisted living facilities, and at painting parties.

“Basically, you are taught the method that Bob Ross devised for doing ‘wet-on-wet’ oil painting.  This allows you to complete a painting within a short period of time – depending on how complex it is – around four to five hours,” said Humphrey.

A class costs $45 for a 12 x 16 canvas painting and $65 for a 16 x 20, which includes everything needed — canvas, paints, and brushes, Humphrey said.

“It’s not paint-by-numbers or anything like that. We take you through the painting from the very beginning where you cover the canvas with liquid white, which is an oil-based paint but it is not as thick as oil paint. We show you exactly how to do everything, so you end up with a great painting!” she said.

Humphrey said that Ross favored a 2 inch brush, and he used a 1 inch brush and smaller brushes for detailing. “Everything has to do with how you hold the brush and what parts of the brush you use – whether it is the corner of the brush or the whole thing,” she said.

Ross also used a pallet knife to put on a base color like for mountains.  “You put it on, and then you scrape it off . . . It basically gives you the shape of your mountain.  You use the pallet knife to apply more heavily to do your highlights and shadows and the water lines,” Humphrey said.

On a recent Saturday morning, Kinney and Humphrey displayed a collection of their paintings, ranging from landscapes to wildlife, in their garage studio. Kinney encouraged a visitor to “feel the paintings.” The texture of the trees, mountains, and waves seemed to project out of the painting and appeared very realistic. 

To become certified Bob Ross instructors, Kinney and Humphrey went through intensive classes that were developed by Bob Ross.  Kinney is certified to teach landscape and wildlife painting, and Humphrey is certified to teach landscape and will soon become certified to teach floral painting.

“That way we will be able to teach everything that Bob Ross offers,” Humphrey said.

The landscape certification classes inNew Smyrna Beach,Fla., required the two women to complete 25 paintings each in a short period of time. It was during this certification process that Humphrey said she painted a canvas in a “record breaking” 19 minutes.

Kinney and Humphrey said they like to watch Bob Ross videos. “You do pick up on how he does things – it is helpful to watch him – I’m still amazed at what he can do.” Humphrey said.

“The Joy of Painting” series, which is still shown on some PBS stations, is “the most recognized, most watched TV art show in history,” according to the Bob Ross, Inc. website.

Humphrey said, “It’s a lot of fun, and, of course, Bob Ross on his program, he always said, ‘There are no mistakes – just ‘happy accidents’ – ‘It’s your world, and you can do what you want in it.'”

“It takes a lot of pressure off because you know that the results are going to be really nice, and everybody walks away with a completed painting that they can hang on their wall,” she said.

To learn more about the Bob Ross painting classes, call 904-269-9522 or 865-803-1169 or email at lindahumphrey57@gmail.com and on Facebook at letspaintllc