The 5 Easiest Bob Ross Paintings For Beginners

Everyone loves watching Bob Ross paint on television. His soothing voice and calm instructions are a treat in itself and watching him paint makes it look like the easiest thing in the world. But is it really? Beginning a new hobby can seem daunting, so check out our list of the five easiest Bob Ross paintings for beginners to get your painting journey started!

Who is Bob Ross?

Bob Ross was a famous television painter known for his calm and wholesome demeanor, and his ability to make painting fantastic landscape pictures look like an absolute walk in the park. A little happy tree here, a big fluffy cloud there, and you’ve got yourself an absolutely fantastic painting in less than 30 minutes. He was (and still is) also famous for his huge permed hair. (Did you know he hated that haircut?)

Bob Ross
Bob Ross, his famous permed hair, and one of his landscape paintings

Bob had a TV show called ‘The Joy Of Painting’ which aired over 31 seasons and a total of 403 episodes. In each episode, he paints a landscape painting in a standard half-hour TV slot, and boy does he make it look fast and easy! You can check out the whole collection of finished paintings on TwoInchBrush.com

His Oil-Painting Technique And What Makes It Work

Bob uses the “alla prima” or wet-on-wet oil-painting technique. In this technique, you do not allow your paints to dry in between steps. Just like the name suggests, you apply coats of paints on top of each other, allowing them to mix and blend. This allowed him to paint a whole mighty mountain and its surrounding areas in around 25 minutes.

Bob’s specialty was landscape paintings, not portraits, or still lives. This had a very simple reason:
Building on the techniques of his mentor Bill Alexander he developed a method to make your brush and painting knife do all the work for you.

Bob Ross painting a mountain
Bob putting the snow on a mountain with his painting knife, using “three hairs and some air”.

The way you apply more liquid colors to water bodies makes for easy reflections. The shape your brush makes when you push it onto the canvas creates tree limbs and bushes for you. Dragging your paint-loaded knife across the silhouette of a mountain creates snowy peaks and valleys, all without any pressure at all!

The Easiest Bob Ross Paintings For Beginners – Our List

With over 400 episodes of ‘The Joy of Painting’, it is only natural that some episodes are harder than others. Most people get their painting supplies (check out our recommendations if you want to know the best supplies to get started) and pick an episode at random.

While painting is all about freedom and letting your creative juices flow there is one major problem with this approach: pick the wrong (i.e. a hard) episode for your first try and you’re likely to get discouraged when your results aren’t quite the masterpieces that Bob produced. That’s where we come in to help! 😊

‘Night Light’ from season 3. The stark color contrast and choice of subject make for a harder than normal painting.

Oh, and one last thing before we start: While Bob only takes 25 minutes to paint a picture it will likely take you around two hours for your first try. Just remember: Bob has done this all his life and finished over 1200 paintings for the show alone, you are just starting out. And painting isn’t about speed, but about relaxing and having fun!

5th Place: Peaceful Waters from Season 3

Bob invites his son Steve to the studio, so he can “take life easy”. This is a special Q&A episode where Bob answers questions his viewers sent him via mail, while Steven takes up the brush and paints. There are a lot of fantastic tips and tricks in this episode and Bob’s commentary on Steve’s painting makes for a fantastic teaching experience.

Peaceful Waters
Season 3 Episode 13, Peaceful Waters

The painting itself is not as detailed as some others because the father-son duo really takes their time with it (in relative terms of course). But as we all now: fewer details, fewer problems, easier painting!

View on TwoInchBrush.com

4th Place: Grey Winter from Season 7

A lot of people know the story about how a colorblind man came up to Bob and told him: “Bob, I’m colorblind. I will never be able to paint!” Bob told him that everyone can paint and did a whole episode in only black and white.

Grey Winter
Season 7 Episode 11, Grey Winter

While Grey Winter isn’t this exact episode it also is a monochromatic painting and an excellent exercise for beginning painters. You can really focus on your technique and composition without having to worry about using the right colors. Pretty cool, eh?

View on TwoInchBrush.com

3rd Place: Quiet Pond from Season 5

Another painting that follows our fewer-details-easier-painting philosophy. This is one of the rarer Bob Ross paintings without a mountain. While mountains look great they are something a lot of beginners struggle with for two reasons: most people try to start with cheaper oil paints (they don’t ‘break’ as well when doing the snow) and use too much force when applying their snow.

Quiet Pond
Season 5 Episode 5: Quiet Pond

So we say: just leave the mountain out of the picture, literally! Quiet Pond features a quiet pond (duh) and some bushes and trees. That’s it! Bob still takes half an hour to paint it, so you can be sure that he explains every step in detail.

View on TwoInchBrush.com

2nd Place: Final Reflections from Season 1

The last episode of the first season of ‘The Joy of Painting’. Bob again (or rather, for the first time) Bob invites his son Steve to his studio. Steve reads questions from the viewers to his father who paints a whole painting using only techniques his viewers have asked about.

Final Reflections
Season 1 Episode 13: Final Reflections

This is a fantastic second episode to paint along as almost all starting painters have the same questions: How much liquid white do I need? How do I get better highlights on my trees? Watch this episode to find the answers!

View on TwoInchBrush.com

1st Place: The Grandeur Of Summer (Special Episode)

If we could only recommend a single episode of ‘The Joy of Painting’ to beginners it would be this one.
It is a special one-hour episode of the show produced for beginners trying their hand at oil painting for the very first time.

The Grandeur of Summer
Special Episode: The Grandeur of Summer

With twice as much time than a normal episode Bob Ross really goes into detail explaining all the different techniques and how to use your tools. Even if you have already painted some pictures, you are sure to learn something from this one!

The fantastic instructions and evergreen scene really make this one the easiest Bob Ross painting for beginners and a perfect starting point in learning how to paint.

Check out our Getting-Started guide on TwoInchBrush.com


We hope our list of easy Bob Ross paintings for beginners helps you pick an episode of ‘The Joy Of Painting’ to paint along to. We would love for you to join the TwoInchBrush.com community and connect with other painters from all around the world!