8 Challenges For Intermediate Oil Painters

You’ve figured out the basics of painting in your style of choice. The paintings you’re creating look great and you’re proud of your work. If you want to switch things up a little or push your skills to the next level try these 8 challenges for intermediate painters!

Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos on Unsplash

Every challenge will push your limits a further and help you grow as an artist. You will not only get better at the technical aspect and develop your manual skill but also on the artistic and observational aspect of painting.

Challenge #1: One Brush Only

There is reason we have five to ten different kinds of brushes in our toolkit. Fan brushes, filbert brushes, liner brushes or background blender brushes – they all serve a purpose and let you create different effects.

It’s time to drop all but one of them and paint a picture using only a single type of brush. For starters we recommend something like a one inch blender brush.

The Challenge

Paint a picture using only a single type of brush – everything from background to details. No knife allowed.

What You Will Learn

With this challenge you will really get to know your brushes. You’ll learn how they behave when you load them differently with paint and what effects they are especially good for. Maybe you’ll discover a secret technique on how to paint mountains with a liner brush – if you do you have to promise to tell us!

To put it in the words of one of the biggest martial artists of all time:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Bruce Lee
Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash

Challenge #2: Knife Only

Let’s take it one step further. This time we are leaving all of our brushes out of the game. Knowing how to handle your painting knife is an invaluable skill every painter should master.

The Challenge

Paint a picture using only your painting knife. Using a brush for the sky and/or water is allowed.
Hard Mode: No brush allowed at all

What You Will Learn

Similar to Challenge #1 you’ll really get to know your painting knife and what it can do. But this one will not only challenge your technique and manual skill.

Painting with only a knife will also challenge how you think about details and shapes: How do you paint a round bush with a square knife? This one is for you to find out.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Challenge #3: Paint In Black And White

This one takes us back to the Fifties, back before color TV was invented and everyone could only see (and paint) in black and white. Did you know that it was a real challenge to decide Mona Lisa’s hair color in 1957 when they finally added color to that painting?

Jokes aside, painting with only two colors is a fantastic challenge for every oil painter.

The Challenge

Paint a picture using only different black, white and grey.
Hard mode: No different types of grey (like warm grey or cold grey) allowed.

What You Will Learn

Eliminating all colors from your palette forces you to focus on the value of the objects you paint. You’ll learn a lot about aerial perspective and how to create depth by varying the contrast of different parts of your paintings.

Challenge #4: One Color Only

I think we’re done removing things from your toolbox and colors from your palette. Don’t you agree?

Let’s take the palette from Challenge #3 and add a single color of your choice to it. Painting in black and white is one thing, but how about a painting using only different types of green, blue or yellow?

Did you know that Swedish painter Anders Zorn only used four colors at all? While it is one more color than you will be using for this challenge Zorn managed to create stunning works with this limited palette consisting of Ivory Black, Titanium White, Yellow Ochre and Vermilion Red.

Anders Zorn

The Challenge

Paint a picture using only black, white and a third color of your choice.

What You Will Learn

Just like with Challenge #3 this tasks puts a special emphasis on value. You’ll also become real good friends with the color of your choice. You’ll learn how it reacts to the addition of black and white and exactly what kind of hues you can mix and use.

Challenge #5: A New Subject

As an intermediate painter you’re probably pretty good at painting one kind of subject already. For me this is landscape art, classic Bob Ross style. Mountains, Hills, Rivers, Trees – winter or summer, those are my bread and butter.

But there is one thing we all know: Great things happen outside of our comfort zone.

So take those brushes and paints – all of them if you want, you’ve earned them after Challenges #1 to #4 – and paint something you’ve never painted before.

This could be a little mix up (like painting a seascape for me) or something entirely different (like a portrait or something abstract).

To get something you’ve never had you have to do something you’ve never done before.

The Challenge

Paint a subject you’ve never painted before.

What You Will Learn

Pushing the limits of what you can paint is a fantastic thing. You’ll learn to generalize shapes and the interactions between light, angles and different objects.

I’m not going to say that a nose is just a mountain in someone’s face, but you know what I mean.

In addition to the learnings you’ll take from this challenge it’s just fun to switch things up from time to time.

Challenge #6: Use A New Medium

Painting is so much more than just applying colors to a canvas. It’s time to take everything you’ve learnt about composition, perspective and color theory and put it to use in another medium.

Whether you switch to acrylics, watercolors or pen and ink – let’s see what you can do!

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

The Challenge

Paint a picture in a medium you haven’t used before.

What You Will Learn

This challenge will really hammer home those transferable skills mentioned above. Be it acrylics or oils, composition matters in both cases. Ink or watercolor, you need to get your perspective right.

In addition you will learn to appreciate all the things your medium of choice does for you: painting reflections or leaves on trees is easier done in oil than in ink.

Challenge #7: Reproduce Someone Else’s Work

Who is the painter whose unique style you admire most? It’s time to try and recreate it!

Just like Pablo Picasso Steve Jobs said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”.

The Challenge

Copy a painting of another artist as closely as possible.

What You Will Learn

Copying another painter’s work will give you great insights on how they create effects you adore and how they use composition and color to invoke feelings of awe.

Besides discovering new techniques it will also train your eye to paint what you see instead of what you think you see.

Challenge #8: Paint Faster

A tip we always give to beginners is “paint slow and take your time”. Once you have the basics down it’s time to speed things up!

If a painting in your style of choice takes you an hour try to do it in 30 minutes. If it takes a day try to do it in an afternoon.

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

The Challenge

Paint a picture in half the time it usually takes you.

What You Will Learn

Working faster forces you to think faster and paint more loosely. You won’t have time to get hung up on mistakes or to plan out every aspect of your painting before putting it on the canvas.

This allowes you to learn to forgive yourself if you make mistakes, You’ll also learn which parts of your paintings can be abstracted (or dropped altogether) without reducing the quality of your work.

What do you think about our challenges? What did you learn from them?

Join over 1000 painters on TwoInchBrush.com and share your paintings and knowledge with us. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

How To Make Art When You’re Colorblind

Do you know those teambuilding excerices where you have to tell a fun fact about yourself? Here’s mine:

I run a website dedicated to art and painting with over 1000 members. And I’m colorblind.

People are always shocked. “How can you do art when you don’t know the colors?” – “Isn’t this super hard for you?`” – “What color is this?” (while pointing at the sky).

Being colorblind

Yes, not knowing what color things are can be hard when painting. Did you know that clouds are not always grey, but sometimes pink? Or that peanut butter isn’t green?
I have protanopia, which means that I have problems discriminating red and green hues. This influences not only these two colors but almost every other one as well. What even IS purple?

But like most things in life, if things get hard you just have to work smart. Here are my top 4 tips to create art as a colorblind person.

1. Can’ see color? Don’t use color!

What sounds like a dumb joke is actually my number one tip. There are many different ways to create art. You can vary your subjects as well as the painting media you are using.

On days where I really can’t be bothered to kepp asking my girlfriend questions like “Hey, what color is this plant? What color is this house? What color is your hair?” I simply drop everything colorful and stick to black and white.

A great painting medium that doesn’t use any color is pen and ink. It’s also pretty cheap to get into as all you need is some paper and a pen. Of course you can get more fancy equipment later.

A sketch of the view from my balcony

Pen and ink uses techniques such as cross hatching to create texture and depth. All colors are reduced to black, white and grey. And if you really want to add a single color it is guaranteed to make your drawing pop!

A fantastic resource for beginners with pen and ink is the YouTube channel of Alphono Dunn. Dunn ist a graduate of the New York Academy of Art, an award winning artist and a successful YouTuber with over 600 000 subscribers.

Once you’ve watched a few of Alphonso’s YouTube tutorials you’ve got a great base to create same nice looking basic drawings with pen and ink. Especially his series on Urban Sketching (basically going outside and drawing your city) is worth a watch.

A great way to learn pen and ink in a more structured way is Dunn’s book “Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide”. If you have a few bucks to spare I also recommend you to get the accompanying workbook.

2. The value in understanding value

If pen and ink isn’t really for you or you’ve already bought oils or acrylics this one is for you.

A lot of what makes a painting good has nothing to do with color hues but color values. In this context it basically means how light or dark a color is.

The color value of different objects tell you a lot about how far away they are and about their position relative to each other.

Of course things near a light source are often lighter in value than objects in the shadows. But did you know that there is an effect called athmospheric perspective? This is the effect the atmosphere has on the appearance of an object as it is viewed from a distance.

Field before the storm
Painted by TwoInchBrush.com member Sunnylady this painting uses only three colors: Burnt Sienna, Titanium White and Ivory Black

As the distance between an object and a viewer increases, the contrast between the object and its background decreases, and the contrast of any markings or details within the object also decreases. The colours of the object also become less saturated and shift towards the background colour.

Or in short: objects get lighter in value when they are far away.

A great way to get your feet wet (or snowy) is the ‘The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross’ episode ‘Shades of Grey’. Bob Ross recorded this one after meeting a colorblind person who told him that he could never paint. And boy, did Bob prove him wrong!

Bob Ross colorblind episode

3. Stick to what you know, get help when you don’t

We know that the sky is blue. We know that grass is green. No problem choosing the right colors to paint these things.

All you have to do is check your paint tubes for the name of the color inside and youre good to go.

But what about the shirt in photo you are recreating in oils? Maybe some kind of green, yellow, orange or a color with a fancy name you don’t even know?

Technology is your friend. There are countless apps to help you get the name of the colors you can’t see. A great one I use is Color Blind Pal on Android. Simply open the app, point your camera and find out that the new shirt you just bought isn’t the color you thought it was. Great stuff!


Once you know which color you need to use you can either grab the right tube or check one of the numerous color mixing charts online to find out how to mix the hue you want.

4. Messed up? No problem

Painted a pink sky or orange grass by accident? No problem, just pretend you meant to do this from the very beginning. It’s art and if people don’t like it they just don’t get it 😉

Color Blind Problems T Shirt | Funny quotes, Funny pie charts ...

Have any other tips for colorblind artists? Reach out on Twitter and let me know!

We’ve Added Articles – Share Your Knowledge With The Community!

The community of painters on TwoInchBrush.com is absolute fantastic – fantastic painters as well as fantastic people. It is no wonder that there is a lot of knowledge transfer happening in the comments of uploaded paintings.

Until now all this knowledge was lost (not really lost, but you get it) when newer paintings were uploaded which pushed the older ones on page 2 and beyond.

To save all your wonderful tips and tricks I’ve spend my Christmas holiday by adding user-created articles to the website. You can now share all your secrets with the community and help people reach the next level!

Head over Community > Articles or visit the articles page directly and have a look.

I’ve started by recycling an old article I have written for the blog, but I’m sure some of you will write their first ones in no time!

Write your own articles

There is a big blue button with “Write article”, all you have to do is click it. 😉

Images work best with a width of 100%.

Don’t forget to publish your article after you have saved it.

Since a lot of great great advice has already been written in the comments you can generate new articles from your existing comments too:

For the Community

Liked someone’s article? Leave them a heart to let other community members know!

My next step is to make articles commentable and of course add some article related achievements for you to earn! Both should be done in a few weeks.

I wish you all a happy new year!


TwoInchBrush.com Update – Ready For A Challenge?

Yesterday I’ve rolled out an update I’ve been working on for some time. Among other things this includes:


While painting your favorite Bob Ross paintings and interacting with the community on TwoInchBrush.com you can now complete challenges and earn badges for your profile.

Head over to our Challenges page to see which ones you have already completed and decide which one you’re going to tackle next!

Got an idea for a challenge? Shoot me a mail at paintings@twoinchbrush.com and earn a special tagline for your profile.

Design Updates

I’ve tweaked some smaller stuff like text color and spacing, updated some bigger things like comments and some layouts, and made the blog look more like the rest of the website.

A redesigned comment. Notice dracula’s custom tagline and the palette indicating the uploader of the painting.

Less Ads

I’ve removed some of the more intrusive ads from the website. While I might lose a little bit of money I feel like they took away too much of the user experience on TwoInchBrush.com.

If you find a bug or have a suggestion for future features you can always send me a mail at paintings@twoinchbrush.com or contact me via Twitter or Facebook.


Discover The Best Present For Kids Between 8 And 14 Years Old

It’s not only incredibly fun but makes them smarter and a better person – scientifically proven!

It’s the same every year. Christmas is approaching fast and you don’t have a gift for the children in your life.

They might want the newest PlayStation or another game for their computer. You want to gift them something that doesn’t fry their brain cells and have them staring at a screen the whole day.

But most importantly – you also want to gift them something fun. Something that makes their eyes shine a little bit brighter. And maybe something that puts a spark into their hearts – for the rest of their lives.

We want to show you one of the best gifts you can give – and why to do it

Remember the TV painter Bob Ross? A soft spoken man with permed brown hair who knew his way around a canvas. Maybe you used to watch him years ago on cozy Sunday mornings.

What would you say if I told you that Bob Ross and his show (which stopped airing 20 years ago) have over 1.5 million fans on Facebook, and young people today are absolutely in love with the painter? They are sharing pictures and quotes with each other and are having paint-along-parties where they follow the old masters instructions – and having the time of their lives! 

Just as easy as it seems!

“Everyone can paint.” Bob Ross believed in these words and lived them. He inspired countless people to pick up the brush and give it a try. People that had never tried art in their lives before. People that were told “you don’t have any talent” by teachers. People who didn’t believe they could do it. 

But Bob Ross believed in them.
And boy was he right!

A first time for everything.

Almost everyone that tried to paint along with Bob Ross was surprised by their first painting. Suprised how easy it was, how good it looked. And to be honest, how long it took.

While Bob finishes his paintings in less than 30 minutes on the show, in reality it takes around 2 hours for a first timer. But that’s part of the beauty. Painting teaches creativity and patience.

My own first try. The mountain is a little smudgy, but I was really happy!

Great for mind and health – scientifically proven!

Countless studies have shown what every painter knew already: Painting is not only fun, but great for your mental health. Only 45 minutes of doing art reduces the stress hormones in the body by a significant amount. 

The scientists noted that this effect was especially strong in younger people, meaning that kids benefit even more from it than adults!

Increasing confidence, empathy and tolerance.

Doing art is great way for children to boost their confidence. They can create something, whatever they want. And with Bob Ross this is going to turn out great. Finishing the first painting and watching someone put it on the wall (not just because it’s something they made, but because it looks fantastic) will be a memory they’ll treasure for their whole lives!

Studies have shown that engaging with art makes kids more empathic, more tolerant and more diplomatic. Effectively making them better people!

The best way to get painting.

Let’s sum this up: painting is a fantastic activity that will not only make your children grow as persons but which is fun, challenging and will create wonderful memories for the rest of their lives.

This is where you come in: The best and easiest way for you to enable your child to do this and unleash their potential and inner artist is the Bob Ross Master Set.

The Master Set contains all brushes and paintings you need to get started right away for around $100, while including supplies worth over $180!

Bob Ross Master Paint Set
The Bob Ross Master Paint set

Instructions for a first painting are included, but we suggest following our “Getting Started” guide for even better results. The included paints will last for quite a few paintings, so unlike some toy it is not something that goes to waste after half an hour of play time.

You can find a detailed review of the Master Set and all included supplies here.

Truly a great gift!

Don’t wait any longer, you’re probably not the only one thinking about gifting a Bob Ross Master Paint Set. The product frequently goes out of stock. And who can blame people with the fantastic value you get with it!

Head over to Amazon.com and order it now, comfortably right to your doorstep!


8 Tips for Employing Art Therapy Techniques

This is a guest post by Sophie Garrod.

Art therapy has long been recognised as an effective way of treating grief, loss, mental illness and other mental health problems. Its accessibility means it is also equally effective across a range of different groups of people, including children to adults.

This type of therapy is so useful in these situations as it gives patients an outlet to express their feelings when doing so verbally may be difficult or even impossible. Art therapy can involve a range of different mediums, such as painting, drawing or sculpture.

If you think art therapy good be beneficial for you or someone you know, here are some tips for employing art therapy techniques to keep in mind.

1. When Art Therapy May Help

Creating art can be beneficial to just about anyone and boost mental and emotional wellbeing, even for people who are not experiencing any particular challenges. However, it has been shown to have particular results in improving self-esteem, self-awareness, emotional resilience, social skills, and easing distress. There are many different mediums you can use for the exercises we will discuss in this article. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways, especially for beginner artists, is with oil paints: see tips on getting started with oil painting here.

2. Art Therapy Should be Conducted By a Trained Professional

Participating in art therapy is not as simple as going to an art class. Art therapists are trained professionals with a very specific set of skills, rather than simply art teachers. Although art in any form is undoubtedly positive and an important part of self-care, if you are seeking to treat a certain illness or address a particular issue, you should consult with a qualified art therapy professional.

3. Art Therapy Can Involve Words Too

Just because art therapy is all about expressing things creatively, this doesn’t mean that it cannot also involve using words to express yourself. Some art therapy techniques could involve writing feelings, such as creating a postcard with whatever artist techniques you desire, and writing a note on the other side. This postcard could be addressed to someone in your life, someone you’ve lost, or your past, future or even present self.

4. Art Therapy Can Be Useful For Anxiety

Anxiety is a long-term condition which can be extremely difficult to treat. It is also something which often goes undiagnosed and untreated for years, despite its prevalence:  in the US alone, an estimated 40 million adults suffer from anxiety, 18% of the population. Art therapy can be very helpful in identifying the source of patients’ anxiety, as well as developing healthy coping mechanisms. For example, creating a “panic book”, which contains images and other materials which you find comforting, can help you to stay calm during a panic attack.

5. For Children: Keep It Simple

Art therapy is an invaluable tool for treating children, particularly young children. Young age groups have limited language and communication skills making it nearly impossible to express their feelings or complex thoughts, and art is an excellent way to bridge that gap. For young children, art therapy techniques don’t need to be complicated: simply drawing or colouring can go a long way to letting the patient express their feelings, and helping therapists identify issues.

6. Art Therapy is Great For Adults Too

Although art therapy is great for getting kids to express their emotions, it is also perfect for having adults do the same. Even though adults have better developed language and communications skills than children, they are not necessarily much better at identifying and articulating what they are feeling. Art therapist will be able to recommend specific projects and exercises which are suitable to the patient’s condition, and sites like ipicasso are great places for getting art inspiration.

7. Use Art Therapy to Identify Emotions

Sometimes the hardest part is not dealing with our emotions, but identifying them in the first place. Creating art can help you identify what you’re feeling, in order to work through and address these emotions, preferably with the assistance of a trained professional. There are a variety of art therapy exercises you can use to tease out complex or difficult emotions,  such as drawing or painting what you’re feeling, creating an emotional wheel (a visual representation of the emotions you are feeling at a particular time or over a length of time using colours), making a visual journal or making abstract line art to express how you’re feeling.

8. Art Therapy to Reduce Stress

Most people go through times of stress at one point or another, and a significant amount of people suffer from chronic stress over the medium to long term. Art therapy can be used for relaxation, encouraging mindfulness, and ultimately stress relief. Art therapy for relation can be very simple: creating a “stream of consciousness” painting while listening to music, using lines of colour to make a simple scribble drawing, or creating a mandala by starting at the centre and working your way out by drawing circles each with their own symmetrical pattern.

About the Author:

After graduating in journalism and media, Sophie started working as Head of Content for ipicasso.co.uk. Ipicasso is the specialized online store in selling high-quality paintings by numbers in UK.

Share Your Paintings With The World On TwoInchBrush.com

Today marks the 29th of October 2018. It’s Bob Ross’ 76th birthday!

Introducing The TwoInchBrush-Community

To celebrate this special day we worked hard for the last few weeks to give you the newest feature on TwoInchBrush.com.

Create your own profile and upload your own creations of Bob’s paintings!

Simply sign up and create your account and you’re ready to share your paintings with the world. Head over to any painting-page, scroll down and add your own!

Of course you can also add more info about yourself and your paintings. Add links to your social media accounts, so people can follow you there too!

There is more to come!

Of course we aren’t going to stop with this. For the future we have more in stock:

Comments, more upload options (like your original creations) and other stuff.

And of course we want to hear your ideas too! Visit this link and tell us about your  ideas or any feedback you might have. We’d love to hear from you!


Bob Ross Master Paint Set Review

The Bob Ross Company makes several painting kits and sets that contain (almost) everything you need to paint with Bob Ross. Their flagship painting kit is the Bob Ross Master Paint Set and contains painting supplies which let you create almost any painting on ‘The Joy of Painting’. But is it really worth it? We bought one to give you all the information you need to help you decide for yourself in our Bob Ross Master Paint Set review.

The Content Of The Master Paint Set

The Bob Ross Master Set contains eight tubes of paint (1.25 oz / 37 ml), four brushes, a painting knife, a bottle of liquid white base color (4 oz / 118 ml) and painting instructions for a painting, both on paper and on a one hour long DVD.

Content of the Bob Ross Master Paint Set
The content of the Bob Ross Master Paint Set

It comes in a cardboard box featuring the typical Bob Ross aesthetic. We imagined it to be a bit bigger than it was, but with a size of 1.9 x 14.9 x 11.7 inches (4.8 x 37,9 x 29,7 cm) there is more than enough room for its content. The painting kit we are reviewing features text in English and German since we ordered it from a European marketplace.

Inside the carboard box we find a plastic inlay that holds the Master Set’s content and secures it from moving around during transport. There is some empty space on the right side of the inlay which looks like it would hold some kind of bottle. After some research we found that there are special versions of the Bob Ross Master Set that contain an additional small bottle of paint thinner. Underneath the plastic inlay we can find the instruction folder and the  Getting-Started DVD.

Bob Ross Master Set Content
The plastic inlay and its content

The Tools

The set contains four brushes and a #10 painting knife. The brushes are

  • 1 inch landscape brush
  • 2 inch background brush
  • #6 fan brush
  • Liner brush.

All Bob Ross brushes are natural bristle brushes made from animal hair and shaped to Bob’s own specifications to work perfectly with his wet-on-wet technique. The tools come with a handle painted in white and three of the brushes have a protective plastic wrapping. They also have a very nice weight and feel a litte heavier than other tools we have used before. All these things make the products feel very high quality and nice to use.

Bob Ross Master Set Tools
The tools in the Bob Ross Master Set

One Inch And Two Inch Brush

Arguably Bob’s favorite brushes. He uses these two brushes for almost anything in this paintings, from clouds and trees to bushes and waves. We are pretty sure you could paint using only one of these brushes and no other tools at all. As Bob himself said: “I really believe that if you practice enough you could paint the ‘Mona Lisa’ with a two-inch brush.”

As mentioned above these two brushes are made from natural bristles and the very first thing we noticed when picking them up was their almost absurd thickness. These brushes really pack a ton of very dense bristles. The thick round handle and the brass metal feel very well made and nice to hold.

Bob Ross Brushes
The Bob Ross one inch and two inch brush

Since these brushes are designed for Bob’s wet-on-wet technique we now understand why our clouds and brushes never came out half as good as Bob’s own. The high amount of bristles allow the brush to pick up a lot of paint. The length and thickness enable you to paint fluffy clouds and happy bushes with very little pressure.

Comparing the Bob Ross two inch brush to another brush we have used before really shows how specialised these tools are. Below you can see the difference in thickness and length. The other brush is a standard natural bristle two inch brush for oil paint. The difference really is extreme. We’ve often been frustrated when painting bushes because the shorter, thinner (and therefore stiffer) brush didn’t allow us to paint with the amount of freedom that is needed for best results.

Comparison between Brushes
Comparison between a Bob Ross and a standard two inch brush

And since this review wouldn’t be complete without a video of a finger going through the brush here it is. Just an amazing feeling.

We noticed that these brushes lose a few bristles when using them for the first time. According to the manufacturer this is normal for natural bristle brushes. Bob himself allegedly said “Because these are natural bristle brushes they do have a tendency to shed a little bit. Especially during the mating season.”

Fan Brush

Another stable in Bob’s toolbox is the fan brush. He uses it to make clouds, folliage, waves and to put highlights on grassy hills and evergreens.

Just like the other brushes this one is made from natural bristles. It is a #6 fan brush, meaning that it is the larger one of the two variations made by the Bob Ross Company. The other one is smaller and called the #3 fan brush.

Bob Ross Fan Brush
The Bob Ross Fan Brush

Again we have a nice protective sleeve for the bristles themselves and a round white handle with a nice weight to it. This time we have silver metal parts instead of brass.

Bob Ross often mentions how important it is to have well made tools because of their superior characteristics. One of the most important of these characteristics for a fan brush is a certain ‘springiness’. It is especially important when painting trees.

For Bob’s method you have to put quite a bit of paint on your brush when painting evergreens and then use the edge of your brush to paint the limbs. If your fan brush is not firm enough you risk that the heavy paint clogs up your brush and makes painting the next limbs harder. We did not have any problems like this when doing our trees with this brush as it always jumps back in its original form even when using a very thick coat of paint.

Liner Brush

The Liner Brush is the last brush we take a look at. Bob uses it in every painting even though often only to sign his name. Besides that it is used for thin limbs and sometimes blades of grasses on beach scenes.

Just like the other brushes we have natural bristles on a nice ergonomic white handle with silver metal again. The bristles on this one have a nice length to them that gives you a certain freedom and makes for very nice curves.

Bob Ross Liner Brush
The Bob Ross liner brush

#10 Painting Knife

To finish our collection of tools we take a look at the #10 Painting Knife. Just like with the fan brush ‘#10’ means that it is the larger of two knifes, the smaller one being the #5. Bob uses the painting knife mostly for his almighty mountains, altought there are paintings that he does with knife only.

The knife itself feels rather heavy. This makes it a great tool for when Bob tells you to use the weight of your knife to put snow on your mountain tops.  We have used plastic painting knifes and non Bob Ross knifes before and their light weight makes it hard to apply the highlights when doing mountains.

Bob Ross #10 Painting Knife
Bob Ross #10 Painting Knife

We noticed that the knife says “Made in China” while the brushes are all “Made in Germany”. We assume that the reason for this is the better treatment of animals in Germany than in China and therefore a better quality of the finished products. (Remember that we have the Master Set version for the European market. The brushes for the US version are all made in the USA.)

Oil Paints

The Bob Ross Master Paint Set contains eight tubes of oil paint and a bottle of liquid white. The tubes contain 1.25 oz / 37 ml of paint. Seeing these medium sized tubes was a nice suprise since we somehow expected to find only small tubes with 0.4 oz / 12 ml. (Despite reading the product description beforehand.)  Most of these medium size tubes cost around  $10 on Amazon.com. With the Master Paint Set’s price being around $100 it really is a good deal. But more on that later.

Paint included in the Bob Ross Master Set
Paint included in the Bob Ross Master Set

The eight colors included are

  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Light Red
  • Midnight Black
  • Phtalo Blue
  • Sap Green
  • Titanium White
  • Van Dyck Brown.

These eight colors let you paint a lot of Bob’s typical mountain paintings. As always with Bob Ross oil paints the lighter colors have a different oil-to-pigment ratio than the darker ones. Remember: thin paint sticks to thick paint. This makes painting highlights on trees for example way easier than with ‘normal’ oil paints.

The bottle of liquid white contains 4 oz / 118 ml of liquid white, which should last for quite a few paintings. Along with the 1.25 oz / 37 ml tubes the paint included should let you paint at least 3 to 5 paintings without using up one of the tubes. Maybe more if you are carefull not to waste paint.


The painting kit contains instructions for a painting in the typical Bob Ross style called ‘Mountain Summit’. There is an hour long DVD for you to paint along, as well as two booklets. One repeating the instructions and one with additional tips. Since we have been painting for a while we can’t really say anything about how easy it is for beginners to follow along, but we asked someone else to test it for you.

Bob Ross Master Set Instructions
Bob Ross Master Set Instructions

Is it worth it financially? How much do I save?

One of the biggest deciding factors in buying a painting kit instead of everything separately is the money you save by doing so. So let us take a closer look together:

The Bob Ross Master set usually costs $100 to $110 on Amazon.com, so let’s use $110 as our base price and look at the cost of purchasing everything separately. (All prices are as of March 22, 2018 and can change over time.)

Adding up these numbers we arrive at $91.95 for the tools. So getting the Master Paint Set is almost worth it for the brushes and the knife alone!

As mentioned above one of the 1.25 oz / 37 ml tubes of oil paint costs around $10. Since we have eight of them this puts us at $80 for the tubes and an additonal $12 for the liquid white. (Since you can’t buy a 4 oz bottle we just halved the price for the 8 oz one.) So we get another $92 for the included paints.

Since there is a special one hour episode for beginners available for free on the internet we don’t put a price on the instructions.

Buying all contained items separately sets you back $183.95. With the Bob Ross Master Paint set priced at a maximum of $110 on Amazon you save $73.95. Most of the time you can get it for $100 anyways, saving you almost $85.

What else do I need?

While the Bob Ross Master Paint set contains almost everything you need to start painting there are three things you need to buy in addition to the painting kit:

Canvas:  You need a pre-stretched and primed canvas of a good size. We suggest the Arteza Canvas 18×24”. While any canvas will do for starters we found that it is worth it to spend a few bucks extra to not get the bottom shelf ones.

Paint Thinner: Used to clean your brushes and thin your paints. No need to get expensive ones, we suggest the Mona Lisa 32-Ounce Odorless Paint Thinner. Be sure to get the odorless one!

Easel: While not really necessary (you can mount your painting to the wall or a ladder) it makes everything way smoother to work with. We have a cheap aluminium one from Amazon. While not the most stable one it does its job perfectly.

Final Words

We think the Bob Ross Master Set is a great way to start painting. It gives you high quality tools and paints made specifically to work with Bob’s wet on wet technique for around $100 and even with the needed additional purchases (canvas, paint thinner and easel) it enables you to start a new and exciting hobby for as little as $150 without having to get low quality supplies.

We hope you give it a try and it gives you as much enjoyment to paint along with Bob Ross as it does for us.

That ‘Tingling Feeling’ You Get From Watching Bob Ross

Maybe you have experienced it too. Watching Bob Ross paint makes your head tingle and when he drags his brush along the canvas it almost feels like he is scratching the back of your neck.
This fuzzy feeling that some of us experience has a name: ASMR, short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

What is ASMR?

Wikipedia describes it as  “an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. ”
People often describe this sensation as a “brain massage”, “head tingles” or even “brain orgasm”. Another term might be “pure bliss”.

The feeling often starts on the head or neck and moves down to the rest of the body. People that have experienced it say it reminds them of a mild electrical current or the bubbles in a glass of champagne.

What causes ASMR?

While there is little scientific research about the physiological or psychological causes of ASMR there are a number of triggers for it. Triggers are sensations or stimuli that make people experience these “head tingles”.

Very often these triggers are specific sounds, videos or touches. Examples are

  • Softly spoken or whispered voices
  • Quiet and repetitive sounds or videos of people engaging in mundane tasks
  • The sound of people chewing and slurping (We don’t get this one either)
  • Personal attention

An example for a video that triggers ASMR for a lot of people is this scene from the movie Toy Story 2. The video has been altered to remove all music and dialog.

ASMR and Bob Ross

Time and time again we hear from people that experience Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response while watching Bob Ross paint. This is so common, that the ASMR community on reddit has Bob Ross listed as one of the common triggers. But what is it with Bob that makes peoples brains tingle?

Besides the great hair ‘The Joy of Painting’ with Bob Ross features almost every stimulus we mentioned above. Bob is soft spoken and calm, talking only about happy things. His actions are well practiced and predictable. And the sound of his palette knife scraping along his canvases or his trusty brush hitting the easel when he beats the devil out of it fit the description of ASMR triggers almost perfectly.

Where to find more

The biggest online community for discussion about ASMR is on reddit. People share their favorite videos their and talk about their experiences. The forum also uses an extensive tag system so you can search for your favorite kind of videos. There are also countless videos on YouTube, featuring almost every trigger you can think of.

Did you ever experience ASMR personally? Or do you just like to watch Bob Ross paint his little bushes and trees? We would love to know more, so please tell us in the comments below!


Inside A Bob Ross Instructor Course

During ‘The Joy of Painting’ Bob Ross often talks about his friends and students and about what great painters and instructors they are, especially his son Steve. But did you know that almost everyone can become an instructor for the Bob Ross painting method by visiting a Bob Ross Instructor Course? All you need is the desire to paint.

About the Courses

Bob Ross Inc. offers several courses that aim to teach you how to be a better painter and a great teacher and continue the legacy of Bob Ross. After finishing you can call yourself a Certified Ross Instructor and spread your love for creating beautiful paintings to the world.

There are four courses available, each covering a different topic. These are

    • Landscapes (CRI, Certified Ross Landscape Instructor)
    • Flowers (CRFI, Certified Ross Floral Instructor)
    • Animals (CRWI, Certified Ross Wildlife Instructor)
    • People (CRPI, Certified Ross Portrait Instructor).

Each of these Teacher Training Seminars consists of three levels, each one building on the one below.
Level 1 provides a strong foundation in painting your desired subjects and places special emphasis on the proper use of the different available tools.
In Level 2 you will work on more advanced projects and start honing your skills as a teacher.
Level 3 is the final step in becoming a Certified Ross Instructor and does not only feature advanced painting techniques but also teaches you everything you need to know to become a successful teacher, from demonstration skills to product sourcing, class setup and even promotion.

Interview with an Instructor

We talked with Grant Wells, one of our followers on Twitter that successfully took all three levels of the Landscape Instructor Course and is now an official Certified Ross Instructor, about the course and his experience with it. Here is what Instructor Wells has to say:

“As a child of an art teacher growing up I always connected with Bob Ross. His mellow voice and supportive words always felt right at home watching him paint. So fast forward a few decades to me being a painting teacher myself at an art gallery it only seemed logical to learn the technique that inspired me so long ago. Bob Ross was more than an artist to a lot of people. He was a mentor, a teacher, and a cheer leader for those who couldn’t believe in themselves.

I went to the Bob Ross certification with only 6 months of oil painting under my belt. Most of what I did in the medium was my best attempt at doing what he taught in his videos so long ago. While he makes it look easy, Bob had a technique that he learned from William Alexander that was quick and effective. He took that technique and turned it into an amazing system of supplies and knowledge. While he looks like he’s just poking the canvas with the brush, there is so much more going on. Whether it’s the amount of paint used or just the pressure and direction of the bristles against the canvas.

The greatest thing I’ve learned from his technique is that with these tricks anything is possible, there really are no mistakes. In a world where everything is certain and forever, the style leaves room to be adapted to and fixed in any capacity by artists from beginners to the most experienced. The course taught me all these lessons, and that there is always more to learn. With enough practice anything is possible, it’s our world so we can sculpt anything we envision.

I definitely recommend the course to anyone interested in bettering themselves or learning a new skill. They are extremely knowledgeable and helpful for whatever your goals may be. I was able to use the technique and paint my own style of science fiction landscapes of surreal alien planets. Just acts as a testimony to what can be done with the technique, and knowledge learned from the course. After the first day of class I noticed a massive difference in my abilities from the little tricks and tips I was taught. I may not be as good as Bob Ross, but I’m that much closer to being up there, I’ll give myself another 30 years. ”

Below you can see Grant’s progression during the course, with the first painting done before starting and the other ones during or after finishing the CRI course.

If you have any questions about the courses or want to tell us about your own experiences visit us on Twitter @2InchBrush.
Happy Painting!