Greg Rickaby

Greg Rickaby

Full-Stack Engineer / Photographer / Author

Happy Little Trees

Posted on | 3 minute read

Today I painted my interpretation of “Islands in the Wilderness”, based on Season 29, Episode #1 of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. It’s my best painting yet, in this post I wanted to write about my painting journey in 2022.

I’ve painted 8 paintings in 2022, and you can see my progress throughout the year…

Throughout the year I’ve been upgrading from cheap, craft-quality acrylic paint and leftover paint brushes (the same ones we used to paint the house), to oil paint, and some of the official Bob Ross Inc. painting supplies.

So far:

  • A Bob Ross plushie
  • Liquid White
  • 200 mL of Titanium White
  • 200 mL of Midnight Black
  • Thinner bucket and screen
  • The brush beater rack (yes, it’s awesome to beat the devil out of it)
  • All the landscape brushes (a Christmas present from Tara!)

The last thing on my list is better color paint. Right now, I’m using up the last of my oil paint from Hobby Lobby. They work fine, but they’re still craft-quality and too thin and oily. While having the nice gear won’t make me a better painter, it certainly helps.

Yesterday, I painted along with Bob’s episode yesterday morning and it turned out OK…

My first attempt at “Islands in the Wilderness”

Bob is famous for using the wet-on-wet technique (aka Alla Prima) and it’s helpful, if not required, to use thick paint. The Bob Ross brand paint is super thick, and the oil paint from Hobby Lobby is just too oily. While trying to dab in my happy little trees, the paint just smeared.

A quick search revealed this cool tip: squeeze oil paint onto a piece of cardboard the night before. The cardboard will draw out the oil thickening up:

Is your paint too oily? Squeeze onto some cardboard the night before.

After letting the cardboard soak up the extra oil, today’s attempt (and the first of 2023) is much better! The thicker paint made painting the trees and finer details a lot easier.

My 2nd attempt at “Islands in the Wilderness”

I eventually want to buy the full set of Bob Ross landscape paints, but in the meantime, it’s good to know that I can use the cardboard trick.

I’m really looking forward to painting more happy little trees in 2023!


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