Bob Ross Oil Painting Technique – Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about the BOB ROSS Oil Painting Technique and some instruction about the use and care of the materials.

BLENDING:

This technique refers to the softening of hard edges and most visible brush strokes by blending the wet oil paint on the canvas with a clean, dry brush. In blending, an already painted area is brushed very lightly with criss-cross strokes or by gently tapping with the corner of the brush. This gives colors a soft and natural appearance. Not all oil paints are suitable for this technique – most are too soft and tend to smear. Only a thick, firm paint is suitable for this technique.

MARBLING:

To mix paints to a marbled effect, place the different colored paints on the mixing area of your palette and use your palette knife to pick up and fold the paints together, then pull flat. Streaks of each color should be visible in the mixture. Do not over mix.

THINNING PAINTS FOR ADDING HIGHLIGHTS: the cursed woman painting

When mixing paints for application over thicker paints already on the canvas, especially when adding highlight colors, thin the paint with LIQUID WHITE, LIQUID CLEAR or ODORLESS THINNER. The rule to remember here is that a thin paint will stick to a thicker paint.

CLEANING AND DRYING THE BRUSHES:

Painting with the wet on wet technique requires frequent and thorough cleaning of your brushes with paint thinner. An empty one pound coffee can is ideal to hold the thinner, or use any container approximately 5″ in diameter and at-least 6″ deep. Place a Bob Ross Screen in the bottom of the can and fill with odorless thinner approximately 1″ above the screen. Scrub the brushes bristles against the screen to remove paint sediments which will settle on the bottom of the can.

Dry your larger brushes by carefully squeezing them against the inside of the coffee can, then slapping the bristles against a brush beater rack mounted inside of a tall kitchen trash basket to remove the remainder of the thinner. Smaller brushes can be cleaned by wiping them with paper towel or a rag (I highly recommend using Viva paper towels because they are very absorbent). Do not return the brushes to their plastic bags after use, this will cause the bristles to become limp. Never clean your Bob Ross brushes with soap and water or detergent as this will destroy the natural strength of the bristles. Store your brushes with bristles up or lying flat.

APPLYING LIQUID WHITE:

Use the 2″ brush with long, firm vertical and horizontal strokes across the canvas. The coat of Liquid WHITE should be very, very thin and even. Apply just before you begin to paint. Do not allow the paint to dry before you begin.

PLACEMENT OF OIL COLORS ON THE PALETTE:

I suggest using a palette at least 16″x20″ in size. Try arranging the colors around the outer edge of your palette from light to dark. Leave the center of the palette for mixing your paints.

LOADING YOUR BRUSH:

To fully load the inside bristles of your brush first hold it perpendicular to the palette and work the bristles into the pile of paint. Then holding the brush at a 45 degree angle, drag the brush across your palette and away from the pile of paint. Flipping your brush from side to side will insure both sides will be loaded evenly.

(NOTE: When the bristles come to a chiseled or sharp flat edge, the brush is loaded correctly.)

For some strokes you may want the end of your brush to be rounded. To do this, stand the brush vertically on the palette. Firmly pull toward you working the brush in one direction. Lift off the palette with each stroke. This will tend to round off the end of the brush, paint with the rounded end up.

MIXING FOR HIGHLIGHTS:

Place the tip of your brush into the can of LIQUID WHITE, LIQUID CLEAR or ODORLESS THINNER allow only a small amount of medium to remain on the bristles. Load your brush by gently dragging it through the highlight colors, repeat as needed. Gently tap the bristles against the palette just enough to open up the bristles and loosen the paint.

LOADING THE PALETTE KNIFE:

With your palette knife, pull the mixture of paint in a thin layer down across the palette. Holding your knife in a straight upward position, pull the long working edge of your knife diagonally across the paint. This will create a roll of paint on your knife.

WHAT IF I HAVE NEVER PAINTED BEFORE?

There are no great mysteries to painting. You need only the desire, a few basic techniques and a little practice. lf you are new to this technique, I strongly suggest that you read the entire section on “TIPS AND TECHNIQUES” prior to starting your first painting. Consider each painting you create as a learning experience. Add your own special touch and ideas to each painting you do and your confidence as well as your ability will increase at an unbelievable rate.

WHAT PAINT SHOULD I USE?

The BOB ROSS technique of painting is dependent upon a special firm oil paint for the base colors. Colors that are used primarily for highlights (Yellows) are manufactured to a thinner consistency for easier mixing and application. The use of proper equipment helps assure the best possible results.

Liquid Clear is a particularly exciting ingredient for wet-on-wet painting. Like Liquid White/Black, it creates the necessary smooth and slippery surface. Additionally, Liquid Clear has the advantage of not diluting the intensity of other colors especially the darks which are so important in painting seascapes. Remember to apply Liquid Clear very sparingly! The tendency is to apply larger amounts than necessary because it is so difficult to see.

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