Happy little art memories from "Happy Little Trees"

This past weekend I treated myself to real movie theatre popcorn minus the movie. Yes, I’m one of those people. Call it my guilty pleasure. As I was paying for the freshly-popped buttery-goodness-in-a-bag, I glanced down at the candies on the shelf and spotted these beauties!!! Bob Ross “Happy Little Tree” mints!!!!

Tin cans containing mints with art Bob Ross on the lid

A wave of happiness and nostalgia washed over me right there at the Cineplex Odeon cashier desk! I smiled a big smile. When I was a kid, I would watch Bob Ross paint his happy little trees and happy mountains on tv after school. I would marvel at the way he would take his big fat paintbrush and produce mountains and landscapes and beautiful scenery on his canvas in an hour! I guess he was the inspiration for “sip and paint” parties.

I’m smiling as I type this because I remember trying some of his techniques even as an aspiring artist grade schooler. Little did I know then as I do now, (because of my friend Google) that Bob Ross served for 20 years in the United States Air Force as a master sergeant. Who knew?? His gentle TV instructor persona seems so unlike what I imagine a tough and disciplined master sergeant to be.

While serving in Alaska, he saw many of the snow and mountain scenes that were often the subjects of his paintings. He used a wet paint on wet background technique that allowed him to progress his painting without allowing it to dry during stages. He chose deliberately to paint what he called his happy world because “it’s the kind of world that I want, and can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news.

He’s often spoofed now and has become a bit of a legend posthumously, not just for his joyful open way of painting and instructing but for his magnificent style! That hair! I mean  - it’s fantastic! 

Ahhh, funny how a tin of “Happy Little Tree” mints and seeing his face can trigger such wonderful childhood memories.