Bob Ross Left Behind A Huge Following After Death -- 3,594 Happy Protégés Teach 'The Joy Of Painting'

One of the most well-known artists within the past generation is easily Bob Ross. Known for his calm and kind demeanor, he was invited into hundreds of thousands of people's homes so he could teach them how to paint "almighty clouds" and "happy trees" on his show The Joy of Painting. Sadly, Ross passed on back in 1995 due to lymphoma. Despite the fact he is no longer with us, his artistic legacy lives on. Just recently, Twitch -- a site well-known for streaming live feeds of people playing video games -- created a new channel for artistic endeavor. To celebrate, they aired all 403 episodes of The Joy of Painting back-to-back.

Twitch is just one example that shows Bob Ross is still remembered to this day. However, he is probably more remembered for teaching hundreds of thousands of people how to paint his style. And if there is any testament to his legacy continuing, it is now reported Ross has an estimated total of 3,594 protégés teaching the Bob Ross method.

The movement was best-described by Vocativ, the initial source for the story, in which it was called a "Bob Ross Renaissance." The movement happened after the Twitch live stream of The Joy of Painting. After all 403 episodes streamed back-to-back, accumulating a total of 5.6 million unique viewers and maxing out at 183,000 viewers watching simultaneously, thousands who watched petitioned for Twitch to continue streaming Ross. Twitch apparently heard the cries of their fans and will now stream a season of The Joy of Painting every Monday. As a unique bonus, Twitch plans to reach out to the 3,549 painters who trained in the Bob Ross method to provide new content.

Huffington Post concentrated on the 3,549 painters, protégés of Bob Ross. It should however be noted that only 2,154 of them are actually certified Ross instructors in the United States. The following graph details where they all are by state.

Bob Ross Proteges
There are a total of 2,154 people in the United States who are certified Ross instructors (Image via Vocativ/Bob Ross Inc.).

Florida is the champion when it comes to certified Bob Ross instructors at 390. That is almost three times more people than the state to have the second-most certified people, California at 99. As mentioned earlier though, there are 3,549 people certified to teach the Bob Ross method of painting. That means the other 1,395 people are internationally certified. In a second graph, it shows that 89 percent of that number teach in only nine countries outside of the United States.

Bob Ross International Proteges
Out of the 1,395 international instructors certified to teach the Bob Ross method of painting, 89 percent of them live in the nine countries shown on the graph (Image via Vocativ/Bob Ross Inc.).

Germany leads at 233. Great Britain is only three instructors behind. Finally, Korea has 171. That alone is amazing because getting certified to teach the Bob Ross method is extremely difficult. Certifications are granted by Bob Ross Inc., the property of Ross' longtime business partner, Annette Kowalski. First off, there is only six people who can collectively certify someone to teach the Bob Ross method and they all live in Smyrna Beach, Florida (thus why Florida has the highest number of certified instructors). It costs a total of $395 which does not include lodging and materials. Mickey Cline, an instructor who teaches in Tennessee, explained the process.

"It's three weeks of grueling training. You make 26 or 27 paintings. It's pretty fast-paced and pretty hard. If you are not paying attention, you get lost."
If hopefuls survive, they will be granted one of three instructor certifications. The first is "Floral" which concentrates on close-ups of botany. Second is "Wildlife" which concentrates more so on animals living in the wild. Finally, the third is "Landscapes," which is what most people who watch The Joy of Painting are accustomed to.

We will eventually see new paintings from the 3,594 certified Bob Ross method painters sometime in 2016 in accordance to Twitch (and Bob Ross Inc.) announcing new content. We'll just have to follow the soothing instruction of Ross himself and wait to "just let it happen."

[Illustration via R.A. Di Ieso/Vocativ]