Old Photograph Captures TV Painter Bob Ross In His Air Force Days

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

Growing up, my mom would love to set up her canvas and easel on the weekends, and just paint for hours.

Usually, she’d paint some scene from nature, twisting the bristles on her brush to form trees, waterfalls, and snowy mountains.

She had picked up all her skills from watching Bob Ross on The Joy of Painting.

Though the painter and TV show host passed in 1995, his legacy and name (and tens of thousands of amazing canvas landscape paintings) still live on.

Just recently, an old, seldom-before-seen photo of Ross surfaced on the internet. In the black-and-white photograph, dating to the ’60s, Ross is clean-shaven, and all suited up in his U.S. Air Force uniform.

Ross had a pretty prominent 20-year military career, before he gave it up and decided to pursue his true passion for painting and produce artwork that would go on to have an incredible influence on popular culture.

Scroll further to see a young Bob Ross, and let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

[H/T: Woman’s Day]

Bob Ross military photo

American painter, art instructor, and television personality Bob Ross (1942-1995) was perhaps best known for creating and hosting The Joy of Painting, which aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS.

Bob Ross military photo

Recently, an old photo resurfaced on the internet, depicting Ross in the ’60s as a U.S. Air Force enlistee.

Here he is, fresh-faced, dashing, and in full uniform.

Bob Ross military photo

Prior to starring on the show (and becoming a national treasure), Ross worked as a part-time bartender, and served as the First Sergeant at a U.S. Air Force Base in Alaska.

It was during his 20-year career in the military that Ross discovered his passion for painting and art, and for depicting snow-capped mountains and trees, which would be recurring themes in his artwork.

Bob Ross military photo

After leaving the service, Ross transformed into the public personality we now remember, with the iconic permed coiffe, the gentle, lulling voice, and intricate landscape paintings.

Bob Ross military photo

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Ross, however.

He found it tough to promote his painting technique in the beginning of his art career, and, apparently, in order to save money on haircuts, he chose to have his hair permed.

Though the hairstyle was uncomfortable, it went on to be a signature element of his brand and look.

Bob Ross military photo

Ross passed away in 1995 at age 52 from lymphoma, but his name and legacy live on through his tens of thousands of painted canvases and instructional videos on the internet.

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