This was painted in 1996. We had gone over to the Mall (just a few blocks from us, in South Aberdeen, Washington), to see a show that had been set up by one of Washington’s certified Bob Ross Technique instructors. After seeing what she had to offer, I signed up for a class that was taught a few months later.
The price of the class included our canvases, the basic brushes we would use, and a small set of oil paints and mineral spirits for each of us who had enrolled. We each painted a picture of the same photograph, and each result was critiqued before the class was over (not graded…just discussed in order to help us understand what things we could perhaps improve with practice).
We spent the whole day at the shop where the class was held, with a buffet luncheon also included in the price of the class. I don’t know if all the Bob Ross instructors follow that plan or not, but I do know how you can contact one and perhaps take a class, yourself…
Bob Ross, Inc.–The “Take a Class” Page
For this painting, we covered the bare canvas with contact paper, then used a serving platter to draw the oval, then used a craft knife to cut along the line of the oval, then removed the oval–leaving the edges still covered.
Once that was accomplished, we used white gesso to coat the entire space, to make the basis for the wet-on-wet painting. Those who already knew some of the techniques that we were expected to use were allowed to go ahead without initial instruction. Others were started from scratch regarding the use of easel, paints, brushes, and knives, and how to clean their supplies as necessary throughout the process.
Since I had been painting with this technique for nearly 11 years by that time, I finished my painting early enough for me to be able to remove the outer contact paper and add in the wispy branches at the top right and the grassy/bushy area at the bottom left. To me, the painting needed the balance, because the initial subject was so symmetrical.
I got a high approval rating for the water, especially. Personally, I thought the trees could have been a LOT better, and the bushes alongside them could have been filled in better, so that they weren’t quite so wispy. I thoroughly enjoyed the class. The instructor gave me the information about taking further classes and getting certified to teach. I did think about doing that, for a while, but at that time, there wasn’t anyone in Washington State who was doing the certifications. I would have had to go, probably, down to California, and I couldn’t afford to do that right then, so that was the end of those thoughts.