Take a Bob Ross Painting Class

Learn to paint "happy little trees" here in Arlington.

Photo by Lisa Helfert

During the ’80s and ’90s, Bob Ross made art accessible to millions via the PBS program The Joy of Painting, wowing audiences with his ability to complete a canvas from start to finish in the length of a 26-minute episode. To the curly-haired master, there were no such things as mistakes. An errant mark or blob of paint was simply known as a “happy little accident.”

Ross died in 1995 but his legacy lives on, not only in reruns of the show and internet memes, but in the roughly 3,000 “Bob Ross Certified” art instructors who now teach his methods nationwide.

Arlingtonian Sandy Hill is one of those instructors. In 2001, she was nearing retirement from her job as a federal grants administrator and took classes at Bob Ross Inc. in Sterling (now in Herndon). “I’d seen him on television,” Hill explains. “He made [painting] look so easy.” She completed the 120-hour requisite to become an official Bob Ross certified instructor in both landscapes and wildlife. This past summer, she became certified in florals as well.

Today, Hill teaches students of varying ages and abilities out of her home studio off Military Road (up to $75 per class)—including the art of embracing those happy accidents. “As I tell [my students] … it’s only canvas,” she says. “I just want people to have fun. All my students leave class with a pretty painting that they did. They can enjoy it at home and be proud that they created something.” BobRoss.com

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