There’s a famous show that is beloved by many artists called ‘The Joy of Painting’, where an artist with a very distinctive hairdo by the name of Bob Ross used his oil paints and showed many aspiring artists how to work a little magic with them. While you can find these famous videos, can you do a Bob Ross painting with acrylic paint?
Yes, you definitely can. If you want make your acrylics behave like Mr. Rosses oils, all you need to do is prepare your canvas appropriately and mix a little slow-drying medium into the pains that you are going to use. This will allow you to use his famous mixing techniques on the canvas and you are in for a good time!
In this article I’ll answer a few questions that I get a lot about ‘Bob Ross’ style painting so that you can experiment with one of his videos and have a little fun with it. We’ll talk a little about whether Bob used acrylics or watercolors, liquid white, and more.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Does Bob Ross Use acrylic or watercolor?
No. On his show ‘The Joy of Painting’, Bob Ross used a very specific technique of his own called ‘wet on wet’ painting and this was done with the application of ‘Liquid White’ to the canvas followed by painting on it with thick oil paints while the Liquid White is still wet.
This technique allowed for some amazing on-the-fly mixing where Bob Ross made painting seem almost magically simple. While you can reproduce the effect with acrylics with a little preparation, it is highly unlikely you could reproduce it with watercolors.
As far as Bob Ross, it was always oil paints for his show.
Can Liquid White be used with acrylic paint?
Unfortunately, no. Bob Ross Liquid White is specifically formulated to be used with oil paints ONLY. Despite this, you can mimic the effects so that you can practice the ‘wet on wet’ style with your acrylics. All you need is a little titanium white paint, a slow-drying white gel for blending, and a clear blending gel.
You can play around with the amounts, by try first mixing them all in equal amounts and then applying this to your canvas like you would with Liquid White. You might want to ready your paints in advance, however, because you’ll have about an hour to work with the ‘wet on wet’ effect.
Thankfully, that’s enough time to work right along with one of the videos. Enjoy!
What acrylics did Bob Ross use?
While Bob never used acrylics on his show, there are a couple of brands that you can look for that have matching names so that you can pick your palette in advance for specific videos that you like. You’ll want to look for Artist’s Loft or Liquitex brand paint is you want to match up your paints in advance so that you can give this a go.
Alternately, one of the advantages of being artistically inclined is that you can take a look at the colors that he is using on the show and simply have a go at, mixing up some of your acrylics in advance and you can even use a makeshift palette by putting your paints on a plastic plate.
This will save you a little money on the palette and if there is more than one artist in the family, everyone can whip up some homemade ‘acrylic liquid white’ after preparing their ‘palettes’ and you can all enjoy and paint along with the show.
It’s fun and easy to do, so have a go and see what you think. It’s looking like a good weekend!
Some closing comments on ‘Bob Ross’ painting with acrylics
Bob Ross inspired millions with his show and it continues to this day. You too can do a Bob Ross painting with acrylic paint, you just need to use a slow drying medium and prepare your canvas with ‘DIY acrylic liquid white’ and you’ll be ready for your own experience of ‘wet on wet’ painting for about an hour.
If you are looking for a nice video tutorial, this little 3rd party link can help you to scratch that itch and learn to paint in ‘Bob’ style. Just be sure to follow the steps and before you know it, you’ll be whipping up 10-minute landscapes like magic!