TIL Bob Ross never received any money for his show, The Joy of Painting. (source: 5 Happy Little Things, Mental Floss)
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Today I Learned
TIL Bob Ross never received any money for his show, The Joy of Painting.
His company, Bob Ross Inc., sold art supplies, how-to videos, and he gave art lessons.
500+ Reddit comments:
How did Bob Ross have time to tape all of those shows for free?
He could record a season almost as fast as he could paint. Ross could bang out an entire 13-episode season of The Joy of Painting in just over two days, which freed him up to get back to teaching lessons.
Also, He Didn't Sell His Paintings.
In a 1991 interview with the New York Times, Ross claimed he'd made over 30,000 paintings since he was an 18-year-old stationed in Alaska with the Air Force. When Ross died of lymphoma in 1995, most of his paintings either ended up in the hands of charity or PBS.
That's not to say there aren't any Ross paintings floating around, though. While he generally didn't sell his canvasses, Ross did sell some souvenir gold pans during his stint in Alaska. At the time, the amateur artist got $25 a pop for a gold pan with an Alaskan scene painted in the bottom. [See Also: What Happened to Bob Ross' Paintings?]
He really only sold paintings before he started doing painting lessons. The paintings he did for the show were sold in auctions, but the money went to PBS. Fun fact, he actually would do paintings before they would shoot a season, then he'd just copy the painting on camera. You'll notice him looking over while he is painting. He is looking at the monitor to see if he is in the way of the camera, as well as looking at his pre-painted paintings. Those paintings were actually a lot better than the ones he'd rush to do in 30 minutes for PBS. But he would never show anyone. He'd usually throw them out once they were done shooting a season. He had no desire to be famous for paintings, he was more interested in teaching people to paint.