I am the second of three children and was raised in Cody, WY where my life was typical of most small town boys. Dad owned a small sporting goods business and Mom was a homemaker. It was a community where doors were never locked, children were rewarded with time to play in the surrounding hills. Fishing and hunting became a part of most young lives and I was captivated by sports. While there might have been time for art, the enjoyment of Mother Nature’s splendors was as close as I came to showing interest in it.
Following graduation, I attended the U of Wyoming playing college football, but back surgery ended my scholarship endowment so I pursued a living in the consumer finance field. I married my wife Wanda in 1963 and we have since raised two sons. By this time an interest in photography had developed but that was my closest encounter with creating anything art like. Career development necessitated a number of moves and our early years found us relocating 10 times to communities in several western states. After 23 years, we made a major career change and began our own business in the publishing industry and later I became a Realtor.
While job and family consumed much of my time, weekend mornings were often spent getting acquainted with the Joy of Painting® television series featured on public television. I was mesmerized by the speed and ease that Bob Ross demonstrated as he created his beautiful landscapes. “ How could he create a work of art so easily and so fast”, I would ask myself? Each week, Bob would say to his viewers, “now if you are going to paint along with me” and my reaction to that was “yeah, sure Bob, you bet”, knowing it would be impossible for me to do. But, the more I watched, the urge to try it became stronger and I finally decided that if it were ever possible, I would take a class. That opportunity happened in 1996 at a KOA campground in Apache Junction, Arizona. We had been traveling for about 5 weeks with RV friends and were on our way back to our home in Twin Falls, Idaho when a little Dolphin RV with a Bob Ross Instructor drove into the facility. There I met my mentor, Margaret Jester who had recently completed her training as a Certified Bob Ross Instructor®. Long story short, Wanda and I took a class and while my painting was not great, I thought it was amazing and I was hooked. I purchased supplies and began practicing the technique, painting as many as two and sometimes three paintings a day. Lots of practice and additional classes from CRI© Jester took me to the point where I felt confident to take the Bob Ross Certification Classes and begin teaching.
Since then, I have had a studio in my home, taught in Craft shops, RV Parks, Senior Centers, presented week long seminars in several colleges. Coast to Coast Magazine featured us in an article way back in 2001, talking of a meeting we had with one of their reporters who we met while teaching at the Lewis-Clark Resort near Kamiah in Northern Idaho. Unfortunately, I can no longer find a link to that article on the web..
I have taught classes to students ranging from age 6 to about 90. What I have learned since my first class is that most people can paint using this technique and if willing to practice they can do it well. I have taught thousands of students with few disappointments. My appreciation for the work of Mother Nature is magnified many times over, as I now see that beauty in almost every turn I take. For this I thank Bob Ross and his weekly invitation to experience the Joy of Painting® with him. It has been one of the great joys of my life. Group classes always have been fun and profitible, but my recent surgeries make it difficult to get to each participant in a group, so I now limit the size of the classes to no more than two.