My favorite color is Prussian Blue, that probably has something to do with Bob Ross. His is a nameis a name that is polarizing for many in the art community, but not for me. I don’t think I would have ever learned about Rembrandt had I not first saw Bob Ross. Watching him and Bill Alexander paint, made me want to paint.
I bought my first fan brush hoping to be able to make happy trees. He made it look easy, they weren’t, at least for me. That is a testament to his skills as an artist. I learned later that he painted three versions of every painting, also difficult to do, especially to do well.
A little while later I learned about Thomas Kinkade. People have opinions about him too, but the man could paint very well. Some time after I learned about his friendship with James Gurney, and Thomas Kinkade’s impressionistic work. It’s difficult enough to learn to paint in one style, much less two, but Thomas Kinkade could do it.
A name that is more conventional would be Raymond Everett Kinstler. I loved his paintings, but I also loved his stories. Whether in paint or speaking to a crowd, Raymond Everett Kinstler could tell a story. I loved his paintings, but I don’t think I would have known about him had I not first been a fan of the singer and artist Tony Bennett. This and Kinstler’s manner are a lesson in being accessible and interesting.
While all these men painted differently I believe they shared some things in common. One of those shared abilities was the capability to tell a story. When you look at a Kinstler painting, you know it’s a Kinstler painting, the same is true of Ross and Kinkade. As I’ve heard Joseph Zbukvic describe it, they each had their own visual language.
Ross showed me what could be done, and made me believe that I could do it. Kinkade taught me about creativity and how to tell a story with your painting. Kinstler taught me art history, teaching art, lighting, and working with a sitter.
All three men, though I never met them, had a major impact on my art education. The same is true of Walt Disney, Jim Henson, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, and voice actor Mel Blanc. To my knowledge Mel Blanc did not draw or paint, but how could you not learn about art the way his voice paired with Jones’ pictures?
I believe that if you can learn something from an artist, even if their style, medium, or way of working is different than yours, then their work is valuable. Mostly I am a watercolorist, acrylic painter, and digital artist, whereas Ross, Kinkade, and Kinstler were all oil painters, but I’ve learned a lot from them.
I’ve been able to apply many of their lessons to to my materials, and it’s served me greatly. I would encourage you to look beyond your style of art and see what you can learn from artists in a different vein. You may find more in common than you expect, learn something new, and have fun along the way.