Painting With A Pro

bob Ross1

Cost - Varies

Feeling artistic? Or not?

Years ago my husbands company did a work party at this little place where they gave everyone a canvas, brushes, paint, drinks and refreshments. There are multiple place that offer such an experience such as "My little paint brush" or "Painting with a twist". The premise is that an artist gives everyone set by step instruction to paint a preselected picture.

Not being much of an artist himself, my husband enjoyed the instruction and had a wonderful time. Knowing how much I love to paint he decided to take me back there for a date and we had a blast. The only downside - it was EXPENSIVE!

Fast forward a few years and we were sitting at home, after putting all our kids to bed, and asking each other where we wished we could go on a date if we had a baby sitter and endless money. This little paint shop came up and we realized that we didn't need a big budget OR a sitter to make that date night happen again anytime we wanted.

A quick trip to the store, gather some supplies, a little set up and we had our own paint along shop. We even broke out the goblets and a variety of snacks to copy the experience more exactly.

Now all we needed was an instructor, a real artist who could give some step by step tutorial and give our techniques some tips. Since my husband and I both grew up in the 80's and 90's it didn't take us long to think of just the right man. Introducing Painting with Bob Ross night.

We picked a video right off of YouTube, but re-runs of his show The Joy of Painting are available in a variety of places. Pick whichever makes the most sense for you. At the beginning of each episode he tells you the colors you'll need for each painting. I do a lot of crafts, so we had a lot of things on hand. If acrylic paints aren't something you already have around your house we recommend starting with a black and white. Scroll down for links to a couple of our favorites (including a black and white).

What you need:

Canvas for each person

Don't break the bank here. Walmart has a great size canvas that comes in a pack of 3 for 5 bucks. I don't make a cent off of this, but here's a quick link.


I specifically wanted to see how few brushes we could get away with for this picture to keep it budget friendly for those who are buying everything for the first time. My husband and I did this one with only 2 brushes each - a sponge brush for the large areas, and a smaller finer tip for the detail work. The brushes you want really depend on how many people and how exactly you want to copy him.


What you need depends on the video you pick. Again Walmart was some great bottle of cheep acrylic paint that will work just fine for this project.

Table cloth

Depending on how and where you choose to paint, a cheep table cloth from your local dollar store can protect from paint spills and save on clean up.

Drink of your choice (optional)
Snacks of your choice (optional)
Other optional ideas

Feeling like you really want to go all out? Pick up or create some easels. This will vary the cost significantly depending on what you buy or come up with. A little creativity and problem solving can make it happen without a lot of spending. However, painting flat on a table top works too.


What is Gesso and do I need it? At the beginning of many of his videos Bob Ross mentions using gesso on the canvas. Gesso is a primer that is slightly thinner than paint. It dries stiff for a firm painting surface. If you are an advanced painter who likes to stretch their own canvas, than yeah, use some. If you're a beginner buying pre-treated canvas from the store go ahead and ignore that part.

This activity makes a fanatic date night, group date night, or family activity if you have older children.