NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – The Bob Ross Art Workshop and Gallery in New Smyrna Beach continues to thrive after opening almost 30 years ago.
"It's a dream come true for me, I've followed Bob since I was just a little boy and began painting along with him," gallery manager and instructor Nicholas Hankins said.
Although he didn't get a chance to meet the iconic artist, his ultimate career goal was to learn how to paint like him.
"I was always interested in art, I always liked to draw, but Bob really lit the fire to keep me going," the Tennessee native said.
Hankins accepted the job and moved to New Smyrna Beach in Janurary to manage the workshop; where the easel Ross used is still there and now Hankins uses it.
"You learn to sit back and look at your work, take your time. I always rushed oil painting and so now I slow down a lot," Rudy Batista, who is on his fourth workshop to learn the Bob Ross technique, said.
Ross's method is called the wet on wet oil painting technique. Rudy Batista brought his wife to the workshop after he showed her an episode from Ross' popular show, "The Joy of Painting."
"I used to do a lot of acrylic painting and he said, 'Well why don't you try this?' And I did--he showed me an episode and we kind of followed along with it and I fell in love with it," Theresa Batista said.
"The Joy of Painting" ran for 11 years -- turning Ross into a household name. The Daytona Beach native used that platform to teach how to paint his signature scenes, including mountains and happy trees --which seemed to have been inspired by his time in the U.S. Air Force.
"He loved nature and he loved animals. He spent 21 years in the military in Alaska and that's where the mountain landscapes really came from," Hankins said.
Even after Ross' death in 1995, the show continues to stream on a variety of platforms including Netflix and Hulu.
"It's introduced to generations of people who maybe didn't know him or enjoyed him at one time and kind of forgot about him, you know, he's made a resurgence," Hankins said.
To learn about upcoming workshop dates at the Bob Ross Art Workshop and Gallery visit bobrossartworkshop.com.