The Arts

Happy Accidents: A Visit to a Bob Ross Exhibit by Todd Henson

The Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center hosted Happy Accidents, an exhibit of original Bob Ross paintings.

Perhaps like me, you grew up watching Bob Ross teach his wet-on-wet oil painting technique on PBS. I just loved watching him. It didn’t matter what mood I was in, by the end of the show I’d be in a good mood and itching to create. He had such a positive personality and was full of encouragement, trying to make us realize we were all capable of such amazing and beautiful things. He is just as relevant today as he was when he first aired. We need more people like Bob Ross.

Light at the Summit, and Under Pastel Skies, original oil paintings by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Splendor of Snowy Winter, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

I did try my hand at oil painting a few times, and though it never became a habit, I was still very influenced by Bob Ross and his work. I can see commonalities between his style of painting and much of photography today. I felt he was a painter for the people. He painted what he loved in a way that made him happy, and he shared these experiences with the world. Today everyone is capable of creating photographs in much the same way he created paintings. The quality of cell phone cameras increases each year, and with them more people have cameras than ever before. People are creating beautiful photographs that have meaning to them and are enjoyed by others. It strikes me that’s what Bob Ross was all about.

Viewing paintings by Bob Ross at the Happy Accidents exhibit

Folks were able to view and photograph original paintings by Bob Ross (no flash photography)

So having said all that, you can imagine how excited I was when my folks let me know they’d reserved 3 tickets to the first exhibit of its kind of original Bob Ross paintings, held at the Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center in Purcellville, Virginia. I would get the chance to actually see, in person, some of Bob Ross’ paintings. How amazing is that?

Cypress Creek, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Aurora’s Dance, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Daisies at Dawn, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Our tickets were for a 1 pm opening. When we arrived there was a short line outside the Arts Center, which was a beautiful building laid out like a barn. Just inside was a small theater with stadium style seating showing a Bob Ross documentary. It brought back some great memories hearing various celebrities talking about how they also grew up with Bob Ross and what impact he had on their lives.

The theater in the Franklin Park Arts Center was showing a documentary about Bob Ross

Moving into the exhibit hall I was really impressed with how they presented Boss Ross’ work. Most of the paintings were well lit and arranged in a very pleasing way. Though it was fairly crowded at times, people were mostly polite and there was enough room to move around and not feel crowded. By waiting long enough portions of the exhibit would completely clear of people, as you can see in some of these photos.

I was very pleased by the range of work displayed

The Franklin Park Arts Center was a great location for a Bob Ross exhibit

I very much enjoyed finally getting to see original paintings by Bob Ross. It was fascinating viewing them both from a distance and up close, seeing the scratches from the palette knife, the fan brush trees, a small little building in a meadow, waterfalls, mountains, and even seascapes. And, of course, each with that red Ross signature.

Delightful Meadow Home, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Island Paradise, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Golden Glow of Morning, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

If you have the time and tickets are still available before the exhibit ends I’d highly recommend a visit, especially if, like me, you grew up with Bob Ross. For more info on the Bob Ross exhibit check out the Franklin Park Arts Center. The exhibit runs from September 10th through October 15th, 2019. For more information on Bob Ross visit Boss Ross, Inc.

The Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center in Purcellville, Virginia


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Sister Act - Belmont Ridge Middle School by Todd Henson

This year I had the immense pleasure of supporting the arts in our schools by donating a couple of my photographs of Washington National Cathedral’s stained glass windows for use in a Summer Musical. The students of Belmont Ridge Middle School, in Leesburg, Virginia, are presenting their performance of Sister Act, a musical based on the motion picture. The show dates are Thursday, August 8th, through Saturday, August 10th, 2019.

The Musical’s production team printed the stained glass window photographs on clear vinyl and then backlit them to help give a true stained glass look. The set pieces were 10 to 12 feet high and stood in the background to help create the look and feel of a church, inside which the students put on their performance.

Below are some photographs created by their set designer during a dress rehearsal showing the students performing with the windows in the background. I was so pleased to see how well the finished set pieces turned out, and I really hope they help draw the audience into the performance.

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing  Sister Act

Belmont Ridge Middle School performing Sister Act

I created the original photographs many years back during a tour of Washington National Cathedral. The photos are below, and depict the Labor Window and the YWCA Window.

Labor Window, a stained glass window at Washington National Cathedral

YWCA Window, a stained glass window at Washington National Cathedral

If you read this in time and have the opportunity consider purchasing tickets for Sister Act at Belmont Ridge Middle School.

And consider stopping by from time to time to see what new musicals they’ve put together.

A special thanks to Krista Salmon and Steve Rice. It was a real pleasure working with you.