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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday April 15 2014, @10:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Happy-Little-Tß dept.

FiveThirtyEight provides us with A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross.

From the article:

As a consummate teacher, Bob Ross guided fans along as he painted "happy trees, "almighty mountains," and "fluffy clouds" over the course of his 11-year television career on his PBS show, "The Joy of Painting." In total, Ross painted 381 works on the show, relying on a distinct set of elements, scenes and themes, and thereby providing thousands of data points.

Statistical analysis of each episode follows.

So, if you too are stuck dealing with spreadsheet manipulation today. Have a moment of Happy Trees.

I'll call this one Clyde.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by microtodd on Tuesday April 15 2014, @10:59AM

    by microtodd (1866) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @10:59AM (#31735) Homepage Journal

    Kudos, 538. This is a gentle, awesome way to introduce people to statistics, especially adults. I've taught adult education and done a lot of tutoring and I gravitate to math and stats. Most adults don't handle the abstract concepts very well, you have to tie it to something real. Trying to teach percentages? Have them calc sale prices. Or do their mortgage. Something like that.

    So this would be awesome for adults who actually remember this show, and who are struggling with stats. In fact I bet a video with some light animation would be even better.

    Thanks, 538!

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday April 15 2014, @06:02PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 15 2014, @06:02PM (#31897) Journal

      Meh, I'm never impressed much with descriptive statistics, and these were some of the less useful. Its all about items in the pictures, like a bean counter taking inventory.

      Not even mentioned is the monotony of composition, Bob's overwhelming, and none too subtle preference for left side focus isn't even addressed.

      Bob seldom achieved a sense of atmospheric interaction with his subject matter. Rare example, top row left, where he captures the layered shades of grey of progressively more remote ridge tops, (Something that is hard to capture with the best photographic equipment, but which the eye perceives instantly. In Bob's paintings, distance is seldom accompanied by filtration effects, his distant mountain peaks are as sharp as the foreground.

      These are formula pictures, each quite pleasing in themselves, but invariably leading to the conclusion that having seen one, you've seen them all.

      Like most merely descriptive statistical "analysis" endeavors, the reader is left with a lot of meaningless numbers, and very little understanding of the subject matter at hand. Had the page not included the thumbnails of the art, it would have bored any sentient being to tears.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by iWantToKeepAnon on Tuesday April 15 2014, @12:42PM

    by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 15 2014, @12:42PM (#31762) Homepage Journal

    I am not a painter, but I loved watching his show. His voice was so hypnotic and peaceful, they ought to sell the soundtracks as relaxation tapes. :-P

    (stupid all caps filter on subject ... I think I just lost my zen)

    --
    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Woods on Tuesday April 15 2014, @01:40PM

      by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 15 2014, @01:40PM (#31787) Journal

      Annette Kowalski, who founded Bob Ross Inc. with the painter and remains the steward of his work, said this in the article:

      "The majority of people who watch Bob Ross have no interest in painting," she said. "Mostly it's his calming voice."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @03:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @03:33PM (#31840)

      I guess you'd listen to that relaxation tape every time you encountered the filter ...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @06:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @06:09PM (#31902)

      Well, there's a reason he's (only half in jest) called the patron saint of the ASMR crowd.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday April 15 2014, @01:21PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 15 2014, @01:21PM (#31778)

    He was a gateway drug to art appreciation from a middle class kinda perspective. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

  • (Score: 1) by Woods on Tuesday April 15 2014, @01:42PM

    by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 15 2014, @01:42PM (#31789) Journal

    I really wanted to see/read what the average Bob Ross painting looked like, I suppose I could take the numbers myself and find out, but Math hates me. Someone do this thing for me! I am too lazy!

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Blackmoore on Tuesday April 15 2014, @02:01PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @02:01PM (#31801) Journal

      see that's easy - look at the top 1/3 of the chart.

      Your painting is a scene of Alaska Wilderness.

      So lets get you surface ready, we'll start with a wet wash on the canvas and start with an almighty mountain; and let's give it a friend. there - that's nice.
      Now I think this will be by a river so let's put that - over here; no, I think that's more of a lake; that's alright.

      And now a tree or two, or so.. there's a happy tree, and a little friend for it. And a few more. We'll put some bushes over here, yeah. that's nice. Some clouds. Happy ones. Now lets put the reflection in the lake. there.

      Well I hope that you all had a good time with your paint today.

      • (Score: 1) by sudo rm -rf on Tuesday April 15 2014, @02:18PM

        by sudo rm -rf (2357) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @02:18PM (#31806) Journal

        It's now 20 years or so when I last saw the show, but until today I remember that "rabbit, which is hiding behind the bush, you don't see it, but we know it's there!"

      • (Score: 2) by LaminatorX on Tuesday April 15 2014, @02:31PM

        by LaminatorX (14) <{laminatorx} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday April 15 2014, @02:31PM (#31812)

        I felt my shoulders and back relax just imagining his voice saying those words. Thanks.

        • (Score: 1) by fishybell on Tuesday April 15 2014, @03:55PM

          by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 15 2014, @03:55PM (#31850)

          I felt my shoulders and back relax just imagining his voice saying those words. Thanks.

          Indeed. My favorite bit of the article is the last two paragraphs:

          When it comes down to it, “The Joy of Painting†was never really about painting. Even Kowalski, who runs a company that sells Bob Ross-branded painting supplies, believes most viewers aren’t in it for the art.

          “The majority of people who watch Bob Ross have no interest in painting,†she said. “Mostly it’s his calming voice.â€

  • (Score: 1) by Stuntbutt on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:00PM

    by Stuntbutt (662) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:00PM (#31853)

    My father recorded (VHS) these shows and used them to teach himself how to paint. The result is a few dozen oil paintings that he gave away as gifts and a single toilet lid (with an outhouse painted on it) in a field of bluebonnets.

    Given how much of an ass my father is, it's nice to have a pleasant topic to discuss and share with him. I'll forward the link on. Nice find, and great job 538!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:03PM (#31854)

    Come to your house and cut you if you tell anyone about his secret bush.

    http://youtu.be/x1JKAyxk9cs [youtu.be]

  • (Score: 2) by BradTheGeek on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:17PM

    by BradTheGeek (450) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:17PM (#31860)
  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:45PM

    by Tork (3914) on Tuesday April 15 2014, @04:45PM (#31875)
    I still remember when there was a rumored Bob Ross game for the Nintendo Wii. Lotsa people giddy over that.
    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16 2014, @12:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16 2014, @12:10AM (#32082)
    I'm gonna paint a little tree right here... that'll be a secret between you and me...

    and if you tell ANYONE about this tree... I will come to your house... AND CUT YOU!