A statistical analysis of the work of Bob Ross


I analyzed the data to find out exactly what Ross, who died in 1995, painted for more than a decade on TV. The top-line results are to be expected — wouldn’t you know, he did paint a bunch of mountains, trees and lakes! — but then I put some numbers to Ross’s classic figures of speech. He didn’t paint oaks or spruces, he painted “happy trees.” He favored “almighty mountains” to peaks. Once he’d painted one tree, he didn’t paint another — he painted a “friend.”

I can’t paint a straight line with a ruler but watching Ross was absolutely mesmerizing. This analysis is interesting from a numbers point of view but it doesn’t capture or explain the wonderful presentation style Ross had.