The Joy of Painting at CPS

“You can do anything you want to do. This is your world.” – Bob Ross

Sometime in the middle of the year, Mrs. Babson began showing snippets of The Joy Of Painting during snack time for the in-person students of her grade three split class.  For those unfamiliar, this TV show aired on PBS stations in the 1980s and featured Bob Ross sharing his insights on painting. He gave viewers the gentle confidence to accept any mistakes made and turn them into “happy accidents”. 

Hoping to encourage this attitude in her students, Mrs. Babson continued to share the art show amid students’ oohs and aahs as Bob shared how to create fluffy clouds and lofty mountains and happy little trees. At some point in March, Mrs. Babson casually asked her six in-person students if they’d like to try painting with Bob Ross. The immediate positive response had her scrambling to gather easels, brushes, canvases and paint. She searched for coupons and sales, and learned how to make easels out of pizza boxes donated by two local businesses – Maritime Farms and The 32 General. 

When she mentioned to Mrs. Pietz her desire to provide the students with an opportunity to express themselves this way, she was told of a gift given to the school by an anonymous donor, and was encouraged to apply for funds to help purchase materials. The request was granted, the order was made, and the class waited eagerly for the supplies to arrive. They asked often when the day would happen.

After the NWEA tests were done in May, and the size of the in-house class had grown from six to nine, they were finally able to break out their brushes, palettes, and canvases and make art! A few of the remote students watched and painted with them as well when the big day came.  Their favorite part, of course, was being able to “beat the brush.”  Mrs. Babson is so proud of how they encouraged one another, cleaned up after themselves, and worked to show how they can take a mistake and turn it into a “happy accident” worth learning from and accepting.  They certainly were able to put proof to what Bob Ross has said; “Anytime you learn, you gain.”

Written by Miranda Babson

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