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SPI 538: What Bob Ross Taught Me in 2021

Happy new year! 2021 went fast, didn’t it? A lot of great things happened this year, especially right here on the podcast. (Check out episode 534, where I share my standout episodes.)

Today, I wanted to talk about a hobby I picked up at the tail end of the year. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might know what I’m getting at.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I ended up in a deep YouTube rabbit hole—a good rabbit hole—of Bob Ross videos. I went right back to season one of his show and found a really helpful video with Bob and his son answering questions.

In the video, they made the idea of painting with oil on canvas seem a lot easier than I’d previously thought. Oftentimes, things we’re unfamiliar with can seem very difficult. It almost looks like magic when we see them in action. But once you find someone who can show you the basic techniques and start to break down some of that magic, everything starts to change.

So here’s to learning something new in 2022. Hopefully, we can continue to hone our skills together in the coming year because we have some really fun things planned at SPI that I can’t wait to share with you.

SPI 538: What Bob Ross Taught Me in 2021

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he’s used approximately 10,000 Post-it notes since he started his business, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Well, that year went fast, didn’t it? It is the time of this recording getting published December 31st, which is pretty crazy. I just turned 39 this year and this year just seemed to breeze by so quickly. A lot of great things happened. You could listen to the archive of episodes this past year if you’d like. There’s been some highlights. I did a episode a couple weeks ago on a Friday talking about the highlights and some of my standout episodes that I remember from this year here on Smart Passive Income.

Pat Flynn: But I wanted to talk about next year and a couple things that come to mind at the time of this recording. First of all, happy new year to you, to your family. I appreciate you so much for your support this year, and I wish you all the best in health and prosperity next year. And we’re in this together. I’m really excited because at the tail end of the year here, I picked up a new hobby. And if you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might know where I’m getting at.

Pat Flynn: And I just want to thank Bob Ross, because rest in peace by the way. But honestly, I don’t even remember how I stumbled across. It might have been a random YouTube algorithm or something that just put me into this deep rabbit hole, a good rabbit hole. There’s bad rabbit holes on YouTube, but this was a good rabbit hole, a rabbit hole of Bob Ross and his videos. And I went to season one and there was this really helpful video that I saw of him and his son, and they were answering questions.

Pat Flynn: And while answering questions, they just made the idea of painting with oil on canvas, a lot easier than I initially thought. And I thought that was a really cool analogy because oftentimes things that we are just unfamiliar with seem very difficult. It almost seems like magic when we just see somebody do something, right? So if you’ve seen a Bob Ross video before, and he doesn’t explain what he’s doing, but you just kind of watch it. It’s literally magic on the canvas, right? He’ll take a fan brush and he’ll ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch and all of a sudden there’s a happy cloud in the sky. And then he’ll take one of those blades that he uses to mix.

Pat Flynn: And he’ll put a little line of titanium white at the end, and he’ll just kind of make a nice little line in the lake to make a water line. Or he’ll do it with a black color, midnight black mixed with a little bit of Van Dyke brown and just a tiny bit of dark sienna to create this mountain line that just kind of forms out of nowhere. And again, if you don’t know how he’s doing it, you just see this technique. It’s just like magic, right? And that’s how a lot of us see things of people who are doing things online and it’s all inspiring.

Pat Flynn: And it’s also intimidating if we want to try to do something different. But it was this particular episode. It was season one, I think episode 13, in case you want to check it out. And they’re answering just questions as they go. And they’re very basic questions. But for me, they were perfect. And it just shows us that sometimes when we just begin to answer questions, sort of like what I’ve done on Ask Pat for 1,200 episodes. And we actually just crossed 1,200 episodes of Ask Pat. And if you didn’t hear, within episode 1,200, I made an announcement that the brand of AskPat is going to adjust a little bit.

Pat Flynn: It’s actually going to get an upgrade. And it went from AskPat to AskPat 2.0, and then now AskPat 3.0. But we’re actually changing the name of it to The Smart Bar. The Smart Bar, if you might remember at FlynnCon, we had invited our partners and some of our friends who owned companies that work with us to show up and be a resource for the attendees who were there. And by far, one of the top number one best things that people loved in our surveys that we sent out about FlynnCon was access to those people in The Smart Bar.

Pat Flynn: And when we think about it, I have a ton of people in my circles and then combine that with the network that my team also brings. And also the team itself here at team SPI, plus our partners and even members of SPI Pro. We can all be here to serve those who are in need within the community. So The Smart Bar is actually going to be, and don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere with it, but we’re going to invite more people to come on as the experts, as the coaches, as the people who are going to be answering questions.

Pat Flynn: So I’d highly recommend if you check out, Whether you get redirected or not, you’ll have an opportunity to ask a question there and potentially get some help from somebody who can give you the precise help, and coaching perhaps that you might need. So that’s going to be The Smart Bar. It’s not going to launch at the beginning of the year. It’s not going to turn into a pumpkin tomorrow, but it will be perhaps in the next month or two that you’ll see the brand change, a new logo, some new music.

Pat Flynn: And we’re really going to hone in on bringing the community together and really highlighting a lot of the other talents that are within the network that we’ve built here at SPI across the last 13 years. That’s insane. Anyway, let me go back to Bob Ross. So I picked a painting. I went to the store to pick up some brushes. I didn’t know exactly which brushes. I just got the beginner’s kit. I picked up a painting set of oil paints that had all the sort of basic colors that I saw that Bob Ross used. There’s a lot of documentation and literature online about the paints that he uses and the kinds of brushes.

Pat Flynn: But I just wanted to start simple. I picked up a six pack of canvases. This was at a Michael’s, which is a arts and craft store here in San Diego. I don’t know if they have them where you’re at, but they just had the basic needs. I picked up one of those little blades or knives, those painter knives in a palette to be able to mix colors on. And I just literally rewatched that video, season one, episode 13, and I just followed along. And you know what? It didn’t turn out so bad. I made a lot of mistakes, but the cool thing about oil painting in particular is you have actually a lot of room for error because the oil is wet.

Pat Flynn: And because it’s oily, things blend a lot easier and you can move things around, you can cover things up. It’s actually quite nice. And I find it to be a lot easier than acrylic, although I haven’t trained myself at all in acrylic. You’ve heard me talk about my upcoming book, The Lean Learner. And I really wanted to take this approach of lean learning with this new hobby that has become a really great escape for me. Not that I feel like I need to escape, but more of a weekly meditation, if you will, or sabbatical where I can get away from the work stuff and I can just concentrate and be one with Bob, if you will. And be one with the canvas and try different things.

Pat Flynn: And as I’ve painted more and more, I mean, I’ve done six paintings so far. It’s been 15 days at the time of this recording, which is in November, in fact. I’ve done six paintings in 15 days and I’ve learned a lot. I’m learning as I go. And I’m making mistakes, but I’m also using Bob as my mentor along the way. And I’m just understanding the basic knowledge of how to use these brushes and what they’re used for. And I recently did a painting where I took a little bit of my own artistic license and liberty to try some things based on the techniques that I’ve learned, but without necessarily following along.

Pat Flynn: It’s incredible. I’m actually learning the language of painting with oil paints. And I also got to be careful because there are some amazing oil painters on YouTube, and I’ve definitely wasted a few hours going down a rabbit hole, learning things that I didn’t need to know, not yet. Getting inspired, but also at the same time, like I am going to be talking about in the book. Sometimes when we try to learn something, we see people who almost kind of have the opposite effect of what we want. They make us feel like we’re inadequate.

Pat Flynn: They make us feel, not to any of their fault, it’s just nature to go, “Wow, there’s so much better. They have it down and they must be born with it.” Maybe it’s Maybelline, but hashtag not sponsored. And so in the book, The Lean Learner, which will be coming out, hopefully this year. Again, at the time of this recording, my agent has the proposal and we’re working through it to fine tune it, to then share it out into the world of publishers to see what happens. It may or may not be traditionally published or self-published, we’ll see what happens, but either way you will hear about it of course, when it does come out.

Pat Flynn: But like I said, I went down this rabbit hole and I was actually realizing that I was falling into one of my traps, if you will, which is to when it starts to get a little hard to do something, right? I was about to start a painting to paint water. And I’m a little afraid of painting water because it’s just a lot more difficult. And so I went down this rabbit hole and I started to see all these people who were painting water and making it look so easy. And then I’d come back to my brushes and I’d be, “Wow, I could never paint something like that.” And then I found a tutorial.

Pat Flynn: It wasn’t a Bob Ross tutorial, but it was another tutorial that made it simple. And I liked the style. And I said, you know what? I’m just going to follow this person’s advice. And I’m just going to run through this tutorial and do it. And then I painted a sort of ocean scene. And it wasn’t the best, but it was my first go. And you just got to keep learning as you go. So it’s interesting because I really wanted to take this lean learning approach to art in this way. I do have a little bit of art background, but mostly in the architecture world.

Pat Flynn: I’d love to get to the point where I’m not painting landscapes anymore. I mean, I am enjoying it. It is actually once you learn the language and sort of the minimum viable techniques, if you will, the MVT, it actually is pretty cool what you could do with it. Like I said earlier, it does look very intimidating when you have a blank canvas. Just like when you’re running a book, you have a blank page. But you start putting things on paper, you start putting oil onto canvas and moving things around and using your blending brush. It’s just pretty amazing what can happen.

Pat Flynn: But I’d love to get to the point where I can paint buildings and go back to some of the stuff that I did in architecture school at Berkeley, at Wurster hall in 2001 through 2005, where art was for the purpose of sharing the idea of what a building might look like, right? And that’s really interesting. And what’s really cool about that is similar to landscapes, but more architectural, right? It’s well, this is the feeling of what this space will become. This is the shape of it. This is where people would walk and it’s just really amazing. So I’d love to sort of hone in and get in on that.

Pat Flynn: And that’s another thing that I talk about quite often, which is the riches are in the niches. I’m learning the language of art, but eventually I want to pick my lane. And I’d love to get good at painting architectural buildings. And it makes me wonder if I travel, how might I bring an art set with me so I can paint what I see? I’ve been very inspired by one of my best friends, Chris Ducker, who he actually has an Instagram that’s specifically about different sketches that he has in his sketchbook. He sketches for a very similar reason to now why I am doing a lot of oil paintings and stuff.

Pat Flynn: I do literally have oil paint on my hands right now. I just finished painting number six. So I actually have all these paintings if you want to see them on Twitter. I had one person offered to buy them already, which was really interesting. Or to buy one of them, which I thought was really cool and very flattering. But I’m not to that point yet. Another person told me I should turn them into an NFT, which I’m not in full understanding of that world quite yet. I do know quite a bit about it, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to put my own artwork onto the blockchain quite yet.

Pat Flynn: The whole purpose of this is to share the fact that I’m learning something new and I’m applying these strategies. And next year, which is literally tomorrow at the time that this episode comes out. So probably you’re listening to this maybe in 2022, in which case, okay, cool, happy new year to you. Hopefully you can apply a lot of these strategies and also pick up something that maybe will allow you to find additional joy, not to replace anything or to do anything, but have more joy in your life.

Pat Flynn: And I’m just very thankful because Bob, in one of his episodes that I was watching talks about this idea of happy little accidents, right? Or happy mistakes or things like that, where we have to be reminded sometimes that it’s okay if we’re not perfect. We may even not be able to fix something on the canvas for example. But even though you made a wrong stroke here or you put a wrong color there, you can continue to paint this painting and actually make it look quite beautiful.

Pat Flynn: And in our lives, we perhaps have taken a misstroke here or put a bad color here that didn’t match the rest of the scene, but this is our only canvas. We got to keep painting, we got to keep brushing and we got to keep honing in on our skills and hopefully we can together continue to hone in on our skills in 2022, because we have some really fun things planned at SPI and I cannot wait to share them with you. In fact, we have some fun stuff happening here on the SPI podcast.

Pat Flynn: You’re going to hear these Friday episodes are going to start to sprinkle in some teachings from some of our own community at SPI Pro. SPI Pro is going to be a huge focus for us, a huge focus for us next year in time for those who are within the community already, but also helping bring new, incredible members in as well. And I’d love to invite you to check out SPI Pro and make it a part of your 2022, because literally with a very small investment, you’re going to get so much more in return. And the feedback that we’ve been getting from SPI Pro members have just been absolutely incredible.

Pat Flynn: We’re starting to, it’s just people are logging in every day because this is their new Facebook, but it’s specifically about business and entrepreneurship. And life, not just about business, but together helping us become stronger entrepreneurs, stronger fathers, stronger mothers and wives and husbands and brothers and sisters amongst the world of entrepreneurship. And I’m so grateful for the team that is behind it. And I’m so grateful for everybody who’s there. And I’d love to invite you as well. So to apply. We’re going to be opening up another enrollment period very soon.

Pat Flynn: We bring people in groups once a quarter. So you’ll have essentially your class, not graduating class, but your class of SPI Pro members that you came in with and you’ll get a little badge to go with it so you can find each other and the directory there. So you can find and partner and get help and give help. It’s just been probably the best thing that ever happened in the last two years at SPI. And I couldn’t be more grateful. And we want you in there too. So And I hope that you pick up your paintbrush and start painting something beautiful this year.

Pat Flynn: And I’m there with you. Follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already at Pat Flynn. You can see my continual journey into art and oil paintings and other fun business related things. Anyway, I love you so much. Thank you so much for a wonderful year. Here’s to an amazing 2022. Cheers. You’re awesome. We’ll see you next year. Peace.

Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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