Video Answers the Question: What if Bob Ross Taught Math?

Bob Ross

I think the answer that what might have happened if Bob Ross had been to teach math that he might not have done quite so well since let’s face it, some people that are artistic simply aren’t as into math as you might think. There are a lot of arguments that math is a part of everything, as Rhett Allain from Wired might agree, and there’s not a lot of evidence that this isn’t the case since so many things can be broken down into math. But those that are more into creating sweeping landscapes than thinking about the numbers that go into every variable that might have to do with the painting might get more stressed out than they might if they simply try to recreate the picture that Bob was showing us. Just watching the explanations of a logarithm is enough to get my frustration with math peaking a bit. I’m not a mathematically-minded person, I’ll admit it. Just because I’m educated doesn’t mean math and I are on friendly terms, and I’m confident in saying that there are many people that would second this.

Math is soothing to some people and that’s pretty evident since it calms them down, it soothes their nerves and in a big way it gives a sense of order to the chaos that it can create, and the madness that life can represent at times. Dramatic as that sounds it’s pretty real, and there’s a reason why people cling to math now and again in one form or another since it does end up soothing them in a way that makes sense to their mind and as a result allows them to feel the calming sensation that some people feel when they paint. But had Bob Ross done something like this it really feels as though he would have lost a lot of viewers since his painting was a big reason of why people tuned in. There’s a lot of chaos in painting a picture since it takes the ability to sort through and confine one idea that needs to be realized, and even then it takes a great deal of discipline to put brush to canvas and create the picture in your mind. The ability to make order from the chaotic images that might dance across the minds of so many is something impressive and a big reason why Bob was so popular. But mathematics, despite being a part of everything as many would say, are still not quite as much of a part of things, at least not overtly so, when it comes to creating art at times. Of course there are many people that would gladly deny this and state that math is a part of everything, that one can’t separate mathematics from anything that has to do with creation, and they’d be right, but they’d be naive to think that the concept of mathematics can’t be pushed to the back burner for a time.

To many that love to reduce the world around them, or explain it away, using mathematics the video above is bound to be a balm and something that they can easily get on board with. And more power to them because mathematics is in fact an important part of life, but a lot of artists wish to simply distance themselves from the concept as much as possible since creation is a very chaotic process considering that the miasma of thoughts that a lot of individuals deal with on a regular basis. It’s that chaos, unbound by the ordered and lawful nature of mathematics, that inspires a lot of those that create one thing or another. An artist can employ mathematics as Fiona MacDonald of Science Alert might agree with, or eschew them no matter what anyone says since despite the chaos that might result from not trying to pin down every last moment with an equation or mathematical premise, creation is bound to happen regardless. Bob Ross created one painting after another in a manner that was nothing short of amazing and in doing so created, note the word, something that came from nothing more than the pictures in his head, not by measuring out one portion of the painting in relation to another, unless he was doing it in his head, but by simply creating ‘happy little trees’ and allowing the landscape to flow from his brush with each stroke, dab, and movement that he employed. If mathematics were involved then it carried a muted presence and wasn’t as prevalent as the above video might suggest.

So if Bob Ross had really taught math? This show might not have been even half as popular as it was since a lot of people, even those that happen to love math, don’t always want to hear about it on TV when they’re not in a classroom. In other words, things might not have been quite as happy.


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