There are no mistakes

Over the weekend I stumbled onto "The Joy of Painting" by Bob Ross on Netflix.

Actually, I think it's called "Chill with Bob Ross." Even better. 

It's tempting to argue that this entire tree is a mistake. But, I can go with happy little accident.

It's tempting to argue that this entire tree is a mistake. But, I can go with happy little accident.

You remember Bob Ross right? Crazy big hair, super soft voice, and he painted lots of happy little things. Trees, clouds, mountains.

Also, he had a thing for rescuing squirrels, so in the first episode I watched, he was feeding a baby squirrel with a bottle.

A baby squirrel. 

If you didn’t grow up watching Bob on PBS as a kid I’m sad for you. I used to be, and apparently still am, mesmerized by watching him start with a totally blank canvas, and then after 30 minutes of titanium white, random brush strokes and making mountains with a palette knife he'd created this stunningly beautiful landscape.

I don’t know a thing about painting, but I could listen to him talk and paint trees for hours. 

So that’s I how I started my vacation. That’s right, I binge-watched some Bob Ross, and chased it with a few campy episodes of the original Incredible Hulk.  

Anyway, about half-way through the second episode with Bob, as he was lulling me into a trance with a snowscape he made the comment, “remember, there are no mistakes, only happy little accidents.”

I laughed out loud. 

Everything Bob painted was happy, but I’d completely forgotten about this particular expression, and it delighted me sixteen ways to Sunday. 

What a great way to think about the artistic process. What a great way to think about life. You know what that statement does?

It gives you permission to try. To take risks. We are so judgmental about what we do and how we look doing it that we never bother to step outside of our comfort zone. We don’t try new things because we’re afraid we’ll look silly. 

I’ve heard it said, I’m pretty sure from Doug, that you should scare yourself at least once a year. That’s why I wear 80’s wigs and unitards. In Facebook Live videos. 

As we wind down 2016 and think about things we want to try in 2017, remember Bob Ross. 

Because there are no mistakes. Just happy little accidents.