Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Childhood Dream


This man is a genius. From the time I first saw him on television, I was in awe of what he could do with a paintbrush in a mere thirty minutes. Somehow, at the age of five, I understood and appreciated this man's talent. I remember thinking that I wish I could paint happy trees like that. Unfortunately, I grew up with poor motor skills and zero artistic talent. I got a D in Junior High School art. It was rather pitiful, really. But after resigning from my miserable hospital administration job, I decided that life was too short to live a miserable existance with a career that I hated so much that it was making me physically ill. I needed to make a change.

So I took the biggest risk I've ever taken in my life. I went into debt (unheard of for me, being a former bankruptcy paralegal), took a road trip to eastern Florida (my first trip alone), and trained at the official Bob Ross Art Workshop. Not only did I learn how to paint like Bob, I learned how to teach his technique to others. I spent three weeks with 20 strangers in a place that I had never been in my life to do something that I wasn't sure I could do. Crazy? Maybe. Worth it? You better believe it. It was a childhood dream come true, and even though I am broke and struggling, I am happier now than I was in the corporate world making $10 an hour. If I could rewind time and revisit this decision, I wouldn't change it for anything.

I returned home to Mobile, Alabama a new woman. I spent three months practicing and planning, and taught my first Bob Ross Workshop on May 3rd. I had eight students. It was scary and exciting all at the same time, and I didn't run into any issues whatsoever. My hours upon hours of planning paid off, and everything went great. Three of those eight students returned for further instruction, and I couldn't ask for a more loyal and friendly trio. I am a lucky, lucky woman. Even though I'm broke, my students make me want to do this for the rest of my life.

It is amazing what putting paint on a canvas does for people. Bob got it. He knew the joy that it could bring to people's lives, and he worked hard to make it happen. That first day of teaching, a student approached me and thanked me for giving her the opportunity to take a Bob Ross class. She told me about her cancer, and said that she had always wanted to learn how to paint like Bob but never dreamed that she would get the chance. I still cry when I think about her. She never returned to my class because she was about to start chemo. I hope that she is ok, and that the four hours of amateur instruction that she received from me gave her a moment of joy. That is what it's all about. Bob knew it, and now I know it too.

Thanks, Bob. I hope that I am making you proud.


~Kelli

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