“Let’s give this little tree a friend.” Sound familiar? Anyone who’s watched PBS television on Saturday mornings will recognize the voice of Bob Ross, who since 1982 has been featured on the network giving painting lessons on the show, “The Joy of Painting.”Ross died of cancer in 1995 but his painting method and techniques are carried on through the voice of teachers like Tina Taylor-McClure.Taylor-McClure, a Colorado native, says she tries to promote Ross as much as she can by telling her students to paint “happy little trees” and the like during her painting classes.A self-taught artist who has been doing brush strokes for 30 years, Taylor-McClure teaches the Bob Ross method of painting at The Balance Sheet in Frisco.She was certified at the Bob Ross school in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., in September and now offers classes around the state in the wet-on-wet method of oil painting.”It’s a faster way of painting so you can get it done in four hours and go home with it,” she said. “If you’ve seen Ross on TV, anyone can do it. It’s done in little bits, one step at a time.”
Landscapes being her favorite thing to paint, Taylor-McClure was attracted to Ross’ show and watched it frequently on Saturdays. Always a “starving waitress” who painted as a hobby, Taylor-McClure decided several years ago to become a professional artist. Friends kept urging her to sell her work and quit giving it away. Her paintings are displayed at the Willow Tree Gallery in Salida, where she now resides with her husband, Greg Knapp.Taylor-McClure lived in Summit County for 14 years. Locals who frequent the Log Cabin Cafe on Frisco’s Main Street will remember her serving coffee and eggs there for years – 12 years, to be exact.She switched from pouring coffee to painting landscapes full-time several years ago. As for teaching the Bob Ross method, Taylor-McClure got the idea from – where else? – TV.”I was looking for a career change big time,” she said. “But it’s really hard to make it as an artist – everyone knows that.”
While her paintings of mountain landscapes sell well to tourists, Taylor-McClure said an advertisement that aired during the show for the Bob Ross school prompted her to get certified and start teaching.The classes now supplement her income.”I’ve been trying to find my niche in art for quite a long time,” she said.Taylor-McClure started painting in high school. She wanted to pursue it as a career but was discouraged by her mother.”She said, ‘Art! You can’t make a living at art!’ so I took classes here and there over the years and taught myself from books.” She loves teaching and thinks she’s a natural at it, due in part to all those years serving coffee.
“I’ve always loved working with the public,” she said. Teaching is like being a waitress, except there’s much more joy in teaching, she said.Taylor-McClure is a former guitar student of Summit County entertainer Nancy Cook. Her favorite musical genre is old country western, and she sometimes joins in at the Moose Jaw during open mic nights.Those interested in joining Taylor-McClure in painting a few “happy little trees” can reach her at (719) 539-2493. -Kim MarquisKim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at email@example.com.
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