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Happy trees? Not all 381 times.
April 16, 2014 1:30 PM   Subscribe

When it's time for some mellow craftiness it's time for Bob Ross. But what if you want to know how many times his paintings included palm trees? Cumulus clouds? What if it's time to apply some good ol' fashioned conditional probability to his oeuvre? Then this is the place to go.
posted by mr. digits (19 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's like a concordance, but for one man's paintings.

I think data can tell us a lot about a lot of things, but I think it's interesting that the data collected here didn't actually tell us much about Ross the painter, but the Ross expert did (you won't see people, and you won't see much evidence of people in the man's work).

How do data collectors and analysts reconcile for "not-data"?
posted by notyou at 1:44 PM on April 16


Well, I'm not sure if you're going for this angle specifically, but that sounds like the difference between quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data is usually things like "X number of happy trees" and "happy little trees were an average of X high, while Big Ol' Trees were an average of Y high."

Qualitative data can often be much more open-ended and subjective. "I felt much happier when I looked at the shorter trees than when I looked at the bigger trees."
posted by Madamina at 1:50 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Love.
posted by Melismata at 2:08 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I want them to run the numbers and find the Most Bob Ross Painting he ever painted.
posted by rebent at 2:09 PM on April 16 [8 favorites]


Disappointed they didn't track how many times he would have a baby squirrel on the show, but I think they were only looking at the finished paintings and not the episodes themselves.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:13 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Fascinating. As a Ross aficionado, I would have bet the ranch that conifers handily outnumbered deciduous trees. But there you are. The only thing missing is stats on the number and types of animal friend visitors, such as Peapod, the Pocket Squirrel.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:14 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


<3
posted by jwhite1979 at 2:28 PM on April 16


such as Peapod, the Pocket Squirrel.

Some joys are beyond counting.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:34 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


One of my greatest disappointments in life is when my great grandmother died she left several pieces of art she owned to a museum. One of which was a Bob Ross original, pretty rare to find in private collections from what I understand because he mostly only let them be auctioned for charity at special events. I was too young to really express my want of that at the time. It wasn't until years later I even remembered about it and found out all the art she donated is moldering up in some Willamette Valley museum basement. I would have loved that painting like it was my own child. LIKE A CHILD!
posted by mediocre at 2:48 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


“I will tell you Bob’s biggest secret. If you notice, his cabins never had chimneys on them,” she said. “That’s because chimneys represented people, and he didn’t want any sign of a person in his paintings. Check the cabins. They have no chimneys.”

Wait, what?

Are cabins without chimneys, like, naturally-occurring geological features?
posted by my favorite orange at 2:48 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


It's provably false, too. Hell, one doesn't even have to leave that page to find a chimney. Third image down, center row in the first grouping of paintings at the top of page. That's clearly a chimney.
posted by mediocre at 3:00 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Somebody needs to take this data and create a Bob Ross Painting generator.
posted by rouftop at 3:12 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Missing from this impressive trove of data is the one thing that attracted many of us to his show: his intimate mellifluous baritone voice.
posted by kozad at 3:20 PM on April 16


his intimate mellifluous baritone voice.

Ah, ASMR. How glad I am to have learned that this phenomenon is actually a thing and not just the reason I seem to love certain voices in ways I can't adequately explain.
posted by mediocre at 3:30 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


his intimate mellifluous baritone voice.
Fran?
posted by Redfield at 3:54 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


mediocre: "It's provably false, too. Hell, one doesn't even have to leave that page to find a chimney. Third image down, center row in the first grouping of paintings at the top of page. That's clearly a chimney."

Come on, RTFA. The very next paragraph:
She immediately added, “I’m sure you’re going to call me tomorrow and say you found a chimney.” And I did! But it took a lot of hunting. In season 7 episode 1, “Winter Cabin,” there’s a chimney on the cabin (featured above in the third row, center column). But the fact that a chimney appeared once in 381 paintings doesn’t really diminish Kowalski’s point.
posted by namewithoutwords at 4:18 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Chimneys represent people? But cabins don't? Art class is hard.
posted by thelonius at 4:47 PM on April 16


I think it's more that while, yes, cabins are built by people, what it means is that a cabin would NEED a chimney to be habitable. A cabin without a chimney isn't habitable (at least in winter), so no people are around, and the cabin is allowed to just be a cabin and revel in its own cabinness without having to address the idea of the UTILITY of the cabin.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:53 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


A cabin without a chimney isn't habitable (at least in winter)

Maaaaybe. But in some of them the windows are lit up!
posted by my favorite orange at 10:42 PM on April 16


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