This Is Your Bravery Test: 55 Challenges for Art and Life Inspired by Bob Ross

Running Pr. Jul. 2023. 128p. ISBN 9780762483037. $18.00. SELF-HELP
American painter Bob Ross (1942–95), whose hugely popular art instruction show The Joy of Painting ran from 1983 to 1994 on public television, had an unexpected but welcome renaissance during the COVID pandemic. Ross’s soft-spoken manner and meditative painting instructions inspired countless people to pick up paintbrushes without making them feel like their art needed to meet an aesthetic standard. Plus, listening to him became a new form of meditation. This collection of 55 quotations and painting challenges from Ross is designed to let people explore creativity in bold, messy, and brave ways. Witte (The Faker’s Guide to the Classics), an advocate for mental health care, implies that by showing up before a canvas, readers can start to discover new ways of showing up for other people and in their own lives.
VERDICT Perfectionists might shudder at the book’s lack of instructions or the absence of a list of supplies, techniques, or other requirements, but that’s (part of) the point. Even the bravest recovering perfectionists can benefit from this.
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