Elizabeth Oxley

Bob Ross Solves Global Warming

     Robert Norman Ross (1942-1995): American art instructor and host 
     of the 1980s public television show The Joy of Painting.
Here’s a happy little scene. Let’s take our two-inch brush, 
load the bristles with Titanium White—make 
criss-cross strokes, little exes across the page. 

Cross out landfills and jam-packed traffic, 
smother burning forests, erase the ocean’s trash. 
We’ll put some pink in the sky, pull it down 

from the corners. Take Cadmium Yellow, 
make a happy little sun. Use dabs of white 
to give polar bears back their ice, Sap Green 

to grow the Amazon. Let’s layer the forest, 
give it depth—put a happy little cloud behind 
some happy little trees. Let’s have water, too. 

Use Prussian Blue—blend it together, 
set the waves in motion, make those fish 
happy as clams. Now, we’ll patch the prairie 

with Van Dyke Brown—watch buffalo return, 
and wolves. Let’s build solar panels and windmills, 
tiny little towns. We’ll paint everyone a happy little house 

but let the landscape breathe. Take care of your canvas, 
treasure it. It will be your friend if you let it. It’s time 
to clean our brush. We’ll beat the very devil out of it. 

That’s the fun part anyway. Remember—
this is our world, and we can do anything we want with it. 
Anyone can make a masterpiece with just a little bit of practice.