Castle Rock third-grader excels as artist

Titus Clinger, 8, found love for oil painting through Bob Ross videos

Posted 10/9/19

Castle Rock could be home to the Bob Ross of this generation. That's right, the late Bob Ross, the art instructor — famous for his PBS television show, “The Joy of Painting,” which aired in the …

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Castle Rock third-grader excels as artist

Titus Clinger, 8, found love for oil painting through Bob Ross videos

Posted

Castle Rock could be home to the Bob Ross of this generation.

That's right, the late Bob Ross, the art instructor — famous for his PBS television show, “The Joy of Painting,” which aired in the 1980s and 1990s — who is fondly remembered for his unique on-screen presence. The gentle spirit. The calming voice. The hairdo.

Albeit, Castle Rock's aspiring artist is about half the height of Ross and is in third grade.

Titus Clinger, an 8-year-old student at Soaring Hawk Elementary School in Castle Rock, aims to follow in Ross' footsteps by one day hosting his own instructional art show. Titus fell in love with the world of oil painting after discovering Ross' show and has since become a prolific painter.

“I was jumping around and going crazy because I did not know anyone could do that good, and that fast,” Titus said of seeing his first Ross video. “Just crazy.”

The third-grader began watching Ross on YouTube while on summer break this year. In the roughly three months from when he picked up a brush, Titus has created nearly 20 landscape paintings from “The Joy of Painting” episodes.

Titus' art teacher Kimberly D'Arthenay, who also taught him in second grade, said she was shocked when he returned to school this year and showed her the paintings.

The landscapes are well-done for a novice painter at any age, she said, but particularly for a student at Titus' grade level. The oil paints he works with are not a typical medium for elementary students and are difficult to use, she said.

“Seeing someone who is engaged in what they love is just so inspiring,” she said.

Titus' mother, Jessica, said she watched with awe as Titus picked up the skills needed to execute a Ross landscape.

“You just feel like he was born to do it,” she said. “When I watch him paint, I see heart, I see drive, I see excitement.”

Most of Titus' paintings will be featured in his first solo art at school on Oct. 10. The public is welcome to attend and speak with him about his work. He'll be speaking with other classes at his school ahead of the show to share about his love for landscape painting.

Although proficient today, it took practice to keep up with Ross, Titus said. His first attempt at one of the icon's paintings was from the “Northern Lights” episode.

“Come on up here and let's get started,” Ross says in the video, inviting viewers to follow along with him as he transforms a black canvas into a painting of the Northern Lights inspired by his time living in Alaska.

Learning the techniques and working with oils was frustrating at first, Titus said. So frustrating that it brought him to tears. The painting wasn't right, he said. Titus didn't have much experience with painting. At the time he mostly enjoyed sketching and making architectural drawings of his favorite place, Paris.

“A lot of 8-year-olds would have given up,” D'Arthenay said.

Ross inspired him to keep trying, Titus said. In his Northern Lights video, Ross seems to anticipate frustrations like what Titus felt.

“No pressure, no pressure at all,” Ross says calmly as he shows viewers how to sculpt mountains into the picture, reminding them they can place details wherever they want, and don't need to follow him exactly.

“This is your painting. Your world. And you can do anything that you want here,” he said.

In the future, D'Arthenay hopes to find a professional landscape oil painter who can mentor Titus as he continues mastering his craft.

“My goals for him are to expand on what he already knows, to really push the creative side of it and use what he's learned about techniques to push it into his own style,” she said.

Titus' mother said they are planning to set up an Etsy shop so he can begin selling his paintings online. They plan to put proceeds toward a trip to Paris so he can see his favorite subject to sketch, the Eiffel Tower, in real life.

“He wants to go to the Louvre and take in all the different museums,” she said. “I think to see some of the masters at a young age like this, it would just change his point of view.”

For now, Titus plans to keep painting and sharing his newfound love of oil painting with other students his age.

“It's just a nice way for me to see the world and get all my frustrations off my back,” Titus said. “Every time I come home, I ask my mom, `Can I paint?'”

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