If you’re out and about Sunday morning and stop by the Urbana Library Farmers’ Market, you may be fortunate enough to observe Bob Ross devotee and Urbana High School (UHS) senior Denis Clifford hard at work painting a landscape right before your eyes. Several years ago, Clifford started watching Bob Ross videos online and became inspired by his painting method. “You should try it,” he said. “I decided to, and I got addicted.” Clifford said the Bob Ross method is a good way to get started in painting, and believes it will allow him to work toward more traditional types of art.
Denis works in oil and paints both inside and outside, usually from photos. Nature is his preferred subject, particularly the mountains of Alaska and Canada. He also paints birds, flowers, animals and still life. ”The most important thing I’ve learned is that nature will never fail you,” he said. “For my whole life I looked at nature, but I never truly saw and appreciated it until I started painting.”
He likes that he can get his idea down in one sitting, doesn’t have to use layers of paint and constantly revisit the piece. “You don’t forget your idea,” he said.
So far, he is self-taught, but he will begin art classes in school next year. He also plays the snare drum in the UHS marching band and keyboards with the jazz band. He would like to go to Florida and become certified in the Bob Ross method, so he can teach it while he is in college.
Business has been good at the market. Last year, he sold a lot of his work at the UHS Christmas fair and at an Honor Society fundraiser at 11:11 Café in Frederick. This year, he expects to participate in the Sugarloaf Craft Festival. He has completed a few commissions and hopes to expand and do more of them.
“I would not be able to do any of this if it weren’t for the never-ending support of my parents and the encouragement of my friends,” he said.
For Clifford, painting brings happiness and peace—something that he hopes to share with others through his art. “Painting is a method of expression where I can capture a moment in time of my choice, be it real or fantasy,” he said. “Through painting I can express my view of the world and share it with others. In the settings I create on canvas, nothing bad happens, there’s no pollution, and everything’s happy because it’s the way I want it. Whenever I’m sad or stressed, I need a place like this where I can be at peace.”
You can visit Clifford at the market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. He does live painting on Instagram at DCliffordMDArt, and you can also view his paintings on Facebook under DCliffordMDArt or contact him at email@example.com.