Art Art &Daily post 29 Jul 2006 07:34 am

Bob Ross meet Jon Gnagy

- For the Bob Ross fans out there who miss the afro-haired painting instructor’s PBS program, a number of clips from the show have shown up on YouTube. Quiet entertainment for the internet on a rainy day.

When I was young, Jon Gnagy was the on-air art instructor. His paintings might have been a little better than Bob Ross’, or maybe it’s my memory that makes them better. Just like Bob Ross, Jon Gnagy had his own line of supplies, instruction manuals and kits designed to help the beginning artist.

The first thing I’d ever won was 3rd prize in a cub scout Halloween dress-up contest. (I was a robot.) The prize was a choice of whatever was left after winners 1 & 2 had chosen. Of course, I was the only one in the pack that wanted the Jon Gnagy kit, so that was my #1 prize. It contained a lot of newsprint paper, conte crayons, charcoal pencil, kneaded eraser and a book.

I’m not sure it helped very much. Rather than use up all the art supplies, I treated the kit with delicacy. To keep it away from my four other siblings, I hid the box of materials above a wardrobe in the basement. I pretty much forgot about it after that, and discovered years later that the supplies had withered under the heat of the pipe just over the wardrobe. The box lay against it, and all the newprint turned brown and dried out.

Needless to say, I knew I didn’t need those chalks and paper to draw. I seemed always to be doing it anyway.

- The NY Times offers an audio slide show from the director of Monster House, Gil Kenan, about the development and creation of the house, itself.

11 Responses to “Bob Ross meet Jon Gnagy”

  1. on 31 Jul 2006 at 2:15 pm 1.John Celestri said …


    I still have my copy of the Jon Gnagy book — it’s printed on a heavy pulp stock that hasn’t been produced in decades. Whenever I flip through its contents, I flash back to the early-mid 1950s, sitting in front of my family’s black and white Admiral TV and watching Jon flashing his conte crayon across his pad, creating his sketches.

  2. on 31 Jul 2006 at 2:37 pm 2.Michael said …

    Thanks for the correct spelling of Gnagy, John. I went back and corrected my post; I shold’ve remembered.

  3. on 21 Nov 2006 at 8:11 am 3.Thaddeus Seymour said …

    We’ve had fun putting together a memorial site for Jon Gnagy, my wife’s father. Because of YouTube, we were able to include ten of his lessons. Thought you might enjoy a sentimental journey to revisit some of his original television broadcasts — presented sixty years ago! Enjoyed reading your comments and responses about Jon.

  4. on 03 Dec 2006 at 11:50 pm 4.Bruce Siegel said …

    I loved the Jon Gnagy show, and was able to purchase some years ago, an orginal drawing of the Delaware canal running along New Hope PA. done by Jon Gnagy. It now hangs on my living room wall. I still do a little art work myself. thanks.

  5. on 14 Oct 2007 at 8:33 pm 5.Lars V said …

    I have viewed the Gnagy vids on YouTube. Great walk down memory lane. Has anyone heard if these might be available on DVD? I have been to the Setmore’s site but no mention there. Thanks. L.V. Salem, Or.

  6. on 09 Apr 2008 at 11:38 pm 6.Ed Stewart said …

    I watched both Jon Gnagy and Bob Ross on television when they were on the air.

    I wish they had one or both shows on now, but it seems the PBS stations where I live decided to take off all of the art shows and replace them with cooking shows. They should have left the art shows on television.

    I have art supplies from both Jon Gnagy and Bob Ross. I draw and paint whenever I can and every chance. I draw pictures on my break period at my job (I’ll be retiring in a few more years) because I love doing art.

    I wonder what it would have been like if Jon Gnagy had met Bob Ross.

    I loved the shows by both artists. They taught alot to me and they made me happy. Thanks.

  7. on 10 Apr 2008 at 8:15 am 7.Michael said …

    I watched Jon Gnagy religiously when I was younger. I infrequently saw Bob Ross but wasn’t as captivated by him. I agree that it’s a shame neither (or someone newer) isn’t still on the air.

  8. on 09 Oct 2010 at 5:50 pm 8.Bob Ross said …

    Bob Ross is King! I love his relaxing voice. I could listen to the guy all day. zzzzzz

  9. on 11 Nov 2011 at 2:58 pm 9.Fran Folkerts said …

    I, too, watched Jon religiously when I was a kid. In fact the reason I’ve run across this site now is that, being determined to help a friend of mine (somewhat mentally challenged) with her interest in drawing, I found myself thinking in terms of circles and squares. Then I realized where that approach came from! Yes, I still have the book, drawing board (which I still use, tho not for drawing),and most of the charcoals. I also have a sketch in copper that Jon did of me when I was 7. (My mom had taken me to one of his appearances.)

  10. on 23 Oct 2015 at 9:24 pm 10.Martin Shellabarger said …

    I grew up watching, and drawing with Jon Gnagy. I even got the best present ever: his drawing kit. It is still vivid in my memory. Many years later when I was going to school at the University of Kansas and playing flamenco guitar to pay for food and gas, I heard there was another flamenco guitarist in town, but could never seem to catch up to him. Finally we met, and became close friends. His name was Gnagy also, and it turned out he was the son of my TV idol.

    When he was going through a divorce, in 1979 he asked me if he could stay at the house I was renting with some friends, and of course we all said he could. That Christmas he drove with me to Denver to meet his friend, Rene Herridia (who was once the lead guitarist for Carmen Amaya), to pick up a guitar. I continued on, alone, to California, and contacted Jon, who graciously invited me to visit him and his wife in Idylwild, but lack of gas money made that impossible. Mr. Gnagy sent me a his book on doodling, which I treasured.

    Soon after returning to Lawrence, Steve told me his father had died, and I deeply regretted not finding a way to get the gas money to go to Idylwild.

    A postscript to my relationship to the Gnagys was that Steve died in the 1990s, and, because we had made a mutual pact for the survivor to spread the others ashes in a Spanish location of importance to flamenco, I contacted his second wife who kindly sent me some of his remains which I took to Seville to a famous gypsy barrio and mixed his ashes with the dust of the streets there so he might always be tracked into the “cafe cantantes” where flamenco is performed.

  11. on 23 Oct 2015 at 10:09 pm 11.Caroline Gnagy said …

    Martin Shellabarger – THANK YOU for taking the ashes to Spain. I am the granddaughter of Jon Gnagy and the daughter of Steve Gnagy. I believe that my brother Mathew and I met you when I was a girl, when my father was going through said divorce. I appreciate the kind words about my father and Jon Gnagy (Jonny Pop, to us). Obviously, I’m biased but Bob Ross can’t hold a candle to Jon Gnagy.

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