Happy Little Money Trees: A $60 Painting Bought in 1980 Turns Out to Be a Bob Ross Original

Bob Ross Inc.
Bob Ross Inc.

Art of significant value selling for a relative pittance at garage sales or other small markets is nothing new. What is new is the recipient of the bargain getting a valuable artifact direct from the hands of the artist. That’s what happened to Larry Walton, a onetime bush pilot in Alaska who procured a painting at an Anchorage art fair for $60 in 1980. The seller? Artist Bob Ross, who was soon to debut as the host of PBS’s The Joy of Painting in 1983.

Some 40 years later, Walton received an unexpected $10,000 windfall as a result of this chance encounter.

Walton bought the artwork, which features a mountain and creek underneath the northern lights, because the scene reminded him of his days as a pilot. According to the Post-Bulletin of Minnesota, Walton kept the painting in ideal conditions over the decades, first inside his home in Crosslake and then in a garage, where it remained protected from sunlight.

The provenance of the painting wasn’t discovered until recently, when Walton’s son-in-law, Chris Kovacs, was sorting through their possessions for an estate sale. Kovacs thought he recognized it because he had recently gotten a recommendation from YouTube to watch a video about Ross and a northern lights artwork. He didn’t watch the video, but he remembered the notice and partnered with Walton’s other sons-in-law to investigate further. They found a willing buyer in Ryan Nelson, owner of Modern Artifact art gallery in Minneapolis, which does a brisk business in Ross originals.

Many of Ross’s paintings are in the possession of Bob Ross, Inc., the Virginia company responsible for licensing out the Ross brand. The company authenticated the Walton painting, which is currently for sale by Nelson for $18,450 on eBay.

[h/t Post-Bulletin]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It


When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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This 10-Year-Old Is Sending Art Supplies to Hundreds of Kids in Homeless Shelters and Foster Homes

Evgeniia Siiankovskaia/iStock via Getty Images
Evgeniia Siiankovskaia/iStock via Getty Images

She may be stuck at home, but Chelsea Phaire has found a way to connect with hundreds of kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN reports, the 10-year-old from Danbury, Connecticut, has used her time in isolation to send 1500 art project packs to kids in foster homes and homeless shelters.

Phaire had been interested in starting a charity from a young age, and on her birthday in August 2019, she launched Chelsea's Charity with help from her parents. Instead of birthday gifts, Chelsea asked for art supplies, and all the items she received went to a homeless shelter in New York. The Phaires have since set up a wishlist on Amazon, so anyone can donate supplies for the art kits. One pack includes crayons, paper, markers, gel pens, coloring books, and colored pencils.

In recent months, Phaire's mission to provide resources to underserved kids has become more vital than ever. Schools around the country have closed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which means kids have less access to art supplies than they did before. Young people may also be dealing with increased stress and boredom from being isolated inside. By sharing art kits, Phaire hopes to give them a healthy outlet for their struggles.

Chelsea's Charity has donated more than 1500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes since stay-at-home orders rolled out in March, which is more than was donated in the initiative's first five months. COVID-19 has forced Phaire to do some things differently: While she would normally get to meet many of the people she helps in person, she now sends all her donations by mail. Until it's safe to travel again, she's staying connected to kids through social media, as you can see in the video below.

[h/t CNN]