|Triple self-portrait by Norman Rockwell|
by Marilyn Turk
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I’ve always loved Norman Rockwell’s painting. To me, they tell stories of America in the best light with few exceptions. Small town life with baseball games, children playing, family dinners, town meetings, the local diner—all came to life with his brushstrokes. In his own words,
Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.
Rockwell always wanted to be an artist, and when he was 19, he was hired for his first job as art director for Boys Life, the magazine for the Boy Scouts of America. When Rockwell's tenure began with The Saturday Evening Post in 1916, he left his position at Boys Life, but continued to include scouts in Post cover images and the monthly magazine of the American Red Cross.
A scout is kind.
In 1926, he
resumed work with the Boy Scouts with production of his first of
fifty-one original illustrations for the official Boy Scouts of America annual
calendar. His last commission for the Boy Scouts of America was a
calendar illustration entitled The Spirit of 1976, which was completed when Rockwell was 82.
His work with the Post lasted until 1963, a span of almost fifty years, producing 321
cover drawings for the magazine. During those years, Rockwell showed what
America experienced through wartime, and the patriotism the country shared. His
famous cover of Rosie the Riveter showed the role women played during World War
II when they took jobs formerly performed by men so the men could go to war.
In 1943, during World War II, Rockwell painted the Four
Freedoms, which was completed in seven months and resulted in his losing
fifteen pounds. The series was inspired by a speech by Franklin D.
Roosevelt, wherein Roosevelt described and articulated Four
Freedoms for universal rights. Rockwell then painted Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of
Worship, and Freedom from Fear.
Rosie the Riveter
One reason I like Rockwell’s painting so much are the facial expressions on the people. His brush truly captured the character. As he said,
If you are interested in the characters you draw and understand them and love them, why, the people who see your picture are bound to feel the same way.
As a writer, I can relate to this statement because I want to write my characters so that my readers will understand them as much as I do.
|"Going and Coming" - Doesn't this show the true feelings of going on vacation and coming back?|
Space does not allow me to cover more of Rockwell’s work, a lifetime that produced more than 4,000 pieces of art. I personally have many favorites as well. What is your favorite Rockwell painting?
The war destroyed their engagement. Misunderstandings keep them
apart. Will a mysterious arsonist be the only one fanning a flame or can their
love be rekindled?
The war destroyed their engagement. Misunderstandings keep them apart. Will a mysterious arsonist be the only one fanning a flame or can their love be rekindled?
Historical fiction flavored with suspense and romance
Multi-published author Marilyn Turk calls herself a “literary archaeologist,” because she loves to discover stories hidden in history. Her World War II novel, The Gilded Curse, won a Silver Scroll award. When readers asked what happened to the characters after the book, Marilyn wrote the sequel, Shadowed by a Spy. Her four-book Coastal Lights Legacy series—Rebel Light, Revealing Light, Redeeming Light, and Rekindled Light—feature Florida lighthouse settings. Marilyn’s novella, The Wrong Survivor, is in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection. She has also written a book of devotions called Lighthouse Devotions and writes for Daily Guideposts.
Marilyn is also the director of the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat. http://bluelakecwr.com.
She lives in the panhandle of Florida where she and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, and playing tennis when time permits (and it’s below 100 degrees).