Norman Rockwell has long been considered the quintessential illustrator of American mythology through the first part of the last century.
His depiction of everyday characters and commonplace situations, delivered an insight into a mid reality, becoming more than a caricature , yet not quite a documentary style photograph.
The use of a slightly more intense color palette, than reality, gave the viewer a way to relate to his compositions, yet stay one layer detached, since, after all, they were drawings.
That grip on the known reality was a genius talent, and the tools he used to achieve it are very well known to you.
He would regularly photograph his friends and neighbors, using props, wardrobe and sometimes backgrounds to piece together his stories.
Many times he would only use a white background so he could easily isolate the subjects.
Author Ron Schick has put together the most comprehensive volume on this peek behind the curtain of the workings of famed artist, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera
, showing off many of the most well known paintings and illustrations, coupled with the photographs used as parts of the final work.
We cannot put this book down.
Along with some great essays and explorations on the career and interwoven American history to the work, Mr. Schick has put the original photos of the real life players into the mix.
Rockwell can be seen as a director also, as he undoubtedly posed his models in specific ways, to react to unseen situations, and deliver facial expressions and body language that he would later transform into paint and paper.
Here is another sample:
Â© Norman Rockwell
Â© Norman Rockwell
His work for the Saturday Evening Post is perhaps his most iconic, as he used the white background of the magazines cover to set only the most essential elements, to tell his tale.
There is only one minor complaint on the book, and that has to do with our sometimes, overly linear brain. Going though and seeing the photo and the final painting side by side is very cool and revealing.
There are some sections, that didn’t have an obvious direct correlation, and we kept hunting for those to make the match.
We did appreciate the single portraits because there was sense of the era inherent in them. Even if posed, the intent was to illustrate the current times, and the photographs gave a very stark, direct, portrait of the times, before the paint was applied
Here are some great samples of the work, from the Norman Rockwell Museum, where the paintings, illustrations and photos are on display side by side.
Since we couldn’t put this one down, we though one of you may like a copy.
Details on how to get one from us, will be in the weekly NEWSLETTER, for subscribers only.
The NEWSLETTER comes out on Weds. at 9:00 AM PST.