Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Norman Rockwell

Today I am going to look at The Art Critic by Norman Rockwell. The first time that I saw a Norman Rockwell original was at the Society of Illustrators in NYC. I was amazed at the size of the piece for one and the other was the thickness of Rockwell's paint in conjunction with the light leaks he left which allowed the canvas to show through. As I look at The Art Critic, three more things jump out at me which I would like to comment on. The first, being an artist myself, is that the man in the painting is holding a palette. How Rockwell lays the colors out on the palette in the image says somethign to me about how he used his own palette and the way that he arranges his colors. He seems to have them laid out in a modified color wheel setup with white at the apex and what I don't see is black. This is just an interesting point to note. The second is that the paintings on the wall in this piece are very reminiscent of Frans Hals. (If they actually are Hals, I am not familiar with them, however, maybe I will look at Hals tomorrow.) Hals was an alla prima type painter as was Rockwell (I believe), so it is noteworthy in that apparently, Hals was admired by Rockwell. The third is the fantastic texture that Rockwell has created in this piece. The great textural effects on the frames, the wall texture, the texture created through the color choices in the floor tiles...amazing. My belief (based on the original I saw in NYC) is that these textural effects have been created in large effect by the thickness of the paint. I know that Turner also used thick paint as this to create textural effects (but more atmospheric in nature). In order to gain a better understanding of this effect, I will definitely need to view more of Rockwell's work in person.


  1. hey, if you can find it get the book Rockwell on Rockwell How I make a picture by Norman Rockwell. He goes through his process step by step including his palette set up and painting process. My local library actually had a copy. I know its been out of print for awhile but it's worth tracking down.

  2. Thanks Brian! I will check into it.