Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Blagging from Norman Rockwell

Aren't libraries great ?

Was at my newly rebuilt local one on Saturday on my regular three weekly top up of reading material when, on the way out I spotted a greet big book on the life and work of one of America's finest and most under-appreciated (at least during his lifetime) artists Norman Rockwell - his official website is here.

Most well know for his front covers of The Saturday Evening Post which he produced a total of 321 paintings for from 1916 to 1963, a quite remarkable and unequaled record, during which his work ranged from cartoon style portrayals of a small town American lifestyle to vivid and beautifully painted anti-apartheid and anti-war works of art - have a look at the gallery on this page and click the picture of the small black girl being taken to school by four FBI agents (bottom row second from left)

While on that same link also click the picture on the bottom right hand corner for an LS Lowry style painting of a crowd of people passing a cathedral entrance - a beautifully detailed building contrasting with the almost cartoon like but very effective handling of the people.

Mention "Rockwell" to most people though and they will think of the small-town SEP front covers which recorded a way of life that possibly didn't even exist but which most people wish we could return to, click this link for lots of examples, realistic and cartoon-like depictions of everyday life situations - a massive volume of work and an invaluable historical collection.


So having lost (and then re-found) my old art pen at christmas I dashed off to my local art shop and bought a crappy old dip pen with a split nib and a bottle of black ink and I've been doodling and blotching ever since, and since saturday have been blagging subjects out of the Norman Rockwell book, faces with so much detail and expression painted into them that you can almost talk to the old men and women in Rockwells picture.

My interpretations of his subjects are so far away from his finesse that I'd defy you to pick out the originals in the book, but they're fun to do, sometimes only taking a few minutes, sometimes 30 mins to an hour and the crappy old pen that keeps blotting is a deliberate tool - when you use architects pens that are guaranteed not to blotch but deliver ink in a uniform way then you lose spontaneity - Ralph Steadman web site once bought the entire stock of his favourite crappy nib when he learned that the company making them was ceasing production.


So the only question remaining now is - should I migrate to Wordpress (or somewhere else) to get a bit more control over the appearance of this blog ?

In the meantime...





8 comments:

grannymar said...

I moved from blogger to WordPress last July and would hate to go back. I also use Windows Live Writer and find it great.

Dan said...

Are you talking about wordpress on your own domain or wordpress.com hosting your blog?

I love wordpress, and am self hosted. But you certainly need to be prepared to tinker with it.

Zoe's Dad said...

If more control means we get more of your artwork, I say go for it.

Anonymous said...

Better the Devil you know !

Gary said...

I want a little bit more design control over things like titles and banners - the titles on the sections to the left for instance don't really work because they have to be uploaded as separate images and it would be nice to have an overall background image.

And of course you still can't back up this frikkin thing :(

Still, blogspot is nice and easy to use and I don't want to be arsing around with too many widgets and suchlike, I may open up a wordpress site just to see how it differs, it'll be our secret...

Gary said...

...and of course when I say titles to the left I mean titles to the right, I've been using the left hand side of my brain too much tonight and its tired.

Whit said...

Bring the art!

Anonymous said...

http://www.odduniverse.com/cgi-bin/viewStory.cgi?sID=53
:)