Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera

I enjoyed this Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum today. It focuses on the photos he arranged as reference for his illustrations. Rockwell’s compositions are so familiar to me and so many Americans. I loved seeing how he planned each one. They didn’t just appear as fully-crafted scenes of Americana on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post!

If you wondered before this show why many illustrators use photographic reference, you won’t after! The perfect tilt of a girl’s head at the soda fountain, her shy sideways glance… By picking and choosing bits from so many carefully-staged reference photos, Rockwell pieced together the characters that are part of my cultural image bank.

Not to mention how amazing it was to see the beautifully-detailed original oil paintings, sometimes 3 or 4 feet tall, he did just for cover illustrations. Wow! This guy was really a master of his craft.

An inspiring show. See it before April 10, 2011.

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