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17 September 2015

Art Copywork: Norman Rockwell

We've been doing Norman Rockwell for artist study, and it's going pretty well, in spite of the kids' protests that he's not interesting. I think they're just not quite old enough to appreciate some of the stories he's telling, because Rockwell is hilarious.  One of the things that I've seen people talk about loving, as they're studying various artists, is copying the artist's work or style, so we're trying that. By calling it "art copywork" the kids knew right away what we were after: we were going to copy someone else's work in order to learn from it. I promised them that, once the copywork was finished, they could use additional papers to draw pictures from their own heads, which Dragon(5) was particularly excited to do.

First, we visited a Norman Rockwell exhibit here in town yesterday. Next, Hero(8) and I read a bit about Rockwell's techniques. My big takeaway was that he took his time and paid attention to details. Hero was introduced to the idea of planning your work before you put pen to paper, which he said he had never really thought about before.

Then, we all picked one of Rockwell's pieces off the internet, I printed out a little picture for referencing, and we all got to work.

It was about this time that I figured out why it is that people are spending time and money getting nice copies of works from their artist in binders: the little picture I'm working from is small. There is so much detail, but it's so hard to see - and worse after I put in a few lines to help me with the proportions, an aspect of art where I am notoriously weak. I looked at the internet, but it wasn't tons better there: things are still difficult to see, and I find myself wishing that I was at the museum again, where they had larger prints, so I could really see what I'm looking at. I don't know if I'll be able to do tons with printing things out right away, but going forward, it's definitely going to be something that's in the back of my mind.

Dragon and Tigress(2) painted with us, but they are still doing process oriented art: the painting is fun, but the product isn't so important, though it's fun to give it away as gifts. "Here, Mom! This is for you!" Dragon knows that I like it when they do art, and his work will go on our art wall when it's dried out.

But Hero and I had a good time with some more product oriented art: we were working toward a specific final goal. One way that our work is different from Rockwell's is that we're using our watercolors, and he worked in oils, which we don't have. And I don't know that we'll try those for a good while yet: I don't want to mess with all the thinners and cleaners and so on while I've got little kids. In the mean time, this is a nice opportunity to try to develop our skills working with watercolors.

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