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Amanda Haag

Mrs. Magee
Period 7
May 17, 2016
Art Investigations Report
Almost everyone has been influenced by art. Some artworks make the
viewer cry to see the tragic scene before them, while other works of art
cause the viewer to laugh as they are presented with humorous images. The
fact is that every artist is different, and as such every piece of art is unique.
Art has influenced me. Some of my favorite artists include Carl Bloch,
Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Norman Rockwell. One technique Ive
always wanted to improve at is realistic portraits and scenes, and a mentor
for me is Norman Rockwell of the Poster Art Realism Movement. Rockwell has
mastered the technique of realistic faces.
The technique of drawing realistic faces is a vital aspect of painting
and drawing. Humans spend so much time looking at other people that by a
look we can tell if some proportion or detail on a portrait is even slightly off
(Heaston). The best ways to sharpen your drawing skills is through repetition
and observation. Common mistakes beginners make is drawing the features
too big and not using shadows. Good skills to refine included careful
observation, so that every detail is correct, and sketching the basic structure
and subtle tone changes (South). Shading can add needed depth to a
drawing and create the illusion of it being three-dimensional. Patience is

necessary when completing a piece of art. Knowing basic proportions, like

that the eyes are usually halfway between the top of the head and the chin
or that in a frontal view there is about one eye width between the eyes,
brings the whole portrait together. I feel like these tips can help my portraits
improve as I focus on paying close attention to details and being patient.
One artist I look up to is Norman Rockwell. I feel that he not only
applied the correct proportions to the faces he drew but captured emotions
and stories in his images. Rockwell carefully planned every one of his
pictures. He layered brown and black paints to insure his shadows were
dark, and hed often thin down the paint he used so he could create multiple
levels by layering the paint. He would use thick blobs of paint to highlight
certain areas or hed poke holes into his artwork to add texture to it (Norman
Rockwell Painting Techniques). Rockwell would start off by making detailed
charcoal or pencil sketches and then hed prepare a color sketch to
differentiate between what tones hed want in the end image. He would
sometimes use a balopticon projector to help him get the painting just right.
Some of his drawings took up to 3 weeks to complete (Meyer 28-29).
Rockwells patience and dedication helps me to see that I must be patient
and carefully plan and execute my own artwork. Rockwell once said that he
had to be careful not to overwork a head. This statement is important
because I think many times artists work on a face for so long, or change it so
much, that the drawing gets worse instead of better. I love this advice and
Rockwells style of drawing. I think one reason I love Rockwells style so

much is that it was inspired by some of my favorite Renaissance artists. His

style, in turn, has inspired many other artists, including myself.
Norman Rockwells art has so much emotion painted into it, even the
background characters have developed emotions. Every one of his paintings
tell a story, and many glorify the average American person. Rockwell
paintings captured the American spirit. He said, Without thinking about it
too much in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed
to those who might not have noticed (About Norman Rockwell). Rockwell

did this through his inspiring covers for The

Saturday Evening Post magazine. One cover I
love shows a little girl looking at a magazine, but the
little girls face is covered by the magazine. The

magazine shows the image of a Hollywood star, so in the

overall magazine cover, you see a little girl with her
head covered by that of a star. Rockwell uses bright
colors and correct proportions to really bring the
image together. This light-hearted cover reflected the change in society
when children looked up to Hollywood stars and read magazines. Another
theme Norman Rockwell was famous for was his theme of Boy Scouts being
heroes. Rockwells careful choice in subject matter helps me to think about
what I want to paint. I want to paint and sketch images that are important to
me and help to inspire others and make them happy.

One set of Rockwells most famous

artwork is his Four Freedomsthe Freedom


Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from

Want, and Freedom from Fear. This set of
imaging is particularly inspiring because it
came out during a time of war, and it really
summed up American Values. The way
Rockwell conveys this theme through his four
separate, yet unified, images is especially poignant because each image tells
a story of an average American exercising their freedoms. I love The Four
Freedoms because it reminds me of my beliefs and American values. Not
only does his work inspire me because of its themes, it amazes me the way it
is executed. Rockwells paintings are very realistic and the way the paint is
layered helps to add a specific depth to his work. I want to try to capture this
depth in my future artwork to make it pop and look more three-dimensional.
Rockwells focus on American values and his execution helps me to want to
improve in my own artwork.
Norman Rockwell was part of a movement called Poster Art Realism.
Realists focused on painting the world how it really was instead of how they
ideally wanted the world to be. They no longer wanted to paint healthylooking beggars or cute and well-dressed orphans. They painted important
events they saw going on, like how Rockwell painted Ruby Bridges going to a
non-segregated school. Other famous Realists include Edward Hopper, Grant

Wood, and Andrew Wyeth. There are also many different periods of Realism
like American Contemporary Realism, American

Regionalism or the Ashcan School of Painting (Realism). Learning about

Realism helps me to think about what style of art I like, I do love Renaissance
style and Rockwells style because of the realistic human faces and
Rockwells use of humor and Americanismboth important values to me. I
also love the Realists use of average people as heroes.
I feel like my study of Rockwell and my art classes has really helped
me to become a more-skilled artist. I feel like as I learn about the basic skills
of drawing like shading, and contour line drawing, my own artwork has
improved as I apply the principles that I have learned. This year I feel like
my study of correct proportions has helped me increase my ability to draw
more realistic portraits. In one of my school art classes I painted a scene of
Norman Rockwells on a pair of shoes. This helped me to try and learn some
of Rockwells techniques. I think that along with my art classes at school, my
outside study of art has helped me to think more about the style of art I like
and the type of artist that I want to become.
My family has many artists in it, and my father enjoys going to
museums and studying the works of his favorite artists. I have had the
incredible opportunity to visit Italy and see some of the original works of the
great Renaissance masters like Da Vinci and Michelangelo. I have personally
viewed the Sistine Chapel and the sculpture of David and the Pieta. I love
the bright colors realistic figures in the Sistine Chapel. I marvel at the

emotion carved into the Pieta. I have also been able to see collections of
Norman Rockwells and Carl Blochs art, both of which I have found
fascinating. Norman Rockwells layering of paint struck me, and in some
areas of highlight it looked as though he just blobbed it on. Carl Blochs
paintings deeply inspire me. Seeing works by my favorite artists motivate
me to carefully choose subject matter that inspires me and to carefully plan
and patiently execute my artwork. I have noticed that I have the tendency to
rush through my drawings, but through study of the masters, I realize that
works of art take time and practice.
Throughout my study of art, journeys through museums, and terms of
art classes I have further come to realize the type of artist that I want to
become. One technique I have always wanted concentrate on is mastering
the drawing of realistic faces. Norman Rockwell is one of the artists that I
feel has an unusual skill for painting realistic figures and scenes. As part of
the Poster Art Realist movement, he painted actual scenes of American Life
as he saw it. Through my study of him, I have been inspired to be patient
with my compositions. I need to start by blocking in the shadows and basic
structure, then focus on the detail. I have also realized the inspiration art
can be to other people, as I have studied how Norman Rockwells art has
impacted America. I believe that through my study I have learned
techniques that will help me to one day become the type of artist that I have
always wanted to become. Many people have been influenced by artI
know it has impacted my life, and I want my art to inspire other people.

Works Cited
About Norman Rockwell. n.d. Web. 18 May 2016. <>.
Heaston, Paul. Drawing a Realistic Head: Bringing Faces to Life. 30 May
2013. Web. 18 May 2016.
Meyer, Susan E. Norman Rockwell's People. Ed. Edith M. Pavese. New York:
Harrison house/Harry N. Abrahms, Inc., 1987. Print.
Norman Rockwell Painting Techniques. n.d. Web. 18 May 2016.
Realism. n.d. Web. 18 May 2016. <>.
South, Helen. Top 10 Mistakes Beginners Make. 10 December 2014. Web. 18
May 2016.