How would you like to visit with famous artist Norman Rockwell, known as “America’s Artist” while he paints one of his most iconic scenes from the “Four Freedoms” series: Freedom from Want! Yep, you will sit at a festive Thanksgiving table, set with the best china, the best dinner guests and have a happy time? Come on, that turkey leg looks like it is all yours!
Who is Norman Rockwell?
First, let’s learn a little bit about Norman Rockwell. He was born in 1894 in New York and died in 1978. He is known as an “Iconic American Artist” and created over 4,000 works of art during his lifetime, mainly consisting of illustrations for books, advertisements, and magazine covers. In particular, he produced over 300 covers for the Post magazine.
He started drawing as a young child while his father read aloud to him. As his father read, he would draw illustrations of what he was hearing. (Just in case we needed a reminder of the value of reading aloud to our children.)
Norman Rockwell grew up in the city but enjoyed summer trips to the country, and his artwork showed life as he would like it to be. Many of his creations feature idyllic family scenes.
Rockwell also spent some time in the US Navy (as an artist) and was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.” Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell and the Holidays
In 1941, Norman Rockwell listened to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address. This speech inspired him to create a series of four paintings that he titled the “Four Freedoms.” He wanted to sell them to the US military, but they initially turned him down. You can view the “Four Freedoms” here.
However, the Saturday Evening Post purchased them, and the works saw a great deal of success. The military later used them for fundraising.
Freedom from Want is one of the “Four Freedoms” paintings and one of Normal Rockwell’s most well-known works. This oil on canvas painting shows an idyllic family scene at Thanksgiving, complete with a large turkey.
Christmas with Norman Rockwell
In addition to his Thanksgiving painting, Norman Rockwell has many wonderful Christmas paintings. He is one of several artists credited with our modern depictions of Santa Claus as a jolly and jovial man.
He started with a Santa Claus painting for Boys Life magazine. Over the years, he created over 30 Santa illustrations for various companies, including The Post and Coca-Cola. You can see many of these paintings, as well as his other illustrations, in the digital collection at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Hands-on Learning with Norman Rockwell
Now that you and your student have learned more about Norman Rockwell, it’s time for great hands-on learning. You can start with Nana’s Norman Rockwell lesson in the Famous Artists series exclusive to the You ARE an Artist Complete Clubhouse.
More Thanksgiving Art Lessons
Then, you can find more Thanksgiving art in Nana’s Thanksgiving course. This course gives your students fifteen days of art related to Thanksgiving.
- Turkey Nature Walk
- Cranberry Thanksgiving (Our personal favorite!)
- Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
- Early Colonist
- and more.
There are also some great lessons in the Hymns course related to Thanksgiving hymns.
Famous Artist Norman Rockwell Show Notes
You might also like:
- Nana’s Norman Rockwell lesson is in the Famous Artists series exclusive to the You ARE an Artist Complete Clubhouse
- Nana shared a Norman Rockwell self portrait lesson on our sister site, Hodgepodge, here.
- Nana shares 15 Days of Thanksgiving art in her new Thanksgiving course in the You ARE an Artist Complete Clubhouse
- And be sure to join Nana in our FREE You ARE an Artist Facebook group and our community on Instagram and all the social media as well.
Listen to Nana’s Normal Rockwell Podcast on YouTube
Nana is passionate about helping you realize you ARE an artist! Not only an artist with chalk pastels but with homeschooling, creative spaces, favorite family recipes and more. Nana also enjoys chatting – especially about art. If you have followed along with any of her You ARE an Artist video art lessons, you know that. She also enjoys sharing photos and thoughts on topics while she is being creative in her studio space on her back porch. That is where she will be chatting with you – from her back porch. It’s Nana’s You ARE an Artist Podcast!
-Special thanks to Erin Vincent and her artists for the beautiful photos. Visit her at Nourishing My Scholar.