2010-11 Year in Review: Picture Study

Picture Study

Sheesh. Now that I have a whole blog post devoted to what we did for Picture Study this year, I realize that I don't have much to say* other than:

We studied Norman Rockwell this year.

We have a couple of oversized books on Norman Rockwell and I just went through and selected several of his paintings and we studied them. (You can read more about how we do Picture Study here and here.)

Norman Rockwell has literally thousands of paintings-- I didn't realize just how substantial his body of work is until we started studying him. This man was putting out a brand-new painting weekly for the Saturday Evening Post. That's an astounding accomplishment for a painter.

No Swimming, 1921

What I liked: Norman Rockwell is an incredible artist, and his paintings have a photographic quality that I love. His attention to detail is so realistic that some of his paintings almost appear to actually be a photo. His paintings are like a snapshot capturing an ordinary moment in time: parents tucking their children into bed at night, a grown son home from the war, peeling potatoes with his mother working beside him, a family piled into the car. Rockwell had a gift for capturing the joys and adventures of childhood. (My kids loved his work.) I liked the fact that I was able to easily select paintings for different seasons of the year.

Freedom From Want, 1943

The Problem We All Live With, 1964

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you about my favorite addition to our Picture Study this year:

This cookbook holder-stand-thingamajig. (I don't actually know the appropriate term for this tool.) I spotted this one day at Target and knew it was the perfect thing to hold our picture study books.

See? So handy! No more trying to hold these large books open to the right page while trying to hold a squirmy child or having to continually prop the book up only to have it fall right over again. Loved this. On the days we did Picture Study (once a week. That's for you, Michelle!), it sat on our table, and on other days I set it top of our piano~ open to the most recent painting we'd studied or another one in the book that we weren't going to study, just so that the kids could see more of Rockwell's work.

*clearly I didn't have much of a problem coming up with something to say, now, did I?

I want to add that when I was planning for this year, I only selected Norman Rockwell works through the month of February. At the time I figured I would simply select another artist sometime before the end our Rockwell study (or take a few weeks break and then resume) and we'd finish out the year with another artist. Not so. It just never happened. (Note to self: plan ahead.)


  1. Next time you and the family come to visit ((which I just KNOW will be any day now!!)) you will definitely need to see my dad's Norman Rockwell collection!! He collected NR figurines and plates for years and (do you remember this?) my parents dining room is FULL of them! :)

    Any chance you will be able to stop in for the 100 day party tomorrow??

    ((I figure that if I just keep talking like we live next door, maybe someday we will!?!?))

    Keep the posts coming! I love hearing the details. all of them. :)

  2. My kids loved Rockwell, too. He actually wrote and illustrated a picture book, Willie Is Different, which we found at the library, and we enjoyed that, too. I found that my picture study happens more consistently if I plana whole year's worth of art and have the prints/books in the fall before we begin. Thanks!

  3. We studied Norman Rockwell before, but after we finished Mary Cassatt in the fall of this year, we somehow ended back with more Norman Rockwell. We love him and you are right...it is so easy to find one of his painting to fit the month or season.

  4. Stacy,
    Not sure if Kenj mentioned this or not, but on our trip to DC last fall, we were able to view/tour the entire private collection of original Rockwell's from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas at the Smithsonian Art Gallery. Very cool on multiple levels, plus interviews with the two directors on what it is about Rockwell that has encouraged their collections.


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