Norman Rockwell was a master of painting the American life. His paintings brilliantly capture casual moments of human interaction. Rockwell found the balance between discipline and freedom in his technique, so his paintings are detailed and realistic, but not uncomfortably stiff. I study various artist’s work, most notably Andrew Wyeth’s. I love Wyeth’s work. I relate to it because he worked in my medium of choice, and also because he painted Pennsylvania, the environment I live in. Wyeth’s ideas and painting style come naturally to me, but Rockwell’s work is an intimidating land I’ve never ventured into.
I probably would have left Rockwell alone if I had not had a request from a good friend. This friend served in the police force. He asked me to paint a copy of Rockwell’s The Runaway, but to substitute a girl for the boy on the officer’s right. He gave the painting as a gift to his daughter.
I was worried that the level of mastery required for a Rockwell imitation would be beyond me, but I was surprised to find that the painting process was simple, straightforward, and enjoyable.