Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell, Freedom From Want, 1943. War bond poster. Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March 6, 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/2 in.

In the world of art Thanksgiving is exemplified by this painting Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell. This image, also known as Thanksgiving Dinner, was the third in a series of four works from Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms series. The Four Freedoms were inspired by a speech given by FDR before congress where he spoke about the four basic freedoms to which every person was entitled. Rockwell's Four Freedoms were shown in The Saturday Evening Post in the same order as President Roosevelt presented them in his speech (freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear).

Freedom from Want is probably Rockwell's most recognized and beloved composition. As one of the covers from The Saturday Evening Post he spent quite a lot of time working on this piece. A major concern was to show the family not "in want" and yet at the same time not create an image of overabundance and selfish indulgence.

Rockwell was known for putting family and friends into images, which is this case here, as the "grandma" is actually a depiction of the Rockwell family cook, Mrs. Thaddeus Wheaton. We also feel as if we are a friend or family member at the table because of how the artist set up his composition. In the painting Rockwell extends the table beyond the borders of the canvas, beckoning us over to our seat at the end of the table by the sly glance of the gentleman in the lower right corner. Thus giving the perception that we are actually an invited guest at the table.

For me, this image includes a typical Midwestern spread and has all the components of this holiday. The table has the good china placed out for the occasion, all the carving tools are at the head of the table as Grandma proudly brings in her prized bird, children and grandchildren are happily conversing all around the table with their heads turning in every direction with huge smiles on their faces. It is a simple, humble, yet extremely joyful American tradition that Rockwell has given us here in his painting of Freedom From Want. This is the image of an American Thanksgiving that we have held in our heads and hearts for the last 65 years.

Wishing you and yours a bountiful and happy Thanksgiving, gobble-gobble!

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall of the Berlin Wall

This week on November 9th much of the world is celebrating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall (1989). For me, when thinking about all the graffiti and other art on the Berlin Wall, the person that immediately comes into my mind, one of the most interesting, innovative, and politically active artists of the late 20th-century, is Keith Haring. In 1986 during a trip to Berlin, Mr. Haring painted a mural on a rainy day, after the skies cleared, and under the watchful eye of east German soldiers at the Brandenburg Gate. Keith Haring spoke in a language of symbols and signs that were universal enough to apply to anybody, anywhere in the world, free from limitations of language or even educational background. His messages, although often covering serious and grim topics, like the separation of Germany or Apartheid in South Africa, were always positive and rang of the unification of human beings rather than negativity or art merely for shock value.

Keith Haring's work was always focused on the line, which he created, without any preparatory work, at a staggeringly quick pace that would make most people stand rapt in awe and turn green with envy. His work was simple but not simplistic, a skill that is not easy to achieve. He made works which spoke to us in a humanistic way and that encouraged us to better the world with utmost sincerity. He felt art and artists were responsible for pushing forth ideas and using their talents to bring awareness to the masses and often to help those who needed the world's attention the most.

An excellent but short documentary on Keith Haring is "Drawing the Line: a Portrait of Keith Haring" if you are interested in finding out more about this amazing artist who was gone far too soon.

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Blog Awards

Some awards this blog has received thanks to some nice folks!

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
given on 07/24/2009 by Nanny Dee (