I recently spent some time with Norman Rockwell (at least with his illustrated paintings), which hold whimsical caricature of days gone by of ordinary people in everyday life. His paintings evoke an nostalgia for a time and place that held respect and honor in the American spirit. "I paint life as I would like it to be", Rockwell once said. In studying his illustrations, you can spot the innocence and idealism that his paintbrush produced. He passed away in 1978 at the age of 84. During his lifetime, he illustrated 321 covers for the Saturday Evening Post and painted over 4,000 original works.
In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt's State of the Union address contained four essential human rights that should be universally protected. The four freedoms are identified as "Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear". Rockwell chose to illustrate a Thanksgiving theme for his interpretation in his painting on 'Freedom from Want' and it was published in the Post in 1943.
|Norman Rockwell - "Freedom From Want" - from March 6, 1943|
|Norman Rockwell - "Make a Wish" - from November 19, 1921|
Norman Rockwell - "Girl Praying" - from November 27, 1943
This third illustration has been called "Girl Praying or A Girl in Prayer or Refugee in Prayer". The scene is a young refugee during World War II praying over a soldier's field rations. An American soldier's field jacket is placed over her shoulders, providing warmth. Even though the meal is simple and the jacket worn, she is in a prayerful expression of gratitude. And thankfulness for the generosity of a soldier who gave what he could in both nourishment and comfort when he saw the need. This painting can be as relevant in today's world as it was when originally published in 1943.
These are just three of many Rockwell timeless illustrations about Thanksgiving, among them: Saying Grace 1951, Thanksgiving 1919, Catch the Turkey 1917, A Pilgrim Progress 1921, Ye Glutton 1923 and others.
A Norman Rockwell quote: "When I go to farms or little towns, I am always surprised at the discontent I find. And New York, too often, has looked across the sea at Europe. And all of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life."
There is an old saying, 'the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.' Often our eyes are turned towards the other side of the fence thinking that is where our blessings are to be found. Instead, during this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year, look for the reasons to be grateful where our life is at and not miss out on the blessings set before us.
"When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup." - Sam Lefkowitz
Meet me at The Turn-Up Patch on Monday, December 8..... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!