Picture Study – Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want”

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Picture Study: Norman Rockwell: an activity for children of all ages. Norman Rockwell was an all-American artist who used his art to tell a story. He lived and painted during a time of great change and beautifully captured the emotions of these changes in the quiet moments of everyday life. In this activity, children will learn more about the life and paintings of Norman Rockwell.

  • Supplies:
  • For a young child (ages 4-6): Read the story:
  • For an older child (ages 6 and up): Read one (or more) of the following recommended books:
  • Print the picture, Freedom From Want from commons.wikimedia.org. Laminate or put in a page protector as desired.
  • Allow the child time to study the picture, taking in every detail, until they are able to picture it with their eye’s closed.
  • After the picture has been studied, remove it from sight.
  • Have your child, from memory, draw and/or describe as many of the details of the picture as they can remember.
  • Have your child tell the story behind the picture.
  • Ask the child some of the following questions, making sure not to impose your own feelings/interpretations:
    • What was the overall feeling of the picture?
    • Describe the expression on the people’s faces.
    • How do the people in the picture feel?
    • What did you see in the picture?
    • Did you like it?
    • If you could name this picture, what title would you choose?
    • Can you relate to this picture?
    • What is this painting saying?
    • For more questions, visit artjunction.org and/or artcuratorforkids.com.
  • Document these thoughts to include with the picture as desired.
  • Additional learning for children of all ages: Have your child tell a story through picture of your Thanksgiving table, paying special attention to capturing facial expressions and emotions of the season.
  • Use watercolor pencils for detailing and then wash with water, creating the subtle, muted tones Rockwell’s work was noted for.
  • Study the other pictures in Norman’s Four Freedom series: Freedom of Worship, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear.
  • Have your child draw their own “Freedom of” or “Freedom from” picture.
  • Place the page(s) in a protector when finished and include them in the garden or art appreciation notebook/journal.