Over spring break, we took a family field trip to the Newark Museum to see the exhibit “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell”. Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the exhibit chronicles Rockwell’s artistic contributions to American culture. This not-to-be-missed exhibit runs through May 26, 2014 at the Newark Museum. Its next stop will be the Fondazione Museum in Rome, Italy, followed by a stop at the Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa, Florida.
This exhibit especially appealed to me because I partially credit Norman Rockwell for infusing me with a love of storytelling. My parents owned a book of Norman Rockwell’s most famous illustrations and, as I child, I would often grab that book, curl up in my favorite wing chair, and use the illustrations as a springboard to tell myself story after story. First, I’d pick which character I wanted to be, then I’d be off on some adventure. I literally spent hours savoring all the wonderful details in his pictures, carefully incorporating them into my stories. I never wrote any of these stories down, but they enriched my thoughts and were, in hindsight, a much better way to spend time than watching television for they made my imagination soar.
Thank you, Norman Rockwell for inspiring me with your illustrations. Now, in celebration of the power of pictures to spark storytelling, here’s a challenge for my writing friends. (It’s good for kids too.) Ready? If this week you find yourself stuck over what to write next, or just want a good warm up exercise, grab your favorite art book and randomly pick a picture. Steep yourself in all the details, then let your imagination take over and write, write, write! Even if your scribblings don’t result in a new story, I think you’ll find some little gem there that could be the start of something.
Happy writing, all!