Norman Rockwell - The Man Who Created His Own Reality

In preparation for a class I taught today, I spent some time this week studying the life and works of American artist Norman Rockwell. His idealistic paintings, portraying the innocence of a simpler time, were featured for decades in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post and Boy's Life. They were and still are beloved by millions. His critics in the art world, however, are many and outspoken.

Fellow artisans accused him of trying to dictate to Americans how they should view America. Rockwell's work was said to conjure up "a fantasy of a virtuous America". His paintings were thought to have almost a brainwashing effect over their admirers. It was once said of Rockwell that his illustrations convinced people that they were happy when they really weren't.

The more I studied Rockwell's life, art, and words, the more I realized how wrong his critics were. Rockwell actually was painting life as he personally saw it. His reality - the reality that he created for himself - really was that idealistic. He saw and therefore painted an America where people were good and kind, patriotic, simplistic, and truly blessed. Virtue was in abundance in Norman Rockwell's corner of the world.

While I don't believe that his intent was to brainwash his many fans, he did change the way Americans saw America, when they saw it through Rockwell's eyes. People were inspired to be and do better.

Norman Rockwell once proclaimed of himself that he was "addicted to idealism". How was he able to feed his addiction and create an idealistic reality in which to live and work? From tidbits of his writings, I firmly believe that he must have lived by the following principles: We are whatever we see ourselves to be. How we choose to view our lives will create our reality. Our chosen reality, not fate, will determine our happiness and prosperity in this life.

Rockwell's critics could not see past the reality they had created for themselves. They lived in the same America, but sifted for what was decrepit and evil. Their choice was to live in a country devoid of innocence and virtue.

Rockwell's life and work are just more proof to me that if we choose to see the good around us, we will create more good. It doesn't matter if we are talking about idealism or money, the principle is still the same. "As a man thinketh, so is he."

Heidi Whitaker is an author and speaker on the topic of nutritional support of autoimmune disease. She is also the co-owner of"> To read other articles written by Heidi or to learn how to participate in her next free teleseminar, visit her blog at">


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