The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR10

AT HOME WITH THE ROCKWELLS
Thomas Rockwell remembers his father around the house and at work.
BY SAMANTHA HOBACK

SH: There is a lot of published work about your
father's art and career, but less so about his private life.
What was your father like at home?
TR: Except when he was working on a difficult part
of a picture, he didn't mind if one of us kids went in
and sat and watched him. If he was working on a head
or something difficult, he liked to be alone. He always
played the radio and listened to baseball games. But
he never knew what the score was; the game was just
noise to keep him company. He was always asking
neighbors to look at his pictures and asked them what
they thought about them. He wanted people to like
him, and he liked people. He was very absorbed in
his work. He worked every day, even Christmas. We
opened presents, and then he'd go out to the studio
and work. We very rarely went on a family vacation.
He stuck to his easel mostly. But we had dinner every
night as a family. He was a lot of fun and made jokes
and sang songs. He was also a member of a marching and chowder society [an informal gathering of
friends] that he met with weekly.
SH: Your father did a lot of traveling though.

Thomas Rockwell,
left, visits his father
Norman in his studio
while he works on a
draft of "Waiting for
the Art Editor."

Photographer unknown
Courtesy of Norman Rockwell Agency

IN 1930, NORMAN ROCKWELL married his second
wife, Mary Barstow, with whom he had three sons:
Jarvis, Thomas, and Peter. Having been exposed to
the arts growing up, all three became artists in their
own right. Thomas (Tom) Rockwell (b. 1933) is an
award-winning author of children's books, including "How to Eat Fried Worms," which earned the
Sequoyah Award, and was made into a TV movie in
1985 and a children's comedy film in 2006. He also
collaborated with his father on Rockwell's autobiography, "My Adventures as an Illustrator," in 1960.
I talked with Tom about his childhood, his father's
work, and the legacy that is Norman Rockwell.

10 | NORMAN ROCKWELL EXHIBITION 2016

TR: Yes, he would go to Paris and sketch, trips like
that. One time he went to Europe and filled up a
sketchbook with sketches and illustrations. While
he was at the Prado in Spain, he put his sketchbook on the bench to look at a painting up close,
and someone swiped it. I've always hoped it would
surface, but they probably tossed it in the trash.
SH: You and your brothers often modeled for your father's photo studies. What was that like?
TR: He paid us like he paid all the models. He paid us
a dollar. It doesn't sound like much, but that was a long
time ago. I don't know how much the other models
made. We posed for him, and it was a lot of fun. He
made it fun. If someone had to twist himself into a
queer position, he'd show us how to do it. Most of his
models in Vermont were people that he noticed. And
he had favorite models.



The Roanoker - March/April 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - March/April 2016

Contents
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - Intro
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - Cover1
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - Cover2
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 3
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - Contents
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 5
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 6
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 7
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 8
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 9
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 10
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 11
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 12
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 13
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 14
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 15
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 16
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 17
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 18
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 19
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 20
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 21
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 22
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 23
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 24
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 25
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 26
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR1
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR2
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR3
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR4
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR5
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR6
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR7
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR8
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR9
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR10
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR11
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR12
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR13
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR14
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR15
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - NR16
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 27
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 28
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 29
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 30
The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 31
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The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 35
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The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 37
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The Roanoker - March/April 2016 - 50
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