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You Really Got Me, Norman Rockwell

February 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to iconic American painter Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), best known for his 322 Saturday Evening Post covers depicting humorous, often touching scenes of everyday life.

I’m continuing my “birthday clock” series. I include a clock in each illustration, and use it to convey information about the honoree.

Who’s that wafting up out of Norm’s palette pipe? Why, none other than Dave Davies, lead guitarist for British band the Kinks, perhaps best remembered for his manic guitar work on the band’s first big hit, You Really Got Me. Dave shares a February 3rd birthday with Mr. Rockwell.

February 3rd birthday tribute caricature for famous Saturday Evening Post cover artist Norman Rockwell and Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies

My tribute contains a painful and glaring error, which I only discovered as I was writing this post. I debated whether to bang my head on the wall or laugh, then decided to do both and issue this challenge: Can you spot the error, Dear Reader? Answer at end of post.

In researching his life, I was astounded to learn that Norman Rockwell once had a bit part in a movie: the 1966 remake of Stagecoach, which starred Alex Cord in the role first made famous by John Wayne. Rockwell played a townsman. He’s shown in character for the part, below left. On right: painting in his studio, date unknown.

He became art director for Boys’ Life at age 19. His first published magazine cover was for Boys’ Life, September 1913. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the United States’ highest civilian honor) in 1977. It was given to him for “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country.”

painter Norman Rockwell dressed for bit part in remake of movie Stagecoach and painting in his studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Rockwell did many self-portraits. The one shown below was unfamiliar to me. I think it’s one of his best. It shows him painting The Soda Jerk, one of his famous Saturday Evening Post covers (1953). Norman Rockwell self-portrait of himself painting 1953 Saturday Evening Post cover titled the Soda Jerk

OK, what was the error? Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1953, and spent the rest of his life there. The Norman Rockwell Museum is also in Stockbridge. I’ve been there, and can highly recommend it.

Sturbridge, Massachusetts is home to Old Sturbridge Village, which recreates rural New England life, circa 1790-1840. Sigh…

Here’s a larger detail image of the tribute illustration:

detail image for February 3rd birthday tribute caricature for famous Saturday Evening Post cover artist Norman Rockwell and Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies

What do you think? Are you a Norman Rockwell fan? Does anyone remember Dave Davies and The Kinks? Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. robpixaday permalink
    February 4, 2012 3:33 PM

    Oh, you captured him so well! and Dave Davies looks dandy! Wonderful tribute!!!
    I didn’t look yet to see the “glaring error” but I’m guessing it was the “BOY’S.”

    I esp love the energy in this one! It’s moving!
    AND the the way you put words in Mr. Rockwell’s hair is brilliant!


    • February 6, 2012 8:58 AM

      Dandy?? Ha! I can see you know your Kinks songs, as I suspected… : )

      Funny you should mention: is it Boy’s or Boys’, because I almost made a mistake there, too. Boys’ is correct, I only caught it at the last minute. “Possessives”– always a torturous topic within the torturous subject of English grammar… : (

      Thanks for your kind, energetic, and good rockin’ support!


  2. robpixaday permalink
    February 4, 2012 3:36 PM

    Whoops. That wasn’t it?
    Uh, oh.

    ::runs like the wind::


    • February 6, 2012 8:59 AM

      No, but Boy’s or Boys’ was good for second prize!

      ::runs after cloud of dust with red ribbon::


  3. February 4, 2012 8:20 PM

    I think the error is at the palette pipe where you should put its stick at number 3 of the clock. Excuse me for my poor English but I hope you understand what I mean. 😀

    I know nothing about the two of them but I know the song You Really Got Me. That sounds appropriate regarding Dave Davies, doesn’t it? LOL.

    Thanks very much for your article, Mark!


    • February 6, 2012 5:10 PM

      My dear Inge! I must apologize. Reading your comment, I realized I did not give a very clear explanation of my error. I should have said: “My mistake was putting Sturbridge on the clock, because Mr. Rockwell lived in Stockbridge, not Sturbridge! In other words, I put the wrong town name on the clock!” I’m really very sorry for the confusion!! : (

      But wait!– you came up with a great idea!! In the UK, you would write the 3rd day of February as “3 February,” right? Here in the U.S., we would write that date as “February 3” or “February 3rd.” So you’re saying that I could have made a pun or extra joke by putting the stem of his pipe at the number “3” on the clock, so that it created a line which indicated that his birthday was “3 February”– I think that’s brilliant!! I wish I had thought of it!! : )

      And thank you very much for saying that my little drawing of Dave Davies was so good that he might have looked at it and said: “You Really Got Me!!” Another excellent quip– thank you, Inge!! : )


      • February 6, 2012 9:21 PM

        No, it wasn’t your mistake. It was my fault that I didn’t read it carefully about Stockbridge and Sturbridge 😀 .

        You got my idea about the ‘error’ that I meant. Thank you, Mark! 🙂


  4. February 5, 2012 6:51 PM

    I love how Norman Rockwell captured America of that era in paint. When I see his paintings, I can’t help but, smile. Nice tribute.


    • February 6, 2012 9:11 AM

      Same here, I was always a big fan. I read somewhere that certain critics tried to express their disdain by referring to him as an illustrator, rather than a painter– but that Rockwell took no offense, since “illustrator” was how he referred to himself. I find that very cool (and reassuring!).

      Many thanks for your kind comment! : )


  5. Margie permalink
    February 6, 2012 3:37 PM

    I love Norman Rockwell’s work! Takes me back to a more innocent time.


    • February 6, 2012 5:12 PM

      Yes, and please wait for me, ’cause I’m ready to go back with you! Let’s hear it for Innocence!! Thanks, Margie. : )


  6. February 7, 2012 9:06 AM

    Hello Mark, I have a Candle Lighter Award for you. Congratulations! Enjoy 🙂 Dolly


    • February 8, 2012 9:36 AM

      Thanks, Dolly, you are too kind! I shall continue to light candles here at the Armstrong Shrine and hope I don’t suffer from too much waxy buildup… : )


  7. February 7, 2012 12:29 PM

    Dolly sent me over to check out your site and I’m so glad she did. You are a talented guy! And a fantastic site!


    • February 8, 2012 9:48 AM

      Many thanks, Linda. That’s quite a compliment from someone as talented as yourself. Your own blog is delightful, I love your wit and sense of humor. I must speak to Dolly about sending over more people with your obvious discernment and good taste… : )

      Thanks again for your good humor and kind comment!


  8. February 7, 2012 3:07 PM

    Oh, my sister loved Norman Rockwell and when I visited my sis in our adult lives I was surrounded by his paintings. I missed the error, darn it. I should have known also since I’ve visited Old Sturbridge Village (gorgeous but you have to be kind of a history geek to appreciate it all). I did a spot-the-mistake post which was fun but may have seemed like a trick question (like yours, it was not a trick, LOL)


    • February 8, 2012 10:09 AM

      Ha! Why did I even mention there was a mistake?? No one seems to have noticed, just another case of artistic myopia… : (

      I’ve never been to Old Sturbridge Village– I was afraid I’d have to rent a costume just to walk around… : )

      Perhaps I should have included a dog or cat in my Norm tribute. Seems he often did in his paintings, which is why I’m predicting you’ll be picking up a NR collection at an old bookstore one of these days… always good to see you, Amelie!


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