Study the painting by Norman Rockwell entitled, "The Problem We All Live With."

"The Problem We All Live With" by Norman Rockwell

The girl in the painting is Ruby Bridges. She is on her way to first grade in Louisiana after her school was desegregated in 1960. What do the following clues tell you about what was happening in the country and in Ruby Bridges' mind?
  • Who else is in the painting?
  • What is Ruby carrying with her?
  • What are Ruby's body language and expression saying? How is she dressed?
  • What is on the wall behind her?
What do you think the title of the painting means?

Paint your own painting called "The Problem We All Live With." Depict something in current events that you think is a "problem" and who or what is causing the problem and who is being hurt by or solving the problem. How do you use symbols and mood to get your point across without being literal? Study the clues that Norman Rockwell uses and see how you can follow his lead.

For information about this painting, visit the Norman Rockwell museum site here.

Study the Norman Rockwell painting call "Girl at Mirror."

"Girl at Mirror" by Norman Rockwell

This, like "The Problem We All Live With," was the cover of a magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. "Girl at Mirror" is a painting in a long tradition of artists who portrayed women looking at themselves in a mirror. Why do you think this is a popular subject for a painting? What are the clues in this painting telling you about the girl and what she is thinking as she looks in the mirror?
  • What does she have in her lap?
  • Where is she?
  • What objects are surrounding her and what do they say about who she is?
  • What is she wearing?

Make your own self-portrait of you looking in a mirror. What are you thinking about when you look at yourself? What are the objects you will show surrounding you that show what you are like and who you are? What clothes will you put yourself in that says something about who you are?

Fifties Chix Ann is an artist who paints her own self portrait in the book Travel to Tomorrow. Imagine that you are Ann and paint the portrait as you think she would have. What is the mood of her painting? What is she depicting when she thinks of herself? Would the painting Ann paints be different if she painted it in 1955 or present day? Why or why not?