Because when I was a kid, my dad used to take me on "daddy dates" to the bookstore, where we'd pick up a coffee table book of Norman Rockwell paintings, take it into the coffee shop in the corner of the store, and drink coffee and hot chocolate while looking at the pictures. When I look at a Norman Rockwell painting, I can just taste the rich hot chocolate and hear Dad's voice.
Dad and I would talk about the pictures and he'd explain the meaning behind them, such as racism in The Problem We All Live With, or he'd tell stories about his childhood, such as getting in trouble like in The Shiner. I was always most impressed with Triple Self-Portrait, a portrait of himself looking in a mirror and painting himself.
I don't know if I could pick one favorite, though I've always been fond of Girl at the Mirror (of which I have a print hanging on my wall), Saying Grace, After the Prom, Runaway, Gossips, Doctor and Doll, Santa at the Map, Coming and Going, First Trip to the Beauty Shop, and of course, Rosie the Riveter (which I also have hanging on my wall). Okay, so maybe I love everything he ever painted. More or less.
(These are the prints I have that I look at pretty much all the time)
There's something about looking at Norman Rockwell's beautiful illustrations that just gives me a sense of peace. Maybe it's the carefree "good ol' days" small-town America scenes, or the way he wove together seriousness with bits of humor. Maybe it's the great memories I have of spending time in the bookstore with my dad. Whatever it is, Norman Rockwell and his work will always have a special place in my heart.