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Child and pet portraits - by Art & Soul

April 25, 2021 2 Comments

Art & Soul blogging handle for Stella Tooth on portraiture and music art

In showbiz ,W.C. Fields is reputed to have said, "never work with children or animals".  Presumably this is because of their unpredictability...  Or perhaps it might be their tendency to steal the limelight!

In a world where working from home and video conferencing has become the new normal, the unexpected appearance of pet or child in the background can add light relief to our lives where we are forced - unnaturally - to maintain constant eye contact, pay very close attention and see our own reaction.

In art, children and pets' unpredictability can also be a godsend. Give an artist a crisp photo where a pet has moved in closer to look down the lens of the camera, or a child is temporarily absorbed in reading a favourite book, and you'll have gifted them an inspiring starting point for their original artworks.

In the month we celebrate both International Children's Book Day and National Pet Day, it struck me how many art lovers over the years had taken to their hearts, and hung on their walls, portraits of children and pets unknown to them.  Think of posters of John Singer Sargent's enchanting painting of two children lighting paper lanterns 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' and Lucien Freud's whippets.

So why is it that such images bring both comfort and pleasure to the viewer? Is it because the protagonists of these portraits evoke memories of their own childhood, or their child or grandchild's - or a longing for a childhood they never had?  Does the animal remind them of a much loved family pet, or the dream of an animal they might like to own? Does the original artwork create a mood - something that makes them smile, nostalgic, peaceful?  

Daisy reading The Smartest Giant in Town by portrait artist Stella Tooth

Daisy reading The Smartest Giant in Town by Stella Tooth £650 Click here to purchase. I am a commissionable portrait and pet portrait artist.

Or perhaps it might it be that we recognise the activity - something that binds so many of us: the act of reading, of talking to our dogs ...  If so this type of art could equally adorn the walls of our homes or bookshops, libraries, pet parlours, hospitals, GP and Dental surgeries - and care homes.

It's a comforting thought too in this world where we are fascinated by the lives of celebrities that we can be equally interested in art depicting performers, say, who are less well known because we recognise the sensation of getting lost in music or engaging with and other words, the excitement of performing live.

Starved myself pretty Carus Thompson by artist Stella Tooth

Starved myself pretty: Carus Thompson £225. To purchase click here.

Do take a look at the original artwork for sale by these Skylark Galleries artists who evoke the spirit of lockdown and the connection between man and beast.

Blue Fugue by Artist Linda Samson

Blue Fugue by Linda Samson from an original life drawing during isolation £900. Click here to buy.

 Blue Eyed Woman by artist Heather Tobias

Blue eyed woman by Heather Tobias. SOLD

Horse by artist Claire Thorogood

Chestnut. Claire Thorogood is a commissionable portrait and animal artist.

Skylark Galleries' blogger Art & Soul aka Stella Tooth

2 Responses

Mrs Stella Tooth
Mrs Stella Tooth

June 14, 2021

Thank you Gill – yes, Linda’s piece powerfully captures the zeitgeist.

Gill Hickman
Gill Hickman

April 28, 2021

What a fascinating read Stella!. Thank you for posing those questions and thank you for choosing such inspiring images.
I was particularly struck by the Linda Samson image with the mask, It really captures the mood of our times.

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