My inspiration: my brother-in-law's pop portraits and art realism

I believe you can foster a child's innate creativity by exposing him or her to influences that provide them with inspiration.

It was certainly true of me.  My dad had studied watercolour portraiture for many years and wrote poetry.  So I don't think it was a coincidence that, many years later, I retrained as a portrait artist.

My mum was always thrusting a book in my hand if I dared to complain I was 'bored' and the love of words she nurtured in me set me on the road to a career in journalism - and the study of languages.

My brother-in-law would break off from trying to teach me to play guitar (well, at least I can still play 'Streets of London'!) and would ask, "Who's your favourite Beatle?" and there, before my eyes, would emerge John Lennon, not as I'd seen him on my sister's record sleeves in black and white but in the glorious complementary colours of pop art.  It was incidentally that portrait that sprang first to mind when the terrible news came in 1980 that Lennon had been shot...

John Lennon by artist John Rogers

My brother-in-law could often be found after work, creating his beautiful pictures in his front room.  With his canvas illuminated by an angle poise lamp and a tiny photograph of magnolias my dad had taken attached to his easel, gridded up to match his canvas, before my eyes magnolias would emerge.  A riot of realistic pattern and rhythm in blues and greens made you feel engulfed in the tree.  I now proudly own the print of the painting he gave my dad as a 'thank you' for the inspiration.

Magnolias print by artist John Rogers

Looking at that print now, I'm reminded of when I commissioned an Annual Report for the BBC World Service which the head of the service liked but said, "I can see this was created by someone with young eyes".  I sadly have now come to understand what he meant as John tells me he could no longer paint something as intricate as the magnolias now.  And I suspect the same to be true of me!

As my art is mix of both realistic 3D detail and the flattened backgrounds of pop art. I can clearly see the influence of John's art on me. Wonder if you can see it too?

Daisy reading Julia Donaldson's The Smartest Giant In Town by artist Stella Tooth
Daisy reading Julia Donaldson's The Smartest Giant In Town


Shahen Galichian Police Dog Hogan by Resident artist Half Moon Putney Stella Tooth

Shahen Galichian Police Dog Hogan 

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