Inspiration from the National Gallery. A portrait of Toby. Boy and tiger.

Being able to walk through the doors at the National Gallery in London is a huge privilege. I enjoy wandering and wondering through the great halls of master painters. It is like seeing old friends and conversing with exciting ideas.

Viewing pictures can also be a more rewarding but longer process with paper and pencil in hand. It is such a valuable experience not for the end result of the sketch but FOR the way you interact with the painting. Many dull and dark works have become exciting through sketching them.

The Chardin painting ‘Boy playing cards’ has been a picture that I have always admired. I have spent many hours in front of this picture, pencil in hand looking, drawing and learning from Chardin’s mastery.

On the other hand the Rosso ‘Surprised!’ was always a picture I walked past and spent very little time with. It was only after the beginning of the portrait of my nephew with his tiger ‘onesie’ that I returned to the picture.

Toby holds a serenity and a playful imagination, a dreamful state where Boy becomes Tiger or Tiger hunts Boy, and portrays the innocence that is so typical of young children.

Thank you to the National Gallery for allowing long-dead artists the opportunity to inspire not only the public but also the artists of today.

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Toby.  Boy and Tiger. oil on canvas

Toby. Boy and Tiger. oil on canvas by Leigh Glover, 2015.