Saving the Kitten

Little One loves cats and when she sees one alone or in potential danger, she wants to make sure she’s okay. Today she came across a little baby kitty wandering on her own. And of course she was concerned! So out she went and approached her, chatted with her for a while and put her to safety till Mama Kitty was found. Hopefully she won’t have to go to a shelter. And here I share a sketch I quickly produced depicting this sweet story during one of the classes a few months ago. Another inspiration by yet another CoBrA artist but this time instead of painting, I switched to charcoal sketching!

Who is Jan Elburg?

Today’s inspiration is Jan Elburg, an artist from the CoBrA movement in the 1940/50s. And what is CoBrA? It represents a group of painters during the immediate post-WWII Europe (COpengagen, BRussels, Amsterdam) who embraced freedom of expression following the aftermath of the oppressive war years. The trend went from the classical realistic art to surrealist abstract. Unfortunately, not much is mentioned about Elburg when I search him on Google, and his works do not even bear titles. Hence, the painting below merely states “Zonder Titel” literally translated from Dutch as “Without Title”. That said, I was drawn to this particular painting.

Getting Inspired

And why did this painting catch my eye? Firstly, it features a girl paired up with a cat. I love cats! And the girl inspired me to make my own version in the form of my character muse, Little One. And then this told story of course! For a change, I also wanted to give paint brushes a little break and rediscover the fun of freely sketching with charcoal. Our tutor, Dieter, suggested a sturdier and durable substrate than paper for this piece, and we went for a 35cm x 52cm board. The surface was firstly primed with some acrylic paint by rolling with a big brayer to ensure even and full coverage. Color was a creamy off-white shade. Once dry, I doodled away! I used both the willow and block charcoal depending on the effect I wanted.

And what fun that was! It felt so free and easy. At first, though, I have to admit I was a bit nervous about taking the plunge in case I got the composition and proportions wrong. A light rough sketch with charcoal pencil was all that was needed as it’s erasable. Then I was able to loosen up more. Once I was all done, the drawing was sprayed with a fixative. Lesson for this is that you can still produce something cute and interesting with some spontaneity. And how sweet of Little One to save the kitten. Let’s hope Mama can be found soon!

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