Albright-Knox Art Gallery: Family Activity Inspired by Karel Appel's Cats

April 17, 2020

Link to activity

Family Activity Inspired by Karel Appel's Cats, 1978

Karel Appel was a Dutch artist whose work is characterized by his use of bright colors, simple forms, and expressive brushstrokes. His work emphasized a move away from formality in artmaking and an emphasis on creating a sense of dynamic energy.

In this moderately easy Family Activity, we'll walk you through how to make a portrait of your pet (real or imagined) inspired by Appel's Cats, 1978

Getting Started (see Karel Appel works here)
– How do the colors in the images above make you feel?
– How do you think the cats in the paintings feel?
– What do you think the cats are doing?

Materials (see slideshow image 1)
– Paper
– Paints
– Paintbrushes
– Mixing tray
– Water cup
– Sharpie/marker pen to draw outline with
– Alternatives to paint: markers or crayons

Artmaking Activity:

STEP 1
Pick your pet 

Things to consider in the design of your artwork:
– What do you want your pet to be doing?
– How is your pet feeling?
– Where is your pet?
– What colors would highlight what your pet is feeling?

Tip: Find an image of an animal on the internet or take a quick photo to work from.

STEP 2
Draw your pet on the paper with a sharpie or dark marker pen, use quick, dynamic lines. (see slideshow image 2)

STEP 3
Pick a base color for your background and another for the body of your pet. (see slideshow images 3 & 4)

STEP 4
Draw or paint the body of your pet using quick lines or stripes. (see slideshow image 5)

Tips: Use different kinds of lines: thick lines, thin lines, curvy lines, or any other kind of lines you like! Try using a variety of colors that capture your pet’s emotions. Karel Appel focused on capturing the energy of cats, not creating a realistic picture.

STEP 5
Add some patterns or marks to the background to complete the picture. (see slideshow image 6)

OPTIONAL
Share your creation on Twitter or Instagram with #AKBeyondWalls and #MuseumFromHome!

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