From the Lost Sketchbook, Nikka on the Table

pencil sketch of gray cat on table

Nikka on the Table, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I was trying another style here, that simple outline with little dimensional shaping or shadow. Sometimes I get all caught up in shape and color and texture and perspective that I forget all about simple composition and arrangement of shapes.

This is Nikka, sister to Fawn, born in the first litter whose expectant mother I welcomed and who I fostered. Her name was originally Natasha and one of her brothers was Boris; their father was a big gray serious tomcat with yellow eyes that no one messed with who I had named Prince Igor, hence the East European names. Then there was the little pun from the cartoon Bullwinkle. The person who adopted her, a fan of Thelonious Monk, named her Nikka after Monk’s famous patron, though it should have been “Nica”, but I guess it’s close enough for jazz. I took her back when she was seven after that good household had turned bad.

Nikka was a dilute tortoiseshell, and like so many I’ve seen she had a wonderful soft roundness to her features, and the gray of her fur held a silvery sheen that often hid the peach and cream speckles in the gray. I know on this hot afternoon she was stretching on the corner of the kitchen table just under the ceiling fan, trying to get cool air on as much of her body as possible. I could see all those simple lines and rounded shapes, even the chair and table, though that’s not my usual style, but here she is all those years later; I lost her in February 2003.