The artist created the unusual little sculpture Two Owls by painting an oddly-shaped piece of bark. Karel Appel fully exploits the material’s inherent qualities, transforming the coarse-grained wood into a red and blue blanket of feathers. The owls’ heads are two yellow patches of paint, which contrasts with their round blue eyes. Unable to afford art supplies, Appel gathered all sorts of discarded materials and everyday objects that he painted, used in his reliefs or turned into sculptures. This approach is typical of Appel, whose work was rooted in experimentation. The artist created his work intuitively and spontaneously, with no pre-conceived idea in mind. Appel found inspiration in children’s drawings and the art and artefacts of non-Western cultures. He also drew heavily on the natural world, incorporating flora and fauna into his images. The Stedelijk Museum owns a large number of artworks that represent every phase of Appel’s development, from pre-CoBrA to the late Italian landscapes.