Artist Leslie Cobb uses art to help animals

Twelve years ago, Leslie Cobb of San Lorenzo, California, said goodbye to her beloved cat Esmerelda. Esmerelda was a one-eyed beauty and the love of Leslie’s heart. Leslie soon began to wish she had had an artist paint a portrait of Esmerelda while she was still alive. Then she got to thinking. Maybe she could attempt one herself?

Art to heal grief

Leslie Cobb holding a black cat

Leslie hadn’t painted since high school, though she’d enjoyed doing so back then. She decided to give it a go. The act of painting helped her through the grieving process. In addition, it helped her rediscover an old talent. She kept on painting and hasn’t stopped since.

Helping animals with art

During the intervening years, Leslie has used her art to help animals. Whenever there is a local animal rescue group in need of help, she’s there to pitch in with her talent. She has donated prints, proceeds, and even original paintings to various animal causes throughout the years. This is one woman who knows how to use her talents to help others!

Inspired by Sanctuary animals

Last summer, Leslie came to Best Friends for a visit and had a wonderful stay. She spent time with cats in particular, taking photographs at every turn. Prior to the trip to Best Friends, Leslie admits to having run a tad low on artistic inspiration. That single stop at the Sanctuary, however, fixed her creative slump in a hurry. Leslie went home and jumped into a painting frenzy, finishing ten incredible paintings in a matter of months.

Those who know and love the cats Leslie chose as subjects can’t get over how well she captured their personality. Truly, Leslie has a gift -- one which she intends to use from here on out to help animals. The Best Friends paintings became so popular, in fact, that Leslie has been selling prints ever since. She decided from the beginning to donate portions of each sale to Best Friends, where her inspiration came from in the first place.

Leslie Cobb's painting of a calico cat

Leslie made another stop to the Sanctuary recently, and this time she believes she’ll have even more material for paintings back home. (There’s not exactly a shortage of cute furry faces at Best Friends to draw from!) As always, Leslie intends to use her art to help the animals she is so passionate about. Point in fact, her art has garnered enough attention that Leslie has an exhibit planned at Best Friends in July 2011. She will save all originals for this exhibit. Then, during the month of the exhibit, she plans to donate 50% of each sale — print or original — to Best Friends.

Leslie has a demanding day-job, and painting is her way to relax and decompress. When you think about it, finding a way to unwind and help animals at the same time is truly a work of creative genius on its own. Congrats!

Plan your trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Photos by Sarah Ause