Category Archives: linoleum block prints

The Spring Kitten Hand-tinted Block Print

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I once had a pure white long-haired kitty with pea green eyes and a pink nose named Sally. She was also completely deaf, and completely fearless; without distraction, she lived in her own little world, full of sleep and joy and play. She was the inspiration for many sketches, paintings and photos, and for this little piece as well; click the image to see a gallery of other black and white photos of Sally.

white cat reclining

Sally reclining, click the photo to see more black and white photos of Sally.

Almost everywhere I’ve lived there has been a quince bush, an old-fashioned favorite for its early bright pink flowers—so early, in fact, that the bush in my neighbor’s yard in the years when Sally was young bloomed every year during the January thaw, and then snow would fall on the bright pink blooms, nestling in the curve of the branches like Sally when she’d found a good cozy spot.

Below is the actual reference photo I used for this block print. Can you see the white kitten shape in the snow? Scroll down to the detail of the block print below.

quince blossoms with snow

Quince blossoms with snow, the actual reference photo for this block print.

Sure, I took some artistic license with the snow, but that’s what art is all about—and the shape you see below is what I actually saw when I got the photos back and flipped through them (remember those days?), and though it was years before I created this little print the idea stayed with me all that time.

detail of "The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats

The style of this design was inspired after studying and practicing many illustration traditions, from Asian-inspired block prints and brush paintings to metal and wood etchings and block prints used for books and periodicals. My reference photo (which I kept) shows the branch with the flowers against a brilliant blue sky, and a soft little pile of snow in the angle which became the sleeping kitten.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

Also inspired by the idea of a book illustration, it’s just a little thing, image is 5″ x 3.5″, and manuscripts were often illustrated with wood block prints. It’s difficult for me to carve wood, so I’ve gone for artist’s linoleum, much easier on my hands.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with black and white mats

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, black frame with black and white mats

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Visit my post featuring “Fawnball” and the Tabbies series of note cards for a demonstration of block printing.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

I began only printing this on white rice paper in black or hand-tinted as you see here, and sold them framed and unframed. I love colored rice paper as well as handmade and unusual papers, though, and every year I create a few on new and different papers.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on pink silk and rice paper

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on pink silk and rice paper

Of necessity, they can only have a small amount of texture and small or muted patterns so that they don’t compete with the print. I have a limited amount of space to hang prints to dry, so I’ve only used two of the papers, and am preparing for more!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks

“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks

My wood-mounted and keepsake art was quite popular and fun to make, so I also made up a few 4″ x 6″ wood-mounted prints and have a few 5″ x 7″ blocks as well as small keepsake boxes on hand for the next part of the experiment.

Wood-mounted "Spring Kitten" print, 4" x 6",

Wood-mounted “Spring Kitten” print, 4″ x 6″

I also offer this image as a wood-mounted piece and on various textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags. You can click any image in this post to find the item for sale in my Etsy shop, or to find everything that’s available featuring this little piece of artwork, search my Etsy shop for: “SPRING KITTEN”, which will bring up all the items currently available.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Epilogue

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image, and I created this one before I felt really confident in my drawing skills and was experimenting with ripped-paper collage, popular in the late 80s, using a piece of matboard, construction paper and tempera paints…it’s a bit worse for the wear of 25 years, with a few pieces missing.

paper collage

“Petals on a Wet Black Bough: After Ezra Pound”

And of course I can’t photograph any artwork without my composition and lighting director cruising through…and it’s an interesting thought to connect my feline households of long ago with today’s in this way.

black cat with artwork

Mimi adjusts the lighting by walking through.


black cat on papers

Art papers.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

These papers were part of Mewsette’s lesson on “art papers”! All rolled up with those papers you see are delicate white and colored sheets of rice paper. Mewsette still doesn’t understand, but it’s okay..


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME



Hand-printed “Tabbies” Summer Notecards

set of hand-printed notecards

Set of five “Tabbies” Bright note cards.

So what were Mewsette and I printing this weekend? A few more sets of my block-printed “Tabbies” notecards! Bright-colored card stock and bright-colored inks, I’ve been having fun experimenting with the “Tabbies” series in different styles and colors.

Above is the “Brights” set, 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards printed on five different Astrobright flourescent paper colors, green, blue, pink, yellow and orange, and five different ink colors, magenta, green, blue, orange and purple; each set includes one card in each color paper stock, with design and ink color randomly chosen so each set is a surprise. Find the Brights sets here in my Etsy shop.

Below is the “Summery” set, 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards printed on six different summery paper colors, yellow, pink orange, blue, green and violet, and five different ink colors, magenta, green, blue, orange and purple; each set includes one card in each color paper stock, with design and ink color randomly chosen so each set is a surprise. Find the Summery set here in my Etsy shop.

Set of six "Tabbies" Summer note cards.

Set of six “Tabbies” Summer note cards.

Cards are stamped inside with “Meow” using a commercial stamp, and on the back with my information. Matching envelopes with fuzzy pawprints stamped in the lower right corner are included.

Inside and outside the cards


sample of note card
Sample of Brights set, orange stock with red ink.
"Meow" printed inside each card!
“Meow” printed inside each card!
back printing on note card
The information stamped on the back of each card.

Matching envelopes


colored envelopes
Coordinating Brights set envelopes.
coordinating envelopes for summer brights notecards
Coordinating envelopes for Tabbies Summer set of notecards.

cat and art materials on table

ABOUT THE ART: TABBIES LINOLEUM BLOCK PRINTS

The stripes made me do it! The clarity of tabby cat stripes as they outline a cat’s features and define its shape has always been an inspiration for more graphic designs.

These cards were block printed, a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

You can read more about block printing in this article on The Creative Cat, and find more block-printed merchandise on The Creative Cat, on  Portraits of Animals Marketplace and in my Etsy shop under both Linoleum Block Prints for framed art, Block Print Household for textiles and housewares, and Greeting Card Sets for these and other cards.


photo of five cats in studio

Special orders and requests

If you see a daily sketch on The Creative Cat you’d like to have, please tell me. Likewise, if you have a custom item in mind contact me to describe it, or if an item is out of stock and you’d like to know when I’ll be making that item again, please ask!. Send me an e-mail.

I couldn’t do it without my studio cats!

My feline inspirations and I thank you for browsing and for purchasing handmade goods and supporting a small business! Click here or on the photo to read about the studio cats in the photo.


Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


July Featured Artwork and Desktop Calendar

ink and watercolor sketch of cat
“Stanley With Geraniums”, ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This painting is one I’ve wanted to do for years—since the very moment it depicts, in fact, on July 30, 2006, in fact, when Stanley and I enjoyed a Sunday morning on the deck.

As I’ve been digging through old photos while I’ve been moving them to my studio and organizing, both prints and digitals, I’m finding special moments I’d forgotten, moments of inspiration, beauty and especially a growing closeness with my older generation of cats even as they stepped ever closer to their last days with us. While it seemed like any other morning, looking at the rest of the photos from this day, I can see this was a quietly memorable morning. This was Stanley’s last summer with us, he’d been with me for 21 years and at my best guess was 25 years old, and he and I spent every possible moment together, especially out on the deck. While he slept most of the time and was fragile and often confused, each time our eyes met we built a deepening bond I’ll always carry with me; we had lost Moses and Cream in the spring, Lucy had just joined us in June, and though there were seven (or more) other cats in the house, Stanley and I carved out time for just the two of us nearly every day.

detail of painting
Detail of “Stanley With Geraniums”.

And on this morning when I looked at Stanley sleeping on the table I knew I’d want to remember this moment and to paint it, and visualized the painting in this style. But believe it or not, for as often as you see this particular style of ink sketch with watercolor washes, I was not at all skilled with it at that time and had only tentatively experimented in a few sketches. The desire to see this painting on paper was one of the driving forces for me to work this out, find the right drawing pen with the right ink, the right brushes and set of watercolors. And finally, seven years later, here it is.

The details are comforting to look at: the round picnic table where I’ve spent so much time with and without cats; the faded linen dishtowel calendar with the cardinals, one of many with birds, all of which are beyond threadbare and completely faded now; the mug I loved for my Sunday morning coffee; the binoculars my mother had used to watch birds and I “inherited” for birdwatching, given to her by someone who’d served in Viet Nam; the geraniums, collected over years from friends and family, overwintered and renewed each year—they are ancestors of the ones you see in my photos today.

Here is the reference photo, and as I remember Stanley this month—we had a little escape in July that year which I’ll be writing about—I’ll be sharing other photos as well.

photo of cat on table with flowers
Reference photo for “Stanley With Geraniums”

You can see I took a number of liberties with lightening the entire scene and reorganizing some of the flowers, but this particular digital camera was not terribly accurate for color or lighting, and being able to change some of the details is part of the fun and challenge of creating an original piece of artwork. I actually liked the flag in this photo and had originally intended to include it because I’d brought it home from the Carnegie Memorial Day parade I’d taken my mother to in May and that was a memory too, but I didn’t want to “date” this painting for a holiday or event, or set it for a country since many of my readers and collectors are from other countries. That detail was not so important to me as the others I included.

And in designing this month’s desktop calendar I am pulling from another idea and design style I have long enjoyed. As a long-time gardener I’ve saved lots of empty seed packets, even bought seeds I didn’t need, just because I like the style. While this design isn’t as detailed as one of those seed packets or the derivative signage or decorative items patterned on them, but perhaps at a later date I can work on that style beginning with this painting.

On a side note, I hand-lettered “July 2013″, and had intended to hand-letter the rest of the text as well, but when I design these calendars I need to be able to be flexible with the text and didn’t want to have to re-letter then entire calendar several times.  I also enjoy hand-lettering in my designs and I’ll be integrating that into other designs as well.


This month’s desktop calendar

Stanley-1920x1080

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Reading statistics and knowing that more than half of my readers view use a mobile device, I also offer the dimensions for desktop images for mobile devices from iPads to Smartphones. Click here to visit The Creative Cat to find your electronic device and download the right format and size.


And other special deals

Sign up for my monthly e-newsletter below for discounts on these and other products.

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know

image of cat calendars


 Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2013 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST



Tortie Girls for Summer!

wooden trays with tortoiseshell cats
Tortie Girls wooden trays!

Perhaps it’s their colors, orange and yellow with black, or perhaps it’s that I remember how much my tortie girls loved the summer, the open windows, and even visits out to the yard, but for me the tortie girls are always a summer theme.

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted art I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation, combining my love of hand-cutting and printing with linoleum blocks and hand-coloring into the black with watercolors or with cold-set dyes depending on the paper or fabric.

About the artwork

hand-painted and printed wooden tray the goddess
“The Goddess” wooden tray.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

hand-painted and printed wooden tray the roundest eyes
“The Roundest Eyes” wooden tray.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

You can read more about how I developed both designs, and about block printing in the post “Tortie Girls Block Print T-shirts”

Here is a collection of all the housewares and art with my tortie girls printed on them—enjoy!

pawbar

Tortie Girls Trays

These trays, featured above, are lightweight 10″ x 13″ pine wood trays each with a hand-colored and signed block print of my tortie girls, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes”, decoupaged in the bottom. Inside of the tray is painted pure white, outside and upper edge is painted pure black with a matte finish on the entire tray.

Find these in my Portraits of Animals shop on Etsy:

Set of two trays: $60.00

“The Goddess” tray: $35.00

“The Roundest” Eyes tray: $35.00

pawbar

Handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted Tortie Girls textiles

I’ve always offered my block print designs on a variety of textiles, from tees to tablecloths, one of the reasons I love that medium. I had wanted to find a washable alternative to the oil-based inks I’d been using, and the cold-set fabric dye I’d long used to paint the Tortie Girls designs was no longer available. Beginning last summer I experimented with various inks and fabric paints and came up with a combination of materials that are easy to use and washable, widely available and non-toxic and in addition to the tees I have a line of textiles.

block printed tablecloths with tortoiseshell cats
Tortie Girls Tablecloths!

Tortie Girls Tablecloths and Runner

I keep a bolt of unbleached cotton muslin on hand for these little accent tablecloths. Each 36″ x 36″ tablecloth has the same image printed four times, one on each edge. The Roundest Eyes table runner is 11″ x 36″. Each is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag. I have only one of each tablecloth and one table runner—for now!

“The Roundest Eyes” 36″ x 36″ tablecloth

“The Goddess” 36″ x 36″ tablecloth

“The Roundest Eyes” 11″ x 36″ table runner

hand-printed placemats with tortoiseshell cats
My tortie girls Cookie and Kelly on canvas placemats!

Tortie Girls Placemats

I made these extra-large 15″ x 19″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with the edges stay-stitched and fringed. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table! I have six of “The Goddess”, left, and four of “The Roundest Eyes”, right, and they are for sale in sets. You can find them in my shop on Etsy and see more detail shots of them as well.

“The Goddess” placemat, set of four

“The Goddess” placemat, set of two

“The Roundest Eyes” placemat, set of four

pawbar

Tortie Girls Wood-mounted Prints

hand-colored linoleum block print of cat
Tortie Girls wood-mounted hand-colored 9″ x 12″print set.

The 9″ x 12″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with a 1.5″ tall canvas stretcher added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging, and this size can even stand up on a tabletop. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish.

The prints are hand-colored and signed block prints of “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” decoupaged on the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors. Then I paint the block with acrylic paint, black on the sides and white on top. I adhere the finished, colored print onto the block and let it dry, then put a coat of matte-finish acrylic on the top and sides.

Set of both Tortie Girls Wood-mounted Prints: $60.00

The Roundest Eyes Wood-mounted Print: $35.00

The Goddess Wood-mounted Print: $35.00

pawbar

Tortie Girls Garden Flags

garden flags with tortoiseshell cats
“Tortie Girls” garden flags.

These “garden flags” are digitally printed on both sides of a heavyweight, durable indoor/outdoor woven printable fabric, and I finish by adding the rod pocket. (Bracket is not included.) Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s “The Goddess” or “The Roundest Eyes” on both sides, one side with a white background and one side with a yellow background. Flags are 11” wide x 15” tall and fit the most common garden flag bracket available, sold in most hardware and home renovation stores with a garden area.

The Goddess Garden Flag: $15.00

The Roundest Eyes Garden Flag: $15.00

pawbar

Matted and Framed Tortie Girls Prints

framed artwork
Hand-colored Tortie Girls block prints matted and framed.

A set of hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block prints featuring my tortoiseshell girls,matted and framed and ready to hang. Each image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 16″ x 20″, horizontal or vertical as shown in the photo.

Set of both Tortie Girls Framed Prints: $125.00

The Roundest Eyes Framed Print: $75.00

The Goddess Framed Print: $75.00

Click here if you’d like to see all the Tortie Girls goods in my Etsy shop together.


And other special deals

Sign up for my monthly e-newsletter below for discounts on these and other products.

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know

image of cat calendars


 Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2013 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST



Wood Mounted Art and Photos

photo of art mounted on wood blocks
Introductory selection of art and photos mounted on wood blocks.

I love matting and framing my artwork, and even visualize a piece in mat and frame while I’m working, yet I’ve been finding ways to break free from the complications of mat, frame and glass for wall and display art for years—and I’m really happy with the way these wood blocks turned out!

example of artwork.
Side view of 6″ x 6″ wood-mounted photo of “Cookie in the Pasta Bowl”.

The blocks, originally intended for painting, are 1/8″ birch wood panels “cradled” with wood bars added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging. The depth of these wood bars “cradling” the back is either 3/4″ or 1-1/2″ depending on the style of the block, and because they have wide sides the smaller ones can even stand up on a tabletop or shelf. I’ve painted the sides either black or natural white and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. I love the clean lines and modern look, and have been experimenting with other colors and sizes.

I began with several images from which I had plenty of feedback and which would also work in this medium. Because my daily sketches are often 5″ x 7″ or smaller, these blocks are ideal especially the smaller square format.

Above, most of the blocks are 4″ x 4″, in front you see “The Eye Model” and behind two small ink sketches, “Looking Out the Window” and “Three After Dinner Baths”. I’ve also included “Everyone’s On My Desk” and “Spooked on Halloween” in the small blocks.

And because “First Light” was so popular the other day I’ve included it on an 8″ x 10″ along with “A Sunny Room”, and “World Cat” on an 8″ x 8″ panel.

They range in price from $12.00 to $25.00 and come in a variety of sizes that will accommodate many photographs and sketches—including a 6″ x 8″ panel that will perfectly fit my cartoon “Being Used as a Fort”. See them all on Etsy. I regularly add new ones as I get more feedback, so when you visit my Etsy shop again, use the keyword search “wood mount” to see all that are available.


black cat looking at art stuff

But what do they look like to Jelly Bean? A bunch of kitty-sized pedestals!

. . . . . . .

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop” on The Creative Cat from my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

. . . . . . .

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

 

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know
image of cat calendars
2013 desk and journal calendars on sale!

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.


 

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


The Spring Kitten

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I once had a pure white long-haired kitty with pea green eyes and a pink nose named Sally. She was also completely deaf, and completely fearless; without distraction, she lived in her own little world, full of sleep and joy and play. She was the inspiration for many sketches, paintings and photos, and for this little piece as well; click the image to see a gallery of other black and white photos of Sally.

white cat reclining
Sally reclining, click the photo to see more black and white photos of Sally.

Almost everywhere I’ve lived there has been a quince bush, an old-fashioned favorite for its early bright pink flowers—so early, in fact, that the bush in my neighbor’s yard in the years when Sally was young bloomed every year during the January thaw, and then snow would fall on the bright pink blooms, nestling in the curve of the branches like Sally when she’d found a good cozy spot.

Below is the actual reference photo I used for this block print. Can you see the white kitten shape in the snow? Scroll down to the detail of the block print below.

quince blossoms with snow
Quince blossoms with snow, the actual reference photo for this block print.

Sure, I took some artistic license with the snow, but that’s what art is all about—and the shape you see below is what I actually saw when I got the photos back and flipped through them (remember those days?), and though it was years before I created this little print the idea stayed with me all that time.

detail of "The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors
Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with blue and white mats

The style of this design was inspired after studying and practicing many illustration traditions, from Asian-inspired block prints and brush paintings to metal and wood etchings and block prints used for books and periodicals. My reference photo (which I kept) shows the branch with the flowers against a brilliant blue sky, and a soft little pile of snow in the angle which became the sleeping kitten.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

Also inspired by the idea of a book illustration, it’s just a little thing, image is 5″ x 3.5″, and manuscripts were often illustrated with wood block prints. It’s difficult for me to carve wood, so I’ve gone for artist’s linoleum, much easier on my hands.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with black and white mats
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink and hand-colored with watercolors, white frame with black and white mats

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only
Detail of “The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on rice paper, black ink only

I began only printing this on white rice paper in black or hand-tinted as you see here, and sold them framed and unframed. I love colored rice paper as well as handmade and unusual papers, though, and every year I create a few on new and different papers.

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on pink silk and rice paper
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on pink silk and rice paper

Of necessity, they can only have a small amount of texture and small or muted patterns so that they don’t compete with the print. I have a limited amount of space to hang prints to dry, so I’ve only used two of the papers, and am preparing for more!

"The Spring Kitten" linoleum  block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks
“The Spring Kitten” linoleum block print on handmade buff paper with white and pale orange flecks

My wood-mounted and keepsake art was quite popular and fun to make, so I also made up a few 4″ x 6″ wood-mounted prints and have a few 5″ x 7″ blocks as well as small keepsake boxes on hand for the next part of the experiment.

Wood-mounted "Spring Kitten" print, 4" x 6",
Wood-mounted “Spring Kitten” print, 4″ x 6″

I also offer this image as a wood-mounted piece and on various textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags. You can click any image in this post to find the item for sale in my Etsy shop, or to find everything that’s available featuring this little piece of artwork, search my Etsy shop for: “SPRING KITTEN”, which will bring up all the items currently available.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Epilogue

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image, and I created this one before I felt really confident in my drawing skills and was experimenting with ripped-paper collage, popular in the late 80s, using a piece of matboard, construction paper and tempera paints…it’s a bit worse for the wear of 25 years, with a few pieces missing.

paper collage
“Petals on a Wet Black Bough: After Ezra Pound”

And of course I can’t photograph any artwork without my composition and lighting director cruising through…and it’s an interesting thought to connect my feline households of long ago with today’s in this way.

black cat with artwork
Mimi adjusts the lighting by walking through.
Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Special Prints for Valentine’s Day

linocuts of tortoiseshell cats
“Tortie Girls in Black and Red” Set of two framed prints.

Cards and gifts for cat lovers and lovers with cats 10% off in my Etsy shop now through Valentine’s Day! Use the coupon code VALENTINE10 when shopping in my Etsy shop.

A Special Couple…

Tortie Girls in Red and Black

A set of hand printed linoleum block prints featuring my tortoiseshell girls, matted and framed and ready to hang.

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Unlike other versions of this print in my Etsy shop and on my website which are usually hand-tinted with the orange and yellow of tortoiseshell cats, I have left this in black only for that lovely effective contrast of black ink on white rice paper. Image is 8″ x 12″, with my favorite rich red acid-free mat and a solid wood black matte-finish 12″ x 16″ frame. Read a little more about the print and the girls here on The Creative Cat or find it in my Etsy shop.


A Special Print

"Awakening" linoleum block print, matted in rich red and framed in a matte black frame.
“Awakening” linoleum block print, matted in rich red and framed in a matte black frame.

“Awakening”

“Awakening” is a linoleum block print, 16″ in diameter, printed in water-based ink on handmade white rice paper. For Valentine’s Day I’m offering a print matted with a rich red mat to encircle your feline loves.

Mat is an acid-free rich red, my favorite shade to coordinate with plain black and white block prints; not too bright, not too dull. I cut the circular mat myself in my studio; the narrowest portion of the mat is 1.5″. The frame is a 1″ wide plain black matte-finish wood. The final framed size is 21″ x 21″. You can read about this print here on The Creative Cat or in my Etsy shop .


Inspired by felines you know!

Click on the banner below to visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy for more of my designs inspired by the cats you read about each day.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Kelly’s Morning Bath Block Print, Framed or Mounted

mounted block print
Canvas-mounted pint of “Kelly’s Morning Bath II”

The Kelly’s Morning Bath duo was the first feline pictorial block print I designed, even before The Tortie Girls duo of block prints. I was literally inspired by Kelly’s daily morning bath in front of the big casement window, sketched it up and cut the block—twice, because I wasn’t sure I liked the first version. As it turns out I like both equally well, and since I’ve been printing them on gift bags and tote bags and other things, I’ve come to use version 1 as a framed and matted print because it has just the essential image, and version 2 as an imprint because it has the decorative border. Please read more about the genesis of the print in this post.

I’ve been enjoying wood-mounting artwork since I found a ready source for the wood blocks to be used, and after the first group was done I began looking at other art and images the block prints are idea as I’d mounted prints of The Tortie Girls on wooden trays and blocks, but the shape and size of Kelly’s Morning Bath isn’t readily available in wood blocks. However, I knew there was another resource and found it in stretched canvases in the perfect size as if they were made for this! They are actually deep enough to be able to stand up on a tabletop, as shown.

linoleum block print of cat
Kelly’s Morning Bath 1, linoleum block print, 4″ x 11″ © B.E. Kazmarski

Printing these two designs on unique papers was part of the design plan, and when I began finding handmade rice papers with leaves and flowers embedded I knew I’d found the best choices. This package of handmade, fair trade, eco-sensitive paper (could it be any better?) provided a dozen varieties of prints with a white and a cream background, and shades of green, rose and rust for spring, summer and fall.

black cat in front of print
Mimi was unhappy at all the attention the block was getting.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Because of this process, each print is slightly different and therefore unique. Kelly was indeed on my work table to supervise the printing of this block print inspired by her daily morning bath in front of our favorite window.

I am currently framing these as well as mounting them on the stretched canvases beginning with these two color variations.

And I was all set up to photograph all these pieces atop the wardrobe at the top of the stairs for the excellent light but as you can see Mimi put an end to that, a little piqued that she was not getting the attention she felt she deserved at that moment.

 


Kelly’s Morning Bath II Mounted on Canvas

canvas-mounted block print of cat
“Kelly’s Morning Bath I” block print in green tones.
detail of mounted cat print
Detail of depth and mounting.

This is the more decorative of the two prints so I’ve used it for the canvas mounting. The canvas blocks are 4″ x 12″ on the face and a little over 1″ deep. I wrap the front and sides of the canvas with the same paper as the print and glue it to the surface, then I trim the print to fit the face of the canvas and glue that on top of the paper. Both the paper and the prints have a few extra wrinkles after the adhesive swells and dries but it gives it that wonderful papery look and feel. Finally, I cover the entire surface with a coat of matte-finish Modge Podge so that the surface can be dusted or wiped with a mild cleaner.

mounted block print of cat
“Kelly’s Morning Bath II” mounted on canvas, pink tones.

I don’t add a hanger to these because the back of the canvas is deep enough to safely hold onto whatever hanger you use on your wall. I do add bumper pads in the lower corners, though, to help the piece hang straight. You can find both of these in my Etsy shop.

 


Kelly’s Morning Bath I Matted and Framed

matted and framed block print of cat
“Kelly’s Morning Bath 1″ matted and framed, pink tones.

This is the plainer of the two prints and my original idea. In a freestanding presentation, with no border as it is with the mounted pieces, it has always looked unfinished to me, so I use various colors of black or color core mat and always a matte black frame to coordinate with the ink.

matted framed block print of cat
“Kelly’s Morning Bath I” framed block print, green tones.

The image size is 3″ x 10″, the frame size is 7″ x 14″. The mats are as shown, 1-1/2″, with a matte-finish black composite wood frame. You can find these two variations in my Etsy shop.

You can find these and more in my Etsy shop, as well as more views of each piece, as I work my way through all the variations on prints of these wonderful papers.


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Hand-printed “Tabbies” Summer Notecards

set of hand-printed notecards

Set of five “Tabbies” Bright note cards.

So what were Mewsette and I printing this weekend? A few more sets of my block-printed “Tabbies” notecards! Bright-colored card stock and bright-colored inks, I’ve been having fun experimenting with the “Tabbies” series in different styles and colors.

Above is the “Brights” set, 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards printed on five different Astrobright flourescent paper colors, green, blue, pink, yellow and orange, and five different ink colors, magenta, green, blue, orange and purple; each set includes one card in each color paper stock, with design and ink color randomly chosen so each set is a surprise. Find the Brights sets here in my Etsy shop.

Below is the “Summery” set, 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ note cards printed on six different summery paper colors, yellow, pink orange, blue, green and violet, and five different ink colors, magenta, green, blue, orange and purple; each set includes one card in each color paper stock, with design and ink color randomly chosen so each set is a surprise. Find the Summery set here in my Etsy shop.

Set of six "Tabbies" Summer note cards.

Set of six “Tabbies” Summer note cards.

Cards are stamped inside with “Meow” using a commercial stamp, and on the back with my information. Matching envelopes with fuzzy pawprints stamped in the lower right corner are included.

Inside and outside the cards


sample of note card
Sample of Brights set, orange stock with red ink.
"Meow" printed inside each card!
“Meow” printed inside each card!
back printing on note card
The information stamped on the back of each card.

Matching envelopes


colored envelopes
Coordinating Brights set envelopes.
coordinating envelopes for summer brights notecards
Coordinating envelopes for Tabbies Summer set of notecards.

cat and art materials on table

ABOUT THE ART: TABBIES LINOLEUM BLOCK PRINTS

The stripes made me do it! The clarity of tabby cat stripes as they outline a cat’s features and define its shape has always been an inspiration for more graphic designs.

These cards were block printed, a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

You can read more about block printing in this article on The Creative Cat, and find more block-printed merchandise on The Creative Cat, on  Portraits of Animals Marketplace and in my Etsy shop under both Linoleum Block Prints for framed art, Block Print Household for textiles and housewares, and Greeting Card Sets for these and other cards.


photo of five cats in studio

Special orders and requests

If you see a daily sketch on The Creative Cat you’d like to have, please tell me. Likewise, if you have a custom item in mind contact me to describe it, or if an item is out of stock and you’d like to know when I’ll be making that item again, please ask!. Send me an e-mail.

I couldn’t do it without my studio cats!

My feline inspirations and I thank you for browsing and for purchasing handmade goods and supporting a small business! Click here or on the photo to read about the studio cats in the photo.


Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.


All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Tortie Girls Block Prints in Black with Red

black and white block print with red mat and black frame

The Roundest Eyes, black ink in rice paper, red mat, black frame, 12" x 16"

What enchanted me first about block prints, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors and types and even prints of paper, the black on white is what I usually return to.

Even when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed. When I initially print them they are that familiar black on white, and all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks. The color completes the design, but I always save a few prints back to leave in black on white.

And when I was studying Japanese block prints and other similar styles of art from eastern countries a certain shade of red often seemed to accompany them, and it still seems appropriate, so I include that rich red mat with a black frame to complete the color scheme.

Each image is 8″ x 12″, signed and numbered, with acid-free rich red mat. Frame is 12″ x 16″ black matte-finish wood frame 3/4″ wide and 1-1/4″ deep, almost like a box with the print on the top.

“The Roundest Eyes” (at top)
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes. Find this print in my Etsy shop.

“The Goddess” (below)
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”. Find this print in my Etsy shop.

matted and framed block print

The Goddess, black ink on rice paper, red mat, black frame, 12" x 16.

framed block print of tortoiseshell cat

The Roundest Eyes, hand colored.

And the usual colors

You can also find the hand-colored prints in my Etsy shop, though they have different mats to coordinate with the hand-coloring, and a slightly larger frame. Find the girls in my Etsy shop under “Prints”.

I have also printed the girls on white t-shirts. You can also find these in my Etsy shop under T-shirts.

I also occasionally have other items, usually textiles, printed with the tortie girls. In the past I’ve had curtains, placemats, tablecloths and runners, and I’ve been working on those at the same time as these prints. You’ll see them soon.

awakening block print with red mat

Awakening, matted and framed, linoleum block print © B.E. Kazmarski

And another block print in black with a red mat

While I offer this print both black only and hand-colored, and in a variety of mat colors, I still like it best in black and white and it’s striking with the red mat. This combination was popular at Valentine’s Day so I’ve prepared a few more to have for any time of the year. Read about “Awakening” or find it on Etsy.

About Block Printing

I really enjoy working in this medium and I can free myself from the traditional media and a greater realism in rendering. Linoleum block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of artist’s linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

The resulting work isn’t a one-time thing, but meant to be printed multiple times–and I do, on just about anything I can think of. They all start out on paper, but they’ve been printed on t-shirts and dresses and aprons and curtains, to name a few things. I will sometimes add color to them with watercolor or dyes to give them extra interest. The resulting work, even though they are all printed from the same block, is a unique print, still handmade by the artist.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,314 other followers

%d bloggers like this: