Category Archives: pastel

The Deserted Cottages, Recalling a Long-ago Image, and a Friend

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Original pastel painting, 17″ x 8.5″, 1999

Three years ago this month I posted the original of this painting of deserted cottages along Lake Erie for sale here and in my Etsy shop, including the story below connecting it to an old cardboard painting in my mother’s house found when I was selling it that had been an unwitting inspiration for my work today, along with memories of my mother.

A friend I hadn’t seen since middle school read the story, knew the place where the cottages had been and contacted me. We met and reunited our friendship after 35 years, and she bought the painting because she and her family had spent summers at that place while she was growing up. She had so many precious memories from all those years and the painting brought it all back to her. It also made a nice new bond between us and we regularly communicated after that, hoping to meet for a little vacation at a spot near this place she now visited over summers with her family, but also sharing our love of cats and crochet.

Unfortunately, she unexpectedly died this past summer. I’ve been remembering her daily since then and wondering how she could slip away so soon and unexpectedly, and it always brings me back to this painting. I’m so glad she had it with her for her last three years. She had a part of me with this painting, and I had a part of her with the memory each time I saw it in my portfolio, or as one of the prints I have on hand. I didn’t make it up to Lake Erie to spend time with her, but I will be sure to get to this area and remember her.

And here is the original story I published then, full of emotional connections as well. My mother had died earlier that year, 2011, and I was also renewing my bond with my art which I had let fall aside while I cared for her in her increasing illness over a decade.

. . . . . . .

Anything can become a learning opportunity and an inspiration, even a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame. It worked for me.

I painted “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. I quickly blocked in the buildings with just a few simple shapes and colors and their traceries of shadows, then the trees and grass, trying to catch the fluttering effect of the leaves in the wind allowing chunks of sky to show through, the tree trunks simplified and in high light-dark contrast, the blank expression of the boarded windows. I was pleased with the outcome, yet something was strangely familiar.

J.E. Warfield Painting

J.E. Warfield Painting

Six years later I put my mother’s house up for sale as she had moved to personal care, and took down her collection of cardboard art in plastic frames that I’d studied in depth growing up. It may not have been expensive, but there was a lot of it, in every room, including the basement. I particularly remembered the one long narrow painting with the signature J.E. Warfield because I liked the way the trees were leafy, not solid, and opened to the sky, the shadows traced across the ground and the buildings were very simple; after studying it as a child I felt that I could do that. Later, it hung on a paneling wall in the basement just inside the door from the garage where I entered for years, so I saw it every time I went into the house. Again, something was familiar.

I looked at “Deserted Cottages”, and looked at my cardboard Warfield. The tree trunks, the leaves, the simple buildings, the shadows—there it was! I could clearly see what I’d been aiming for as I’d painted six years before—this painting I’d been studying practically all my life.

detail of painting

Detail of the houses in the Warfield painting.

detail of painting

Detail of houses in my painting.

So it was a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame—never underestimate the power of any image to inspire and teach! And I haven’t found out a darned thing about J.E. Warfield, but apparently this painting was a popular one judging by all the ones I’ve seen being sold as “vintage”.

Nothing is ever wasted for a creative person. I’ve learned to never dismiss something that impresses me for some reason, be it the cover of a bodice-ripper romance or a velvet painting or a doodle on a notebook, it goes “in there” somewhere and comes out somewhere else as a way I learned to work with color or shape or medium or just something that caught my eye and would catch others’ as well.

detail of painting

Detail of Warfield trees.

detail of painting

Detail of my trees.

Where to find this art

The art is 17″ x 8.5″, and when I originally posted this the original was hanging right above my desk, as it always had since I’d painted it.

While the original sold as mentioned above,  I have made a series of prints on paper and canvas which are available in my Etsy shop.

See other autumn art and landscapes

Click here to see an archive of autumn art and also landscape paintings.

And there are many more images to browse! Visit my Etsy shop to see what’s available in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery.

I also have an e-newsletter for non-animal art like my landscapes and photography, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

. . . . . . .

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


The Splendor of Autumn, Original Art and Prints

peppers by bernadette e. kazmarski
autumn wildflower harvest by bernadette e kazmarski
autumn in the valley by bernadette e. kazmarski

The Studio of
Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The Splendor of Autumn

Original Art and Prints

market flowers by bernadette e. kazmarski
birches 1: autumn showers by bernadette e. kazmarski
Squashes by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
birches 2: radiance by bernadette e. kazmarski
backyard birds holiday card set by bernadette e kazmarski
Autumn has arrived in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn brilliance, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some days, and cooler days and nights. I’m offering a special discount until the last day of autumn, December 20, 2014, on all autumn-themed artwork in my Etsy shop: 25% off anything in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. Just use the code “AUTUMN25″ for your special discount.Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork. Just a few are featured here but you can view and read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some were painted en plein air, some were studio pieces.

Click on any of the images in this newsletter, top, sidebar, text area or bottom, to find out more about it.

pastel painting of autumn trailThis year I’m adding a new image to my autumn gallery, “Colorful Autumn Trail”, which I featured in my exhibit on the Panhandle Trail, “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow”. I am happy to say I sold the original during the event, but I have archival-quality digital prints of this piece, and can easily have gicleé prints and canvas prints made.

As a new way to present prints of my artwork. you’ll find many are gallery-wrapped canvas prints, including “Main Street at Twilight”, at the top. That’s not the only photograph in this collection, as I’m also offering the ever-popular “Market Flowers” and “Fresh Peppers”.

I’m also offering several popular paintings as canvas prints: “Birches 1: Autumn Showers” and  “Birches 2: Radiance”, and “Autumn in the Valley” and “Dusk in the Woods”. Each of these is 16″ x 20″ and would make wonderful sets of two or even four. They can hang unframed, just as they are, or they can easily slip into a standard frame size with no need for glass or mat. Please ask about framing options.

I’m offering a special discount until the last day of autumn, December 20, 2014, on all autumn-themed artwork in my Etsy shop: 25% off anything in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. Just use the code “AUTUMN25″ for your special discount.

. . . . . . .
I also have a selection of sets of holiday cards featuring scenes from nature in photos and art:
“Backyard Bird Paintings”“Cardinals on a Snowy Day”“Unexpected Berries”“Winter Walks”“Winter Beauty Paintings”
Browse my full selection of Holiday Cards.
. . . . . . .
Thank you for browsing my artwork in this e-newsletter. If you’d like to share this with a friend, please use the “Forward to a Fried” link below and this will ensure the e-mail and its contents compose correctly when forwarded, and if you’ve received this from a friend and want to receive my studio e-newsletters on a regular basis, use the “subscription preferences” below to sign up. As always, if you are no longer interested in receiving these e-mails, use the subscription preferences below to remove your e-mail from the list.
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soft november afternoon by bernadette e kazmarski
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Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31" x 27", 2009

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31″ x 27″, 2009

Autumn in the Watershed

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon.

For two reasons the scene was reminiscent and inspiring: first, that I rounded the bend to see this natural splendor in all its detail, brilliant color, fluttering leaves, rippling water, changing clouds, happening all on its own with no help from me or any other human (read the poem, below) ; and, second, it was an example of that “change of season” with the gray-purple clouds of winter arriving on the horizon, two seasons blending into one another. I needed to share this image, and it was so moving that the inspiration also became a poem, and the title for my third annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Change of Season.

detail of painting

Detail of upper clouds.

And again, no, I couldn’t paint while paddling, and my little digital photos didn’t do the scene justice, yet other than wading down the creek and setting up an easel in the middle of the water, there was no other way of painting this. To take the scene from the tiny digital image to the full-size painting took a good bit of memory and visualization; it’s a good thing I’m very familiar with scenes like this. I don’t often work at this level of detail, especially at this size, but in order to share what I took from this moment, I found myself worker ever deeper into the minutiae of the scene so that others, viewing it, could hear the light lapping of the water, watch the clouds move, feel the warm sun on your back but the chill wind on your face, and the glory of those tree-covered hills.

detail of painting

Detail of that moment of change.

You really have to get into “the zone”, though, while working at that level on the painting, letting go of your space, yourself, to get back to that moment and all your perceptions from that time. I still go there when I look at the original, which was purchased and made a gift to Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall and hangs in the Reception Hall.

In the mini-ecosystem in the valley along Chartiers Creek, the color show begins a little later and the trees keep their leaves a little longer, perhaps because of the extra humidity along the water through the dry heat of late summer. The diversity of species is generally much greater in both the trees and the understory brush and grasses, which encourages a greater diversity of foliage color and shape. When the show begins, it’s absolutely breathtaking and it gets more stunning every day until a November storm rips the last of the leaves away.

detail of painting

Detail of reflections on the water.

This area of the creek is approximately below Rosslyn Farms, between Carnegie and Crafton. In this area, the creek’s channel was widened and dredged deeper and the banks made more sloping through the Fulton Flood Control Project, allowing all the runoff from upstream communities to flow ever faster down the valley without overflowing the banks or backing up into Carnegie, as had happened prior to the Project. Also, many of the trees were removed from the banks up to a certain level. Still, even with that modification, the channel remains beautiful and inviting in this lovely and unseen area of Chartiers Creek.

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

A Poem Inspired by the Scene

I actually wrote a poem about the scene before I did the painting, so inspiring was that particular moment.

Effortless

I paddled the canoe around the bend,
And was faced with the effortless beauty of the panorama,
The trees in all their colors, the sky with changing clouds,
The water moving and reflecting simultaneously,
All perfectly arranged,
I realized that my creations are but raindrops in a puddle,
Wisps of cloud that change and dissipate
My solitary accomplishments borne of great effort
Would never equal this one solitary scene
Or the one I would have seen the day before or the day after
Evolved on its own, no one to frame it and display it and promote it
As it quietly exists through the day.
We humans sometimes get to think everything happens because of us
But these trees and grasses and hills arrange themselves
And create great beauty effortlessly
Simply in the process of their everyday existence.
So I did a painting that can never match the original
So that I may remember my place.

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season.

Art On Sale

All my autumn artwork is on sale until the Winter Solstice. Read this post to find out more and how to use your discount code.

About Art of the Watershed

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

pastel painting of snowy woods with stream at dusk

Dusk in the Woods, pastel © B.E.Kazmarski

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.


Featured Artwork: “A Warm Bath”, 1997, and “Less Adoptable Pets”

painting of white cat

A Warm Bath, pastel, 12″ x 10″, 1997 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

September 21 through 27, 2014 is “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week“, a campaign founded by Petfinder.com to help promote the adoption of pets who are often passed by when people are looking for a new pet. “Less adoptable”  can refer to physical or emotional characteristics, from black pets—yes, black cats are often left behind!—to blind and deaf pets, pets missing an eye or a leg, not uncommon in rescued pets who’ve had a hard life on the streets or come from an abusive or hoarding situation, older pets, even just pets who are adults and not cute babies, undesirable breeds, like pit bulls, or carrying chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or FIV in cats.

Many of the cats who’ve lived with me as permanent members or fosters were considered “unadoptable” or “less adoptable”. One of the reasons I ply you with photos and paintings and sketches and stories is to reinforce, every day, every way I can, that there is no such thing as “unadoptable” or “less adoptable”, that there is nothing at all different about these cats. Behind their appearance and the knowledge of something about them that is somehow different from what we think of as a pet, they are simply the same loving animals as those who seem to be perfect. There is nothing to fear in living with an animal that is different, once you know them, once you’ve fallen in love, you’ll forget all about that missing eye, or their advanced years. Frankencat and Old Grand Dad both fell into this category, and who could not love them once we’d met them? And if you don’t want to run out and get your very own house panther by now then I’m not working hard enough!

Sally was genetically deaf, and very high-spirited, a combination that didn’t suit her original owner though he’d wanted a cat with her looks, not uncommon with deaf cats. I agreed to take her rather than see her go to a shelter; read “My First ‘Less Adoptable’ Kitty”, and look at this painting and tell me if you could know that she was in any way different, or that it would even be important to you in the face of that much beauty.

. . . . . . .

You’ve seen other works featuring Sally, but this was one of the first. Just after I’d painted Stanley in “After Dinner Nap” I felt I’d arrived at a style and a level of ability and began painting at a furious pace, both my cats and landscapes. This was the year after I’d lost Kublai, and begun painting en plein air and painting serious landscapes, and all that had come together for me. I had studied Sally’s silky white fur from the day she’d come to live with me in 1984, photographed her regularly, but finally felt I had the insight and ability to capture all the colors and textures of her creamy tresses.

Photographing a cat in the process of a bath, white or black or striped or spotted, was no easier then than it is now except that I didn’t know what I hadn’t caught until I had the photos developed. Most of the photos were when Sally had her back turned. I chose this pose because you could still see Sally’s face, though she was looking down, and there is something I love about a cat’s face at that angle, the soft forehead, the nose, the whiskers sprouting here and there.

This painting sold in the days before I took adequate photos, and though I’ve been working on getting an image of the original I just have to live with this for now, so I don’t have any closeups. Still, this is the painting where I remember the feeling of “fingerpainting” for the first time, applying layers and colors of pastel, them mixing them with my fingertips and knuckles, the sides of my hands, both hands, a different color in each area. It was because I looked at the fur on Sally’s head in the reference photo and imagined digging my fingers into it to scratch the top of her head, which she loved, and I did my best to make the top of her head make me, and you, want to do that, even to feel it. The bright pink of her ear, the cool and warm highlights in her fur, it was all I could do to focus on one area to work it out completely.

Then there were the long angled shadows from the metal muntins in the windows, on the wall and book case and on Sally, the white-painted stucco wall, and the dappled side yard outside the window. I’m still very pleased with this painting, and even if I painted it today I may do some things differently, but I don’t think I could improve on this.

"A Warm Bath"

“A Warm Bath”

Once I’d finished four similar paintings, “After Dinner Nap”, “A Warm Bath”, “A Rosy Glow” and “The Little Sunflower”, I decided I had to have color note cards with my artwork on them to sell, and in 1998 had the set entitled “My Cats in the Sun” printed by traditional offset printing, not the ease of digital printing today. I still have a few left of this original set of cards; they’ve gone in and out of popularity, but some customers find them nice for professional correspondence and for sympathy cards, so they will still be around.

I had taken several reference photos of Sally having a good bath in front of that old metal casement window; I replaced it with the big north window where Giuseppe sings and we all watch birds, lots of morning  light, angled in, and my cats have always loved to gather in that light through the years, and you still see it in my artwork. I also used another photo from this set for a commissioned piece, “Welcome Spring With a Unique Commission”.

pastel portrait of cat looking out window

“Spring”, pastel, 12″ x 24″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

You can see more images of Sally in “My First ‘Less Adoptable’ Kitty” and in Sally’s Photo Shoot or search the category Sally


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.

 


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired 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.


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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Framed Original Pastel Sketch “April Cloud Study”

original pastel painting of clouds

“April Cloud Study”, original pastel, 9″ x 9″, 2013

A very overcast morning cleared up and turned into a lovely spring afternoon—and it looks like this!

It’s such a beautiful blue-sky day today it would be nice to remember it with a painting of blue sky and clouds. Once the weather turns warm and sunny the world begins coloring up nicely, and so it did one April afternoon. I decided to take some time to paint the clouds, literally and figuratively, standing out in my back yard with my pastel for about ten minutes—and by that time the skies were completely different.

Above is the framed version, below just the sketch on a scrap of drawing paper. I used a scrap of sanded pastel paper and it was cut unevenly, so there is a little bit along the left trimmed off that I liked. Well, that’s the way it goes.

The mats are 1.5″, white on white, with a little bit of a channel behind them so the pastel will fall behind the mat instead of on the mat. The frame is 12″ x 12″ and I was so inspired by the colors that I refinished it to coordinate with the painting in shades of blue green and lilac from the painting and a white crackle finish overall. You can find this painting in my Etsy shop.

pastel painting of clouds

“April Cloud Study”, pastel, 9.5″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

 

And there are many more images of spring and summer! Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery.

I also have an e-newsletter for non-animal art like my landscapes and photography, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


The Splendor of Autumn, Original Art and Prints

main street at twilight by bernadette e. kazmarski
peppers by bernadette e. kazmarski
autumn wildflower harvest by bernadette e kazmarski
autumn in the valley by bernadette e. kazmarski

The Studio of
Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The Splendor of Autumn

Original Art and Prints

market flowers by bernadette e. kazmarski
birches 1: autumn showers by bernadette e. kazmarski
Squashes by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
birches 2: radiance by bernadette e. kazmarski
backyard birds holiday card set by bernadette e kazmarski
Autumn has arrived in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn brilliance, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some days, and cooler days and nights. I’m offering a special discount until the last day of autumn, December 20, 2014, on all autumn-themed artwork in my Etsy shop: 25% off anything in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. Just use the code “AUTUMN25″ for your special discount.Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork. Just a few are featured here but you can view and read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some were painted en plein air, some were studio pieces.

Click on any of the images in this newsletter, top, sidebar, text area or bottom, to find out more about it.

pastel painting of autumn trailThis year I’m adding a new image to my autumn gallery, “Colorful Autumn Trail”, which I featured in my exhibit on the Panhandle Trail, “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow”. I am happy to say I sold the original during the event, but I have archival-quality digital prints of this piece, and can easily have gicleé prints and canvas prints made.

As a new way to present prints of my artwork. you’ll find many are gallery-wrapped canvas prints, including “Main Street at Twilight”, at the top. That’s not the only photograph in this collection, as I’m also offering the ever-popular “Market Flowers” and “Fresh Peppers”.

I’m also offering several popular paintings as canvas prints: “Birches 1: Autumn Showers” and  “Birches 2: Radiance”, and “Autumn in the Valley” and “Dusk in the Woods”. Each of these is 16″ x 20″ and would make wonderful sets of two or even four. They can hang unframed, just as they are, or they can easily slip into a standard frame size with no need for glass or mat. Please ask about framing options.

I’m offering a special discount until the last day of autumn, December 20, 2014, on all autumn-themed artwork in my Etsy shop: 25% off anything in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. Just use the code “AUTUMN25″ for your special discount.

. . . . . . .
I also have a selection of sets of holiday cards featuring scenes from nature in photos and art:
“Backyard Bird Paintings”“Cardinals on a Snowy Day”“Unexpected Berries”“Winter Walks”“Winter Beauty Paintings”
Browse my full selection of Holiday Cards.
. . . . . . .
Thank you for browsing my artwork in this e-newsletter. If you’d like to share this with a friend, please use the “Forward to a Fried” link below and this will ensure the e-mail and its contents compose correctly when forwarded, and if you’ve received this from a friend and want to receive my studio e-newsletters on a regular basis, use the “subscription preferences” below to sign up. As always, if you are no longer interested in receiving these e-mails, use the subscription preferences below to remove your e-mail from the list.
Visit my shop on Etsy  »
soft november afternoon by bernadette e kazmarski
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“Taking Flight”, Original Pastel and Prints

detail of whopping crane painting“Taking Flight”, pastel on Canson pastel paper, 18.25″ wide x 12.25″ high

Many years ago I saw two captive whooping cranes, likely visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo. I marveled at their size–they were nearly as tall as me! But it was when one of them spread its wings that I was truly enchanted by the pure white body, neat brown wing tips and tiny touches of yellow highlight here and there, and the grace of that huge bird.

detail of whopping crane painting
Detail, cranes.

And I read about them and discovered their plight, having no idea they were so imperiled. Visiting what had once been their habitat on Assateague Island, Virginia, I imagined what they might have looked like in the whispering marshes.

detail of whopping crane painting
Detail, marsh grasses.

What would their afternoon have been like? Using my photos of those marshes and many images of whooping cranes, I painted this in pastel, trying to capture the details that had stayed with me at seeing them, but also the feeling of movement in the marshes I had visited, the waving sedges, lapping water and constant breeze from the ocean.

detail of whopping crane painting
Detail, water, “Taking Flight”.

And those late summer colors, blue sky reflected on the water, reflected on the cranes.

This painting is 18.25″ wide x 12.25″ high using Rembrandt pastels on Canson pastel paper because, again, I wanted to use the texture of the paper to break up the image, loosen up the edges to capture that feeling of constant movement on a breezy day in a marsh, the marsh grasses waving, the water lapping, the cranes splashing through the water. Though I wanted it loose it ended up being looser than I’d intended; I was still working in a fairly detailed style then and had pictured the birds with more detail, but I reached this point and stopped, then decided this was it.

This is an original pastel painting of two whooping cranes taking off in a marsh on a summer afternoon, 18.25″ wide x 12.25″ high using Rembrandt pastels on Canson pastel paper.

ORIGINAL PAINTING

The painting is 18.5″ wide x 13″ high, matted with a 4″ warm cream acid-free mat with 1/4″ burnished gold wood fillet edging and 1-1/4″ burnished gold frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass. You can find the original and prints made from it in my Etsy shop.

GICLEE PRINTS

The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.

I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.

I offer giclees of this painting in two different sizes: the full size of 18.25″ wide x 12.25″ and a roughly half-size of 8″ x 12″.

DIGITAL PRINTS

Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I, as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original. Digital prints are available up to full size of 18.25″ wide x 12.25″, which is printed on 13″ x 19″ paper and so has very little white border. Other sizes have at least a 1″ white border, 2″ if possible. All are countersigned by me.

CANVAS PRINTS

Because the standard size canvas prints are not proportional to the original painting, canvas prints of this painting will have a portion cropped off of each side.

I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered here because customers often want a custom size. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. While I usually I set up canvases so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or a color that coordinates with the painting, these canvases actually wrap around using the area of the painting outside of the trim size.

SHIPPING

Prints up to 16″ x 20″ are shipped flat in a rigid envelope.

. . . . . . .

Other Wildlife Art

You can find other wildlife artwork in my Etsy shop.


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 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

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“Are You Looking At Me?”, Original and Prints

portrait of black cat on floor

Are You Looking At Me? pastel, 17″ x 22″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

As a cat lover and animal lover I always say I care more for what’s under the fur than the fur itself and I’m sure most of us would say that. As an artist I also love all varieties and types of fur on all my animal subjects, and in the animals I live with I have always enjoyed a variety of color and pattern and solid.

But just a glance at The Creative Cat will tell you that we find black cats to be very special, especially since those of us here who are not black cats are greatly outnumbered! Here’s the portrait of the black cat who started it all for me, and it’s about time I featured him as a desktop calendar for all those who love black cats—in fact, I’ve had a few requests for it!

About the inspiration of black cats

Before I had a cat of my own, I loved black cats. Each summer when the neighbors’ cats had kittens, back in the days before regular spay and neuter, I loved the dark tabby swirls and stripes and the creamsicle orange and whites and the shimmering solid grays. But the fuzzy black kittens, the sleek black adults, appealed to a visual style that I still love today—the clear silhouette, the contrast of eyes, no matter the color, in dark fur, the play of light on physical structure, finding the graceful curves of cheekbone and hip as if their highlighted dark fur made them somehow transparent. I had no idea then what was developing in my young aesthetic sensibilities, but it is still with me today as I look at these five, still a surprise to see a highlight gracefully trace the spine to the tail, or see whiskers emerge from the darkness of a muzzle tucked in sleep. And all the colors that shine from black fur in different light…I could go on and on, but you see it nearly every day in my sketches and in the art I present.

portrait of black cat on floor detail

Detail of face and paws.

About Kublai

And long before Mimi and the Fantastic Four, before most of the cats who shared my life, in fact, was the first black cat, the first cat I adopted as an adult. He rescued me while I was in college and became my feline muse even then, before I was even working as an artist, and continued to guide and inspire me, to both art and to rescue—his rescue and the way I came to feel for him was the reason I began rescuing years ago.

And even as I began sketching, drawing, painting, and developed my techniques with animal portraiture, he remained an inspiration, but never a model. He died in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I finally painted his portrait. In part this was because I had so few photos of him, and not for the lack of a camera but because he was always on me somewhere, draped around my neck under my hair, hanging with his paws around my neck and nestled in my elbow, on my lap, on the back of my chair. Even with studying him all the years he was with me, I still needed reference photos to be certain I had the details right.

portrait of black cat on floor detail

Don’t you just want to dig your fingers in that fur?

About this portrait

But he was also a very complex cat, we had been through quite a lot, and for years I simply could not decide what pose would be best to capture him, I could visualize him in so many ways and while I considered the idea of painting a series of portraits of him, I knew I just needed to wait, and it would come to me.

And it did one morning when I turned around and saw the winter sun shining brilliantly on the bare wooden floor of the landing and I remembered watching him rolling around there in the way he did, acting silly, often in apology for something he’d done that I didn’t particularly care for like opening the refrigerator and pulling food out.

But I knew what I was remembering was a moment when he was acting as feline therapist, because I was having a bad day as I sometimes did and he knew it and was doing his best to get me past my dark mood, not just with being adorable and irresistible but also with letting the sun play across his fur, pulling all those wonderful mahogany and blue-purple shades from within it, his pale green eyes contrasting with the depth of his face, his velvety paws waving aimlessly. After years of living with cats and being aware of how they react to me as I go about my business and work on my art I’m absolutely certain they know what’s going on in my head, and that my whole being changes when I’m feeling the inspiration to something I find visually inspiring. That’s why so many of the photos of them I publish are in my studio because my cats have always loved to be with me when I’m in that “alpha state of mind”, and I’m convinced that my success of fostering has been in part because these new cats always spent their first weeks with me in my studio. I think animals know us best when we’re in this place beyond verbal communication, and I’m sure they could see the lovely images playing in my head and feel the peace that steals over me as I visualize.

So as I looked at the shadows falling crisp in the sun and soft in light reflected off the doors and walls, pulling the details from the old wood boards, each one different, I could see him there and knew that was the moment.

Then, his expression, direct, “Are you looking at me?” Not only for attention for himself, but for my own distraction. It worked every time.

All the lights came on for me and I saw this portrait in that moment. I found the few reference photos I had and began immediately. Dark mood? He could still dispel it nearly ten years later.

portrait of black cat on floor detail

Detail of “de tail” and wood floor.

I have the original, he’s watching over me in my kitchen, but I’m not quite ready to part with him just yet.

This painting was done in a variety of different brands of pastels and pastel pencils on Wallis sanded paper. I have this available in my Etsy shop and a variety of prints on paper and canvas, and I also offer it as a greeting card it is included in my “Feline Greetings Art Cards” collection.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.

 


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


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.


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME




“Borzois”, Original and Prints

pastel painting of two borzois

“Borzois”, pastel, 25″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Too many ideas leads to two portraits, one for me and one for the customer!

detail of portrait of borzois

Detail of faces.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of painting a portrait of two beautiful rescued Borzois, Traveller and Emma. Their person was also a friend of mine and lived in an enviable remodeled home on a few hilltop acres with wonderful light and horses romping in the pasture next door.

I’d visited before and when she mentioned she’d like a portrait I began envisioning the two dogs and the places in her home and even outdoors in a fenced area where they could play. I knew she had photos but especially with larger animals, and one of them being primarily black, I was glad to be able to meet them and take photos of my own so that I could collect details. Back in the days of film, I had two 36-exposure rolls with me and all my lenses for my trusty little Pentax K-1000. The house was full of windows so lighting likely wouldn’t be an issue.

We followed the dogs around the house, Traveller, the big creamy white dog obviously being the boss and the smaller black and tan Emma following orders and feeling safe near her big brother.

photos of borzoi dogs

The inspiration for the above portrait.

She told me each had come from two different rescues from indiscriminate breeders who were breeding these huge dogs in apartments and condos. Emma was noticeably smaller than usual because there were—talk about hoarding—over 70 Borzois inside one condo. Because of that overcrowding and the sheer number of dogs, she hadn’t been socialized well and was timid and skittish, but could simply be a happy dog and feel safe around her big brother.

Their favorite room was a spacious sunroom addition at the west end of the home which their person told me had been ambitiously begun by the home’s former owners. They had decided to complete the project and the two-story space would be a paradise for any animal or human. I was enchanted by Traveller, whose head was nearly at my shoulder, and smaller Emma racing gracefully among the plants and wicker furniture and collectibles without touching a thing. I took plenty of photos of them playing along with detail shots of their faces in that wonderfully-balanced light.

Arriving home with the photos I began to work on layouts for the portraits. She wanted a fairly large portrait and we had discussed just including their faces nearly life size, so I designed the layout with their faces above and below, befitting their relationship to each other. I could picture the colors I’d use in both creamy white and inky black fur and how I’d create the textures in each.

detail of the painting

Detail of the flowers

But I kept remembering their play in that sunny room and from one of the photos I’d taken. I designed another portrait with them standing together and a few plants around. This would not be a detailed and realistic portrait, more loose and impressionistic, capturing the light and color and motion I’d perceived. I knew my client would like that as well since I knew the work of other artists she’d purchased and commissioned as well as her other purchases of my art.

I proposed both ideas to her and showed her my layouts done in PhotoShop. She liked both as did I and we agreed I’d work up both of them and see what happened. She would choose one and I would get to keep the other, a great deal for me to have a live portrait on hand as an example.

In the end she chose the more realistic one of just the two faces because she wanted to remember the details of their expressions she’d loved so much (you can see that painting in “Two Portraits, Choose One” on The Creative Cat, though I could tell the choice was difficult knowing how she loved an impressionistic style of painting.

I would have been happy with either one, but in the years since, whenever I’ve shown this painting in exhibits or at my tent in a festival it has always attracted people to come and study it, not just dog lovers or animal lovers, but the colors and composition are eye-catching to most people.

Now that I have a good digital file of “Borzois”, I have the original for sale, framed, as you see above, and a variety of prints on paper and canvas.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.

 


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


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.


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME




Morning on the Creek

pastel of geese on creek

“Morning on the Creek”, pastel, 22″ x 29″, 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A placid morning canoe trip on Chartiers Creek as the sun spills over the top of the hill, and a goose and goslings head upstream. Of course, I couldn’t paint this while paddling, but I kept it in mind for later. I wear a small digital camera around my neck while canoeing and probably spend more time taking photos than paddling, and I’ve tipped the canoe more than once while swinging around trying to focus on a heron flying overhead. It’ s a good thing Chartiers Creek averages about 1o inches deep most of the year.

detail of landscape painting

Morning on the Creek, detail top left.

This scene is in June somewhere near Peters Township and Upper St. Clair where the creek’s channel is still winding in its traditional channel of oxbows and hairpin turns with high banks and deeper pools and rocky ledges in many places, alive with the calls and flight of herons, wood thrushes and kingfishers as well as the more common cardinals, jays and sparrows, and the occasional fish jumping out of the water. It’s difficult to believe you are paddling past back yards and the parking lots of industry, under the interstate and through a golf course.

detail of landscape painting

Morning on the Creek, detail top right

I did a small study of the top section of this image several years ago in preparation for this painting, which is sold but I have prints of this one as well. I have a series of photos from this canoe trip and many others, which are all worthy of artwork, but this spill of sunbeams broken by the tree trunks, touching the leaves with bright gold and shining a spotlight on the surface of the water is simply so descriptive of the summer creek, the one that I remember from my childhood when it was still fairly wild and overgrown all up and down its corridor, that I kept returning to it.

pastel painting of sunbeams through trees

“Sunbeams”, pastel, 6″ x 8″, 2002 © B.E. Kazmarski

I had originally intended to paint just the creek and its banks, but when I looked closer at my photos I found the little family of Canada geese floating along in the shadows. Even though Canada Geese are not native to the watershed, and are, in fact, invasive in some areas, they are such a common sight that I still welcome their entry on the scene.

goose and goslings

A goose and goslings.

This piece was the signature painting at my second annual poetry reading and fine art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, “Winter Twilight”; those long nights of midwinter can inspire some very deep thoughts. Even though this piece depicts summer, I painted it during a series of those longs nights, remembering the sweet and mild June morning, full of life and sound. Visit my website to see more artwork and read the poetry from that reading.

This painting is an original pastel on acid-free two-ply natural white drawing board to which I applied Art Spectrum Colourfix fine pastel ground tinted light green.

The image size 22″ x 29″, painted in 2008. I framed it in a custom plain matte black moulding with a 4″ acid-free white mat. Framed size is 30″ x 37″, and you can find it in my Etsy shop along with a variety of digital prints, giclee prints and canvas prints:

  • Original, framed or
  • Painting only
  • 11″ x 14″ Digital
  • 22″ x 29″ Giclee
  • 11″ x 14″ Giclee
  • 24 x 18 Canvas
  • 20 x 16 Canvas
  • 14 x 11 Canvas

For local friends, this painting is on display at Wesbanco in Carnegie, 100 Broadway Avenue, Carnegie 15106.

If you’d like to be informed about new artwork plus sales and specials before everyone else, please sign up for my Art & Merchandise e-newsletter. In September I’m planning an autumn-themed artwork sale as well as a review of an exhibit from 2008 entitled “My Home Town”, with a few originals as well as many prints still available, and a special set of notecards. “Art & Merchandise” is a separate list from my Creative Cat e-newsletter if you’re already signed up for that one.

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.


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