Tag Archives: cat photos

Two New Cards, for Emeraude

animal sympathy card with black cat

To Emeraude, from Emeraude, “I will never forget you.”

Of course, it’s our pledge to them as they leave us, that we will never forget them, but don’t we also hope it’s their pledge to us, that they’ll carry our memory with them wherever they go?

I’ve designed and dedicated a new animal sympathy card for Emeraude. The geriatric kitty who made her own happiness in a strange new world and turned to trust me deserves that, and more—a second card dedicated to the adoption of senior cats.

I take the use of an animal’s image seriously, especially with my sympathy cards, never presuming they want to represent what I have to say; for that reason I always feel most comfortable using the images of animals I know well, mostly those who’ve lived with me.

For about half the time she lived here, Emeraude was quiet and withdrawn, rarely made eye contact with me unless I laid on the floor to look at her, never interacted with Mimi and the kids and though I left the door open they never stepped in and tried to be friends. Until one day she actually looked up at me in trust, the same way Peaches did, and let me know I was her person. We were devoted after that, and the boys plotted to steal her food, we all felt free to join her in the bathroom where she had chosen to live. Emeraude had a forever home, even if forever was just a few months more.

This is my favorite photo of her, this photo of her looking up at me because I wanted to preserve that expression on her face, and I wanted to include her favorite colorful blanket. She loved her bed, and from the first time I added the pawprint blanket to her pile of soft things, and every time I turned it over or replaced it with the second identical blanket she would wait until I had it all just right, then with great ceremony step upon her bed, and turn around and purr, truly a princess. It suited her immediately, and until she began to feel very ill not one black cat ever even thought about stepping on Emeraude’s bed. It belonged to her and everyone respected that.

And I wanted that expression because it was a reminder each time that she had come to trust me, and because I worked very hard to get it, both her trust and the photo. I have at least two dozen photos from this day alone that are blurred, too dark, not looking up enough, looking away too fast, and dozens from other days that were about the same. I knew our time was finite—this photo was taken on December 13, a month after her diagnosis with lymphatic leukemia—and I wanted to be certain I captured it, her slightly bent up face, her one white whisker, her emerald eyes, and her happy bed.

sympathy card with black cat

To Emeraude, from Emeraude, “I will never forget you.”

My sympathy cards have a theme of happy memories, and in the end this is what I hope we all remember about our animal companions, the joy they brought to our lives, and the beautiful things we shared. Like Lakota, Emeraude spent just a short time as part of our feline family, but I will surely never forget her.

And I will never forget all the love sent to her from all of you, and I’m sure she will remember too.

I will add that I had to wait a week to post this image because every time I looked at it tears just splashed from my eyes. I was concerned it would only make others cry too. But I consulted with my friend Deb Chebatoris who meets with people grieving their pets every day and she convinced me that, for all the stories people tell and all the sentiments they share, this is the one thing that absolutely everyone says. So I guess it’s fitting.

Use THIS card to celebrate the adoption of senior cats

card for senior cats

“You’re never too old to fall in love!”

When I sat down to design the sympathy card, this idea kept coming back to me so I actually designed it first. Is this what Emeraude would say? I’m sure, and it’s likely what a lot of other senior kitties looking for a home would say as well. And it makes me smile. It’s a great sentiment to encourage the adoption of senior pets, and it might even come in handy for a few humans as well.

card with senior black cat

“You’re never too old to fall in love!”

I hope that both Lakota’s card and Emeraude’s card can be used to let others know you’ve made the commitment to adopt or foster a senior cat, or to encourage or congratulate someone who has done so, because you’re never too old to fall in love, and even though we may never feel it’s enough time, there is always time enough to love. You can find Emeraude’s sympathy card, Emeraude’s love card and Lakota’s card in my Etsy shop.

. . . . . . .

About my sympathy cards

animal sympathy cards

The set of sympathy cards.

As an artist I turn my emotions into creative output. Thus it is with the grief I’ve felt at the losses of my cats through the years. After receiving many sympathy cards I realized that not too many are focused on the loss of an animal companion, and I vowed to create a line of sympathy cards drawn on my own experiences that would feature photos and paintings of my cats and others’ animal companions as well as artwork and photos not focused on any species.

It wasn’t until after I’d lost Namir in July 2009 that I was suddenly moved to start designing, and when the task was done I had a dozen different sympathy cards. Each of the cats depicted was or is one of mine and the dog, Tika, I came to know through a friend and her animal memorial project.

Lakota’s card is the first new one since that year. I’ve also found that other cards outside this series are also used for sympathy cards, and as I mentioned above these sympathy cards are used for other greeting purposes. I’m so pleased to serve six veterinary hospitals around the country, four of them cat-specific, with wholesale orders of my sympathy cards. It also brings me joy to know the cats I loved are still out there doing their magic on others.

You can read more about my sympathy cards and see all the designs on my regular website, and you can also find the original set of a dozen sympathy cards in my Etsy shop. With the addition of Lakota’s card and Emeraude’s card I’m going to organize different sets and take the time to list them each individually.

black cat with green eyes

I carry her into the room, but Emeraude has grown to like it in there.

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.


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

Also browse Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.

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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.


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

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!



Wood Mounted Art and Photos

photo of art 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!

The blocks, originally intended for painting, are 1/8″ birch wood panels “cradled” with 1″ x 1″ wood added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging. 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 can’t wait to work 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. I’ll be taking better photos of each of these and posting them on Etsy, but I couldn’t wait to get them out there. 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 can’t wait to make more!

Forget-me-nots, and a Spring-themed Greeting Card

photo of cat behind lace curtain with forget-me-nots

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things

The forget-me-nots are beginning to bloom as they grow taller more quickly, an inch or two each day, in the pots in the windowbox under my dining room window. Each year when I transplant them from the yard and put the pots in place  I remember Sophie and this particular beautiful moment. I’ll always be happy I managed to catch it in a quick little snap on my first tiny digital camera as I left the house one evening in spring several years ago.

Sophie was in one of the windows when I left and when I returned in all seasons, and she always managed to use the curtains to dramatic advantage. This is one of my fondest memories of her, nestled in the creamy lace, and now that she is gone the forget-me-nots have a special meaning for me.

I knew I had to share this image and a greeting card was the most natural way, and also gives others a chance to use the many meanings in the image to send a message to others, of sympathy, friendship, special thoughts, a quick hello.

“Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” greeting cards are 5″ x 7″, printed on 12 pt. card stock and include an opaque natural white envelope, packaged in a half dozen or full dozen. I print them blank inside for you to add your own message.


While they are blank inside, you can customize the inside with your own message for an extra $2.50 per dozen; in fact, you can do this with any 5″ x 7″ card on my website. The customization can include a greeting, your name or your company logo. Minimum order for customization is four dozen.


I also offer these image as a framed print and a tote bag. You can find these in my shop on Etsy.

framed print of cat looking through lace curtain

Framed print, Sophie ...

cat behind curtan

"Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things"


A Custom Daily Feline Photo

matted and framed photo of four black cats eating

The Fantastic Four at Four, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

A friend enjoyed one of my daily photos so much he wanted a print for himself!

Of course, it’s less to do with me than it is with the “Fantastic Four at Four”, perfectly lined up and having their birthday breakfast on July 26, 2011, the day they turned four years old.

I actually included the photo (below) in the post about Mimi’s “birthday”, July 29,which is the day she arrived here with the “tiny four” and which has become her nominal birthday since I have no idea when it really is. And the Fantastic Four get enough attention, Mimi deserves her own day for lots of reasons.

four black cats eating

Fantastic Four eating breakfast on the big day: Jelly Bean, Giuseppe, Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette.

This was kind of staged—they don’t normally eat up there, and they don’t normally eat dry food, but just to get a shot of them all lined up I used bowls of their favorite grain-free dry that I know they all like and, heavens, forced them to eat it! Right. They were lined up as soon as the bowls came out, and if I could only have recorded the purring along with the image…

On seeing the post, a friend said he’d like a print of that photo, and I was thrilled he was interested and also had a few ideas. I play around with these photos and others myself all the time, adjusting colors, adding filters, matting and framing and even printing them on canvas and tote bags and tees and lots of other things as I plan new merchandise and experiment with products and techniques.

I’d also seen this person’s home and remembered a lovely retro scheme of 1950s bold pastels like pink and yellow and sky blue and mint green along with brushed and bright chrome (especially that totally cool chrome chandelier with the pastel ceramic cups and saucers as the light fixtures), and along with asking what size he’d like it I offered to mat and frame it. I was picturing the photo in black and white instead of color, a bright or brushed chrome frame in a particular retro style, and a white mat with a colored liner, mint green—for the Four and their favorite sink— or pink since the color was often used in the room.

So that was the plan. He gave me the size for the area it would go, I planned out the size of the frame and mat and print and put it together. The frame size of the finished piece is 11.5″ x 24.5″, the image is 6.5″ x 19.5″.

four black cats eating

The Fantastic Four, the final version of the photo.

When black and white photos are printed through a color printing machine, as most of us have our prints made now, you’ll see a slight color cast that varies for many reasons, from the content of your own file to the machine that prints them. It’s not always noticeable until you put it with another color, and in this case when I cut the mat and looked at the print next to the pink, it looked a less-than-attractive dull green. I filled the photo just 3% pink and readjusted the brightest highlights back to white and it worked perfectly with the mat.

I just love knowing that my cats are out there being enjoyed by other people. One of these days I hope to have an actual studio where shots like this will be even easier, especially if I use the right cat food, but for now the candid daily shots are also very much enjoyed.

And they serve their purpose for me as well as a daily creative exercise: take usable photos, choose only one, prepare it for view, give it a title and write something about it that others will enjoy—without taking all day! Much of what I do is commercial art, planned by myself and customers and I don’t get the chance to do much that’s extemporaneous, or find the need to come up with ideas, headlines text and images on the spot as I used to when working in advertising. It helps to keep my design senses sharp for everything I do during the day.

So if you see a daily photo—or sketch—that you particularly like, just ask and we’ll plan something special.


Read about more of the things I create that are inspired by my cats in the category “Marketplace” on The Creative Cat.

To see more daily photos and sketches go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or “Daily Sketches” or choose from the categories below that to see photos and sketches of black cats or tortie cats.

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.

Two Favorite Photos on Greeting Cards and More

photo of cat behind lace curtain with forget-me-nots

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things

It’s been hard to narrow this category down to a set of designs, but here are two that are constant favorites! These cards are 5″ x 7″, printed on 12 or 14 pt. card stock and include a matching envelope. Cards are blank inside but can be customized with your message.

Above, Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things for me. Sophie was always in one of the windows when I left and when I returned, and she always managed to use the curtains to dramatic advantage. This is one of my fondest memories of her, nestled in the creamy lace with the spring-blooming forget-me-nots in the windowbox.

black cat looking in mirror

God, I'm Cute

Jelly Bean is about as cute as cute can be and he knows how to use it. He loves the bathroom sink, and also spends time each day admiring himself. I honestly do carry a small digital, and sometimes the big one, around the house because I never know when a shot like this will come up. He still does this now and then, but catching the angle just right, with the light coming in the window—and not seeing me in the mirror—make it a rare opportunity.

You can purchase each of these cards individually or by the dozen in Notecards>Cats in my Portraits of Animals Online Marketplace. Cards are $1.50 each, or get a discount when you buy a dozen for $12.00. They also assort with other 5″ x 7″ cards to make up your dozen.


And don’t forget, while they are blank inside, you can customize the inside with your own message for an extra $2.50 per dozen; in fact, you can do this with any 5″ x 7″ card on my website. The customization can include a greeting, your name or your company logo. Minimum order for customization is four dozen.


I also offer these images as framed prints and printed on tote bags. You can find these in my shop on Etsy.

framed print of cat looking through lace curtain

Framed print, Sophie ...

framed print of black cat looking in mirror

Framed print of God, I'm Cute

cat behind curtan

"Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things"

black cat looking in mirror

"God, I'm Cute."

Everything here can also be found at my shop in Carnegie, in Carnegie Antiques at 423 West Main Street.

You can be sure I’ll be adding to this section regularly! In fact, you can help me decide which photos to use as cards by browsing my Photography Gallery under Animals>Cats, or browsing The Creative Cat for images and telling me which ones you would use as a greeting card. You’ll even find a gallery of “bathroom kitties” in my photo gallery, featuring those black cats and the wonderful mint green fixtures.


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