Tag Archives: linoleum block prints

“The Sunny Upstairs Window”, a Favorite

framed pastel painting of two cats at window

“The Sunny Upstairs Window”, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

This little painting has always been one of my favorites, from the moment I finished it. Then I framed it with a molding and matboard I just happened to have on hand, and it was purr-fect. I’ve sold digital and gicleé prints of it, and carried the little framed original with me to just about every event I’ve been to for the past two years, but it always came back with me, and hung in a spot right next to that window in the sketch.

This special little piece finally sold at the FosterCat dinner weekend before last. Of course, anyone who comes to that event is going to love cats, and I’ve found many cat art lovers there as well. I am so happy the woman who chose to purchase it, purchased something smaller and then decided she had to have that too, told me a little about her lifetime of cats, how she loved cat art and only bought originals. It would hang in her kitchen where she could see it all the time, and it would match perfectly. As I always say, finding a loving home for one of my paintings is as important as finding a loving home for one of my foster cats. And the sale helped to support FosterCat as well!

Below is the full sketch and a little more about it, and below that is the framed version of the original. I’ll still be offering framed prints of this one, just like the original.

pastel sketch of two cats by window

“The Sunny Upstairs Window”, 6″ x 8″, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

If you’ve been following my sketches for any length of time, you’ve probably seen gradual changes that begin with a particular sketch—adding new media, using a new color palette, finding a new style, even using a new and different paper. In my everyday life as an artist I took the time to experiment far lest often, in part because I did less art, and because my visualization and aesthetic senses moved more slowly. With this daily practice everything happens faster, and with more daring I’ll add.

Up to this point I’d done most of my sketches away from my studio, with my toy bag full of older, lower-quality and well-used pencils, pastels, charcoal, pens and even sketch pads. The sketches were just for practice after all, and I didn’t want to use “good” materials on what was basically a quick and temporary item.

But leading up to this with oil pastels and ink and watercolor, this particular morning I picked up my imported pastel paper and my really good pastels and quickly came up with this sketch, and it was truly inspired and enhanced by using the better materials. The two girls have such dimension and interest all over their tiny figures, the light streams in and changes tone and color just as natural light tends to do, and even the shadows have dimension. Let that be a lesson to me.

Mimi and Mewsette enjoy the morning sunshine in front of the sunniest window in the house.

Friday morning was the first of several completely sunny mornings after a row of somewhat dark and rainy ones. All the cats were gravitating to the back of the house, facing east, as the sun streamed in the back door into the kitchen, and in the windows at the top of the stairs and in the bathroom.

I also recently took all the geraniums outside, so this top level of the wardrobe is now accessible, and a perfect spot to enjoy a sunny morning.

In my studio for part of the morning, I used the very Italianate Fabriano Tiziano Pastello drawing paper and a small set of my Sennelier pastels. Typically, what I have easily available downstairs in my toybox of art materials is not this quality of stuff, but in my studio I can play around with other things.

. . . . . . .

framed pastel painting of two cats at window

“The Sunny Upstairs Window”, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Purchase a framed or unframed print

Digital, gicleé and canvas prints of this sketch, framed and unframed, is available for sale in my Etsy shop along with a variety of digital, giclee and canvas prints.

I found a solid wood frame with a soft blue finish that pulls exactly from one of the shades of blue in the sketch, and used my favorite shade of purple mat board as an accent. These two soft, dark colors frame the tiny sketch and let it glow from the frame.

I may have to frame up a print of it for myself.

Ordering prints and custom art, and buying originals

First, check my Etsy shop in the category “Cat Art and Prints” to see if one you like is already available. If it’s not there:

  1. Find the print by searching daily sketches.
  2. Go to the post where it appears and leave a comment letting me know you are interested and I will respond privately, or
  3. You can email me the link to the post, or
  4. You can send me an email, just remember the name of the artwork and even the date because titles, styles and media can be similar and we can be discussing two entirely different prints and not know it.

Sending a link to the sketch is best in an email.

I can also offer sketches on custom products or in custom sizes such as a set of note cards or, within reason, a print that is a different size from the original. You can also order just about any other artwork you see here including prints of my portraits and other paintings, and also any of my photographs. Visit “Ordering Custom Artwork’ for details of products and prices and how to order.

And don’t forget, your custom order helps me choose what’s popular and what I can offer in any of my selling profiles from here on The Creative Cat and my Etsy shop. Despite all the complications of having prints made it’s worth it for the outcome, and just as when I’m a vendor in a show or festival I enjoy being able to talk to my customers.


black cat with artwork

Mr. Sunshine appraises my painting.

Marketplace

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.

 Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

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

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.


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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The Goddess, and Friends

"The Goddess," hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Goddess,” hand-tinted linoleum block print.

Above is a hand-printed linoleum block print tinted in tortie colors featuring my Cookie, who was indeed “The Goddess”. From the very first time I showed the design to someone, and each time I set up a display where the prints are included someone, or several, stops by to tell me about a cat they have “who looks just like that”, and tell me stories and share a laugh. People often tell me stories when they purchase prints as well. The number of them who were rescued always warms my heart.

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess” last week. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw :) . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat

Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

. . . . . . .

About my Tortie Girls linoleum block prints

"The Goddess," hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Goddess,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

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.

More often than anything else in my collection of feline art, these two prints have been purchased in memory of a special tortie. I’ve even customized prints in memory of other torties by hand-tinting them using photos, and dedicated them to the memory of other kitties by lettering their name in underneath; read this post for more on those stories.

Three years ago a customer in Canada purchased a print of “The Goddess” in memory of her tortie Clio, ill and malnourished and rescued from a pet store, which led to a friendship—and a very famous affaire between her ladycat Mademoiselle Daisy Emerald and my opera star Giuseppe Basil Verdi. Today, May 15, we remember Clio especially as her mama said goodbye to Clio 13 years ago on this day, and because she was so bereft at the loss, she found herself a month later at the Toronto Humane Society where she met and adopted the elegant Mademoiselle.

How the designs came to be

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 something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, 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 of ink and types of paper, and 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, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back

Reference photo for “The Goddess”

Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block

Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor

Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.

Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat

Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

You can read more about “The Roundest Eyes” and see more detailed images in “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

A little bit 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.

Despite the fact I’ve been trying to video a little block print demonstration, all I have are a few photos taken as I was printing the “Tabbies” cards for Valentine’s Day last year. Click here to see a brief slideshow (it won’t play on this blog).

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 nearly always add color to The Tortie Girls with watercolor or dyes since that was part of the original design, and I’ll often add color to other designs to give them extra interest.

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.

The Tortie Girls Set

 

matted framed block prints.

The Tortie Girls set.

Each image is 9″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions are 16″ x 20″, and I also offer the tortie girls designs on many other things.

“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”.

From the time I first described it to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

“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.

Where to find the prints and more

You can read more about my girls printed on everything from tees to garden flags  this post, and visit my Etsy shop and search “tortie”.

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


Click here to find out how you can help homeless cats and get a gift certificate!

Treats For Homeless Cats And Caretakers


 

Find out about events and festivals  where you can find me and my work.

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and at assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, each week on The Creative Cat I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Visit The Creative Cat and choose the category for featured artwork.

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


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

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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.


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

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Featured Artwork: Pawse

pencil sketch of sleeping cat

“Pawse”, pencil, 10″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Moses sleeps happily on the bed. This quick pencil sketch is actually an early “daily sketch” from a decade ago when I first practiced my daily sketches.

I called Moses my “velveteen kitty”, her plushy gray fur thick and lustrous with that sparkling sheen known well to those who live with gray cats, and I knew no hard lines could describe her. I used the side of my pencil to capture that softness with just enough definition to show a few stripes and the familiar outlines tabby cats have around eyes, nose, ears and toes. Around her is just a sketchy suggestion of a pillow, and then I stopped.

Moses was a former feral cat, and was hobbled by hind legs that never fully developed.  Getting up on the bed was a big deal for her, both in difficulty and habit. But the comfort of the bed was worth all the risks and difficulty to her. I loved to find her there, and would tiptoe in to look at her, sometimes photograph her, and a few times sketch her, as in “Sunday Morning”. As I always say about my sketches, they are a more immediate and even tactile memory for how deeply I study the details of my subject. Though it was more than ten years ago I still have a memory of holding my pencil on its side and sketching the soft shadows of her face and those soft paws, and the tangle of paws along with the pun on the word was what gave this sketch its name.

Where to find this artwork

I framed this original and donated it to a shelter art auction, but I also had it printed as a notecard, notepaper and memo pad in the “Feline Sketches” set. “Pawse” is a favorite as both a general purpose note card and as a sympathy card as some people have chosen this card to use for an animal sympathy card.

My ever-inspiring family of felines causes me to carry both my camera and a sketch pad around the house. Quick, simple pencil sketches catch them hanging around the house and are my favorite warm-up to creating larger pieces of artwork. While I could live three lifetimes and never be finished with the images I can create from my group, friends also give me photos that are too good to pass up. Pencil can be challenging to reproduce, and I’m happy to introduce a new series in addition to my pen and ink and my full-color fine art note cards series. You can find them in Portraits of Animals Marketplace.

. . . . . . .

My daily sketches from this era were less “daily” than now, but were still quite frequent. I carried a sketchbook with me outdoors and kept a sketchbook and pencil at the desk, and it is this second sketchbook that became my series, “From the Lost Sketchbook” , where I’d found a sketchbook that I’d kept at my desk beginning in 2002 and used periodically until about 2005. This was a general purpose sketchbook and I used it for many things in addition to extemporaneous sketches such as illustrations and ideas, and it included sketches of my cats and a few other subjects. I was so happy to see it again when I found it in 2010 that I scanned all the sketches that were pertinent to The Creative Cat and posted them.

See more articles and images of Moses.


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.


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.


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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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


Purchasing Prints of Daily Sketches

Collage of recent prints from requests and sales of originals.

Collage of recent prints from requests and sales of originals.

While I have prints of most of my portraits and other artwork I’ve done through the years, I have so many daily sketches that it’s unwieldy to offer prints of each of them and I need to choose which ones to take through the process and offer here and in my Etsy shop. I also know that many people don’t purchase prints for framing, instead preferring different presentations of the art such as keepsake boxes, wall plaques and placemats, useful things. Luckily I have you, my readers and customers, to help me choose which sketches to print. It’s a great joy when you tell me that one of my sketches is just like one of your cats because, even though I see my cats in them, my goal is to find what is universal about cats and represent all cats in this series of sketches.

I don’t make my own prints, but instead work with a few different printers depending on the type of print and the size as I mentioned in my new year article thanking these very printers for keeping me in business. At one time I had a high quality 12″ x 18″ printer here that I used to make prints and even print limited editions of greeting cards and note cards before I started offering so many. Its feeding and care, or the size of the thing and its need for multiple, expensive toner cartridges plus the time and effort it took to get a quality print would have been fine if I had been making a volume of prints on a regular basis, but then, and now, selling prints wasn’t a big part of what I offer and it took more effort and money than it returned.

oil pastel sketch of two cats

Two Cats After van Gogh, oil pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

How to choose?

I do sometimes choose a piece of artwork that I personally like to have a print made of it, but I also let the marketplace choose the prints I offer. When I have a big response to an image as I did with “Mewsette on the Afghan“, or when one gets a few thousand views on a social network like “Magic Carpet” currently being passed around StumbleUpon, I decide I should get a few prints of the sketch and I am currently working on prints of these two sketches.

Likewise, when someone asks if prints of a certain sketch are available such as “Inscrutable” I’ll decide to offer that sketch as a print. And finally, when a sketch is purchased I’ll often have a print made to make sure I have the image accurately recorded and then I’ll have prints made and offer those as well as I did with “Two Cats After van Gogh“, “A Dozen Shades of Gray” and “World Cat“.

Having prints made

Artwork has a different nature from a photograph, especially a digital photograph, and having prints made is a little more complicated than uploading to a print site. Because I use a variety of media and papers each image and scan the image for greatest detail and clarity they are handled differently when they go through scanning and presentation as well as printing.

inkand watercolor sketch of two cats

“Magic Carpet”, ink and watercolor, 6″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I scan each sketch in order to post it on The Creative Cat because the art is pressed right up against the glass of the scanner which naturally catches more detail at that distance, and even texture with textured papers and oil pastels. At that point I make sure it’s adequately represented on my computer screens and other devices, and sometimes that takes a little bit of work as I’d discussed with “Magic Carpet” when I posted it.

But that’s not necessarily how it works for printing because the devices used are more sensitive and read the image differently from the way it’s presented on a computer screen, sending information to the ink jets when printing. When I decide to make a print I need to change my files from RGB to CMYK and adjust the colors to the same hue and brightness, and print a couple of test prints for myself to see how it’s working, then send it off for a test print.

All colors will slip around from the original because the scanner and Photoshop are assigning values to colors in a work relative to the colors in that work, not necessarily what’s actually in the sketch. Yes, that’s probably confusing, but it means that it may represent a shade of red in a hue anywhere on a range from red-orange to red-violet depending on what’s around it in the sketch, so I often need to tweak each color individually to be accurate in prints.

watercolor of three cats

“Lazy Saturday Afternoon”, watercolor, 9″ x 12″ © BernadetteE. Kazmarski

And then there’s the way each different medium is perceived by both the scanner and Photoshop. Watercolors are opaque and sometimes the color doesn’t even show up on a scan because the scanner light shines right through it. Markers, colored pencils, soft and oil pastels, even oil and acrylic paints when used in certain ways aren’t necessarily opaque which can also influence the way the colors are registered in the scan and as I make adjustments. Pastels have a soft matte finish and though there are rich and deep shades they can scan as being a little too brilliant and I have to desaturate them a bit to represent the original. There have been times when I have scanned an image multiple times or scanned just sections of it, and also photographed it, and pieced it all together to get the colors to be accurately represented.Yesterday’s sketch reprise, “Art Cat”, was one such sketch that was all pieced together from the first time I presented it, and then when it sold I made a print just to make sure it matched the sketch.

Sometimes it takes several tries to make an accurate print with adjustments on my end and on the printer’s end in between. And sometimes I change the file format completely when it works better in RGB than CMYK as I do with “Lazy Saturday Afternoon”, or if I make a PDF instead of sending the original art as a TIF, or if the printer makes the print first thing in the day when the machine has just been turned on, or when we have a blue moon. Some prints are never quite right, and I just come as close as possible.

Then I have a set of ten prints made and post them in my Etsy shop!

watercolor of sleeping curled cat

World Cat, ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″ © B.E. Kazmarski

The result

So after all that both you and I can be fairly certain your print represents the original. All prints are made with archival inks which will stand up to most interior light for years, though sunlight will cause them to fade.

In most cases I leave them the size of the original. Most of my daily sketches are smaller than 8″ x 10″, so I have them printed centered on 8.5″ x 11″ 100# acid-free matte-finish cover, though some older prints were made on 80# cover. Color prints are $15.00 each and prints that are black only are $10.00.

Occasionally I use larger paper for a sketch which is printed on 11″ x 14″ (so it fits in a Priority Mail envelope with adequate packing) and the cost of this print is $20.00, or up to 12″ x 18″ (which I ship in a tube or triangle), and this size is $25.00; black and white prints only do not cost less because the larger cost is the size of the paper.

Shipping is extra on all prints, usually $7.50 to cover any of the package sizes including the Priority Mail cardboard mailing triangle.

And you can also use these prints to integrate into your own creative projects.

Ordering prints and custom art
oil pastel sketch of cat looking out window

“Cat With Fruit”, oil pastel, 7″ x 5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

First, check my Etsy shop in the category “Cat Art and Prints” to see if one you like is already available—I am still working on “Magic Carpet” but all the other images in this article are currently in my Esty shop. If there’s a print you’d like, just comment on the post where it appears, or send me an email—just remember the name of the artwork and even the date because titles, styles and media can be similar and we can be discussing two entirely different prints and not know it. Sending a link to the sketch is best in an email.

I can also offer sketches on custom products or in custom sizes such as a set of note cards or, within reason, a print that is a different size from the original. You can also order just about any other artwork you see here including prints of my portraits and other paintings, and also any of my photographs. Visit “Ordering Custom Artwork’ for details of products and prices and how to order.

And don’t forget, your custom order helps me choose what’s popular and what I can offer in any of my selling profiles from here on The Creative Cat to my Etsy shop and at my Fine Art America profile. I had a profile on CafePress from the time it was founded and this was where I originally had my custom prints and greeting cards made, and also had a Zazzle profile and even a few others as they opened up for artists, but quality wasn’t consistent and at one point I just had too many profiles and eliminated the ones with fewest sales. Despite all the complications of having prints made it’s worth it for the outcome, and just as when I’m a vendor in a show or festival I enjoy being able to talk to my customers.


black cat with artwork

Mr. Sunshine appraises my painting.

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.

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© 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!

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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.


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.


Tortie Girls Trays Are Here!

wooden trays with tortoiseshell cats
Tortie Girls wooden trays!

I’ve found another place to show off my tortie girls! As another selection of designs in the keepsake items I’m creating with my artwork, I found wooden trays that fit these prints perfectly.

I can only work on so many items at a time in my studio, so I decided to create all the smaller keepsakes first, then laid out all my materials for these trays. I prefer to photograph outdoors and waited for the time on a sunny day to photograph them in natural lighting to capture the vibrance of the orange and yellow, and enough direct and reflected light to show the details in the black areas.

Today when I stepped out to feed the birds it reminded me so much of the mornings I had spent out there with Cookie and even this year with Kelly, and I knew this was the time and place. I held off feeding the birds, got my stuff before the sun moved any higher, and was especially gratified when, in photographing the trays together, a little chickadee joined us, perching on the deck railing to be a part of the photo.

And what a way to honor the memory of my two senior girls during Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

About the trays

These 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.

two black cats with painting
Hand-coloring prints with lots of feline supervision.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors so I have them on hand. Of course, I am carefully observed in this operation by my feline studio supervisors. I sign each print when the embellishment is complete and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them.

pawprints, white paint and white painted item
Pawprints, paint and white object.

Then I give each tray a light sanding and paint each tray with acrylic paint. Sometimes kitties add their marks to this process, as you see at left.

I trimmed down the finished, colored print to fit inside the tray and decoupage it into the bottom of the tray and let it dry, then put two coats of finish on the entire tray, inside and out.

The trays are good for decoration on a tabletop or wall, or to use to actually carry lightweight items but are not suitable as a hotpad or to carry heavy dishes or other items (though I am searching for an available and affordable wooden tray among woodworking friends and otherwise). If kept in direct sunlight the watercolors will fade in time but the inks and paints will not. They can be easily cleaned with mild detergent or diluted all-surface cleaner but not immersed in water, even though all surfaces are covered with finish.

The trays are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections.


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”.

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos. I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-painted in watercolor.

hand-painted and printed wooden tray the goddess
The Goddess tray on my table on the deck.

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.

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

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.

hand-painted and printed wooden tray "The Roundest Eyes"
“The Roundest Eyes” trays on my table on the deck.

You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints in the trays; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

“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.

Where to find these trays available on Portraits of Animals on Etsy:

Set of two trays

“The Goddess” tray

“The Roundest” Eyes tray


Pair them up with 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


And here’s the whole line of keepsakes and more

photo of keepsake boxes and coasters and trays
Keepsake boxes, coasters and trays.

I’ve long pictured my artwork and sketches on items I see in gift shops. I pursued ceramic coasters earlier this year to no avail for smaller quantities, but also began working out the details of creating keepsake boxes and other similar items. In the process I found wooden plaques, wooden trays, picture frames and more and got to work on the details.

Here is the whole line of things, each one-of-a-kind, though I can always create more than one item or more than one set for items that are popular, and I can also create custom items featuring other images of mine or even images of your own fine felines, other pets or loved ones.


And Now For Your Discount

For your patronage and support of my business and my art, I’m offering a 10% discount on anything you order from me during the month of November. During the month of November 2012, take 10% off any item in the two shops listed above. In Etsy, use the coupon code FRIEND10 to automatically deduct 10% from your order before shipping. Click the coupon at left to download a PDF which you can print out or e-mail to bernadette@bernadette-k.com and I’ll send you a customized invoice for your payment or refund 10% after your purchase using PayPal.

If you order a custom product I will create your invoice to reflect that discount, and if you order directly from me in person I will discount at purchase.

I only have PayPal to use for credit card acceptance (you can use PayPal without having a PayPal account), and I also accept personal checks and cash. Also, local friends can let me know I don’t need to ship their order. I will deduct the shipping cost from their order and we’ll make arrangements for pick up or delivery. Feel free to contact me if you have any problems or questions.


This month’s desktop calendar

ink watercolor sketch of tortoiseshell cat download wallpaper calendar
“Kelly With Grapes and Apple” November 2012 downloadable wallpaper calendar.

I’ve been waiting for this one to come around—when I sketched this back in MayI thought it would make a nice piece of artwork for autumn. It started with the warm golds and oranges and creams in Kelly’s fur, and her contentment in one of her happy spots.

Click here or on the image to go to the link on The Creative Cat where you can download calendars for many different computer monitors and mobile devices.


black cat looking at dispaly of stuff
Mimi checks my arrangement and lighting.

Thank you

Mimi wants you to know that she has properly supervised all the activities in this creative process. She was with me every step of the way, all day and sometimes all night. I could not have done it without her.

And don’t forget that each purchase supports rescuing cats through my own personal efforts, through helping others and also my donations of goods to shelters and rescues for their benefit.

And this holiday season, consider at least one handmade gift or piece of original artwork from one of the thousands of artisans who stay up all night dreaming up and making by hand totally unique stuff. We can’t compete with the department stores, but they don’t do a happy dance when something sells. You’re also supporting a small business, and that’s important to all of us.

Back to work!


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 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.


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.


“Reorganizing Sale” February 18 at Portraits of Animals Shop in Carnegie Antiques

panoramic image of shop

About one-third of the shop!

In the next few weeks I’ll be completely reorganizing my shop in Carnegie Antiques, taking home things that haven’t shown any interest and heaping up things that have, moving furniture in and out and restocking with new framed art and packaged sets of cards.

The sale will be this Saturday, February 18, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

I’ve moved my greeting card printing to a new printer who uses new paper stock which doesn’t match the older stock. Select individual greeting cards will be $1.00 each, reduced from $2.50.

All matted photos are $2.50, reduced from $5.00.

Everything else is 10% off the price that is marked including other individual greeting cards and sets, crocheted pawprints and flowers, tote bags, framed and unframed wildlife, nature and flowers prints and anything else you can find there.

Carnegie Antiques and Portraits of Animals are located at 423 West Main Street in Carnegie, PA 15106.


Tortie Girls Block Print Tee Shirts

The Goddess block-printed t-shirtCookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski
detail of "the goddess" face

Detail of "The Goddess"

I’ve had several requests about my tortie girls t-shirts lately, so I thought I’d add the ones I have back to my Etsy site. While I am low on sizes I had put them all aside until I could print more and have all sizes available. But considering I print these in oil-based ink and clean up with turpentine I usually wait until I can have the windows open or I can print outdoors, which is March at the earliest. So for now, they are either very large or very small.

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 something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

How the designs came to be

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway. I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block. Below, compare the reference photo and the print.

tortie cat on back

Reference photo for "The Goddess"

Cookie, "The Goddess" block print © B.E. Kazmarski

“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”.

From the time I first described it to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

block print of tortoiseshell cat

The Roundest Eyes, linoleum block print © B.E. Kazmarski

“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.

detail of the roundest eyes block print

Detail of "The Roundest Eyes"

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just don’t let Cookie know that.

Where to find the tees

I have all the tees available in my Etsy shop under T-shirts and Apparel.

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 nearly always add color to The Tortie Girls with watercolor or dyes since that was part of the original design, and I’ll often add color to other designs to give them extra interest. I do like the look of The Tortie Girls just in black on white paper, though, and I’ll be printing up a few of those soon. 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.

The designs without color

See what you think about what these designs look like without the color added. I love the simplicity of black on white, it’s what I love about a block print. I have a few shirts without the color as well, and they look really sharp matted and framed with a rich red mat (sorry for the wrinkles in the wrap, below) and a black frame.

block print of cat

The Goddess, linoleum block print © B.E. Kazmarski

matted block print of cat

The Roundest Eyes, linoleum block print without color © B.E. Kazmarski

Matted and framed

framed block print of tortoiseshell cat

The Goddess

framed block print of tortoiseshell cat

The Roundest Eyes

Each image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 14″ x 18″, horizontal or vertical as shown in the photo.

They are double matted with a warm cream on top and 1/4″ pumpkin orange as a liner.

The frame is 1″ wide, solid matte black; these vary as the moulding is available, but it is always wood and always has a matte black finish.

Find the girls in my Etsy shop under “Prints”.


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