Feline-themed Holiday Cards

illustrated holiday card

Can We Get That Thing?

The feline silhouette once again! In addition to two new silhouette designs, I’ve also designed a few art cards and revived holiday cards from the past decade, including a couple of block prints. I’m featuring the feline-themed cards here, but I also have new nature-, winter- and back yard bird-themed designs using my photographs, illustrations and artwork; I’ll post a link to the articles when I post them on my Marketplace blog. This year, all my cards are 5″ x 7″ to save myself the trouble of running all over creation to find envelopes in eight different sizes.

cat looking at star

Star of Wonder

I’ve been planning illustrations with silhouettes such as these ever since I realized the Fantastic Four were meant to stay with me. If you’ve read other articles about their history with me, you may remember that I kept them for their first year, but being a family of black cats they were difficult to adopt out—shelters already had enough black cats! But I’d been watching them since they were tiny fuzzballs, and as I watched them grow into curious, lithe and active cats I also thoroughly enjoyed observing their changing silhouettes, taking many reference photos along the way.

I did decide they needed to stay with me for art reasons, and anyone who doesn’t believe me in that only needs to look at my designs such as these cards!

I had two ideas for this theme, the illustration at left being the first idea to come to mind. For “Star of Wonder” I used the photo of Mr. Sunshine I posted on Independence Day and more recently on “Look at That Menu!” I do like the look of smooth kitty silhouettes, but I also love their whiskers, and the texture of their fur, so I used all the details when I made the silhouette for this.

kittens at window

Three of the four at the window.

kittens at window

The other joins them.

For the illustration at the top, “Can We Get That Thing?” I used reference photos I’d taken of the Curious Quartet when they were still just kittens watching birds at the big window where they still watch birds. I took each figure independently to create the silhouette, then put them back together in the order I wanted.

I created the star motif years ago for another holiday design project for a customer, and I’m glad to use it for my designs this year.

These cards have a wordless message, nothing on the front or inside. Both are available on Etsy.

cookie holiday card

Cookie really is a cheerful little kitty!

Photo Cards

Cookie is a star. Despite her sour expression, she enjoyed this photo shoot—I certainly wasn’t holding her in place! It all began when a friend sent these very holiday toys to us and I set them out for the household to enjoy, and in fact, she sat there as I stacked things on and around her and took a series of photos to create my holiday card for 2006.

And she gave me permission to use her card again.

“You’ll Pay For This.”
Photo • 2006

“This is not how I want to be remembered.”
It all started when I set the silver sparkle ball on Cookie’s head, and she gave me the tortie look, but stayed put. Cookie isn’t really wild about modeling for her mom’s stupid pictures. But you don’t see her running away. Too bad for Cookie.

This card has a message inside: Wishing you bundles of holiday cheer!

This card is available singly and by the dozen on Etsy.

photo of cat with cut paper snowflakes on window

An Old Memory

This card, An Old Memory, was my holiday card two years ago, from a photo I took all the way back in 1983, before I was doing anything I’m doing now. I had a vague memory of it, but until I began looking through old photos for old artwork I had no idea where it was, and I was so happy to find it and reconnect with Kublai, my first black cat.

An Old Memory
Photo • 1983

Cut-paper snowflakes taped
to a wavy glass window reflecting
the big front porch from an apartment I lived in long ago,
and a cat I will always remember from when he and I were very young,
just beginning,
me just getting to know my camera, and my art;
how did I capture a perfectly blended image to reflect those times?

This card has a message inside: Wishing you wonderful memories this holiday season and new year.

You can find this card on Etsy as well.

Hand-drawn illustrations

illustration of cat looking at ornament

Sophie Gets a Look at Herself

Sophie was a little goofy, and did at one time look at herself in a glass ornament on the tree…for my holiday card in 1999 I decided to illustrate that memory in a quick little sketch. I’ve always offered this card, but the illustration is actually rather small and I drew it on white paper. I never really liked it on a white background, it just looked unfinished, so I fooled around with it until I came up with something I liked, the warm yellow textured drawing paper I often use in the background with the caption below.

Sophie Gets a Look at Herself
Pastel • 1999

Whether or not Sophie thinks she is all nose with tiny eyes and ears or that every ornament has her image on it, I don’t know, but she certainly looked a little disconcerted at encountering her reflection in this way. In any case, she provided the inspiration for a bright, cheerful piece of holiday artwork!

The message inside reads: “Hope your Christmas is full of wonderful surprises!”

cat and dog and peace on earth

A Cat Named Peace, a Dog Named Earth

I’m glad to have found this one again! I thought I’d lost the illustration but it was here on my computer all along.

Look a little closer at those markings on the cat and the dog…what do you see?

A Cat Named Peace, A Dog Named Earth
Pen and Ink Illustration • 1997

For my holiday card in 1997, I was puzzling out yet another way to say “Peace on Earth”. I saw an illustration that had each hemisphere of a globe on either side of a Christmas tree ornament, and thought the idea of using the globe was clever. Creating portraits of spotted dogs and spotted cats at the time, something in my brain put it all together for me. While I regularly create linoleum block prints, I decided to draw this one out instead of cutting it! Don’t know why…

This card is blank inside, but like all the others can be custom imprinted with your greeting or logo with the purchase of at least four dozen.

Linoleum block prints

meowy cats mess

Meowy Cats Mess

What array of my designs would be complete without a linoleum block print?

This card is a linoleum block print I designed for my holiday card in 1996. It’s printed in red ink on smooth cream-colored card stock.

meowy cats mess in green

Meowy Cats Mess in green.

I like to do something different for my holiday cards every year, and in 1996 I decided I’d do a linoleum block print. The design is derived from hand-lettering and playing around with fonts, plus tiny cat silhouettes I had designed for various projects; I added a border just to be decorative.

Where most of my other cards are printed commercially, each of these cards is hand-printed by me on my little Speedball printing press. I usually print a run of 48 cards at a time, so each set is in its own way a limited edition.

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.

Meowy Cats Mess” is printed in water-based ink on cream card stock, hand trimmed and folded and includes a matching envelope. Cards are blank inside and can also be framed.

kitty window block print

Window Kitty, Snowy Night

And from 2001, “Window Kitty, Snowy Night” recalls all those nights I came home from work to see one of my kitties, usually Sally, waiting for me in that big side window. It’s printed in cobalt blue ink on smooth yellow card stock, then overprinted with iridescent glitter in a clear base to simulate the sense of falling snow at night.

I like to do something different for my holiday cards every year, and in 2001 decided to take my block prints a step further by adding a glittery finish, but it didn’t work well until newer glitter-based finishes were available. I’m very please with how it turned out, but it doesn’t photograph or scan well!

Where most of my other cards are printed commercially, each of these cards is hand-printed by me on my little Speedball printing press. I usually print a run of 48 cards at a time, so each set is in its own way a limited edition.

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.

This 5″ x 7″ card is printed in water-based ink on cream card stock, iridescent glitter finish hand-rolled onto the paper, and hand trimmed and folded. It includes a matching envelope. Cards are blank inside and can also be framed.

And finally, Feline Gifts

painting of cat at window

Winter Window Christmas Card

You may recognize these from the art cards I’ve published in sets of 12 based on my paintings of my own cats and portraits of others’ cats. These four in particular, though, are designs I created in order to use for my holiday cards from what I’ve always called my “daily sketches”—where I see one of my cats at some activity, grab a sketchbook and something to draw with and get to work. Each of them depicts the winter light I love so well, and the warm feeling I get from seeing happy kitties.

Cards have a message inside: Wishing you and your fine felines a peaceful holiday and a happy new year

gray cat with pink sweater

A Rosy Glow

I’ve added some other elements to the design—a background pattern of snowflakes and pawprints in a rich green since green is a prevalent hue in all of my full-color animal artwork, plus an embossed border and a decorative bow for the holidays.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

Winter Window
Pastel • 2002
Kelly pauses in the stark pastel light of a winter afternoon through the big north ­window in my studio, absolutely still in contemplation as she watches birds flit about at the feeders or Buddy the squirrel making a fool of himself. Kelly is petite for an adult cat, making the window seem vast, and the light is so diffuse that nothing has a hard edge. It is a scene I remember even in the heat of summer.

A Rosy Glow
Pastel • 1997
She found a warm spot to sleep in the sun on that old pink sweater of mine, and the look of contentment on her face was my first inspiration, especially since Miss Moses (we all thought she was a boy) had been a feral kitten and all her life hesitated to walk across the center of any room, finding security in keeping close to the furniture. But there she is in the middle of the room looking rather smug—I can almost hear her purr.

cat with books

Warm Winter Sun

Warm Winter Sun (which you might recognize as the header image on this blog)
Oil Pastel • 2000
Nothing is so clarifying as brilliant early morning sun, and nothing chases away the chill of a winter morning. Here, Namir was lulled to sleep by the natural warmth and comfort. While the main body of this work is lit by direct sunlight at that beautiful, long angle, the rest of the work is lit by reflected light.

cat sleeping on bed

Afternoon Nap

Afternoon Nap
Pastel • 2002
An old cat, a gentleman,
he has found a quiet spot, upstairs in the afternoon,
and has so perfectly placed himself a little off-center
on the expanse of white bedspread,
illuminated by stark winter light
through the window.

(Stanley finds all the best places.)

You can find all these cards right now in my Etsy shop. I also soon be posting my designs with my photos and paintings of nature, snow and back yard birds. For now, please enjoy looking!

________________________

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.

See also:
Holiday Cards: Greetings From Our Backyard Birds
Holiday Cards: Nature’s Peaceful Beauty

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