- “Stanley With Geraniums”, ink and watercolor, 9″ x 12″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
This painting is one I’ve wanted to do for years—since the very moment it depicts, in fact, on July 30, 2006, in fact, when Stanley and I enjoyed a Sunday morning on the deck.
As I’ve been digging through old photos while I’ve been moving them to my studio and organizing, both prints and digitals, I’m finding special moments I’d forgotten, moments of inspiration, beauty and especially a growing closeness with my older generation of cats even as they stepped ever closer to their last days with us. While it seemed like any other morning, looking at the rest of the photos from this day, I can see this was a quietly memorable morning. This was Stanley’s last summer with us, he’d been with me for 21 years and at my best guess was 25 years old, and he and I spent every possible moment together, especially out on the deck. While he slept most of the time and was fragile and often confused, each time our eyes met we built a deepening bond I’ll always carry with me; we had lost Moses and Cream in the spring, Lucy had just joined us in June, and though there were seven (or more) other cats in the house, Stanley and I carved out time for just the two of us nearly every day.
- Detail of “Stanley With Geraniums”.
And on this morning when I looked at Stanley sleeping on the table I knew I’d want to remember this moment and to paint it, and visualized the painting in this style. But believe it or not, for as often as you see this particular style of ink sketch with watercolor washes, I was not at all skilled with it at that time and had only tentatively experimented in a few sketches. The desire to see this painting on paper was one of the driving forces for me to work this out, find the right drawing pen with the right ink, the right brushes and set of watercolors. And finally, seven years later, here it is.
The details are comforting to look at: the round picnic table where I’ve spent so much time with and without cats; the faded linen dishtowel calendar with the cardinals, one of many with birds, all of which are beyond threadbare and completely faded now; the mug I loved for my Sunday morning coffee; the binoculars my mother had used to watch birds and I “inherited” for birdwatching, given to her by someone who’d served in Viet Nam; the geraniums, collected over years from friends and family, overwintered and renewed each year—they are ancestors of the ones you see in my photos today.
Here is the reference photo, and as I remember Stanley this month—we had a little escape in July that year which I’ll be writing about—I’ll be sharing other photos as well.
- Reference photo for “Stanley With Geraniums”
You can see I took a number of liberties with lightening the entire scene and reorganizing some of the flowers, but this particular digital camera was not terribly accurate for color or lighting, and being able to change some of the details is part of the fun and challenge of creating an original piece of artwork. I actually liked the flag in this photo and had originally intended to include it because I’d brought it home from the Carnegie Memorial Day parade I’d taken my mother to in May and that was a memory too, but I didn’t want to “date” this painting for a holiday or event, or set it for a country since many of my readers and collectors are from other countries. That detail was not so important to me as the others I included.
And in designing this month’s desktop calendar I am pulling from another idea and design style I have long enjoyed. As a long-time gardener I’ve saved lots of empty seed packets, even bought seeds I didn’t need, just because I like the style. While this design isn’t as detailed as one of those seed packets or the derivative signage or decorative items patterned on them, but perhaps at a later date I can work on that style beginning with this painting.
On a side note, I hand-lettered “July 2013”, and had intended to hand-letter the rest of the text as well, but when I design these calendars I need to be able to be flexible with the text and didn’t want to have to re-letter then entire calendar several times. I also enjoy hand-lettering in my designs and I’ll be integrating that into other designs as well.
This month’s desktop calendar
I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month. Reading statistics and knowing that more than half of my readers view use a mobile device, I also offer the dimensions for desktop images for mobile devices from iPads to Smartphones. Click here to visit The Creative Cat to find your electronic device and download the right format and size.
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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.