Daily Sketch: A Vigilant Nap

charcoal sketch of cat sleeping

“A Vigilant Nap”, black and white charcoal pencils on gray toned paper, 4.5″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This has become one of my most popular daily sketches, and it’s the one where I really feel I hit my stride with sketching in charcoal on the toned paper. Hard to believe it was only a year ago…

Yes, Giuseppe is napping, but it’s not a serious nap, it’s a vigilant nap. He’s on my worktable under the lights while I am at my drafting table and computer in my studio, and apparently he’s been assigned to keep an eye on me. They take turns at this, and it’s clearly a different nap from a curled-in-a-ball, or a cuddle with siblings because the attention must be on what is happening, and one must be able to awaken immediately. He lifts his head at every noise, or sometimes only opens to big golden eyes, assesses what, if anything, needs to be done, then puts his head back down on his paws. I see his ears swivel constantly, and when he open his eyes, even though he is facing away from me, I can see his whiskers shift upward and the shape of his forehead changes. I am so accustomed to this position of his—see also “Tonal Nap”, where he is just outside the door of the studio—that I sometimes look past him, but I also spend time studying him.

I just finished this sketch at 10:00 at night, which is not typical. I usually do my sketches late morning or mid-day when the household is more active and the light is good wherever I go, also when my physical tools, eyes and hands and even arms and back, are not so tired by the day and I am more mentally alert. I am also more likely to experiment and feel more confident than later in the day, and I work more quickly, unlike now when I am best at detail work.

However, I began a sketch of Mimi earlier today as she sat on the floor next to my tall work chair up here. I visualized and visualized, then suddenly realized I should be sketching, got this gray toned sketchpad and just one charcoal pencil to start with and began an outline, intending to do as much as I could in a minute or two then work the rest of the details later in the day. Mimi waited until she knew I was engaged with the sketch, then got up and left, and avoided any position that was in any way similar to the one I’d begun in the sketch. But that’s okay. I’ll get her again some day. She’s a little peeved at me because we are not going out to the yard until I find a harness instead of a collar, and a leash because she decided to go off exploring earlier this week. This is my punishment for keeping her inside. I can live with a little feline scorn.

And now Mimi is contentedly purring on my lap and Giuseppe is wrestling with Mr. Sunshine out in the hall. Apparently there’s been a change of shift and it’s now Mimi’s turn to keep an eye on me.

Hmmm, Giuseppe is the subject of today’s sketch, yesterday’s sketch, and last year’s sketch on this date, and in each one he’s napping. I may need to see if someone is represented more frequently than some others.

And I still need to consider a new scanner. Most of the bad areas are gone, but if you look about 1/3 up from the bottom you’ll see a few faint pinkish stripes—this is where the scanner bulb is misbehaving, either because it’s just tired or because a bit of my glass cleaner dripped in under the platen. It’s “okay” on my daily sketches, but not on finished work.

Still considering a new scanner…repaired the issue with the current one, but now the scanner bulb is actually wearing out. Darn!

. . . . . . .

framed sketch of cat

“Vigilant Nap”, charcoal.

Purchase this original or a print

I’ve sold the original of this sketch, matted and framed, but can frame a print just like it.

And of course prints are also available for sale in my Etsy shop.

“Vigilant Nap” is also the featured art for November in my 12 Sketches of Cats Calendar.

12 Sketches of Cats Calendar

"12 Sketches of Cats Calendar"

“12 Sketches of Cats 2014 Calendar”

I’ve always admired oversized “art calendars”, the ones where the art is foremost and the calendar just an incidental means of presenting it. Calendars are printed on quality text or cover stock and are only printed on one side of the page with plenty of clear space around the artwork because the image is intended to be framable with nothing printed on the back.

And so 12 Sketches of Cats is digitally printed in the same archival inks and acid-free natural 100# smooth cover stock I use for the digital art prints I sell. Each page is 11″ x 17″ so there is plenty of space to have the art at or near its native size with room for the name and information about the art with the calendar at the bottom. The calendar is spiral-bound at the top with a hole drilled just beneath the spiral so you display one page at a time.

In addition to keeping art near its native size I’ve also sized most of the artwork so it will easily fit a standard frame size. Some images, such as “Shades of Gray” and “World Cat” are smaller than the originals to fit the page. I chose sketches for popularity and narrowed them down for a variety of style and medium. All of the images but one are in color; none of the pencil, charcoal or ink sketches seemed to fit with the color art in the calendar, so of course that might be a calendar of its own someday.

And there are actually 14 sketches if you count the cover, and there’s a bonus sketch on the title page that’s the one pencil sketch, but because covers see more wear and the title page image is a little small I’m keeping the title at 12. The art included in the calendar is:

Cover: Mimi’s Sunbath

Title page: A Tangle of Cats at the Door

January: Winter Light

February: Shades of Gray

March: Catamount Brushmore

April: Two Cats After van Gogh

May: In Afternoon Sun

June: Lazy Saturday Afternoon

July: Stanley with Geraniums

August: Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol

September: Three Warm Cats on a Cool Ground

October: Two in a Basket

November: Vigilant Nap

December: World Cat

This calendar costs a little more than the typical calendar because of the size and quality, and the value of what’s in it—I generally sell my prints for $10.00 to $25.00 each depending on the size, but in this calendar you get 14 prints if you count each image, for one price—$2.50 for each of 14 prints plus $10.00 to help FosterCat, Inc. house and support the cats in their system of foster homes, find homes for the cats they’ve rescued and help sponsor many cats rescued by Pittsburgh Feral Cat Movement.

Order a calendar now

Calendars are $45.00 and as mentioned above I will donate $10.00 of each sale to FosterCat, Inc. Not only has FosterCat been doing its typical wonderful work in rescuing and finding forever homes for cats of all ages through its foster home-only all-volunteer organization, they have also been helping kittens and cats find homes who have been rescued by Pittsburgh Feral Cat Movement, which allows all those who volunteer as a rescue to foster more cats and kittens.

Click here to order a calendar through my Etsy shop.


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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