Category Archives: animal-inspired merchandise

Felines and Flowers All-occasion Greetings Package

day book and greeting cards

The full kit: Great Rescues Day Book and 70 greeting cards.

Back to school, back to work, and the holiday season fast upon us, it’s often a time to send greetings. Some people don’t send cards anymore, and many people keep journals of their days electronically, but still some of my most popular products are greeting cards and calendars.

Great Rescues Day Book and nearly all the greeting cards offered here were designed and printed after I began blogging. One of the things that most inspired me to begin blogging was the stories of the cats I’d rescued, the rescued cats I’d met, and the people who rescued them, and the art I’d created through the years from my own cats and all the others I’d met. Being able to share those stories and art encouraged me to do even more with the art and the stories resulting in dozens of greeting cards, calendars, prints and handmade and unique items.

You may also know that another portion of what inspires me to create is the time I spend in nature, whether it’s my back yard or the woods, fields, trails and waterways I enjoy visiting. I have offered a few greeting cards with my nature and landscape art and photography through the years, but it wasn’t until I met this responsive audience that I had feedback to help me focus on what readers liked and design cards in these themes as well. At the beginning of 2014, to celebrate my fifth anniversary in blogging, my fourteenth year working at home and my twenty-second year in business I pulled them all together to create this set of correspondence materials including inspirations from every area of my art.

Felines and Flowers All-occasion Greetings Package

So what’s in this package anyway? All the materials for you to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, events and any other noted or annual life event for yourself, family and friends in Great Rescues Day Book, and 70 greeting cards to meet the occasion in a mix of feline-themed cards and cards inspired by nature.

The combined value of Great Rescues and all the greeting cards would be just about $132.00. I offer this package of correspondence in my shop for $60.00.


Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

New format, same great kitties! If you’re familiar with Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, this book carries on the idea in a way that’s much more permanent. This book is not dated for one year, but has all the dates in a month for you to fill in the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and social and personal events in your life.

I’ve used a day book for over 20 years and have all the arrivals and, sadly, departures of each of my cats along with my friends’ weddings, my nieces’ births and the births of their children, the day I first registered a business name, all that sort of stuff, conveniently included in one place. Below is a sample two-page spread for the month of January.

On the left is the featured portrait with the kitty’s story, below that the monthly fun quote of something feline. On the right is the month name with enough lines for all possible dates in that month. The holidays that are celebrated on a certain date are marked on that date, but ones that float, especially those Monday holidays, are explained at the bottom just to remind you that they also happen in that month. If animal-themed holidays are celebrated on a certain date, like Spay Day USA, they will also be included, but just the same if they are ones that float like Pet Memorial Sunday they will be explained at the bottom. The book is 8″ x 10″ and spiral-bound on the left edge, still small enough to be easily carried around.

great rescues day book

Great Rescues Day Book, January featured portrait and day book page.

I had long wanted to share those stories and the lovely kitties I’d painted. Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book brought these stories and portraits to people who love animal rescue and feline art, but as a calendar it had a limited time to share its message. This day book still shares the stories and art, and can do that for years to come.

portrait of black and white cat

“Bandit”, pastel, 18″ x 14″, 2004 © B.E. Kazmarski

Although Great Rescues Day Book is a 12-month book I am still featuring from the original calendar all 15 portraits of rescued cats I’ve been commissioned to paint in the 20 years I’ve been an animal portrait artist, plus the portrait of my own which I consider my first. These portraits won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.

While the portraits are lovely and I’m proud of my body of work, the stories of these cats, and the people who rescued them, is what compels me to share them with you. Each of the stories tells of cats from shelters and cats abandoned and saved, cats found inside car engines and cats reluctantly surrendered by people who could no longer care for them, but each one has a happy ending as a cherished companion in a loving home.

black and white notebook paper featuring a collage of cats

Award-winning 22 Cats Notebook Paper

And while each cat has an individual story, each rescuer has a story as well of reaching out to an animal in need to bring it in from the streets—because rescue is really about the rescuer as well as the rescued. In many cases they helped heal physical and emotional wounds and gave that cat a lifetime of love, in return receiving love and devotion; often those humans received some healing in return they weren’t aware they needed.

Great Rescues is spiral-bound and measures 8″ x 10″ to easily fit on your desk or in a purse, briefcase or backpack. While the original Great Rescues had a die-cut cover with the title stamped in gold foil, this has a solid 12 pt. printed cover for durability.

Following the calendar section is a section of stories of the rescuers and their feline families today and notes on the design and rendering of each of the portraits, followed by a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings. I’ve also redesigned my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits, to fit the new size, as seen below.


Greeting card sets in this collection

Most likely you’re familiar with my feline-oriented greeting cards for sympathy, holidays, and all-occasion. For nearly as long as I’ve photographed and painted cats, I’ve photographed and painted flowers, gardens, the woods and fields, the essences of nature that I love, and once I’d begun offering feline greeting cards I also designed and printed greeting cards inspired by nature. At one time they were all different sizes but at one point I made them all 5″ x 7″ so they could assort with each other, and I didn’t have to have eight different styles of envelopes on hand! In addition to the feline cards you’ll expect in this package, I’m also offering two sets non-feline cards for those occasions as well. All cards come with matching envelopes, and each set of cards will be packaged in an individual greeting card box.

I’ll start with those since they are likely all new.

Inspired by Flowers, 12 cards

two young ferns

“You’re My Best Frond”

greeting card with two pink tulips

“Because You Are My Friend” greeting card.

These are designed from my own photos of my garden and yard and my walks along trails and natural areas. Each photograph inspired a sentiment and thus became this line of simple greetings, so unlike most other cards I design which only feature the image, these actually have a message on the outside of the card including sympathy, birthday, get well, inspiration and friendship. All cards are blank inside.

At left, two pink tulips bring a warm and cheerful message for friendship, sympathy, support or just a hello, “Because You Are My Friend”. At right, two young ferns in the woods along the trail where I regularly walk sprout, unfurl and become BFFs—”Best Ferny Fronds”—in “You’re My Best Frond”.

Click here to see all the designs and read a little more about each in my online Marketplace.


In the Garden, 8 cards

greeting card showing pink and red roses

“Small Roses” greeting card.

greeting card with tulips in teapot

“Tea for Tulips” greeting card.

These cards feature my favorite paintings of gardens and still lifes, many scenes from my own yard and home. They have only the art outside and are blank inside, and I think just as many people have framed them as have sent them as greeting cards.

At left a still life of the really old-fashioned roses in my yard, a fragrant old deep red tea rose and a bright pink pasture rose in a little daily sketch I did in my dining room in “Small Roses”, because the sketch was about 4″ x 6″.

At right a watercolor of tulips in an old rusty teapot on a sunny windowsill, put together from photos I’d taken in “Tea for Tulips”.

Click here to see all the designs in the set.


Animal Sympathy Cards (13)

image of cat with shadow

Quiet Moments

Each of the cats depicted here was or is one of mine and the dogs are ones I’ve come to know through friends and art customers. I am currently working on more dog images; I take the use of an animal’s image in one of my designs very seriously and while I have many lovely photos and have been offered many more, I feel I need to know my subjects before I use their image.

I have also found that people use these cards for human sympathy or even for “thank you”, “thinking of you” and even romance, especially for those who share a love for animals. Loss is about love, and when I designed these I focused on that love instead of the pain.

Click here to read a little more about each of the cards.


Feline Greetings Art Cards (12)

greeting card with tuxie cat

“Buster Lookin’ at His Toes” greeting card.

I find people use these cards for all sorts of greetings, from invitations to parties to friendly hellos and thinking of yous to sympathy at the loss of a pet or even a person. Others have taken their favorites and slipped them into 5″ x 7″ frames for their wall.

These greeting cards are created from paintings of the cats with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life—and that includes a few friends’ cats as well. I’ve included a mix of pastel and watercolor and a mix of styles, from realistic detail to loose impressionistic scenes so you have a choice for all occasions. Cards have only the image on the front, are blank inside, and carry the title of the painting and information about it on the back, you can write inside it whatever you want.

Click here to read a little more about each of the cards.


Feline Valentines (6)

valentine cards

“Two Yellow Cats”, Valentine card based on a daily sketch!

You’ve seen this set over and over recently! This set includes a mix of photos, sketches and illustrations, some with a greeting inside and some without, and some can even be used as all-occasion cards. These cards come with red envelopes.

Click here to see the designs and read more.


Feline Halloween Greetings (7)

halloween design featuring four black cats

“Happy Meow-lo-ween from The Four Housecats of the Apocalypse!”

As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and what better to do with a family of five black cats during the festive Halloween season? I posted many of these photos on The Creative Cat for my daily photos during 2010, and from the feedback decided I needed to have Halloween cards! I added a new one this year from a daily sketch. Each of the cats depicted here is one of mine except the calico who belongs to my neighbor–and I just had to use that photo!

Click here to read more.


Victoriana Cats (4)

set of four sepia images of black cats

Victoriana Cats in dreamy semi-sepia tones

Though these photos may look antique and sepia-toned, they are neither. My cats are perfect models and knew to pose in the bright yellow morning sun in front of my round antique mirror and the narrow casement window with the lace curtain. I applied a few Photoshop filters to the original photos to make them consistent in tone and style.

Use them for all-purpose greeting cards, sympathy, thinking of you, friendship, or find some shabby chic frames for 5″ x 7″ images and frame them for your walls.

Click here to read more about Victoriana Cats.


Compositions in Black and Green (4)

"Compositions in Black and Green" greeting card set.

“Compositions in Black and Green” greeting card set.

The set includes two familiar images, but really focuses on one kitty—Jelly Bean! “God, I’m Cute” pictures Jelly Bean admiring himself in the mirror long offered as a greeting card, and “Drink Straight From the Tap” shows the Fantastic Four all drinking from the sink faucet at the same time. The new designs are “Composition in Green and Black”, offered by request but one of my favorite atmospheric images of Jelly Bean dozing in the sun on the edge of the sink, and “Toe Cleaning in Green and Black”, the Bean once again in a close-up capture of activity with the mint green sink reflecting on Bean’s black fur and paws.


Feline Christmas Greetings (2)

cat christmas cards

“Star of Wonder” and “Can We Get That Thing?”

Because I have sooo many feline holiday cards, this will only include the two most popular, “Star of Wonder” and “Can We Get That Thing?”.


Favorite Photos (2)

cat with lace curtain

A few steps closer, there it is.

You’d think I’d have a bazillion cards in this category, but I have only two that aren’t used in other sets: “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” and “A Sunny Room”.

. . . . . . .

That may sound like a lot of cards, but believe it or not, it’s not all the cards I offer! I also have wildlife cards, and cards made from my nature paintings, and a set called “My Home Town” that is my paintings and sketches of Carnegie! But I love giving others a means of sending a message.


Where to find this package

Felines and Flowers All-occasion Greetings Package” is available in my Etsy shop.

You can also find Great Rescues Day Book on its own in my Etsy shop.

Each of the cards or sets of cards listed above is a link to find out more about the set and purchase them individually.


ink sketch of cats on boxes

“Free Cat Hair With Every Order”.

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!


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


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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Whooping Cranes, a Summer Afternoon in the Marsh

pastel painting of whooping cranes

Taking Flight © original pastel painting, B.E. Kazmarski

Above is “Taking Flight”, an original pastel painting of two whooping cranes taking off in a marsh on a summer afternoon. Visiting what had once been their habitat on Assateague Island, Virginia, I imagined what they might have looked like in the whispering marshes.

Studying a wild animal in its natural habitat is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us, that these creatures get along just fine (and probably better) without us, that we are really only one more species carrying out our lives on Earth. And while, for me, the inspiration to put an image on paper is always primarily a visual inspiration, wild animals carry the same emotional inspiration as domestic pets—animals are so un-selfconscious. Add to that the beauty of a natural landscape and you’ve got a perfect recipe for visual pleasure.

I have traveled too little to see any real wildlife aside from the critters who inhabit my suburban garden, but the Pittsburgh Zoo is quite an impressive place of natural habitat and we also have conservation sites to visit in the western part of Pennsylvania where endangered species are kept in hopes they’ll breed enough to carry on their species. I also read many magazines and visit websites to learn about these species and reference pictorial resources.

Many years ago I saw two captive whooping cranes, likely at the Pittsburgh Zoo. I marveled at their size—they were nearly as tall as me! But it was when one of them spread its wings that I was truly enchanted by the pure white body, neat brown wing tips and tiny touches of yellow highlight here and there, and the grace of that huge bird.

And I read about them and discovered their plight, having no idea they were so imperiled, I remembered again that visit to Assateague Island.

What would their afternoon have been like? Using my photos of those marshes and many images of whooping cranes, I painted this in pastel, trying to capture the details that had stayed with me at seeing them, and also the feeling of movement in the marshes I had visited, the waving sedges, lapping water and constant breeze from the ocean.

And those summer colors, blue sky reflected on the water, reflected on the cranes.

The painting is 23″ wide x 15″ high, matted with a 4″ warm cream acid-free mat with 1/4″ burnished gold wood fillet edging and 1-1/4″ burnished gold frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

In July, 2011 I’ve reduced the price from $400 to $300 to make sure the whooping cranes find a place in someone’s home or office, and to make room for more artwork.

Along with the original painting I also offer this as a canvas print, digital print and a giclee.

You can find this painting in my Etsy shop under “Wildlife” along with a number of other wildlife paintings.

. . . . . . .

If you’d like to be informed about new artwork plus sales and specials before everyone else, please sign up for my Art & Merchandise e-newsletter. In September I’m planning an autumn-themed artwork sale as well as a review of an exhibit from 2008 entitled “My Home Town”, with a few originals as well as many prints still available, and a special set of notecards. “Art & Merchandise” is a separate list from my Creative Cat e-newsletter if you’re already signed up for that one.

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.


A “Back-to-School” Garden Flag

garden flag with cat

“Stanley With Apple” for back to school!

Last August when my felines and me watched the neighbor kids running for their bus in the morning on the first days of school I remembered this sketch of Stanley from the previous June. It not only had an apple, the universal symbol for “school”, but the background looks like one of those green chalkboards with chalk dust all over it! It’s time for Back to School!

cat in silhouette with apple

Stanley With Apple.

The original sketch was the daily sketch for June 22, 2012 and I reprised it in June 2014; on the same day in June 2012 I posted the original photo I used for this sketch, taken on film in 1990 or so. You can see the sketch below and the photo at right or click on any of the links to read more about the images and Stanley.

I originally took that photo as a reference for a future painting, and like so many others the photo remained packed in my boxes of photos for years, unseen, except that the image itself stayed with me.

In 2012 when I’d reorganized my photos I’d dug past it in one of the boxes and remembered it. When I decided I needed to post it here as a vintage photo I knew exactly where it was, and then later that day decided to use it for my daily sketch. It’s tiny, 5″ x 7″, and the paper is rough so the details are loose but I think it captures the composition; there are things I would change, there are always things I’d change, and perhaps someday I’ll do the larger painting where I can capture all the details and those things I would change.

But for now, I’m very happy to see this as a sketch. To think I took that photo nearly 24 years ago, before I had done most of what I have today. 24 years ago my rendering would have been quite different, or 10 years ago or last year or even yesterday, literally and metaphorically colored by my experiences in life and as an artist, and even the quality of sunlight coming in the window.

And 24 years ago Stanley was about 9 years old, not even halfway through his 25 years.

 

pastel sketch of cat on table with apple

Stanley With Apple, pastel, 5″ x 7″ © B.E. Kazmarski

. . . . . . .

“Impressionist Cats” Garden Flag

garden flag with cats

“Impressionist Cats”

You may recognize this sketch as one of my garden flags, the set I call “Impressionist Cats”.

“Stanley With Apple” is on one side and “White Cat Reflecting” is on the other side, so you can show Stanley with his apple for early autumn, then change it out with another flag for October and winter holidays, then next spring put it out again with “White Cat Reflecting”.

About the garden flags

These “garden flags” are digitally printed on both sides of a heavyweight, durable indoor/outdoor woven printable fabric, and I finish by adding the rod pocket. (Bracket is not included.)

Each flag has a design on both sides unless otherwise noted.

Flags are 11” wide x 15” tall and fit the most common garden flag bracket available, sold in most hardware and home renovation stores with a garden area.

My garden flags are designed with images of my feline artwork, from the quick colorful sketches I create each day to my detailed fine art paintings. They are made locally to me and I can work closely with the printer and have smaller quantities made, and therefore offer more designs. I sew the pocket into the top, and as you can see from these photos I have tested them all in my own yard.

Where to find this garden flag and other garden flags I make

You can find the Impressionists Cats garden flag in my Etsy shop as well as other feline-themed garden flags.

. . . . . . .

See more “Kitty Things”, feline-themed things I’ve made or with which I decorate my home, or which I’ve seen elsewhere. Also read other articles about my garden flags.

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.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in “portraits of animals 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.


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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My Feline- and Nature-themed Stuff at “The Outlet Barn”

Display from the other side.

Display from the other side.

So who would think a drafty old unheated honest-to-God barn from a long-time farm would be a hot spot for unique art and decorative items?

The Outlet Barn Garden and Art Center has been in business in this very same old barn for the past 20 years, with a list of loyal customers and new people stopping every day. They close on Christmas Eve and reopen on April 1, weather permitting. I’ve had a display of greeting cards and art there since 2011 when the Agway closed, but at that time I was the only artist. This year they’ve set up an area for many artists to display in this open and rustic setting, so I have a nice space with an antique entryway piece and and wall space to hang things.

Display from one side.

Display from one side.

Because the barn is just that—an old wooden and unheated barn—I have chosen things that can be easily dusted or cleaned, or are in packaging. That makes it perfect for my handmade keepsake boxes and wall art, trivets and garden flags as well as a selection of framed and packaged prints of feline, flowers and nature photos. I’m excited to be expanding my selection of floral and landscape gift items in addition to my feline gift items. I will have a small selection of note cards and greeting cards, but because the place is open I often have difficulty with the envelopes sealing shut, even in packaging.

Gift items.

Gift items.

I began visiting there because the place looked like the sort of place I’d like to check out, not carefully coiffed or neatly arranged, but artfully arranged and colorful outside, and inside just crowded enough in the semi-darkness of the old barn that I could take my time to peruse without feeling overwhelmed.

Garden flags.

Garden flags.

I ended up moving things into there because the former manager of the Agway I had been selling at was friends with Kathy, The Outlet Barn’s owner, and simply went to her and said I’d be over with my things, she’d like them and me. Life should be filled with such friends. Kathy herself is the one who artfully arranges things in a way that makes people passing on the road find it hard to resist, and is also a master with ribbon and grapevines and such and creates all the wreaths and swags sold throughout the year, often custom-making them for long-time customers. She also makes beaded jewelry for sale in the shop.

Packaged, matted and framed prints.

Packaged, matted and framed prints.

She also holds events with local musicians playing jazz and folk and alternative in among the gargoyles and gazing globes, or out back in one of the sample gazebos or on the deck.

Canvas prints.

Canvas prints.

And I can’t forget the enthusiastic rescued chocolate lab named Irish Malarkey, named so because his eyes were green when he was a puppy, who rides in with his human every day. He carefully checked each of my boxes for treats, in between trotting around the place with that huge destructive lab tail without overturning as much as a small terra cotta flowerpot.

Irish Malarkey.

Irish Malarkey.

Supporting a local small business is important from both standpoints, from buying and selling, so in addition to placing my things there on consignment, I also promote the places where my things are consigned. I’ll share notices of events, which will be of greatest interest to local friends, and also of things I find there that you might enjoy—feline-themed of course But there plenty of animal-themed things about the place, plus really cool gargoyles.

Feline-themed planting pots.

Feline-themed planting pots.

I have a love-hate relationship with retail. I love to create my artwork and even to create the derivative items from it like cards and notepads and prints, and the best way to get my artwork known is to create and sell these things, but it takes time to drive around and visit shops, introduce myself, deliver the goods and maintain a display; if I seem to have disappeared now and then, this is why—calling and driving around, following up suggestions from friends to visit and introducing myself and showing a few representative pieces of what I have for sale. The actual sales from this might break even for expenses and time, but the real benefit is in finding new customers and making new friends, and just sharing my inspirations. Finding a shop where I also have other reasons to visit just makes it better.

And there’s another constant—animals and animal rescue. One door closes and another one opens as our friends share us with their friends. It is not a loss and a gain, but simply a change.

Where to find The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn Garden Center

4577 Campbells Run Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15205

outletbarn@gmail.com – Phone: 412-494-5190

If you see merchandise pictured here, whether it’s mine or not, that you are interested in, please follow the link to The Outlet Barn website or let me know. The website is not an online store for things in the shop because there’s just too much, but Kathy will be glad to give you a few details and ship something to you if purchase it with the possible exception of a concrete gargoyle.

Handmade furniture and ceramic gift items.

Handmade furniture and ceramic gift items.

Below is a gallery of things in the barn, and another slideshow of other artisans’ items.

Here are a few of the artisans’ displays.


Basil inspects all the new goods.

Basil inspects all the new goods.

Marketplace

Mimi scolds me for not letting the blocks dry properly.

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


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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Colorful Kitties Notecard

"Colorful Kitties" note card.

“Colorful Kitties” note card.

This note card was designed from one of my daily sketches and just lends itself to a variety of themes—friendship, thank you, thinking of you, even an invitation to an event.

This card is 5.5″ x 4.25″ and printed on 100# acid-free uncoated cover stock, blank inside. They come with 70 lb. opaque acid-free envelopes that are inkjet/laser compatible in your choice of envelope color. See “ordering” below for more information.

ABOUT THE ART

The original artwork for "Colorful Kitties".

The original artwork for “Colorful Kitties”.

“Colorful Kitties” is a tissue paper cutouts laid on paper, 6.5” W x 9” H, dated 2/12/15. The cat figures are cut freehand from colored tissue paper used for wrapping starting with the big blue kitty and each successive kitty appeared to me in color and posture and position in relation to the others. I arranged them on a page in my sketch book, while Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine supervised. Read more about this art and other daily sketches at: http://thecreativecat.net/daily-sketch-colorful-kitties/#.VN-zCi6j934.

DAILY SKETCHES

I endeavor to do at least a small sketch each day as a warm-up to my aesthetic senses, so I have a small pouch of art materials and a few various sized sketchbooks available in the house and out. Usually, these are done in pencil, my first and favorite medium, though sometimes it’s charcoal, ink, colored pencil, ink and brush, whatever strikes my fancy at the moment, the greatest challenge to keep it quick and not get caught up in details, let the idea flow onto the paper.

Most often, the subjects are my cats because they are such willing models, though sometimes I’ll also wander afield, literally, and sketch in my yard or anywhere I go for errands. Medium and especially style vary just so I get a chance to do something new.

Every once in a while, they are meant for framing, and I’ve designed a series of notecards, notepaper and notepads using other daily sketches (see my notecards section). Often I use them as illustrations for graphics projects I’m designing.

ORDERING

Envelopes

Each card comes with your choice of a 70 lb. text weight acid-free envelope which is inkjet/laser compatible. Please choose a color or colors from the drop-down list which corresponds with the photo of the envelopes available. You can further customize this by adding a note to your order explaining your choice, such as “Please send five white envelopes and one red envelope” with an order of a half-dozen cards.

The envelope selection.

The envelope selection.

Packaging

One and two cards are packed in a glassine bag, a half-dozen or more are packed in a clear-top vinyl greeting card box.

Shipping

Shipping cost is included in the purchase price for USA and Canada.

One and two cards are shipped in a 6″ x 9″ envelope via first-class mail.

Six or more cards are shipped in a small flat-rate box via USPS Priority Mail.

Both methods will get just about anywhere n the US within three days. If you need your cards sooner than that, please ask and we can make arrangements for guaranteed two-day or overnight shipping.

Where to find these note cards

I have these notecards available in singles, two, half dozen or dozen in my Portraits of Animals Shop on Etsy.


Bella helps to position the envelopes.

Bella helps to position the envelopes.

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 scrutiny of my studio cats! Bella carefully arranges the envelope selection for me.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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.


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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Inscrutable Patterns and Other Feline-themed Art Papers

Inscrutable Patterns Art Paper

Inscrutable Patterns Art Paper

Yes, I went ahead and did it, in part because I have some projects for Valentine’s Day that use this paper! So here it is, available:

  • 11×17 on 80# gloss text
  • 11×11 on 100# matte cover

I’ve added them to the post for text-weight art papers in my Etsy shop and the post for cover-weight art papers in my Etsy shop so you can choose from all four.

cat pattern

“Inscrutable Pattern”, colorized line art, 8.5″ x 11″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, making a colorful pattern using line art. When I first did this sketch I thought it would be a good candidate for a repetitive pattern, and it’s been on my mind the past few days so I decided to finally see how it would work out. I began with a palette of about eight colors, which is more than I’d wanted, and then I kept adding more! Never too many colors.

Initially I liked all the cats’ eyes to be different colors when the color beneath showed through each cats’ eyes. Then I began shuffling the pattern so both eyes were not on the same color. Not sure I like that, it may be a little too random, so I think on another attempt I’m going to make all the eyes one color for a little bit more symmetry and see if it holds it together.

Above is a “full sheet” of pattern. Coloring the art was easier in my graphic design program so that was what I used to put this together, and I’m so accustomed to designing printed materials I always start out with a letter-size page, so that’s the base size of that layout. Below is a half-page, I just cropped off the top half.

"Inscrutable Pattern, half sheet", colorized line art, 8.5" x 5.5" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Inscrutable Pattern, half sheet”, colorized line art, 8.5″ x 5.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Yes, fabric, yes, wrapping paper, yes, art paper. What have I started?! It’s going to be really fun.

Other Feline-themed Art Papers

art papers with cat prints
Three initial designs of art papers.

Art Papers With Cat Art!

papier mache box with cat design

I’ve had this idea in mind for several years trying to find the best way to put it together. Seeing text-weight and cover-weight art papers for scrapbooking and creative crafts I decided this was a good way to give it a try. These papers are designed from my portraits and sketches and printed digitally.

Use these papers for scrapbooking, wrapping gifts, decorating keepsake boxes or any creative project you can think of that needs a bunch of cats on it! I ship them flat between sheets of cardboard. I’ve included a photo of keepsake box I made as an example–this box is not for sale.

I’ve started with three different designs and two different paper stocks, text and cover, to see how popular they are. I have many more ideas in mind for these papers—consider the number of daily sketches and portraits I have, plus holiday designs, and artwork yet to come!


22 Cats Art Paper

art paper with collage of cat portraits
“22 Cats” Art paper

This pattern is a collage of all 16 portraits—22 cats in all—included in my Great Rescues Day Book. I’ve painted portraits of pets since 1992 and I’d always wanted to publish them somehow, and since most are rescues I always wanted to share their stories as well, and this came together in Great Rescues. The pattern repeats six times on the paper so you are sure to be able to fit all the cats on one project or just cut out the cats you want. This text-weight pattern is printed on one side of 70# gloss text weight paper, the cover-weight pattern printed on 100# Lynx Uncoated Bright White Cover.

. . . . . . .

Just Fits Art Paper

art paper with sketch of cat in basket
“Just Fits” art paper.

Any cat who gets in my way gets sketched. Giuseppe decided to nap in the basket I’d had merchandise orders in, and he would not get out of it, even though he did not exactly fit in it. He really scrunched himself too, but he made for a nice solid subject. This is drawn in brush pen which actually has shaped bristles at the tip and the ink flows from a cartridge so it’s almost like a brush dipped in ink. The brush is very graceful and I can make all sorts of lovely lines, wide and flat or narrow and wandering. I designed this pattern when I decided to play around with the sketch as a repeating pattern and colored Giuseppe a different color each time. This text-weight pattern is printed on one side of 70# gloss text weight paper, the cover-weight is printed on 100# Lynx Bright White cover.

. . . . . . .

Brush Kitties Art Paper

art paper with ink sketches of cats
“Brush Kitties” art paper

This pattern is a collage of all the kitties I’ve drawn in this same style with the above-mentioned brush pen, singles, multiples, smooth lines, sketchy lines, just a bunch of busy kitties in black on white. On either text or cover stock, you can even color in the kitties yourself! The text-weight paper is printed on one side of 60# uncoated text weight paper—in case you want to add color yourself—the cover-weight is printed on 100# Lynx Bright White cover.

. . . . . . .

Cover weight art papers, 11" x 11". with cat artwork

Text weight art papers, 11" x 17"., with cat artwork.

Text or Cover, and Pricing

All three patterns are printed on one side of the page, and come in two text or cover stock with corresponding sizes:

These are priced singly for $2.00 per sheet and in sets of three for $5.00. I’ve listed the most likely sets on Etsy, but if you’d like a different combination, please send your description in a conversation.


black cat walkding on art papers

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 scrutiny of my studio cats! Jelly Bean, my supervisor and product inspector for this project…

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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.


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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My Studio Assistants, Supervisors and Inspirations

two black cats with package

Brother and sister have supervised the packaging…

What would I do without the assistance, guidance and support—and inspiration—of my family of felines? We’ve been busy lately preparing for my upcoming exhibit as well as making several custom orders and packaging orders and shipping them out. So this week, instead of featuring a new product, I’m featuring the diligence and generosity of Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine on a long day in my studio.

A customer had ordered a set of Tortie Girls prints, matted only. I print a dozen or more at a time and let them dry, then hand-tint them later one at a time, either when I frame them or when someone purchases a print. Mewsette supervised the tinting process to ensure her tortie fur sisters are accurately represented. An artist herself, I value Mewsette’s aesthetic judgement.

black cat with block print

Mewsette inspect my hand-tinting of the print.

Then I trim down the mat board and my engineer Mr. Sunshine specializes in product testing to ensure proper size and color. You can see by his starfish paws that he has approved.

black cat on mat board

Mr. Sunshine approves of the mat board.

Mewsette has her own special process with each Tortie Girls print, as she patiently waits until all is ready and I tell her it’s okay to…

black cat with block pritns

Mewsette arrives to add her special touch to the Tortie Girls prints.

…impart her own special brand of joy onto the matted prints. Mewsette rolls in utter happiness on the table, rubbing her face on the mat or on the print, with each print I send.

black cat with block prints

Mewsette imparts feline joy onto the prints.

The prints are wrapped for shipping, with a little special gift from Mewsette and Sunshine, the promised “free cat hair with every order”.

black cat hair on package

…and added a little something special for the recipients.

“This package is ready to go to its forever home!”

two black cats with package

Brother and sister have supervised the packaging…

Next, brother and sister settle down for some dull activities—package inspection. Yes, the package is sealed and labeled, and ready to be shipped.

two black cats and priority mail package

Mewsette checks the package to ensure it is finished and ready for shipping.

An order for sympathy cards required some support with the paperwork.

two black cats and package

While they supervise, they make good props for paperwork.

Brother and sister indulge in a well-deserved nap after a long afternoon of work.

Two black cats asleep

A well-deserved nap!

I couldn’t do it without my studio cats!

All the way back to the first year I lived here and even before, my family of felines, including fosters, were working with me to ensure that everything was of top quality, and gave me love and support in all I chose to create. My feline inspirations and I thank you for browsing and for purchasing handmade goods and supporting a small business!

Below, Cookie at one year old assisting me in photographing artwork—in 1993!

tortie cat with painting

Cookie as my photo and lighting assistant–at one year old!


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.

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.

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 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.


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
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Felines and Flowers All-occasion Greetings Package

day book and greeting cards

The full kit: Great Rescues Day Book and 70 greeting cards.

Some people don’t send cards anymore, and many people keep journals of their days electronically, but still some of my most popular products are greeting cards and calendars.

This is a gift package that can last all year long—and possibly even longer! You can even give some of it away and still have enough for yourself. One of the things that most inspired me was the stories of the cats I’d rescued, the rescued cats I’d met, and the people who rescued them, and the art I’d created through the years from my own cats and all the others I’d met. Being able to share those stories and art encouraged me to do even more with the art and the stories resulting in dozens of greeting cards, calendars, prints and handmade and unique items.

Felines and Flowers All-occasion Greetings Package

So what’s in this package anyway? All the materials for you to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, events and any other noted or annual life event for yourself, family and friends in Great Rescues Day Book, and 70 greeting cards to meet the occasion in a mix of feline-themed cards and cards inspired by nature.

The combined value of Great Rescues and all the greeting cards would be just about $132.00. I offer this package of correspondence in my shop for $60.00.


Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

New format, same great kitties! If you’re familiar with Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, this book carries on the idea in a way that’s much more permanent. This book is not dated for one year, but has all the dates in a month for you to fill in the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and social and personal events in your life.

I’ve used a day book for over 20 years and have all the arrivals and, sadly, departures of each of my cats along with my friends’ weddings, my nieces’ births and the births of their children, the day I first registered a business name, all that sort of stuff, conveniently included in one place. Below is a sample two-page spread for the month of January.

On the left is the featured portrait with the kitty’s story, below that the monthly fun quote of something feline. On the right is the month name with enough lines for all possible dates in that month. The holidays that are celebrated on a certain date are marked on that date, but ones that float, especially those Monday holidays, are explained at the bottom just to remind you that they also happen in that month. If animal-themed holidays are celebrated on a certain date, like Spay Day USA, they will also be included, but just the same if they are ones that float like Pet Memorial Sunday they will be explained at the bottom. The book is 8″ x 10″ and spiral-bound on the left edge, still small enough to be easily carried around.

great rescues day book

Great Rescues Day Book, January featured portrait and day book page.

I had long wanted to share those stories and the lovely kitties I’d painted. Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book brought these stories and portraits to people who love animal rescue and feline art, but as a calendar it had a limited time to share its message. This day book still shares the stories and art, and can do that for years to come.

portrait of black and white cat

“Bandit”, pastel, 18″ x 14″, 2004 © B.E. Kazmarski

Although Great Rescues Day Book is a 12-month book I am still featuring from the original calendar all 15 portraits of rescued cats I’ve been commissioned to paint in the 20 years I’ve been an animal portrait artist, plus the portrait of my own which I consider my first. These portraits won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.

While the portraits are lovely and I’m proud of my body of work, the stories of these cats, and the people who rescued them, is what compels me to share them with you. Each of the stories tells of cats from shelters and cats abandoned and saved, cats found inside car engines and cats reluctantly surrendered by people who could no longer care for them, but each one has a happy ending as a cherished companion in a loving home.

black and white notebook paper featuring a collage of cats

Award-winning 22 Cats Notebook Paper

And while each cat has an individual story, each rescuer has a story as well of reaching out to an animal in need to bring it in from the streets—because rescue is really about the rescuer as well as the rescued. In many cases they helped heal physical and emotional wounds and gave that cat a lifetime of love, in return receiving love and devotion; often those humans received some healing in return they weren’t aware they needed.

Great Rescues is spiral-bound and measures 8″ x 10″ to easily fit on your desk or in a purse, briefcase or backpack. While the original Great Rescues had a die-cut cover with the title stamped in gold foil, this has a solid 12 pt. printed cover for durability.

Following the calendar section is a section of stories of the rescuers and their feline families today and notes on the design and rendering of each of the portraits, followed by a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings. I’ve also redesigned my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits, to fit the new size, as seen below.


Greeting card sets in this collection

Most likely you’re familiar with my feline-oriented greeting cards for sympathy, holidays, and all-occasion. For nearly as long as I’ve photographed and painted cats, I’ve photographed and painted flowers, gardens, the woods and fields, the essences of nature that I love, and once I’d begun offering feline greeting cards I also designed and printed greeting cards inspired by nature. At one time they were all different sizes but at one point I made them all 5″ x 7″ so they could assort with each other, and I didn’t have to have eight different styles of envelopes on hand! In addition to the feline cards you’ll expect in this package, I’m also offering two sets non-feline cards for those occasions as well. All cards come with matching envelopes, and each set of cards will be packaged in an individual greeting card box.

I’ll start with those since they are likely all new.

Inspired by Flowers, 12 cards

two young ferns

“You’re My Best Frond”

greeting card with two pink tulips

“Because You Are My Friend” greeting card.

These are designed from my own photos of my garden and yard and my walks along trails and natural areas. Each photograph inspired a sentiment and thus became this line of simple greetings, so unlike most other cards I design which only feature the image, these actually have a message on the outside of the card including sympathy, birthday, get well, inspiration and friendship. All cards are blank inside.

At left, two pink tulips bring a warm and cheerful message for friendship, sympathy, support or just a hello, “Because You Are My Friend”. At right, two young ferns in the woods along the trail where I regularly walk sprout, unfurl and become BFFs—”Best Ferny Fronds”—in “You’re My Best Frond”.

Click here to see all the designs and read a little more about each in my online Marketplace.


In the Garden, 8 cards

greeting card showing pink and red roses

“Small Roses” greeting card.

greeting card with tulips in teapot

“Tea for Tulips” greeting card.

These cards feature my favorite paintings of gardens and still lifes, many scenes from my own yard and home. They have only the art outside and are blank inside, and I think just as many people have framed them as have sent them as greeting cards.

At left a still life of the really old-fashioned roses in my yard, a fragrant old deep red tea rose and a bright pink pasture rose in a little daily sketch I did in my dining room in “Small Roses”, because the sketch was about 4″ x 6″.

At right a watercolor of tulips in an old rusty teapot on a sunny windowsill, put together from photos I’d taken in “Tea for Tulips”.

Click here to see all the designs in the set.


Animal Sympathy Cards (13)

image of cat with shadow

Quiet Moments

Each of the cats depicted here was or is one of mine and the dogs are ones I’ve come to know through friends and art customers. I am currently working on more dog images; I take the use of an animal’s image in one of my designs very seriously and while I have many lovely photos and have been offered many more, I feel I need to know my subjects before I use their image.

I have also found that people use these cards for human sympathy or even for “thank you”, “thinking of you” and even romance, especially for those who share a love for animals. Loss is about love, and when I designed these I focused on that love instead of the pain.

Click here to read a little more about each of the cards.


Feline Greetings Art Cards (12)

greeting card with tuxie cat

“Buster Lookin’ at His Toes” greeting card.

I find people use these cards for all sorts of greetings, from invitations to parties to friendly hellos and thinking of yous to sympathy at the loss of a pet or even a person. Others have taken their favorites and slipped them into 5″ x 7″ frames for their wall.

These greeting cards are created from paintings of the cats with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life—and that includes a few friends’ cats as well. I’ve included a mix of pastel and watercolor and a mix of styles, from realistic detail to loose impressionistic scenes so you have a choice for all occasions. Cards have only the image on the front, are blank inside, and carry the title of the painting and information about it on the back, you can write inside it whatever you want.

Click here to read a little more about each of the cards.


Feline Valentines (6)

valentine cards

“Two Yellow Cats”, Valentine card based on a daily sketch!

You’ve seen this set over and over recently! This set includes a mix of photos, sketches and illustrations, some with a greeting inside and some without, and some can even be used as all-occasion cards. These cards come with red envelopes.

Click here to see the designs and read more.


Feline Halloween Greetings (7)

halloween design featuring four black cats

“Happy Meow-lo-ween from The Four Housecats of the Apocalypse!”

As an artist I turn to my surroundings for creative output, and what better to do with a family of five black cats during the festive Halloween season? I posted many of these photos on The Creative Cat for my daily photos during 2010, and from the feedback decided I needed to have Halloween cards! I added a new one this year from a daily sketch. Each of the cats depicted here is one of mine except the calico who belongs to my neighbor–and I just had to use that photo!

Click here to read more.


Victoriana Cats (4)

set of four sepia images of black cats

Victoriana Cats in dreamy semi-sepia tones

Though these photos may look antique and sepia-toned, they are neither. My cats are perfect models and knew to pose in the bright yellow morning sun in front of my round antique mirror and the narrow casement window with the lace curtain. I applied a few Photoshop filters to the original photos to make them consistent in tone and style.

Use them for all-purpose greeting cards, sympathy, thinking of you, friendship, or find some shabby chic frames for 5″ x 7″ images and frame them for your walls.

Click here to read more about Victoriana Cats.


Compositions in Black and Green (4)

"Compositions in Black and Green" greeting card set.

“Compositions in Black and Green” greeting card set.

The set includes two familiar images, but really focuses on one kitty—Jelly Bean! “God, I’m Cute” pictures Jelly Bean admiring himself in the mirror long offered as a greeting card, and “Drink Straight From the Tap” shows the Fantastic Four all drinking from the sink faucet at the same time. The new designs are “Composition in Green and Black”, offered by request but one of my favorite atmospheric images of Jelly Bean dozing in the sun on the edge of the sink, and “Toe Cleaning in Green and Black”, the Bean once again in a close-up capture of activity with the mint green sink reflecting on Bean’s black fur and paws.


Feline Christmas Greetings (2)

cat christmas cards

“Star of Wonder” and “Can We Get That Thing?”

Because I have sooo many feline holiday cards, this will only include the two most popular, “Star of Wonder” and “Can We Get That Thing?”.


Favorite Photos (2)

cat with lace curtain

A few steps closer, there it is.

You’d think I’d have a bazillion cards in this category, but I have only three that aren’t used in other designs: “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things” and “A Sunny Room”.

. . . . . . .

That may sound like a lot of cards, but believe it or not, it’s not all the cards I offer! I also have wildlife cards, and cards made from my nature paintings, and a set called “My Home Town” that is my paintings and sketches of Carnegie! But I love giving others a means of sending a message.


 Felines and Flowers All-occasion Greetings Package” is available in my Etsy shop!


ink sketch of cats on boxes

“Free Cat Hair With Every Order”.

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!


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

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A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “Sooty”

pastel portrait of chinchilla persian cat

“Sooty”, 1997, pastel, 11″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T MATTER how much sentiment is attached to adopting a cat, how much people pay for a cat, or how beautiful or sweet it is, that cat is out the door when they no longer want it; sometimes, like Sooty, it is actually headed for its loving forever home and the people who will truly cherish it forever.

. . . . . . .

Sooty was a full-bred Chinchilla-point Persian but didn’t come to his forever home directly from his breeder.

Adopted by a newly-engaged couple as a wedding gift to the bride-to-be, the couple subsequently broke up and Sooty was homeless. Passed along from one unloving home to another, finally housed in a detached garage with the door left open in the hope that he would run into the street…a neighbor kept watch, talked to the family, and finally convinced them to give Sooty to her. She asked her sister-in-law to foster him.

Though her sister-in-law had no pets then, she had always had a cat and a dog growing up. When her mother passed away her father came to live with her along with his dog and cat. They lost the pets and her father passed away soon after and she vowed “no more pets”. She made it clear that she would have Sooty neutered, given all his shots and shaved because he was filthy and had such large hair balls under each limb, but he was a foster, not an adoption.

He arrived in a cage, “frightened to death” and would not come out; she and her husband left the room and pretty soon Sooty came out of his cage and disappeared. Looking everywhere, she finally found him in her father’s old room, all curled up like he belonged there. “That did it,” and he stayed.

. . . . . . .

Animals always know, whether it’s Oscar, the prognosticating cat in the nursing home, or a cat who walked into your home and seemed to have been acquainted with it already, where they are needed most.

I’ve known people who would have taken in Sooty, even as a foster, and rejected him for his distant personality, not understanding that he’d never had a real home, not given him the space to learn to trust. But it’s also a truly wonderful thing to know that a cat came along at just the right time for people who needed him, as Sooty immediately recognized the place of loss and moved to fill it in the best way he could.

Sooty had been deeply hurt by his own experiences. It was months before he would even go upstairs to the bedrooms, let alone sleep on the bed, or even the couch; sadly it was clear he’d been taught those places were not for cats. But he never lost a drop of his natural quiet sweetness, and in time his forever family welcomed him to cuddle up next to them or sleep on their lap.

Tomorrow I’ll write about Sooty’s portrait as this week’s featured commissioned portrait. You can read that article here.


Here is Sooty’s page in Great Rescues:

great rescues day book

Great Rescues Day Book, January featured portrait and day book page.

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Sooty:

The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an axe murderer. ~ Paula Poundstone

. . . . . . .

About the Portrait

detail of pastel cat portrait

Detail of portrait: Sooty’s face.

I’ve always loved the way Sooty’s portrait looked, the horizontal layout and simple composition, clear and contrasting colors. In my portfolio of portraits Sooty’s was admired by many, and when I had visualized the Great Rescues calendar and day book series over ten years ago, Sooty’s portrait was one of the first that came to mind.

When I met with the couple who owned him, we looked at a few photos, but this one of Sooty, both his posture and demeanor, was perfect and the three of us knew it, even as Sooty quietly observed our process in much the same position. He was so calm and relaxed I managed to get detail shots of his face, especially his blue-green eyes.

Sooty was in his teens when I met him in the 90s, and he’d been bred so long ago that his Persian face looks little like the Persian cats I meet today. His nose is shorter than the usual cat nose, but not as deep-set as that of modern Persians.

I love the hair between long-haired cats’ toes, but Sooty’s was exceptional—it was so long his paws looked like little dust mops and I remember us joking about it, but when I was painting the portrait I remember questioning myself even though I’d seen it right there on his paws and taken the photos. It wasn’t helped by the contrast between pale silver fur and deep charcoal gray fur that made it look as if it had been attached.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of portrait: toes.

His fur itself was beautifully unique, each long guard hair ending in a short black tip which gave him the ashy sort of look that led to his name. He had wonderful eyeliner and even his nose was outlined, and most endearing of all his whiskers were black. But that field of fur along his sides and back had so much detail that I got all lost in drawing it.

The background in a portrait like this is a style I developed myself over the years for portraits where there was just a color and no particular object or surface. I base the predominant color on one that complements the subject well and is possibly a color in the subject itself; see Nick where I used the blue from his eyes. In Sooty’s case I looked around the room where the portrait would hang and at Sooty’s cool silver fur, and then at his terra cotta nose and knew that was the color. As you can see in front of him I’ve added a few “wrinkles” as if the background is a cloth, but you can see in the upper left that I’ve mimicked the entrance of a light source from the left and used an olive green shading lighter to a yellowish shade as if it’s sunlight on a wall.

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of background and fur.

I usually frame my portraits in custom mats and molding per my customer. To finish it off, I used a deeper soft terra cotta top mat and silver gray bottom mat, both black core to gently coordinate with Sooty’s eyeliner and other charcoal trim, and a simple wood frame with a brushed silver finish that captured his fur. You can tell his portrait is still one of my favorites nearly 20 years later. Sooty is even included in the brochure I designed and still use today; click the link below.


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Sooty is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and 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.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


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


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME

 


A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “A Wonderful Gift”

pastel portrait of cat with flowers

“A Wonderful Gift”, pastel, 12″ x 14″, 2010 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

SOMETIMES A CAT has so many connections to other cats or people or circumstances or places, but then this Peaches’s life was intertwined with her rescuer’s before she was even adopted. Sometimes the cat and the person are simply meant to be together.

. . . . . . .

Here’s how Peaches was rescued…

Peaches’ rescue includes a number of mysterious and exciting coincidences. First there was another cat, Wally, who Peaches’ mom was to adopt from her eight-year-old niece as the girl’s parents divorced and Wally couldn’t move with her. When Wally died unexpectedly the niece insisted they find another kitty and in searching found a kitty whose owner was very ill and could no longer care for her. While the ill woman’s name was auspiciously connected with the names of both Peaches’ eventual mom and the soul mate cat she had recently lost, Peaches also looked identical to Wally, and not only had the same birthday as the niece but was also the same age as the niece.

. . . . . . .

I created this portrait in 2010 to be given as a Christmas gift to a special friend. I’m always honored to be trusted with another’s gift, and so happy to be a part of its giving. With this slight distance from the animal’s person I need to be certain the giver has clear materials and knows the person and the animal well in order to be able to portray the animal correctly, and in this case I was given an excellent and meaningful photo, and a touching story.

My customer told me: “She’s the cat of … my closest friend, and she just turned 18. … is going through a lot of stuff right now, her mother is very ill and even though we’ve been saying this for the last few years, it feels as though the end is probably not that far away. Peaches has some mild kidney issues, but is otherwise doing well for her age. When … father died, her then soul mate cat Prince died within days of her father, so even though she’s trying to not give this any energy, she sometimes has a sense that her mother’s death and Peaches’ may be happening in a similar fashion.

“And not that this has anything to do with Peaches, but it gives you an idea of what … is about: Prince was diagnosed with FIP, but lived for fifteen more years post diagnosis. … made a promise to the universe when he was diagnosed that if he beat it, she would start a pet loss support group. She’s been running three pet loss support groups for the county at no charge for the last fifteen years.

“Anyway, it’s why I thought a painting would be a wonderful Christmas gift either way – of course I’m hoping that Peaches will still be with us at Christmas, but even if, God forbid, she’s not, it will still be a perfect present for … .

amaryllis bud.

The amaryllis bud.

“Peaches is … only cat, and they’re very connected. … comes home for lunch each day, and she sits with Peaches in her lap for half an hour or so. It’s her form of meditation. The story behind the photo is pretty amazing. For a period of several months last year, Peaches became very withdrawn, she stopped sleeping with …, and spent most of her time in a guest bedroom. At the time, we thought this was it. Then a friend of … gave her this flower (I think it’s an Amaryllis?), and Peaches became fascinated with it, and would check progress every day. As the flower started to bloom, Peaches ended her phase of withdrawing. I thought it would be a nice starting point for a painting because it will always remind … of the happy time when Peaches became herself again.”

Could there be a more touching story, or a better gift for a friend?

Peaches had the chance to give her human more years of love after she recovered from this, and lived to January 2013.

About the portrait

I typically name the portraits after the names of its subjects, but in this case it might have been a little confusing for others, and emotional for me. You’ve read about my dilute calico Peaches, this kitty dilute tortoiseshell kitty has the name name, but I had recently lost Peaches in October 2010 when I painted this portrait; in fact, I delayed this portrait because of my Peaches’ death, finishing it in December. For that reason I called it “A Wonderful Gift” because of the gift of the subject’s healing, above, and because the portrait was a gift for a special friend.

You can read the progress articles about this portrait to see it in its initial sketch and then in its middle stage, just before the final details in A New Portrait and The New Portrait, Second View. At the final stage of a portrait I add textures where necessary, even out the highlights and shadows, make sure the color palette hasn’t shifted and make sure all subjects are the right shape and proportion. It’s surprising how easily these details can throw things off if I’m not careful, and you can see in comparing the first and second images where things went a bit awry. Up to the final passes for details, I was working over the entire portrait each time, mostly to work out the palette and settle the details of shape and proportion and keeping an overall vision for the portrait.

The most important detail, the sweetest part of the whole image, was Peaches’ face where she has it happily pressed into the flower, her eyes closed, the sunlight shining through the flower petals coloring her fur. That had to be perfect, not photographically so, but in spirit. I enjoyed working many other areas of this portrait, but capturing the gentle shadings and gentle details of her face, her chin and neck and her ear were my favorite part of this portrait.

detail of portrait

Detail of Peaches and amaryllis

I clarified the flowers to see each of the petals, and went back and forth with the shade of pink. I had originally used a brighter pink which was not accurate and was too bright for the painting, so I toned that down with a slightly browner pink. I also shifted the blanket from the original bright blue to more of a teal shade to coordinate with elements in the curtains, which would also be in the person’s room, and the blanket’s highlights are blended so it looks fuzzy and soft. The highlights on the vase had made it look very shiny though it wasn’t, and those extreme reflections were also a little harsh for the soft tone of this portrait, so they got toned down.

But two of my favorite areas were the bare branches outside the window which you can see in the detail of the amaryllis buds, above, and the books on the table next to the window, especially in detail below.

detail of portrait

Detail of portrait, books on the shelf.

A little more about this portrait

“A Wonderful Gift” was the December 2011 kitty in my first Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book because her portrait and the story had a strong connection to Christmas. She is included in my current version, Great Rescues Day Book, but is not featured at a month; the original book had 16 months, this only has 12, so I have the extra four portraits grouped together in the center of the book. This portrait will always be a part of December for me, though.

Note, also, that the plant Peaches is visiting is an amaryllis, grown from a bulb, one of the class of plants that can be highly toxic to cats. Peaches was not a plan nibbler, and it seemed to play such a complete role in her life.

As a greeting card

And I was also thrilled when Peaches’ person approved my publishing of a feline art card bearing Peaches’ portrait and story. Read about the card and find a link to it on Portraits of Animals Marketplace blog. This has inspired me to create a few subsets of my feline art cards, and one of those would be the calicoes and tortoiseshells!


Here is Peaches’s page in Great Rescues:

portrait of cat in day book

Peaches’s page in “Great Rescues Day Book”

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Peaches:

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. ~ Jean Cocteau


About Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and Great Rescues Day Book

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Buster is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.

This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.

Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.

Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.

And click here to see the whole year of monthly posts of featured portraits!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and 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.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

 


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


© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN | ETSY SHOP | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | STUMBLEUPON | GOOGLE+ | EMAIL

HOME

 


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