Category Archives: commissioned portrait

Follow Me! Portraits of Animals Has Moved

Portraits of Animals new website!

Portraits of Animals new website!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and that’s because I’ve been preparing and building a brand new website for my artwork and merchandise. Maintaining this blog plus my Etsy profile, Fine Art America account and a few other profiles where I displayed and sold my things and decided to invest the time to put one whole new site together.

Actually, this has been in the works for a few years, and I finally found the time to get the site built. I have set up my new website for Portraits of Animals! That’s what you see above, a screen shot for the home page. Finally, this plan I’ve visualized for the past five years has been put into action. I found a template I liked, I’ve planned out my new products and I set up my Sampler Box Program and a free gift for those who register for an account on the site. It’s ready to go! Mostly.

If you are already a subscriber, your subscription may have already moved to the new site—I moved subscribers today. But if not, you can go to Portraits of Animals and subscribe to “News and Articles” there. Of course, you can always change your subscription preferences if you no longer want to be subscribed. But read on—I have features on the new site that I couldn’t have here, including setting up an account with a free gift when you do, member rewards programs and a sampler box program!

A Soft Unveiling

Another Sampler Box view.

Another Sampler Box view.

I’m calling this a “soft unveiling” because, while the site is structurally ready to roll, I’m missing…a few products. Well, quite a few. And it’s my own fault. I had started working on a new site in December set up on a template from my shopping cart provider, and while the back end of it is impressive, and the front end was attractive, clean and easy to navigate, the product area just looked like…and internet store. As well it should if it was selling merchandise.

But it wasn’t selling merchandise. It was selling my art. And it wasn’t looking like a gallery. And I couldn’t blog on that platform, essential for driving traffic to the site, and I couldn’t use some of the plugins to set up galleries of art and merchandise the way I’d envisioned.

The new menu.

The new menu.

January had originally been my deadline to have this website ready, but the holiday season doesn’t permit focus on too many things other than the holiday season, so I didn’t get too far. And then I ran off to Savannah to deliver a couple of kittens and visit family. But before I did I decided to stop building that site and decide which way to go: continue with the site or look for a template that better represented my work.

I found the perfect template, designed by an artist for artists. Next, I needed to find three or four days to set it up and get all the parts in there and start adding merchandise. Designing websites has always been a process of not only putting your visualization on a computer screen but also fixing all the little issues, bugs and conflicts that come up, and at this point in my life I like to stake out some time to just focus on it.

I have not posted since last week, on Tuesday. Because I wanted a long weekend to work on this I had to get all my regular work done early last week, so I settled in and focused on that so that Friday I could put it all aside and get my hands into this site and work through the weekend. I’d intended to post at least once each day, but I was so focused on finishing the other projects and lining things up for the new site, and I knew I’d be distracted and didn’t want to be. By Monday morning a good bit of it was set up and some products in place. All ready to present it on Tuesday, my hosting company had an issue on my shared server that kept filling up the memory and shutting us all down. It turns out it had something to do with the voting on Super Tuesday, and though they found the site that caused the problem and could shut it down, I wasn’t back up until Wednesday.

Now it’s Thursday and I miss posting about my cats and stuff and I can’t wait to share this site, even though it doesn’t have much on it! You can imagine it will take me quite some time to get my things up there. I shake my head and think, why did I do all this stuff? But really, I can’t wait to fill out the pages I’ve set up!

A display of gift ittems.

A display of gift items.

I love the way I can set up the galleries so that you can see a whole screen full of images and read the headlines, click on the item and read the details and order. Above is a sample of art papers on display and below is a sample section of animal sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

And here is a detail page, what you see when you click on a product.

Detail page.

Detail page.

A signing bonus!

I like to thank each person who signs up for an account on Portraits of Animals. Each new member receives a thank-you gift not only as an honest thanks from me for signing up, but also so that you can see a sample of my art and the quality of my merchandise, even if you’ve been a customer already and purchased from me in other places.

You don’t need to purchase anything to get your thank you gift, you can just register an account and get your free print.

The thank you gifts always include matted digital prints of art and photos that I usually sell for between $20.00 and $40.00. The selection includes the current month’s featured artwork and several of the more popular images I sell. Sizes vary according to the size of the art itself—some of my more popular sketches are as small as 3″ x 5″—but they are always matted to fit a standard frame size so you can use a frame you have on hand or easily purchase one without the cost of custom framing. Below is the current selection of prints you can choose from. Visit Current New Member Gifts to read more about the size and matting for each print.

The current selection of new member gifts.

The current selection of new member gifts.

About that Sampler Box

What's in the sampler box

What’s in the sampler box

Each box will receive the following items in a design appropriate to the audience:

• an 8” x 10” print matted to 11” x 14”, ready to frame OR a small framed print, either an existing piece of artwork or a new one

• two or more greeting or note cards, current designs and new designs

• a handmade or other gift item—a small keepsake box or a little art sampler book, a polymer clay or ceramic item, screen-printed dishtowel, tote bag, crocheted item or rubber stamp, new art paper, for instance

These can be things your use for yourself or give as gifts or donation items to shelter or rescue or other fundraisers. Sometimes they’ll be little experiments and I’ll be asking for feedback. I’ll be happy that you get to see art you may have never noticed, and little handmade goods that work so much better in your hands than a photo on your computer.

Sampler boxes can be purchased singly or in subscriptions of three and six boxes. Shipping within the US is included.

$30.00 for one box, value about $47.50

$75.00 for a three box subscription, value about $142.50

You can read more about the content in the gift boxes on the page on Portraits of Animals, and don’t forget to go and visit the rest of the site too! I’ll be adding things every day, and also my links from Marketplace articles on this site will now go to Portraits of Animals. I’ll keep a few things on my  Etsy site, but nearly all of it in time will be moved to Portraits of Animals.



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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“Borzois”, Original and Prints

pastel painting of two borzois

“Borzois”, pastel, 25″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Too many ideas leads to two portraits, one for me and one for the customer!

detail of portrait of borzois

Detail of faces.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of painting a portrait of two beautiful rescued Borzois, Traveller and Emma. Their person was also a friend of mine and lived in an enviable remodeled home on a few hilltop acres with wonderful light and horses romping in the pasture next door.

I’d visited before and when she mentioned she’d like a portrait I began envisioning the two dogs and the places in her home and even outdoors in a fenced area where they could play. I knew she had photos but especially with larger animals, and one of them being primarily black, I was glad to be able to meet them and take photos of my own so that I could collect details. Back in the days of film, I had two 36-exposure rolls with me and all my lenses for my trusty little Pentax K-1000. The house was full of windows so lighting likely wouldn’t be an issue.

We followed the dogs around the house, Traveller, the big creamy white dog obviously being the boss and the smaller black and tan Emma following orders and feeling safe near her big brother.

photos of borzoi dogs

The inspiration for the above portrait.

She told me each had come from two different rescues from indiscriminate breeders who were breeding these huge dogs in apartments and condos. Emma was noticeably smaller than usual because there were—talk about hoarding—over 70 Borzois inside one condo. Because of that overcrowding and the sheer number of dogs, she hadn’t been socialized well and was timid and skittish, but could simply be a happy dog and feel safe around her big brother.

Their favorite room was a spacious sunroom addition at the west end of the home which their person told me had been ambitiously begun by the home’s former owners. They had decided to complete the project and the two-story space would be a paradise for any animal or human. I was enchanted by Traveller, whose head was nearly at my shoulder, and smaller Emma racing gracefully among the plants and wicker furniture and collectibles without touching a thing. I took plenty of photos of them playing along with detail shots of their faces in that wonderfully-balanced light.

Arriving home with the photos I began to work on layouts for the portraits. She wanted a fairly large portrait and we had discussed just including their faces nearly life size, so I designed the layout with their faces above and below, befitting their relationship to each other. I could picture the colors I’d use in both creamy white and inky black fur and how I’d create the textures in each.

detail of the painting

Detail of the flowers

But I kept remembering their play in that sunny room and from one of the photos I’d taken. I designed another portrait with them standing together and a few plants around. This would not be a detailed and realistic portrait, more loose and impressionistic, capturing the light and color and motion I’d perceived. I knew my client would like that as well since I knew the work of other artists she’d purchased and commissioned as well as her other purchases of my art.

I proposed both ideas to her and showed her my layouts done in PhotoShop. She liked both as did I and we agreed I’d work up both of them and see what happened. She would choose one and I would get to keep the other, a great deal for me to have a live portrait on hand as an example.

In the end she chose the more realistic one of just the two faces because she wanted to remember the details of their expressions she’d loved so much (you can see that painting in “Two Portraits, Choose One” on The Creative Cat, though I could tell the choice was difficult knowing how she loved an impressionistic style of painting.

I would have been happy with either one, but in the years since, whenever I’ve shown this painting in exhibits or at my tent in a festival it has always attracted people to come and study it, not just dog lovers or animal lovers, but the colors and composition are eye-catching to most people.

Now that I have a good digital file of “Borzois”, I have the original for sale, framed, as you see above, and a variety of prints on paper and canvas.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles 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 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 from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


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

HOME




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

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Featured Artwork: “A Warm Bath”, 1997, and “Less Adoptable Pets”

painting of white cat

A Warm Bath, pastel, 12″ x 10″, 1997 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

September 21 through 27, 2014 is “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week“, a campaign founded by Petfinder.com to help promote the adoption of pets who are often passed by when people are looking for a new pet. “Less adoptable”  can refer to physical or emotional characteristics, from black pets—yes, black cats are often left behind!—to blind and deaf pets, pets missing an eye or a leg, not uncommon in rescued pets who’ve had a hard life on the streets or come from an abusive or hoarding situation, older pets, even just pets who are adults and not cute babies, undesirable breeds, like pit bulls, or carrying chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or FIV in cats.

Many of the cats who’ve lived with me as permanent members or fosters were considered “unadoptable” or “less adoptable”. One of the reasons I ply you with photos and paintings and sketches and stories is to reinforce, every day, every way I can, that there is no such thing as “unadoptable” or “less adoptable”, that there is nothing at all different about these cats. Behind their appearance and the knowledge of something about them that is somehow different from what we think of as a pet, they are simply the same loving animals as those who seem to be perfect. There is nothing to fear in living with an animal that is different, once you know them, once you’ve fallen in love, you’ll forget all about that missing eye, or their advanced years. Frankencat and Old Grand Dad both fell into this category, and who could not love them once we’d met them? And if you don’t want to run out and get your very own house panther by now then I’m not working hard enough!

Sally was genetically deaf, and very high-spirited, a combination that didn’t suit her original owner though he’d wanted a cat with her looks, not uncommon with deaf cats. I agreed to take her rather than see her go to a shelter; read “My First ‘Less Adoptable’ Kitty”, and look at this painting and tell me if you could know that she was in any way different, or that it would even be important to you in the face of that much beauty.

. . . . . . .

You’ve seen other works featuring Sally, but this was one of the first. Just after I’d painted Stanley in “After Dinner Nap” I felt I’d arrived at a style and a level of ability and began painting at a furious pace, both my cats and landscapes. This was the year after I’d lost Kublai, and begun painting en plein air and painting serious landscapes, and all that had come together for me. I had studied Sally’s silky white fur from the day she’d come to live with me in 1984, photographed her regularly, but finally felt I had the insight and ability to capture all the colors and textures of her creamy tresses.

Photographing a cat in the process of a bath, white or black or striped or spotted, was no easier then than it is now except that I didn’t know what I hadn’t caught until I had the photos developed. Most of the photos were when Sally had her back turned. I chose this pose because you could still see Sally’s face, though she was looking down, and there is something I love about a cat’s face at that angle, the soft forehead, the nose, the whiskers sprouting here and there.

This painting sold in the days before I took adequate photos, and though I’ve been working on getting an image of the original I just have to live with this for now, so I don’t have any closeups. Still, this is the painting where I remember the feeling of “fingerpainting” for the first time, applying layers and colors of pastel, them mixing them with my fingertips and knuckles, the sides of my hands, both hands, a different color in each area. It was because I looked at the fur on Sally’s head in the reference photo and imagined digging my fingers into it to scratch the top of her head, which she loved, and I did my best to make the top of her head make me, and you, want to do that, even to feel it. The bright pink of her ear, the cool and warm highlights in her fur, it was all I could do to focus on one area to work it out completely.

Then there were the long angled shadows from the metal muntins in the windows, on the wall and book case and on Sally, the white-painted stucco wall, and the dappled side yard outside the window. I’m still very pleased with this painting, and even if I painted it today I may do some things differently, but I don’t think I could improve on this.

"A Warm Bath"

“A Warm Bath”

Once I’d finished four similar paintings, “After Dinner Nap”, “A Warm Bath”, “A Rosy Glow” and “The Little Sunflower”, I decided I had to have color note cards with my artwork on them to sell, and in 1998 had the set entitled “My Cats in the Sun” printed by traditional offset printing, not the ease of digital printing today. I still have a few left of this original set of cards; they’ve gone in and out of popularity, but some customers find them nice for professional correspondence and for sympathy cards, so they will still be around.

I had taken several reference photos of Sally having a good bath in front of that old metal casement window; I replaced it with the big north window where Giuseppe sings and we all watch birds, lots of morning  light, angled in, and my cats have always loved to gather in that light through the years, and you still see it in my artwork. I also used another photo from this set for a commissioned piece, “Welcome Spring With a Unique Commission”.

pastel portrait of cat looking out window

“Spring”, pastel, 12″ x 24″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

You can see more images of Sally in “My First ‘Less Adoptable’ Kitty” and in Sally’s Photo Shoot or search the category Sally


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles 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 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 from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired 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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“Borzois”, Original and Prints

pastel painting of two borzois

“Borzois”, pastel, 25″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Too many ideas leads to two portraits, one for me and one for the customer!

detail of portrait of borzois

Detail of faces.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of painting a portrait of two beautiful rescued Borzois, Traveller and Emma. Their person was also a friend of mine and lived in an enviable remodeled home on a few hilltop acres with wonderful light and horses romping in the pasture next door.

I’d visited before and when she mentioned she’d like a portrait I began envisioning the two dogs and the places in her home and even outdoors in a fenced area where they could play. I knew she had photos but especially with larger animals, and one of them being primarily black, I was glad to be able to meet them and take photos of my own so that I could collect details. Back in the days of film, I had two 36-exposure rolls with me and all my lenses for my trusty little Pentax K-1000. The house was full of windows so lighting likely wouldn’t be an issue.

We followed the dogs around the house, Traveller, the big creamy white dog obviously being the boss and the smaller black and tan Emma following orders and feeling safe near her big brother.

photos of borzoi dogs

The inspiration for the above portrait.

She told me each had come from two different rescues from indiscriminate breeders who were breeding these huge dogs in apartments and condos. Emma was noticeably smaller than usual because there were—talk about hoarding—over 70 Borzois inside one condo. Because of that overcrowding and the sheer number of dogs, she hadn’t been socialized well and was timid and skittish, but could simply be a happy dog and feel safe around her big brother.

Their favorite room was a spacious sunroom addition at the west end of the home which their person told me had been ambitiously begun by the home’s former owners. They had decided to complete the project and the two-story space would be a paradise for any animal or human. I was enchanted by Traveller, whose head was nearly at my shoulder, and smaller Emma racing gracefully among the plants and wicker furniture and collectibles without touching a thing. I took plenty of photos of them playing along with detail shots of their faces in that wonderfully-balanced light.

Arriving home with the photos I began to work on layouts for the portraits. She wanted a fairly large portrait and we had discussed just including their faces nearly life size, so I designed the layout with their faces above and below, befitting their relationship to each other. I could picture the colors I’d use in both creamy white and inky black fur and how I’d create the textures in each.

detail of the painting

Detail of the flowers

But I kept remembering their play in that sunny room and from one of the photos I’d taken. I designed another portrait with them standing together and a few plants around. This would not be a detailed and realistic portrait, more loose and impressionistic, capturing the light and color and motion I’d perceived. I knew my client would like that as well since I knew the work of other artists she’d purchased and commissioned as well as her other purchases of my art.

I proposed both ideas to her and showed her my layouts done in PhotoShop. She liked both as did I and we agreed I’d work up both of them and see what happened. She would choose one and I would get to keep the other, a great deal for me to have a live portrait on hand as an example.

In the end she chose the more realistic one of just the two faces because she wanted to remember the details of their expressions she’d loved so much (you can see that painting in “Two Portraits, Choose One” on The Creative Cat, though I could tell the choice was difficult knowing how she loved an impressionistic style of painting.

I would have been happy with either one, but in the years since, whenever I’ve shown this painting in exhibits or at my tent in a festival it has always attracted people to come and study it, not just dog lovers or animal lovers, but the colors and composition are eye-catching to most people.

Now that I have a good digital file of “Borzois”, I have the original for sale, framed, as you see above, and a variety of prints on paper and canvas.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles 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 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 from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

FinnBaxter-ad


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

HOME




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

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

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Mother’s and Father’s Day Portrait and Gift Specials

pastel portrait of man and cat

“Fred and Simba”, charcoal and pastel, 12″ x 15″, 2010 © Berndaette E. Kazmarski

Did your parents pass on to you a love of animals? Did they decide one day you needed an animal companion of your own, starting you on a lifelong path of sharing your days with cats and dogs and birds and bunnies and ferrets and any other animal that came along?

Perhaps you know a special man who has rescued many animals and loves them all. Read about Fred and Simba, above, and consider capturing a special moment or a lifelong habit like the one between these two.

In everyone’s life is at least one special person who shared a love of animals, and in that person’s life there is often an animal companion who is or was very special to them. Read about Shadow, Casey and Ralph and a special Mother’s Day gift from 2006.

watercolor portrait of dog and two cats

“Shadow, Casey and Ralph”, watercolor, 2006 © Bernadette.E. Kazmarski

Did your parents pass on to you a love of animals? Did they decide one day you needed an animal companion of your own, starting you on a lifelong path of sharing your days with cats and dogs and birds and bunnies and ferrets and any other animal that came along?

watercolor still life of tulips and photo of schnauzer

Veronica’s Tulips, watercolor, 16″ x 23″, 2008 © B.E. Kazmarski

Thank those people who gave you this gift—and I’m loosely defining mother and father because sometimes the person who shared their love of animals with you was an aunt or uncle or grandparent, or even a neighbor who rescued cats or dogs. An animal-themed gift such as a print of a piece of artwork, a keepsake box or household item, even a personalized gift such as a portrait, is a wonderful way to thank them for the gift they gave you to love animals.

And thinking a little less conventionally, consider a piece of custom art that also includes an animal. For “Veronica’s Tulips”, right, this pet mom got the painting for herself, and wanted both flowers and, after a lifetime of rescued Schnauzers also wanted a Schnauzer in her painting, though not to represent any individual she had lived with. This was the very natural solution.

People and pets together

I’ve done a number of portraits of people with their pets, but many years ago I painted a very special portrait for grandparents who lived in Germany and never had the chance to see their grandchildren and grandcats. A photo was impossible to manage for the parents, so, with photos from the parents I put together a portrait of them all together in a style they requested, more sketchy than finished. I thought I’d taken a better photo of it at the time, but this sample is all I have; it was shipped off to the grandparents that year.

portrait of two children and two cats

The Grandchildren, pastel, 1993 © B.E. Kazmarski

I’m offering 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and Mother’s Day—and Father’s Day as well. Portraits take up to four weeks, especially with framing and then shipping, but we can work things out with certificates and portraits that are done some time in the next two months.

A Mother’s Day Special, and Father’s Day too

I’m offering 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and Father’s Day, June 15, 2014, whether it’s for mother, father, grandparents or any of those special persons who encouraged your love of animals.

Portraits take up to four weeks to complete, especially with framing and then shipping, but you can also give a certificate and invite the recipient to choose their own portrait subject and provide photos and memories.

About Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificates

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

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.

Mother’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use MOTHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use MOTHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Father’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use FATHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use FATHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.


Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read about my special for Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days.

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.


Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current and past portraits and paintings and art assignments, each week I feature a piece of artwork on Wednesday and a new product on Thursday. Choose the category for featured artwork to see an archive of all these posts, or if you want to see only my portraits choose commissioned portraits.


Download a Brochure

cover of 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 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 from my Etsy shop.

You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.


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


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