Category Archives: custom artwork

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.



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

Display from the other side.

Display from the other side.

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

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

Display from one side.

Display from one side.

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

Gift items.

Gift items.

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

Garden flags.

Garden flags.

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

Packaged, matted and framed prints.

Packaged, matted and framed prints.

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

Canvas prints.

Canvas prints.

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

Irish Malarkey.

Irish Malarkey.

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

Feline-themed planting pots.

Feline-themed planting pots.

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

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

Where to find The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn

The Outlet Barn Garden Center

4577 Campbells Run Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15205

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

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

Handmade furniture and ceramic gift items.

Handmade furniture and ceramic gift items.

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

Here are a few of the artisans’ displays.


Basil inspects all the new goods.

Basil inspects all the new goods.

Marketplace

Mimi scolds me for not letting the blocks dry properly.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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A Great Rescue and Commissioned Portrait: “Sooty”

pastel portrait of chinchilla persian cat

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

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

. . . . . . .

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

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

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

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

. . . . . . .

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

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

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

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


Here is Sooty’s page in Great Rescues:

great rescues day book

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

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Sooty:

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

. . . . . . .

About the Portrait

detail of pastel cat portrait

Detail of portrait: Sooty’s face.

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

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

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

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

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of portrait: toes.

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

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

detail of pastel portrait of cat

Detail of background and fur.

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


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

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

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

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

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

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


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

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

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

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

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

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

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


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

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


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

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

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

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

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

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

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

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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

HOME

 


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

pastel portrait of cat with flowers

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

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

. . . . . . .

Here’s how Peaches was rescued…

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

. . . . . . .

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

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

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

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

amaryllis bud.

The amaryllis bud.

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

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

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

About the portrait

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

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

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

detail of portrait

Detail of Peaches and amaryllis

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

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

detail of portrait

Detail of portrait, books on the shelf.

A little more about this portrait

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

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

As a greeting card

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


Here is Peaches’s page in Great Rescues:

portrait of cat in day book

Peaches’s page in “Great Rescues Day Book”

. . . . . . .

And here is the quote for Peaches:

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


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

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

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

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

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

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


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

~~~

Also read about other Commissioned Portraits and Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.


 

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

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

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair

Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski

Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs

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

Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table

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

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


Download a Brochure

cover of brochure

My Portraits Brochure

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


Purchase a Gift Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

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

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

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

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

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

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

 


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


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

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

HOME

 


Awakening Block Print, Hand-colored

Awakening-autumn

“Awakening” is a linoleum block print, 16″ in diameter, printed in soy-based ink on handmade white rice paper and hand-colored in bright autumn colors with watercolors.

I offer the print “Awakening” printed in black on white rice paper, but designed it for a versatility of presentation. The two cats in question were indeed one black and one white, and the yin and yang form they mimic is typically black and white also, but I enjoy the use of pattern as a design element and decided to incorporate several rounds of detail when I designed this. That way, I’d have the versatility of leaving it in black and white or adding color.

Each one is as unique as the print itself because I use different media, styles and color combinations. In this case I used watercolor. Other times I’ve used colored pencil, gouache, marker, even pastel rubbed into the surface of the paper.

Most of the time I’ll use a variety of bright colors, but I’ve also colored them in all earthy tones—brown, tan, red earth, sand—as well as shades of green from the summer woods, light pastels, bright primaries, jewel tones and monochromatic themes, blue or purple, and it looks striking with touches red.

Below is just the image with color.

The hand-colored art only.

The hand-colored art only.

Quote reads: “‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.’–Anatole France. Dedicated to my prince and princess and all those since who’ve awakened their part of my soul.”

“Awakening” was inspired by my close companions Kublai and Sally who ran the household together for about 12 years and who actually slept curled like this. I enjoyed following the inspiration to combine the image of the two cats with the decorative border simply made of shapes and patterns that were both attractive and easy to cut in a block print.

I had seen the quote in a number of different places, and of all the quotes about how animals fill our souls this one, the concept of awakening, I found most moving. These two cats, especially Kublai, the black one, were a major part of my awakening not only to animals but to love in general.

Aside from the fact that they were both loving, friendly and social, they were complete opposites in the way they expressed this love and were as different in temperament as they were in color and texture as the loose reference to yin and yang illustrates.

In their own ways they nurtured about 30 foster cats of widely differing ages and social abilities, just as they nurtured me in the years they shared my life.

“Kublai” is somehow derived from the word for “prince” in Sanskrit, and “Sally” is derived from the word for “princess”—Sarah—in Hebrew.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

I also print this image on textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags! Please check my apparel and housewares categories to see what’s currently available.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.


Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in “portraits of animals shop“, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.


Subscribe to My E-newsletter

Subscribe to The Creative Cat e-newsletter for specials on exclusively feline-themed art and merchandise.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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

HOME

 


Five Black Cats Placemats

Five Black Cats in a Line color side of laminated placemat.

The photo is “Five Black Cats in a Line” from the post “Still Celebrating Black Cats”, which I’d posted in both black and white and color on Black Cat Appreciation Day in August 2012.

I’ve worked out several ideas for placemats and, discouraged at the price of the prints on the absorbent materials and various fabrics, I decided to go back to the good old laminated placemat. The neat thing about these is that I can make them two-sided, so these feature the two photos of The Five mentioned above, “Five Black Cats in a Line” in black and white on one side and in color on the other.

Five Black Cats in a Line color side of laminated placemat.
"Five Black Cats in a Line" black and white side of laminated placemat.
“Five Black Cats in a Line” black and white side of laminated placemat.

I also offer “The Birthday Party” featuring all five lined up and eating breakfast on the Fantastic Four’s birthday with Mama Mimi joining in the celebration, and on the back “Five Black Cats in a Line” in color when we were celebrating “Black Cat Day”.

laminated placemat with five black cats at birthday party
The Birthday Party placemat

They are 11.5″ x 17.5″, printed double-sided on 120# card stock then laminated with heat-sealed 5 mil laminate trimmed 1/4″ larger than the print with rounded corners. They can be dunked in dishwater or wiped down with just about anything to clean, just avoid any abrasives to avoid scratching the laminate. Other than that, my household test have found them to be just about indestructible. Use as a mat under your cat’s food bowl, water bowl, your own food bowl, or just for decoration on a table or counter.

Where to find these things…

“Five Black Cats in a Line (color)/(black and white)” placemats on Etsy

“The Birthday Party/Five Black Cats in a Line (color)” placemats on Etsy

And read more 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.



Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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

HOME

 


A Great Rescue and a Commissioned Portrait: Bandit Stole His Daddy’s Heart

portrait of black and white cat

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

SOMETIMES WE DON’T realize until years later that a series of odd circumstances has an intention beyond our control; often this involves the entry of one of our most cherished animal companions into the sphere of our life, and our entry into theirs.

. . . . . . .

One of the Great Rescues families, Bandit is the February cat for Valentine’s Day, as it truly is a story of love at first sight between a man and a cat.

Bandit’s story from Great Rescues:

Bandit’s dad arrived home early from vacation and decided to visit the gym. Exiting the building after his workout he saw in the parking lot two women trying to coax a small black and white cat, four to six months old, from under the front of a car with offerings of tuna. The famished kitten finished his second plate but went back up into the wheel well where he was seeking sanctuary. When they left, Bandit’s dad went around to the side of the car. Bandit came down from the engine compartment, covered in grease and oil, looked his future human companion in the eye and let the man pick him up, trembling in his hands. “He needed a friend and I gained one of my best.”

I never had the chance to meet Bandit; his portrait was a gift from Bandit’s mom to his dad after Bandit had passed. Bandit and his dad were very closely bonded, and both people told me that while his dad was very upset when Bandit was near his end, Bandit was just as concerned about him, trying to comfort him. Cats are very sensitive and compassionate creatures, but I could tell Bandit was one of those souls who had a definite wisdom beyond the typical cat. His rescuer knew this too.

portrait of black and white cat

Detail of Bandit’s face.

Bandit also predated the woman who commissioned me to do his portrait as well, Bandit having spent most of his life with his human rescuer as a couple of bachelors. Because the portrait was a gift we weren’t sure what type of a pose his person would want, but I liked one of the photos I saw in her stack, the light and the feeling of space, the details of their home that was obviously so dear to them, plus the commanding way Bandit is reclining surrounded by plants give it visual depth; sometimes an image that is fully from that time and place, houseplants and all, is simply the best way to remember a moment. She readily agreed, and I knew it was right.

pastel portrait of black and white cat

Detail of portrait, paws and plant

I remember looking at both the cat and those croton plants, just waiting to dig into both subjects. Building the whole scene was a joy, the rich red of the radiator cushion, the simple familiarity of the plant stand and woven basket and the painted windowsill as well as the main subject.

When I felt the portrait was finished I was so excited about contacting the woman who’d commissioned me; I’d updated her with progress photos, but now it felt finished but I always let my customers have the last say on that—this is their artwork, forever, and I want it to feel as if they are not only looking at their animal companion, but in the space with them.

Still, I always let the portrait sit for a day or two, and let the glow wear off, even ignore it, so that I can get a perspective. I was still working downstairs by the big window so that I could look at my art in progress all the time, but this one I covered up for a couple of days. After I’d removed the paper covering and walked into the room forgetting it was there, a glance past it caught the full impact and it took my breath away for a moment; it looked like a window into another world. I couldn’t do a single thing to it anywhere, and my customer agreed.

Years later when I was putting together Great Rescues I realized this was one of the portraits that looked okay on my computer but would not work for print. I would be contacting Bandit’s people to ask if they minded me including Bandit in my project; I always like to be careful with the hearts and memories of people I’ve worked with. They were thrilled and they didn’t mind at all if I came over to photograph the portrait. I have a technique I use to photograph through the glass and most of the time it works fine, but with Bandit there was a bit of a glare on the glass that I didn’t manage to eliminate with all my fancy PhotoShop tools. This only affects the closeups, but the overall portrait is what’s important.

Here is February with Bandit’s portrait and rescue story in Great Rescues Day Book:

cat portrait, story and calendar page

February in Great Rescues Day Book.


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

day book with cat portraits

Great Rescues Day Book

Bandit 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.


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

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.


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 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.

Enter the recipient’s name
Enter shipping address

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


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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

HOME


Five Black Cats, Custom Framed, and Placemats to Match

framed photo of five black cats.
“Five Black Cats in a Line” framed to match the paint colors in the “Cool Cat Cottage”.

This might not be the best photo I’ve ever taken of custom-framed artwork, but you get the idea. A family of friends who are black cat fans and who’ve also ordered a framed photo of this family from me for their home ordered this print to match their new “Cool Cat Cottage”!

The photo is “Five Black Cats in a Line” from the post “Still Celebrating Black Cats”, which I’d posted in both black and white and color on Black Cat Appreciation Day in August 2012. They sent me the numbers of the paint chips for their new cottage—”Belize” and “Sands of Time”, love the color names—and I matched them up with the matboard and a plain white frame. The image size is 10″ x 15″ and the frame size is 15″ x 20″.

Obviously, I love to see my art and photos traveling out to people’s homes! I have all my photo and art prints made locally and can create a print in a size to fit a frame you have or a project you have in mind, and I am also a custom picture framer. If you have an idea, read more about ordering custom artwork on this page.

Five Black Cats Placemats

Five Black Cats in a Line color side of laminated placemat.
Five Black Cats in a Line color side of laminated placemat.
"Five Black Cats in a Line" black and white side of laminated placemat.
“Five Black Cats in a Line” black and white side of laminated placemat.

The family also ordered a set of placemats in the same design—with a little extra.

I’ve worked out several ideas for placemats and, discouraged at the price of the prints on the absorbent materials and various fabrics, I decided to go back to the good old laminated placemat. The neat thing about these is that I can make them two-sided, so these feature the two photos of The Five mentioned above, “Five Black Cats in a Line” in black and white on one side and in color on the other.

I also offer “The Birthday Party” featuring all five lined up and eating breakfast on the Fantastic Four’s birthday with Mama Mimi joining in the celebration, and on the back “Five Black Cats in a Line” in color when we were celebrating “Black Cat Day”.

laminated placemat with five black cats at birthday party
The Birthday Party placemat

They are 11.5″ x 17.5″, printed double-sided on 120# card stock then laminated with heat-sealed 5 mil laminate trimmed 1/4″ larger than the print with rounded corners. They can be dunked in dishwater or wiped down with just about anything to clean, just avoid any abrasives to avoid scratching the laminate. Other than that, my household test have found them to be just about indestructible. Use as a mat under your cat’s food bowl, water bowl, your own food bowl, or just for decoration on a table or counter.

Where to find these things…

“Five Black Cats in a Line (color)/(black and white)” placemats on Etsy

“The Birthday Party/Five Black Cats in a Line (color)” placemats on Etsy

And read more 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.



Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


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.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

Gifts Featuring Cats You Know
image of cat calendars
2013 desk and journal calendars on sale through February!

Bandit Stole His Daddy’s Heart

portrait of black and white cat
“Bandit”, pastel, 18″ x 14″, 2004 © B.E. Kazmarski

For this week’s rescue story and featured artwork I’ve saved the story of Bandit for Valentine’s Day, as it truly is a story of love at first sight between a man and a cat.

Bandit’s story from Great Rescues:

Bandit’s dad arrived home early from vacation and decided to visit the gym. Exiting the building after his workout he saw in the parking lot two women trying to coax a small black and white cat, four to six months old, from under the front of a car with offerings of tuna. The famished kitten finished his second plate but went back up into the wheel well where he was seeking sanctuary. When they left, Bandit’s dad went around to the side of the car. Bandit came down from the engine compartment, covered in grease and oil, looked his future human companion in the eye and let the man pick him up, trembling in his hands. “He needed a friend and I gained one of my best.”

I never had the chance to meet Bandit; his portrait was a gift from Bandit’s mom to his dad after Bandit had passed. Bandit and his dad were very closely bonded, and both people told me that while his dad was very upset when Bandit was near his end, Bandit was just as concerned about him, trying to comfort him. Cats are very sensitive and compassionate creatures, but I could tell Bandit was one of those souls who had a definite wisdom beyond the typical cat.

portrait of black and white cat
Detail of Bandit’s face.

Bandit also predated the woman who commissioned me to do his portrait as well, Bandit having spent most of his life with his human rescuer as a couple of bachelors. Because the portrait was a gift we weren’t sure what type of a pose his person would want, but I liked one of the photos I saw in her stack, the light and the feeling of space, the details of their home that was obviously so dear to them, plus the commanding way Bandit is reclining surrounded by plants give it visual depth; sometimes an image that is fully from that time and place, houseplants and all, is simply the best way to remember a moment. She readily agreed, and I knew it was right.

pastel portrait of black and white cat
Detail of portrait, paws and plant

I remember looking at both the cat and those croton plants, just waiting to dig into both subjects. Building the whole scene was a joy, the rich red of the radiator cushion, the simple familiarity of the plant stand and woven basket and the painted windowsill as well as the main subject.

Years later when I was putting together Great Rescues I realized this was one of the portraits that looked okay on my computer but would not work for print. I would be contacting Bandit’s people to ask if they minded me including Bandit in my project; I always like to be careful with the hearts and memories of people I’ve worked with.  They were thrilled and they didn’t mind at all if I came over to photograph the portrait. I have a technique I use to photograph through the glass and most of the time it works fine, but with Bandit there was a bit of a glare on the glass that I didn’t manage to eliminate with all my fancy PhotoShop tools. This only affects the closeups, but the overall portrait is what’s important.

Here is Bandit’s page in Great Rescues Day Book:

Bandit's page in the Great Rescues Day Book.
Bandit’s page in the Great Rescues Day Book.

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

Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book was my first work of this series, published in 2011 as a 16-month calendar and book of information about cats that featured 16 of my portraits of rescued cats. I published it as a calendar to introduce it, but with the intention of publishing a series of day books and other books, all featuring my portraits of rescued cats and dogs.

Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book is long sold out, but I will have the Great Rescues Day Book ready for distribution in April 2013. Feel free to visit the page to read about it, and pre-order. My production was delayed a bit but they are on their way now.


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 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 on The Creative Cat, on my main website, 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 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.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


A Matched Set: Two Little Watercolor Portraits

painting of two cats on windowsill with sheer curtain
Buster and Kitty, watercolor, 4″ x 5″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

Back when I was just beginning in animal portraiture a friend and fellow cat rescuer showed me photos of her cats, Buster and Kitty, and offered me prints in case I’d ever like to create paintings from any of them. Though I have difficulty just keeping up with my own household I won’t turn down photos of any cats, especially those in her lovely Victorian-themed apartment.

“Cats looking out windows” has always been a favorite theme of mine. Add the delicacy of sheer ruffled curtains and I’m totally hooked. It’s the whole scene I love, the moment, even the silly one of just seeing butts and tails on the windowsill and shadowed silhouettes through the curtain. Those memories are special, and even if we’re looking at others’ cats they still call to mind our own cats at the same moments.

I knew her cats and her apartment as she knew my cats and my home. We worked together and were also cat sitters for each other, and while my visit to her house was fairly simple with her two and then three cats, I had nine cats for her to feed and pet and entertain in my house.

She and her husband purchased a home and as I pondered what would be an appropriate housewarming gift for a friend I remembered the photos, especially those two of the kitties on the windowsills. I’d do a portrait! I remembered how she had loved the traditional features of that apartment, the oak parquet floors, big rooms and high ceilings, that wide traditional molding on the windows darkened with age. And of course she loved her cats, so the combination of the two was sure to be a winner.

But which photo? The photo with both cats didn’t show their faces, and while I do like unconventional poses and scenes for portraits I didn’t feel that was enough. The other was a typical posture for Buster with his legs stretched out and “looking at his toes”, and while I pondered how to fit Kitty in there from other photos I decided I’d rather not.

I’d do them both. Just two little paintings. That solved it.

painting of black and white cat on windowsill
Buster Lookin’ at His Toes, watercolor, 4″ x 5″, 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

I loved the sheer curtain and the traditional wooden windowsill, but rather than my usual pastel, I had been visualizing them in watercolor all along. I was pretty new to watercolor then, just about two years into it and not too many paintings yet, but I’d been studying quite a bit of other artists’ work. I could picture how I’d render the harder shadows and highlights on the wood, and knew it would carry the gauzy shadows on the curtain. The soft shadows on the walls would be a challenge, but the cats would be a joy—meeting my favorite subject in a different medium for once, like sharing a new experience with a friend.

They are matted and framed individually, but with the same mats and frames. Unlike most other portraits I feature, you are seeing these at about the actual size they were painted.

About the kitties

Kitty was a rather large and imperious long-haired black kitty they’d adopted from a shelter, and oh how I wanted a long-haired black kitty after meeting him! My black kitty Kublai was the love of my life, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a crush on another, even with Kitty’s, well, cattitude. He was okay, he never swatted me—but then I’d been well-trained by Sally, my white long-haired kitty, in the fine art of knowing when “happy happy purr purr” turned into “I’m totally done with this right now.”

Buster was but one kitten from many litters born to a cat in a trailer park who simply was never spayed. The fact that a neighbor was setting out antifreeze for them to drink neither inspired the cat’s owner to get the cat fixed nor to keep them all indoors and safe. Buster’s mom and dad had recently lost a kitten they’d adopted to feline leukemia, and Buster’s dad, wanting to save at least one kitten from death by antifreeze and help ease the grief of the loss, chose one tiny black and white kitten to take home. At first, he was ordered to take the kitten back, the loss was too soon, but within hours, reconsidering the possible fate of the little guy, Buster’s mom told him to go back and get him.

And Buster is also the January kitty in my Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book. I hadn’t seen his mom for years when I began the book and wanted to use his portrait, then realized my photos from that era weren’t up to print quality and I’d have to rephotograph it. I had the chance to look her up and visit again (and, yes, I do have that photo of Buster and Ginger, they are on the list!).

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.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

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 Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat in wicker chair

Commissioned Dog Portraits
pastel portrait of dogs

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


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